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Old 18-09-2011, 11:00   #1
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Sailing without a Liferaft or EPIRB

Hi guys,

So I've just got a delivery job aboard a motorcat bound for Madagascar on the East coast of Africa. The cat is intended for a fishing and dive charter in the north of Madagascar. My friend (who is to captain the boat after delivery) and I just went aboard the cat today (Sunday) and the owner told us that we should be leaving Cape Town on Wednesday. However I've noticed that there is no life raft nor an epirb aboard. Upon questioning my mate he told me that the owner (a very experienced sailor who has apparently won the cape to rio in his category) told him that there is no liferaft because it is near impossible to sink a cat. While I have heard this before I get Titanic-enduced-shivers down my spine at the thought of sailing without these. Of course I am a newby at sailing (with a coastal skippers certificate from a sailing school) but this doesn't sit right with me. What you reckon?
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Old 18-09-2011, 11:31   #2
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Re: Sailing without a Liferaft or EPIRB

Ask him what to to if a fire breaks out and it burns to the waterline- If your doing a delevery I would get your own personal Ebirp- and if he has a good dink your fine
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Old 18-09-2011, 11:36   #3
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Re: Sailing without a Liferaft or EPIRB

Or if it flips and you are floating around - indefinitely - how you will get the attention of someone else without an EPIRB...

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Old 18-09-2011, 12:13   #4
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Re: Sailing without a Liferaft or EPIRB

No EPIRB "no way" !!!

A Dink can be your Liferaft.
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Old 18-09-2011, 12:21   #5
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Re: Sailing without a Liferaft or EPIRB

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Originally Posted by Rory B View Post
Upon questioning my mate he told me that the owner (a very experienced sailor who has apparently won the cape to rio in his category) told him that there is no liferaft because it is near impossible to sink a cat.
I think that's reasonable, actually. An upside-down cat will be rather better than a liferaft, so why would you incur the expense and carry the weight?

If you're concerned about the lack of an EPIRB, buy yourself a PLB. You should have one anyway if you are spending time offshore.
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Old 18-09-2011, 12:44   #6
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Sorry for the ignorance- PLB? And I'm taking it that a dink is a tender or inflatable/semi-rigid?
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Old 18-09-2011, 12:50   #7
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Re: Sailing without a Liferaft or EPIRB

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Sorry for the ignorance- PLB? And I'm taking it that a dink is a tender or inflatable/semi-rigid?
PLB = Personal Locator Beacon. It's a personal EPIRB. For example, a McMurdo Fast Find.

Dink = dinghy. Yes, tender. They do not make good liferafts except in very good weather.
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Old 18-09-2011, 12:53   #8
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Re: Sailing without a Liferaft or EPIRB

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Sorry for the ignorance- PLB? And I'm taking it that a dink is a tender or inflatable/semi-rigid?
Personal locator beacon. You should be ok, you'll probably be sticking close to shore for most of the way to avoid the Agulhas, so will probably be within VHF contact at all times.
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Old 18-09-2011, 13:12   #9
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Re: Sailing without a Liferaft or EPIRB

This if not handled correctly can be a very difficult crossing . We are about to do it from Madagaskar to Richards bay. This is not the sort of trip you wanna be cutting corners on. Make sure your motor/s are in good order. Going anywhere without an epirb is just dum and should not even be up for discussion.

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Old 18-09-2011, 16:19   #10
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Re: Sailing without a Liferaft or EPIRB

I only hope it is a big cat. Sailing out of CT and towards Madagascar (BTW not on but off the coast) is not for the fain hearted.

Even in the right season, I would take the EPIRB/liferaft with me.

Remember you will be sailing well offshore to dodge the foul current. If you get caught in a gale, you will have to weather it offshore in an area notorious for sea accidents.

BTW If the boat is to do charters later, how come she is not equipped adequately?

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Old 18-09-2011, 16:47   #11
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Your call...

As a crewperson you need to be satisfied that the boat is seaworthy before you step onboard.

You could get a PLB, bring your own inflatable harness/tethers or even turn up with your own small liferaft. Have you asked if you can do this? Their answer may enlighten you regarding their attitude to safety.

If it were me the absence of EPIRB, liferaft would be sending up red flags. This is not a coastal voyage.

Have you been able to check right through the boat to make sure that everything else is OK?
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Old 19-09-2011, 00:39   #12
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Thanks guys. I appreciate the honest advice. There really are red flags going up in mind! Although to be fair they will still be working on the boat for the next three days. However the boat definitely does not give me a "safety first" vibe. The boat is brand new and has new everything including engines...but things like man over board equipment, etc are absent.
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Old 19-09-2011, 00:41   #13
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Any other advice as to what sort of things should be throwing up red flags? There are fire extinguishers but these are stowed in lockers in different areas around the boat.
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Old 19-09-2011, 01:14   #14
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Re: Sailing without a Liferaft or EPIRB

IMO nothing fundamentally wrong sailing without both ("safety" (Lol!) doesn't come from gadgets or how big the cheques are).

But for me too much of a trust thing doing so with a unknown boat, crew and skipper.

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Old 19-09-2011, 01:41   #15
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Re: Sailing without a Liferaft or EPIRB

If you'd not cover that water ill equipped on your own boat, why do it on someone elses?

Plus maybe worth checking out the trip is fully insured and you're not carrying any kind of liability as crew.

There's a relatively recent but well known local case where a delivery skipper paid his mate a hundred pounds to help him move a large power boat from the Solent to Poole (around 10 miles).

Easy money but they put it on autopilot, ran around the boat tidying up kit, and whilst heads down the boat hit a navigational buoy flat out. It holed it above the waterline but when slowed, in it all came.

It sunk. They got away safely. But the 'delivery skipper' AND the pal who crewed were taken to court by the insurance company, judged to have been at fault, and collectively costs were awarded against them both.........

I believe it bankrupted them both. So check that out along with your safety issues and hopefully you'll have a safe enjoyable trip.

Cheers
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