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Old 31-05-2012, 01:00   #16
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Originally Posted by cat man do

Did you see the price?
Cost of a decent hard dinghy and 3 or 4 dedicated liferafts
Ha, ha...

In dream state one doesn't click prices - LOL

Now, I am suppsed to get on a rant and admonish you about there being no price too high for safety, blah, blah, blah...

I do like starting with a virtually indestructible and unsinkable hull but maube it is back to making one... A dilemna for another day...
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Old 31-05-2012, 01:25   #17
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Re: A dingy as a lifeboat/life raft

It seems to me that liferafts tend to be a big disappointment to people who spend any length of time in them. Some people go so far as to describe them as a 'snare and a delusion'.

They were invented for instant deployment and in the expectation of quick rescue, for downed aircrews in the English Channel in wartime.

The design brief envisaged that these liferafts would be deployed in the sorts of weather combat missions were generally flown in, rather different from the sorts of conditions which well-found boats often to need to be abandoned in.

The designs have been tinkered with since, but it strikes me it's a bit like the history of the cassette tape: having been invented for a dictation machine, it was never able to make the transition to a truly satisfactory hi-fi audio format.

Liferafts generally don't handle survival storm conditions well, because of the compromises involved in compact stowage and automatic deployment, and for similar reasons the material is not durable with respect to chafe and UV resistance for the extended rescue times which might be encountered off the beaten track.

And they're rough on their occupants. If you're planning on relying on a liferaft, at least take some blow-up cushions or mini-beanbags or something to keep your nether regions out of the bilgewater - the novelty of 'automatic bum-sumps' wears off even quicker than your skin - and that's before the saltwater boils kick in.

Furthermore their handling idiosyncracies and disappointments (and even the contents of the 'survival' packs) are generally a surprise to those occupants, because who has sea time in a liferaft?

Tinker used to offer self-inflation kits and inflatable canopies for their excellent (and durable and versatile) Traveller and Tramp folding rigid-bottomed inflatable dinghies. From time to time the idea seems to resurface.

It seems to me that an excellent modern alternative to a sailing rig for self rescue would be a kite, as used by kiteboarders, but with the emphasis on simplicity and durability (and bright hi-vis colours). A centreboard and rudder would still be needed - the Tinkers (among others) offer these.

I don't personally see much merit in a motor for any sort of self-rescue, but under certain circumstances I guess it might be beneficial. Oars and rowlocks, certainly (you don't want nature to dictate the exact location of your landfall)

Clearly, if your idea of an emergency strategy includes actively getting yourself to safety if the situation requires it, a liferaft is not a useful option.
I wouldn't presume to tell anyone there's anything wrong with them relying on passive rescue, and in return would hope not to find myself snookered - by meddlesome regulations and inspections - out of reliance on active self-rescue.
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Old 31-05-2012, 01:41   #18
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Re: A dingy as a lifeboat/life raft

I think if you were close enough to shore, then if time permitted, hopping in the dinghy or rib and motoring to shore would be a better prospect than sitting waiting and hoping in a life raft, if the middle of an ocean. then the life raft would most likely be a better idea!
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Old 31-05-2012, 02:32   #19
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Re: A dingy as a lifeboat/life raft

Experiences I've heard of with life rafts include: blown off deck before needed; blown away when launched before get in (lines snapped from wind/wave); not inflated at all; inflated then ripped somehow, partially inflated and inflated & been borded as intended, but constantly flipped in waves.

Spent some time in an older version doing a safety & sea survival course a while ago, and it was pretty unstable (didn't have the stability pouches modern ones have).

Its been a while since I read Lin & Larey Pardey or others on the subject, but I think their premise is that a dinghy can be set up to have all the pluses of a liferaft (easy release from deck, ditch bag w/ water/medical/epirb stored inside, cover to keep waterproof) but also have the added bonus of being sailable/rowable rather than simply passive.

I lean towards the Pardey thinking: have a dinghy you know is in good knick (cause you use it everyday) and is set up as a liferaft on passage rather than rely on a box which is supposed to open and then supposed to inflate but, in reality, may or may not work when needed if it wasn't packed properly after the last inspection you had done etc.

I fully support doubling up if you can, but the reality is you'll have to use one or the other and won't be able to keep both together if you're in a blow.

I'm not so sure about questioning someone's approach to their safety when a) they're obviously trying to think through and get advice on the right thing to do and b) your answer is to buy a used liferaft off ebay. Yeah, that's sure to be safe!
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Old 31-05-2012, 02:36   #20
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Re: A dingy as a lifeboat/life raft

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Originally Posted by simonmd View Post
I find your attitude to your own life surprising. A half decent liferaft can be had for 400, why not have both?
.
"Half-decent" liferaft - does that mean it works half the time?
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Old 31-05-2012, 02:39   #21
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A used life raft off eBay, sounds like a death wish if you ever need it.
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Old 31-05-2012, 04:11   #22
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Re: A Dingy as a Lifeboat/Life Raft

ok here goes,the fishermans saftey act of 1988 was established because too many guys were not coming home!!the major items required are epirb,liferaft &survival suits.you kids play on the beach !!as a commercil fisherman i have logged 20000 miles offshore in all weather.when mother ocean gets rough its hard to do anything but hold on much less launch a dinghy.i now sail have logged 3300nm on current trip from maine to bahamas and now back in nyc heading north...i carry all saftey items,a good raft will stand up to long term carrying just treat it with care and have it inspected often[commercial gets inspected every year!!i know the guys that inspect my raft personaly they take no chances and every boat that goes down they try to find out who inspected the raft and did it open properly...the saftey equip has great moral value for crew when waves get higher than the spreaders..this rant is dedicated to daron and butchy and all guys that didnt come home
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Old 31-05-2012, 04:47   #23
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Re: A dingy as a lifeboat/life raft

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Originally Posted by POH View Post
"Half-decent" liferaft - does that mean it works half the time?
only if it is a normal liferaft
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Old 31-05-2012, 04:52   #24
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Re: A dingy as a lifeboat/life raft

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Originally Posted by maxingout View Post
(...) A life raft is better offshore. Self-rescue is unlikely on a twenty-one day sail to French Polynesia.
One Bligh might disagree ...;-))))

Alas, I think your attitude is sound: offshore: have both.

When situation so dictates - transfer the raft to the dinghy and try to get to the next shore, should the dink fail, fire up the raft and press buttons. (If we fire up the raft first, we lose the chance to use the dinghy as a sailing rescue craft).

Good plan in some cases. Belt and braces.

b.
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Old 31-05-2012, 05:55   #25
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Re: A Dingy as a Lifeboat/Life Raft

I am very much with an unsinkable hard dink. A raft is a poor quality inflatable that relies on the servicing team not making mistakes with the inflating system and in any event cannot be serviced in remote areas. A panic bag with well thought out contents, collapseable spars,sails, dayglo awning etc lashed inside would be my choice. Consider an optimist dinghy elongated to the max that will fit on the foredeck.
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Old 31-05-2012, 06:25   #26
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Re: A Dingy as a Lifeboat/Life Raft

I'm with the belt and suspenders crowd--get both. What I would REALLY like to have are reasonably priced inflatable bags that would lay flat under the settees and berths. In an emergency you pull the cord, they inflate, and voila! Your boat now has positive inflation and--while it may not sail well or be too comfortable for living--it will not sink.

I've seen such devices, but for some reason the price is just ridiculously high. As in, you could buy 3-4 liferafts for the same price, and just inflate them inside the boat.

(Oh yeah, even with the inflatable bags inside the boat, I would still have a liferaft and a well equipped dinghy ready to go--I like belt and suspenders, even when my pants will stay up by themselves!)
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Old 31-05-2012, 06:38   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cat man do

What he said^^

A fair dinkum cruisers dinghy gets used as a taxi, a truck, a fishing platform, a garbage scow, an exploration vehicle and a waterborn toy.

In other words, it gets used and abused

I would prefer if the day arose to step up into something that is purpose built for survival, squeeky clean and new.
I see this in exactly the opposite light......

Using your dinghy day in and day out, you know that it is in good working order. It may not be shiny and new but if it is well maintained you know for sure you can count on it. It is a known quantity. It can be fit out to carry any necessary gear. And it can maneuver .......... It can do more than just drift, especially if it is fitted with a sailing rig.

A life raft may not have seen the light of day for years. Who packed it? Was it done properly? Will it inflate as advertised? How stable will it be? Can I maneuver or cover any ground with it? If the unfortunate moment comes........ All of these questions become fairly important.

I am in the camp of having both on board. As an abandon ship strategy it may be wise to focus on a good reliable dinghy and have a small life raft as a back up......... If only to address some the questions above.

Just a thought...........
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Old 31-05-2012, 07:27   #28
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Re: A Dingy as a Lifeboat/Life Raft

The problem with these debates are that they are fought based on an irrational dichotomy. The issue is not whether to have a liferaft or not, it's not black or white, right or wrong. The real task that faces us all is fundamentally a risk assessment.

The "right" answer will be based on a number of factors that would include (but are not limited to): cruising ground, skill of crew, vessel type, available resources (money), efficacy of available disaster tools, and a rational understanding of the odds of a catastrophic event.

Those who bang the table and demand that "my way is the only way!", should take a breathe and try thinking sensibly about the question. If resources are infinite, then it makes sense to have every available tool to address every possible situation. But since that's impossible, we must try to rationally address risk. For some, that may mean a standard liferaft. For others, a dingy will be the best answer.
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Old 31-05-2012, 07:46   #29
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Not sure that anyone is banging the table. The OP was simply a question as to whether a dinghy could be useful and serve as a life raft.......
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Old 31-05-2012, 08:11   #30
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Re: A Dingy as a Lifeboat/Life Raft

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Originally Posted by w32honu View Post
Not sure that anyone is banging the table. The OP was simply a question as to whether a dinghy could be useful and serve as a life raft.......
I agree, Honu, and I wish people would limit their comments to sharing their experiences or opinions without the need to put other people down. A few insist on saying stuff like this (and I could quote a few more if you like):

Quote:
Originally Posted by simonmd View Post
My own opinion is that if youre planning on doing any kind of decent sailing and cant afford to get a liferaft, then you cant afford to go sailing, period.
However, the point I'm trying to make (without banging my table ). is that it's a false question. The issue is not dingy vs life raft. It depends on a lot of factors. It's like asking what boat should I buy, whether to carry insurance, or what is the best anchor. It depends ... and there is no one "right" answer.
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