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View Poll Results: do you plan to have a liferaft on your boat when heading out to cruise?
yes 180 64.98%
no 97 35.02%
Voters: 277. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 26-10-2011, 09:44   #256
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No ?

AS this thread was just about preferred form of survival floatation method, that is only a small part of the whole survival system. The supplies that come in a life raft are meager at best, the food, medical and batteries supplied with a raft don't hold up to the elements (heat, cold and time) very well anyway.
So people need to put together their own customized "ditch bag", not buy one that is allready made up or use a list from a book as a shopping list. You need to ask around people who have either first hand and/or professional knowledge about every component...this will aquaint you with every part of the ditch bag and give you a working knowledge of every component and system (which is a practice that should be carried over to the whole boat). If for the sake of numbers the life raft and final cost of the ditch bag are the same with the life raft making up 50% of your survival package if you cannot afford both I would suggest with going with the ditch bag first (a poorly equipped life raft that does not provide an active alert of where you are and supplies could very well lead to a long painful death) if you can not afford to get it all at once you can build it up gradually a piece at a time. On of the advantages of a ditch bag is you can continue to add to it, improve it, up grade it and maintain/check it electronics need to be kept up: SAT phones need to be kept up on minutes, hand held SSB need a certain degree of training and all batteries need to be kept up (best if all use rechargeable AA w/solar charger).
People at the other end of the economic scale that those than can rush out and get everything at once probable navigate with a hand held GPS and/or no frills Davis plastic sextant....both important parts of a ditch bag.
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Old 26-10-2011, 09:50   #257
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mexdon View Post
For me I would never abandon my yacht if it were still floating but if it were a few hundred fathoms below the surface it would be nice to think that I may survive in my life raft or dinghy. It has worked for some, but perfect storm conditions are rare and can be the reason for exceptions.
It is recomended to only step UP into a life raft, abandon ship only if it abandons you.
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Old 26-10-2011, 09:54   #258
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No ?

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Originally Posted by wolfenzee View Post
It is recomended to only step UP into a life raft, abandon ship only if it abandons you.
Absolutely. Just think of the scene with Captain Jack Sparrow stepping off his sinking vessel.
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Old 26-10-2011, 10:08   #259
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No ?

In the movie "perfect storm" (based very closely on real events) that sailboat that was abandoned was a Westsail 32...it washed up on a beach in North Carolina and was salvaged, last thing I heard it was still sailing today.
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Old 26-10-2011, 10:35   #260
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
"No ma'am, I don't. I have grave doubts about the usefulness of life rafts on small sailboats. I once edited a book about a large storm off New Zealand that caused havoc among a fleet of yachts heading north, and the only deaths involved a family that took to their life raft. They were never seen again. All the yachts survived, even though some were abandoned when their crews were taken aboard rescue boats."

While I have strong sympathy with his argument and conclusion, I might note that his last sentence is in error. HE is correct that almost all the boats that were abandoned were later found floating just fine. But there was one boat that disappeared.

This crew (apparently) took to their life raft (remnants of the raft were later found) and subsequently disappeared, were on a boat called "quartermaster" and that one boat was never found and presumed sunk. So, this is a case where the boat did sink but the raft also did not save the crew.

The odds of surviving in a life raft or dinghy thru the peak of that Storm were pretty low. It was very severe with huge breaking waves.

The boat had the previous winter been dropped out of a travel lift in a NZ boat yard. Surveyors had said it was not structurally damaged, but there was always some suspicion after the boat was lost that the keel/hull join or keel bolts had been damaged in this dropping and that the keel had then come off in the storm sinking the boat.
During those harrowing days we were anchored in the Bay of Islands hovering over the SSB and trying to encourage our many friends who were struggling at sea. The folks on Quartermaster had seemed to be doing well and had been trying to help (via radio) the crew of the Mary-T who were taking on water through the cockpit lockers which drained into the bilge. They sounded confident and in charge... and then nothing.

We have always wondered what happened, but I agree with Evans that survival in a life raft would have been unlikely. I don't know if theirs was a hard shell or a valise model, but it is certainly possible that it was ripped off the deck and inadvertently inflated by a giant boarding wave... they may never have attempted to use it. We'll never know... RIP.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 26-10-2011, 11:12   #261
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No ?

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
During those harrowing days we were anchored in the Bay of Islands hovering over the SSB and trying to encourage our many friends who were struggling at sea.
We had left NZ early that season and were sailing above it in the tropics when it happened. Like you listening and praying. We did not have an SSB at the time, and it was a factor in our later decision to put one on (on Silk) because we wished we could have offered help and encouragement to those we knew struggling to survive.

We were still relatively new and inexperienced sailors at that point and had never (yet) personally experienced those sort of extreme conditions, and it was pretty sobering.
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Old 26-10-2011, 11:37   #262
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No ?

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
We had left NZ early that season and were sailing above it in the tropics when it happened. Like you listening and praying. We did not have an SSB at the time, and it was a factor in our later decision to put one on (on Silk) because we wished we could have offered help and encouragement to those we knew struggling to survive.

We were still relatively new and inexperienced sailors at that point and had never (yet) personally experienced those sort of extreme conditions, and it was pretty sobering.
G'Day Evans,

Sobering it was for those of us who hadn't been quite ready to leap on that "weather window" with the rally folks. I recall several groups sitting around in Opua discussing storm tactics (none of us with anything realistic to add) over the next week or so. Over the intervening years we have still not experienced such conditions and hope to be able to say that years hence! Our collective hats are off to those like you and Beth who have voluntarily visited and mastered them.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 26-10-2011, 12:28   #263
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No ?

The survey says:
2/3 plan to have rafts
1/3 plan not to have rafts

My not planning to have one doesn't make me the outcast I would have expected.

I wonder if the results would have been different 20 years ago before cruisers didn't have as good weather forecasting and related info etc.
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Old 26-10-2011, 13:03   #264
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Lucas View Post
The survey says:
2/3 plan to have rafts
1/3 plan not to have rafts

My not planning to have one doesn't make me the outcast I would have expected.

I wonder if the results would have been different 20 years ago before cruisers didn't have as good weather forecasting and related info etc.
Twenty years ago there was a different demographic that went cruising.
Also 20yr ago, liferafts were comparatively more expensive and probably not quite as well built to the benefit calculus would have been different.

As a guess I would say, percentage-wise more cruisers carry liferafts now than 20-30yr ago. Fourty years ago almost no one carried.
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Old 26-10-2011, 13:38   #265
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No ?

For those that are really worried, you can now have the best of both worlds: Ovatek 4 &7.

Ovatek Brochure

There is NO excuse for not carrying the very best, anything else is just playing Russian roulette with your life and the lives of your crew and loved ones.
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Old 26-10-2011, 13:57   #266
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adelie View Post
For those that are really worried, you can now have the best of both worlds: Ovatek 4 &7.

Ovatek Brochure

There is NO excuse for not carrying the very best, anything else is just playing Russian roulette with your life and the lives of your crew and loved ones.
And the specs for the 4 person raft are:

Capacity :4 Persons
Ballast :External
Length :6’9”/206cm
Cradle :3’2”L x 4’3”W
Width :4’3”/130cm
Height :
3’8”/112cm
Weight :250lb/114kg

I think I need to clear some deck space.
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Old 26-10-2011, 13:58   #267
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pirate Re: Liferaft: Yes or No ?

Well....
I'm not 'The Best'....
My Boats definitely not 'The Best'....
So I shop accordingly....
Basically we're all 'Smart Asses' who think we have the answer...
few I think have the experience in the eye of the 'PAN'....
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Old 26-10-2011, 14:32   #268
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No ?

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Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
I think I need to clear some deck space.
That's the right attitude. If you can't afford this or don't have enough room you really shouldn't be out there. This is the best.
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Old 26-10-2011, 14:32   #269
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No ?

My plan is to have a dinghy AND a life raft. If the seas are calm enough, I'll abandon my sinking vessel into the dinghy with the liferaft aboard. If not calm enough, I'll abandon ship into the life raft and tie the dinghy to it, and hope I don't have to cut it loose.

There are lots of things that can cause a vessel to sink other than violent storms - collision, fire, thru-hull failure, etc., so it's not a given that you'll always be in seas too rough to use the dinghy.

Heck, if I've got time, I'll even mount the outboard. Or maybe not. I'd hate to see the skeg and prop puncture my raft!
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Old 26-10-2011, 14:38   #270
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Re: Liferaft: Yes or No ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Our collective hats are off to those like you and Beth who have voluntarily visited and mastered them.
thanks, we have been foolish enough to go sailing in places where the weather is often miserable. but as you know well, one never 'masters' this sort of weather. Luck will unfortunately always play a significant role when in large breaking waves.
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