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Old 30-05-2015, 16:11   #76
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

Excellent points - we don't know how we will react in the crisis, nor can we reasonably expect the crisis to play out as we expected it to from all the scenarios we've envisioned. When to launch the raft is one of the decisions I hope I never have to make because it is an easy one to screw up.

Cheeky Rafiki is a good example - things happen fast and you can't always make the right decision in time. I am guessing they had a valise style life raft and not an automatically deploying canister? My last boat was a 40.7 and from my recollection the life raft spot was under the seat, there was not really a practical spot for a hydrostatic canister so it was either under the seat or down below somewhere. I'm not a fan of valise style rafts - they can easily get trapped with the boat and won't deploy if the vessel sinks out from under you in a hurry and they can be bulky and awkward to handle. But not every boat has a nice pad built in on a clear spot in the deck to attach a cradle, though even that can get fouled up if the boat is inverted.

I absolutely agree with you there are oft overlooked areas of basic safety that would provide far more safety than bolting on a life raft. That was one of my objections to the preparation of Sedona - they bought lots of "find me" gear without doing some basic structural integrity work the boat probably needed. Though I think that was an extreme case of being ill prepared, a lot of basic stuff gets overlooked even by careful cruisers; I am certainly no exception to that rule.

I am intrigued by the IR scan of the electrical system and would love to hear more about it, this is something I've not heard about doing.

Being fit and agile is probably my most overlooked safety precaution as I am neither.

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
There is some value in that thought, in that it might prevent you from abandoning when you in fact should not.

BUT, if you study incident reports and are on incident investigation panels (as I have been) you quickly realize it is a much more difficult and complicated decision (when to launch a raft) than that.

Just for two examples - both Cheeki Rafiki and the Bounty were too late in using their rafts with fatal consequences. Cheeki only had "a little water in the boat" right up until the keel came off and it flipped and they could no longer get to the raft. Bounty was slowly sinking upright, right up until the free surface effect caused her to suddenly capsize trapping two crew underwater in the rig.

Both these situations would have been better handled with getting in the rafts much earlier. BUT of course that increases the general risk that you get in too early (when typically the boat is a safer place than the raft).

This topic - when and how to actually use a raft - is rather overlooked and under discussed. In some cases it's obvious, but in many others it is not.

On the broader topic, I would simply encourage people to be sure they have first addressed the higher frequency preventable risks - just for instance . . . Re fires (much more common that abandon ships) have you installed an auto fire extinguisher in the engine room, do you get an IR scan of your electrical system once a year (and check shore power plugs whenever someplace new), do you have fire extinuishers in service and located near (but not too near) every fire hazard (stove, electrical system, engine, heater, etc), do you check your propane system for gas leaks and possible sparks every 6 months . . . . Etc

Slipping and falling is probably your single most likely hazard (according to Beth's insurance claims data). How fit are you, how agile are you - probably a fitness/wellness routine is the single most beneficial thing one can do to reduce (All sorts of) risks.
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Old 30-05-2015, 19:53   #77
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

^^ it's a bit off topic . . . So, just briefly, several insurance companies require electrical IR scans as part of the survey when they insure super yachts. It obviously looks for hotspots, which are usually trouble (dirty connection, overloaded wires, etc). And they found that it meaningfully reduced later claims. It used to require relatively expensive equipment, but no longer does, and is a pretty simple preventive check up. Checking for voltage drops can find most, but not all the same problems, but the IR scan is faster and will show you things you might have overlooked to check for voltage drop.

While you are at it, you can also look at mechanical systems (like the windless or engine) for hot spots . . . . But you would need to know enough to know where they in fact should be hot.

How useful it would be to a cruising boat (rather than a super yacht) would I suppose depend on the system complexity, load, and state of maintenance.
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Old 30-05-2015, 20:47   #78
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
^^ it's a bit off topic . . .

How useful it would be to a cruising boat (rather than a super yacht) would I suppose depend on the system complexity, load, and state of maintenance.

Given how inexpensive the equipment is, everyone should have an IR gun. Might not need that liferaft.
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Old 30-05-2015, 20:54   #79
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

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Given how inexpensive the equipment is, everyone should have an IR gun. Might not need that liferaft.
I've got one, I'm trying to think how to do this with an IR gun without ripping the boat apart. An IR photo or image sensor would be way more expensive, but of course more effective.

The little IR gun is an awesome shipboard tool, from engine to fridge it is handy. I've even been known to use it when cooking...
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Old 30-05-2015, 21:07   #80
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

We bought a Viking 4 person at the boat show. Nice boat show discount: less than $2k. REMEMBER the weather may be terrible when you need a lift raft. Relying on a dingy is not something I would want to do. AND relying on a quick rescue is certainly a gamble. It it is your life. The ultimate yachting liferaft - VIKING-LIFE

Cheers Mike
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Old 31-05-2015, 05:49   #81
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

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I've got one, I'm trying to think how to do this with an IR gun without ripping the boat apart. An IR photo or image sensor would be way more expensive, but of course more effective.

The little IR gun is an awesome shipboard tool, from engine to fridge it is handy. I've even been known to use it when cooking...
Yea, the application I was talking about was an IR image sensor/photo - you can rent them if you don't want to buy.

The IR guns are useful, particularly if you have something specific you want to look at, but harder to use to "scan". I use mine to get the water temp right for my coffee

Back a bit more to topic . . . . My personal thought/priorities have always been #1 to focus on prevention - a well found boat and a competent and fit crew,
#2 to try to assess/evaluate the real practical value of all alternative and not accept any as "sacred cows", and
#3 my personal evaluation of the real world actual experiences with both rafts and PDFs is that both are pretty disappointing in actual use/performance. They are nowhere near 100% life savers - the best analyses I have seen suggest both might actually increase your chances of survival by (only) single digit percent. That brings me back to #1, and going further than most to maximize prevention and minimize the risk of mob and sinking/fire.
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Old 31-05-2015, 15:17   #82
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

Portland Pudgy Cheap, no inspections if yo can live with 8' 125 lb dink /life raft for about $5K Total russ
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Old 31-05-2015, 15:48   #83
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

I like the idea of the Portland pudgy, because it is dual purpose and clear up my deck for other things, like stuff I find on the beach.
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Old 02-06-2015, 04:33   #84
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

Has anyone used the 'liferaft' aspect of the Portland Pudgy in anger? Not bobbing about in Casco Bay but out at sea in big waves and breeze over an extended period?

If you are headed for the West Indies, get a liferaft that can be serviced in the French islands, It will be a lot cheaper than the USA.
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Old 02-06-2015, 04:49   #85
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

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Has anyone used the 'liferaft' aspect of the Portland Pudgy in anger? Not bobbing about in Casco Bay but out at sea in big waves and breeze over an extended period?

If you are headed for the West Indies, get a liferaft that can be serviced in the French islands, It will be a lot cheaper than the USA.
I recall David Hulbert (Pres & designer of the Pudgy) talking about how someone had saved their life in the boat, but I don't recall the specifics - I think it was in a conversation or e-mail but I don't recall what the story was.

Best thing to do is e-mail them and ask.
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Old 02-06-2015, 08:07   #86
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

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You don't say what kind of boat you will be using. You could consider getting a cat or a tri - they have the added virtue of not being able to sink, and therefore make the best rescue and survival platform around, even if the unlikely happens and they are inverted. Some paint whatever portions of the undersides bright rescue orange or yellow for rescue visibility. But at least they will not sink like a mono. Many multihullers will not spend a load of money on a life-raft, cos they are already in one. In this case, get the survival suits. Best wishes, RR.
Interesting thought except that I believe the most common reason for abandon ship is fire. Also it is not uncommon to hear of boats being recovered afloat after being abandoned in bad weather. Sinking seems to be an uncommon reason for abandonment.
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Old 02-06-2015, 17:21   #87
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

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Like anything else in the world, it's a calculated risk. Will you have the time to get a life raft out and deploy it? (e.g. the Cheeki Rafkki (sp?)) will you be able to physcally deploy and board it in a heavy storm?

If you are dead set against a life raft, you might want to have a plan to use your dingy in an emergency. The Portland Pudgy is, with the right options, designed for this. Though it too is about 6k without a sail.
price is in the 2500. range
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Old 02-06-2015, 19:43   #88
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

I don't like the lack of rudundant safety f running a single screw with no kicker in inland waters, can't imagine going blue water without at least a dinghy equipped for a worst case but I surely would rather have a raft instead or as well.
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Old 02-06-2015, 20:09   #89
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

Pudgy is 2695 for boat, 1975 for canopy, 346 for sea anchor - over 5000 USD.


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Old 02-06-2015, 21:32   #90
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Re: Does A Liferaft Still Make Sense? (or Cents?)

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price is in the 2500. range
But, as everyone points out that the key feature of the pudgy as a lifeboat is the ability to add the sail kit, one should include the price of the:

1. Boat
2. Sail kit
3. Canopy
4. Sea anchor

When those four items are totaled the amount is approximately $6,400.

Why have a sea anchor?
Well, every SOLAS liferaft I have seen has one. Also, the Pudgy needs one to reduce risk of capsize of the Pudgy in seas.
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