This June marks 50 years since the Robertson family fought for survival in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on board a small dinghy called Ednamair.

National Maritime Museum Cornwall is honouring the anniversary of this incredible story of human endurance with the talk Ednamair and the Robertsons, by Douglas Robertson on Wednesday, June 15. Hear in Douglas’ own words, what happened 50 years ago and the following 38 days as the family fought to live.

On January 27, 1971, Dougal Robertson, his wife Lyn, and their children Douglas (then 17), Anne (16), and twins Sandy and Neil (nine), left Falmouth aboard their 43ft yacht Lucette embarking on an adventure of a lifetime.

Eighteen months later, with Anne no longer on board and replaced by a student hitchhiker, Robin Williams, disaster struck when a pod of killer whales attacked their boat.

With three large holes in the wooden hull, Lucette sunk in minutes, leaving the family with barely enough time to launch the life raft and their dinghy, Ednamair, and grab what they could.

For the next five and a half weeks they would fight for their lives, working constantly to keep their raft afloat, catching rainwater, fishing, bailing and eking out their meagre provisions. Holes started appearing in the raft, and on the 17th day, the floor gave way, forcing them all to take to the open dinghy.

They spent the following 21 days in these cramped conditions, surviving through fierce storms and drought, and coping with severe hunger, thirst and exposure.

They knew that nobody would be out looking for them.

Miraculously, after 38 days at sea, they were finally picked up by a Japanese fishing trawler, surviving to tell their tale. Now Ednamair, the little 9ft dinghy, can be found in National Maritime Museum Cornwall’s Main Hall along with a number of other artefacts.

The talk, Ednamair and the Robertsons, by Douglas Robertson, will take place on Wednesday 15th June, exactly 50 years since the Lucette sunk. Douglas will be joined by the other surviving members of the family for a panel discussion and an audience Q&A. On display will be a number of objects that have never been on display before, including the instruction book for the life raft that Dougal Robertson used as a logbook.

The talk will be available to watch in person at the Museum and live online. Tickets can be purchased via or by calling 01326 313388.