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Old 13-04-2015, 11:44   #16
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

Most of our sailing is coastal on the West side of Florida. I carry a 406MHz epirb and a Winslow 4 person offshore life raft in a valise. On trips to the Dry Tortugas I might be out as far as 110 miles. Not too many boats out there. The Winslow was around $3k but only needs to be recertified every 3 yrs instead of annually. A much larger consideration (pun intended) was we were replacing a Givens 6 person offshore life raft that seriously needed to be recertified. Not only that but the bugger weighed so much it would be difficult for old codgers like us to launch. The newer Winslow I can lift with one hand and my wife can lift it easily with two hands.

Like any insurance policy, I never expect to use it but doo doo does happen. Youse pays your money and takes your choice. Hopefully it will keep us around until the CG gets around to checking out our epirb.

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Old 13-04-2015, 11:45   #17
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

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Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
Sorry, but I have to ask: How much sailing experience have you had?
I'm new-ish to sailing. I've Windsurfed for 5 years, sailed 16-20feet boats in my younger years. But only have around 3 full weeks of cruising around in a 28' sailboat.

I will be cruising in mostly Danish waters. If you are not familiar with these, then they are always full of other cruisers during the summer, so in that sense, you are rarely 'all by yourself' for more than a few miles out there. (depending on time/season)
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Old 13-04-2015, 11:47   #18
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

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I'm curious why you are looking at an Albin Vega if you don't intend to go more than a few miles off shore?


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The price is right, and for that it's a seaworthy little thing. Will be my first boat, I'm still young, no millionaire. So will mostly be used for daysailing - occasional weekends out, very rarely out for more than 3+ days. Perhaps a 2 week holiday in the summer sailing up the coast of sweden.
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Old 13-04-2015, 11:51   #19
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Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

Let's look at the ways you can loose the mother-ship:

A. Fast leak 1-2 min
B. Medium leak 10min
C. Slow leak. 60min
D. Fire 2-5min
E. Explosion
F. Collision
G. Grounding

Let's consider an inflatable life raft vs a hard dinghy as the options.

In A& D you need a very fast response and a self-inflating liferaft is the quickest response.

With B and C you have more time to get off the boat so other issues like seastate and expected time until rescue come into play.

With E everything is up in the air, will the mothership even be afloat immediately after? Which is more likely so survive the initial explosion? Which is more likely to be usable if damaged somewhat? Did the EPIRB or any other electronics survive? Without electronics if you are in a raft you are dependent on somebody chancing by and being interested enough to investigate.

With F any collision with a significantly larger vessel seems likely to lead to a faster sinking but the other vessel is not likely to be sinking and will be at hand to rescue you. Colliding with a similar sized vessel is likely to lead to a slower sinking giving you time for a longer departure similar to B or C.

With G you should be able to swim ashore unless you ground on an isolated rock or below cliffs. For an isolated rock you will probably have time
For an organized departure in reasonable weather. Under cliffs the dinghy is obviously preferable since you may be able to row, sail or motor away from the rocks/cliffs whereas a lift raft is pretty much guaranteed to be pushed into the rocks/cliff by the wind and/or surf.






Weather may be a cause or contributing factor in some of these and will affect how desirable a raft is compared to a dinghy.

I accidentally hit reply. Before I was done. I'll add more later.
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Old 13-04-2015, 11:54   #20
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

Where are you sailing? The question can't be answered without that.

I cruised for decades in SW Florida without a liferaft. Rarely more than 10 miles offshore, warm water, never out in really bad weather, DSC radio and rescue services nearby -- I felt safe without it. You can survive for along time even if you end up in the water, and in calm weather, the dinghy is a decent refuge. I could even swim a few miles in such nice warm water, in calm weather.

Would I do it in the English Channel or North Sea? Not on a bet! Cold water and very strong weather mean you'll quickly die in the water, and your dinghy is unlikely to remain uncapsized. This despite the amazing rescue services which would often be expected to have a helicopter overhead in a matter of minutes. For me, a liferaft is essential up here.
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Old 13-04-2015, 12:13   #21
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

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Originally Posted by Nicks View Post
The price is right, and for that it's a seaworthy little thing. Will be my first boat, I'm still young, no millionaire. So will mostly be used for daysailing - occasional weekends out, very rarely out for more than 3+ days. Perhaps a 2 week holiday in the summer sailing up the coast of sweden.
I didn't realise you were in Denmark, the choice of boats makes more sense to me now. I have never sailed in that region, although I think a dinghy is a reasonable substitute for a raft, I think you may be a little bit unrealistic assuming you will be sailing a so close to shore. It's really a PITA staying that close to shore in anything bigger than a day sailor.

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Old 13-04-2015, 12:39   #22
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

Looking at it from another perspective, a life raft will probably the last piece of safety equipment I will buy, the others I think take priority.
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Old 13-04-2015, 14:00   #23
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

I'm feeling quite the opposite of the majority here. I would never get on a liferaft on remote waters at high latitudes. Instead of dying in a few minutes it would take several hours or even days at worst. No way to stay warm on a wet plastic.
If there's time to call for help there's time to deploy the dinghy which is much better option, you can allways row to stay warm. Anyway you need a dinghy anyway so better get a good seaworthy one..
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Old 13-04-2015, 14:15   #24
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

OP--thank you for clarifying that.

Relying on someone else to save you and your crew is what is wrong with the "there'll always be someone around close by" approach to survival at sea. Not that you must have a raft, but that you always need a plan-B. In your cruising area hypothermia is a high risk, if your boat suddenly goes down, as unlikely as that may seem. Depending on weather, time of day, sea state, condition of signaling device, ability to describe your location, .... , you could be dead long before you are found and rescued.

So, if you have no raft, you should at least have a dinghy or survival suit, for example. A ditch bag handy to grab before abandoning your boat. An EPIRB, etc.

But a plan for you to save yourself and your crew.
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Old 13-04-2015, 14:33   #25
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

Seriously, Danish waters means cold water. That changes things. You don't want to go into the water in any emergency. Even dealing with a major leak you will be up to your ass in cold water very quickly.

We've cruised along the east coast of the USA for years towing a good inflatable dinghy and no life raft. Now on the Pacific coast we have a life raft we hope will be a waste of money and never be used. However, what if we were ever to need a life raft and didn't have one and I put my wife and/or grandkids in that situation?


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Old 13-04-2015, 15:11   #26
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

Quote:
Let's look at the ways you can loose the mother-ship:

A. Fast leak 1-2 min
B. Medium leak 10min
C. Slow leak. 60min
D. Fire 2-5min
E. Explosion
F. Collision
G. Grounding
What if the OP is sailing a Cat? Maybe there already is a thread about life rafts and cats....if so, my apologies.

Change anything with A thru C?
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Old 13-04-2015, 16:55   #27
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

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What if the OP is sailing a Cat? Maybe there already is a thread about life rafts and cats....if so, my apologies.

Change anything with A thru C?
The OP is or will sail a Vega as previously indicated.

Multi-hulls are a bird of a different feather.

For A-C the times are all likely to go up drastically, especially newer ones with crash bulkheads that may make them unsinkable depending on the nature of the distress.

Even fire is likely to take longer to fully engulf the vessel so the need for superfast deployment decreases there too.

So time becomes less of an problem on a multi and the the issue becomes more the circumstances at departure:
-What is the sea state when the ship is abandoned?
-Were you able to send distress messages?
-What is the likely time until arrival of rescue if you were able to send them?
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Old 13-04-2015, 20:44   #28
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

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Originally Posted by Adelie View Post
The OP is or will sail a Vega as previously indicated.

Multi-hulls are a bird of a different feather.

For A-C the times are all likely to go up drastically, especially newer ones with crash bulkheads that may make them unsinkable depending on the nature of the distress.

Even fire is likely to take longer to fully engulf the vessel so the need for superfast deployment decreases there too.

So time becomes less of an problem on a multi and the the issue becomes more the circumstances at departure:
-What is the sea state when the ship is abandoned?
-Were you able to send distress messages?
-What is the likely time until arrival of rescue if you were able to send them?
Dang! Was hoping my hypothetical question would have generated some responses as to why Cats don't need no stinkin' life-rafts. Without there being any kind of obvious thread hijack of course.
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Old 13-04-2015, 22:32   #29
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

Nicks

I'm also in Denmark. You cannot rely on others being nearby. Even in summer hypothermia will start to set in after only a few minutes.

A good dinghy that can be launched quickly would be ok for cruising coastal denmark, but soooner or later you'll want to go to Rugen or Bornholm or further.

I have a raft and have always had one - sure they cost money, but what is the cost of your life? Or the lives of girlfriends/guests you will have on board.
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Old 13-04-2015, 22:46   #30
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Re: Importance of Life-raft when coastal cruising?

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Nicks

I'm also in Denmark. You cannot rely on others being nearby. Even in summer hypothermia will start to set in after only a few minutes.

A good dinghy that can be launched quickly would be ok for cruising coastal denmark, but soooner or later you'll want to go to Rugen or Bornholm or further.

I have a raft and have always had one - sure they cost money, but what is the cost of your life? Or the lives of girlfriends/guests you will have on board.
This kind of advice is likely the most useful for you.

Remember that on C.F. you are talking to a very wide range of cruisers. People that sail in the same waters as you will have more relevant information.

My advice is based on what works for me in the Great Lakes and Gulf of St Lawrence, other guys may be in Florida or the Carribean where you might be able to survive in the water for an hour or more.

Car sails in your waters I would weigh his advice more heavily than the advice given from people half way around the world (like myself).

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