On the lifejacket issue, I decided to have only manual auto inflating jackets onboard.
The downside is that if I hit the water unconscious that I will die. But given that most of the intended sailing will be singlehanded I do not consider this such a downside as it may first appear.
The upside is that it will not (or at least very unlikely) go off accidently, either at an awkward moment where a sudden restriction of movement could be a problem (ie if I went overboard
attached to a lifeline), plus also if I ever took on serious water and was still at the stage of trying to fix things I would still want the option of an auto inflating life jacket available at that time or much later.....given that although I may not wear a lifejacket as much as I could / should when wearing it (attached to my Waterproofs) I do so above and below decks.
And of course me being me replacement of the automatic bit of the lifejacket may not happen at the first available opportunity
Of course this is my
judgement based on my
circumstances and my own experiance, and the decision has been made in the full knowledge and acceptance that ......it may be the wrong one. But IMO that is what life (and messing around in boats!) is all about making yer own decisions and then living with the consequences (or in this case, not!).
In regard to Keels falling off - I reckon my main keel will only fall off if I hit a reef at speeds far in excess of what the boat could ever achieve (my calculator says 83 knots
).....far more likely that the boat becoming "detached" from the Keel (by breaking up on a reef) will be more of a problem at that point.
Although I have never had a keel drop off
I will convey my (2nd and 3rd hand) understandings.
From what I understand, keels fall off racing monos by a combination of design and build. From the design being too aggressive to last the intend life span and / or from the build not following the exact specs to the last 'nth degree......or the boat having exceed it's design life / be outside it's safety
zone.....or have been used more aggressively for extended periods that the designer intended / allowed for.
IMO Keels falling off cruising mono's is either a former racing boat built for speed with the trade
off made being over long term durability from stresses (hey, it's a racing boat - they are meant to be built like that!) OR a design b#llock being dropped by the manufacturer, which may of course not reveal itself for many years, in an attempt both for performance and cost effective build. Of course good old fashioned cost cutting in design and / or build can never be ruled out given the average boat builders prediliction for sooner or later running out of money
and going broke.......
years past that my Father had a wooden sailing boat (well, more motor
than sail) with a full length keel that was maybe 18 inches deep, essential made of a lump of metal (I forget exactly what) bolted to the bottom of the hull
. Every couple of years he would draw one or two of the Keel bolts
and if needed he would replace them with new. The boat was maybe 10 years old when bought and owned her for around 15 years and during that time he replaced all the bolts at least once. By the time he got around to replacing all the originals (maybe 10 on a 27 Foot boat - I forget) some of them were badly wasted away in the middle even though they looked ok on the surface and 1 or 2 he was lucky to get out in one piece. I should mention that this was not a leaky old wooden boat, in fact he was often ribbed that whilst some people were concerned (or not!) about water in the bilge
he got upset with dust. He honestly would dust the bilges!....but I beleive that part of the reason for the deterioration in the keel bolts
was due to them passing through wood, which combined with a bit of seawater seepage (upwards!) created a reaction that "ate" the metal bolts.....so perhaps all other things being equal with an encapsulated keel and glassed over heads to the Keel Bolts not so much to worry about...........