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Old 26-10-2016, 15:45   #31
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Re: Do I Need A Life Raft

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
When is a liferaft desirable?
1. Fire.
2. Boat sinking too fast to save it.

However, unless they've improved, they are not reliable (as in fail to inflate when you need it), they are expensive to buy and maintain. They vary considerably in quality, one from the other. And, if you have to abandon in heavy seas, it may just roll over and toss you out into the cold, cold water, especially true of unballasted ones, but also, they are very cramped, so people often buy the next size up, but then the raft is more comfortable but more unstable, too, because it is designed with more human ballast in mind...

Not the happiest picture.

Do you need a liferaft? You'll have to decide for yourself, unless you're going to be racing, in which case the race rules will state what you have to have. Some guys rent them for races. I would imagine, if you rent one, and it makes you feel more comfortable, you might want to have one, and if not, not. Also, if you will be sailing with others, that could affect your choice, as well. It's one thing to decide to dispense with one altogether for yourself, and another, entirely, when your choice will affect others. You'd need to be up front that they were taking the same chances as you. To me, they offer an illusion of safety, that can lead to not trying to keep your own boat afloat.

Now, watch this opinion get pounced on--it is not the way most people look at it.

Ann
Several years ago there was a CF poll on this (Liferaft: Yes or No). The results were exactly 2:1 in favor of having one. While this is a super-majority, it is not a concensus which to me would be 9:1 or better.

I am working to give my boat positive floatation so I am in the "No" camp for this boat. On a bigger boat where I couldn't get to positve floatation, I would probably still answer "No", but the Admiral might trump that for a long passage. If I could get the larger boat to positive floatation thru the use of water-tight bulkheads and foam then I would argue with her a lot more about it.

If you can't store a raft on deck using a method that truely protects it (hard cannister) then the situations for which it is a better option than the dinghy are negated.
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Old 26-10-2016, 15:52   #32
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Re: Do I Need A Life Raft

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Originally Posted by Horus View Post
As long as your boat is not sinking or on fire, you can leave the life raft in the shop.
Please read "Fastnet force 10" about the Fastnet Race; in what year was it 1977 or 78?
1979.
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Old 26-10-2016, 16:13   #33
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Re: Do I Need A Life Raft

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.. . Just remember Helicopters cannot operate in severe weather. .
What makes you think that?

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Old 26-10-2016, 16:26   #34
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Old 26-10-2016, 16:37   #35
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Re: Do I Need A Life Raft

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Originally Posted by Cottontop View Post
If you're a long way offshore, your chances in a life raft are not great.

If you're in the water, you have no chance at all.
No great but at least you have a chance.

This guy lived in his Avon 6 man life raft for 76 days and "sailed" it 3/4 the way across the Atlantic

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeands...lantic-76-days

the book:

https://www.amazon.com/Adrift-Sevent.../dp/0618257322
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Old 26-10-2016, 16:44   #36
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Re: Do I Need A Life Raft

I read "Adrift" years ago. Good read. Dude is way lucky to be alive.

For costal crusing, I'd rather have a radar than a liferaft.
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Old 26-10-2016, 16:47   #37
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Re: Do I Need A Life Raft

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Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
No great but at least you have a chance.

This guy lived in his Avon 6 man life raft for 76 days and "sailed" it 3/4 the way across the Atlantic

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeands...lantic-76-days

the book:

https://www.amazon.com/Adrift-Sevent.../dp/0618257322
You missed his point!

He meant that however poor it is, being in a liferaft, and even if your chances of surviving were poor (they are not by the way), it would still be a hell of a lot better than being in the water where you're sure to die.

He was making a rhetorical point, and in my opinion made it well


For the record, IF you manage to get it inflated without it blowing away as happened to several in the Fastnet disaster, AND you manage to get into it, your chances of surviving are actually very good. ESPECIALLY if you have decent signalling -- EPIRB, PLB, handheld VHF, flares.

I would consider myself to be home free in my waters (Channel, Biscay, North Sea, Baltic) if my boat (God forbid!) sank or burned, and I managed to get into my inflated raft with my grab bag. I am supplied to survive a couple of days in the raft, but with redundant means of signalling there is just no way it could take more than overnight to get rescued, in these waters.

On top of the higher tech signalling gear, I keep a whole mess of rocket flares both in the raft and in the grab bag -- VERY effective in these waters crowded with shipping. It may be different in other places, but around here the sighting of a red rocket flare provokes a HUGE SAR response.

Obviously further offshore will be different, but other than the remotest places like the Southern Ocean and Arctic, not all that much. You just get picked up by a ship rather than a chopper or Lifeboat.
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Old 26-10-2016, 18:51   #38
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Re: Do I Need A Life Raft

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Originally Posted by Cottontop View Post
If you're a long way offshore, your chances in a life raft are not great.

If you're in the water, you have no chance at all.
One guy tread water for 29hr in the Caribbean before being picked up by a random passing vessel.
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Old 26-10-2016, 19:17   #39
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Re: Do I Need A Life Raft

It really comes down to your tolerance for risk. The overall probability of needing a liferaft when voyaging offshore are probably less than being struck by lightning during your lifetime, but if you ever need it, it's the difference between a chance at survival and no chance at all. I never go more than 100-200 miles offshore without one.

As an aside. I've had to take a two day Safety at Sea seminar every couple of years for the offshore racing I do. The second day of it includes in the water training, in the Naval Academy pool, and it's amazing how difficult it is to get into a liferaft in a completely calm pool. I can't even imagine what it would be like in even a moderate sea. But I'd rather have one to try and get into than none at all.
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Old 26-10-2016, 19:21   #40
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Re: Do I Need A Life Raft

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
You missed his point!

He meant that however poor it is, being in a liferaft, and even if your chances of surviving were poor (they are not by the way), it would still be a hell of a lot better than being in the water where you're sure to die.

He was making a rhetorical point, and in my opinion made it well. . . .
He may have made his point well, but he did not make it clearly. I didn't get it either.

Perhaps it's because he is wrong that being in the water is 100% fatal, it's no. Though I will concede that the odds are a lot worse than being in a raft.

More likely it is because he presents the potential outcomes as an either/or binary result (liferaft or swimming), when really the range of potential responses is larger. There are at least 2 more distinct responses I can think of.

1] Abandon ship into the dinghy. Is this going to be as stable as a raft in heavy seas? No. Which would you rather be in 1000nm from shore 4 days after the sinking? Dinghy, any day of the week. The dinghy will have a massive durability advantage over a raft, and by day 4 the EPIRB will be long out of juice and you will probably have drifted so far away from your last reported location that being found will be just blind luck. Prior preparation can significantly reduce the relative advantages rafts have over dinghys.

In the further reaches of the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic rescue is days or a week away. In such a case a dinghy would generally be a better bet. It all depends on the specifics of the dinghy, the raft, the weather, the sea state, distance to land, the reason the mother ship is lost. In some cases the dinghy would be better. In others a raft.

2] Gumby suit with PLB or EPRIB.
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Old 26-10-2016, 19:21   #41
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Re: Do I Need A Life Raft

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Do you all carry a PLB?
I single hand a lot and yes, I always have my PLB clipped to me when the boat is moving. Habit at this point.
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Old 26-10-2016, 19:24   #42
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Re: Do I Need A Life Raft

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It really comes down to your tolerance for risk. The overall probability of needing a liferaft when voyaging offshore are probably less than being struck by lightning during your lifetime, but if you ever need it, it's the difference between a chance at survival and no chance at all. . . .
Unwarrented binary choice, liferaft or die.
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Old 26-10-2016, 20:10   #43
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Re: Do I Need A Life Raft

Steve Callahan (I Shouldn't Be Alive) has been working on a hard lifeboat for several years. Not sure where it is in development. He has been trying to use his experience to develop a better liferaft. Several issues involved in his self rescue were the comfort level on the inflatable (horrible), the durability of the inflatable (poor) and the ability to steer/navigate the vessel (zero).

His example is a foldable unit that can be rowed and sailed. I don't see anything for sale yet - I would be very intrigued.

We looked at the Portland Pudgy as an alternative. It is a hard lifeboat. It can also be used as the vessel tender. It can be rowed, motored and sailed. Much gear can be stowed in the hollow space between the outer and inner hull. One can also purchase a canopy for protection from the elements. About as expensive as as a fully equipped liferaft. Ultimately we rejected it - a perfectly useful dinghy but quite small inside. Not suitable as a tender. Can't carry much more than 2 people and a ditch bag. We would do as well with a larger hard dinghy.

But, how does one store/deploy a liferaft? Or the PP, for that matter? If the PP is stored on deck on chocks it can be released and the crew can "step up" as it were. But, then, can't one do that with a hard dinghy stowed similarly?

Given the state of modern communications it is possible - if one is able to survive the sinking and actually board the liferaft - that rescue would occur fairly quickly if one is able to contact authorities using an EPIRB, sat phone or, DeLorme InReach device. A large "offshore" liferaft may not be necessary.

We have a 11.5' hard dinghy. It will be mounted on the housetop, upright. I think I will also purchase a small inflatable for use if the hard dinghy can't be used. Making sure a properly equipped ditch bag is brought on board to enhance our likelihood of rescue is essential.
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Old 26-10-2016, 22:25   #44
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Re: Do I Need A Life Raft

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Steve Callahan (I Shouldn't Be Alive) has been working on a hard lifeboat for several years. . . .
Actually he's been working on the lifeboat for several decades.
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Old 26-10-2016, 22:40   #45
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Re: Do I Need A Life Raft

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Actually he's been working on the lifeboat for several decades.

I won't be waiting for it - no matter how intriguing it may be.
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