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View Poll Results: Circumnavigating Cat without liferaft
Yes 21 17.36%
Depends on the Cat 20 16.53%
No way no how 80 66.12%
Voters: 121. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 16-08-2008, 03:55   #211
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Originally Posted by Tim88 View Post
but it would look good on the rescue footage!
Only if you are wearing thongs and saluting with a stubbie

Mike
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Old 16-08-2008, 04:04   #212
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Liferaft Type and Contents

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So far (unless I misssed a post), this thread has entirely been about liferaft yes/no.

This has ignored any concept of discussion about type of liferaft and contents.....
Having just bought one, I've come to realize that the terms "coastal" and "offshore" are used a bit loosely by the liferaft vendors. In many cases it refers back to the SOLAS commercial requirements, and it has quite a lot to do with the supplies (water quantity, EPIRB etc) that are packed with the liferaft. The thinking is that you're hopefully likely to be rescued within a short time if you've abandoned ship close to the coast - the SOLAS limit for coastal/offshore is (AFAIK) 200 miles.

"Offshore" does not necessarily guarantee a more robust or stable liferaft, and neither should it, because you conditions 200 miles from the coast can be pretty horrible (e.g. FastNet '79, Sydney - Hobart '98).

I found the servicing agents to be the best source of information when comparing liferafts. I've been told that:
  • welded seams are better than glued ones;
  • vacuum packing protects the liferaft and contents against degradation from the elements;
  • stabilization pockets are important, and they should be weighted to ensure they actually fill with water;
  • an inflatable boarding ramp with something to grab on inside the raft are important, otherwise you might not get in at all. Someone said to me your only option in that case is to wait for someone else to try and board and then climb up their backs. I assume you then give them a hand in...
Retailers often service the liferafts too, and will only pack a new liferaft when it is ordered. Most will allow you to tailor the contents (within reason) so you can add special medication, a PLB (personal locator beacon), extra water, even if the liferaft you chose is sold as a "coastal" version.

I've documented my liferaft buying experience at S.V. Sunny Spells Liferafts, EPIRBs etc
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Old 16-08-2008, 05:07   #213
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I also recall reading that one should buy a liferaft only for the number of people expected.........as the body weight is designed to be part of the ballast for stability. i.e. don't buy a 6 man one for 2 people (for the extra comfort / leg room) as it won't be as stable in extreme conditions.

Like many things it all sounded reasonable. But true?
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Old 16-08-2008, 05:21   #214
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I also recall reading that one should buy a liferaft only for the number of people expected.........as the body weight is designed to be part of the ballast for stability, i.e. don't buy a 6 man one for 2 people (for the extra comfort / leg room) as it won't be as stable in extreme conditions.

Like many things it all sounded reasonable. But true?
It is indeed true that a liferaft should be sized for the number of people likely to use it rather than the capacity of the boat. The bigger the raft the higher the windage and the more ballast (in the form of occupants) is required to keep it from being blown over. Ballast pockets and a sea-anchor also help. I was told an oversized liferaft will "ride the occupants" rather than the other way round!

My boat could sleep eight (two doubles and 4 singles), but you would never take that many offshore, unless you're seriously racing and need the crew. The most likely number of people on board is four, maybe 6. I was advised to get a 4 person raft, and certainly no bigger than a 6-person.

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Personally I'm not ready to make an exit yet. Too much to see and do.
Maybe I expressed myself a bit akwardly... I'd rather not go just now either, but if I had to, I'd prefer to do it sailing rather than getting hit by a bus!
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Old 16-08-2008, 11:25   #215
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Red face Danger of fire

I don't have anything against monomarans - I've sailed lots of voyages in monomarans, I'm just saying that a life raft makes more sense in a boat that can sink than it does in a boat that can't. I'm not relying on just the balsa core to prevent sinking, either. I'm adding almost a ton of polyurethane floatation foam to the boat.

The danger of fire at sea is quite real, and I have posted about it at length. The boat I am building is being made with that in mind, with the encouragement of the USCG, as it will be rated to carry paying passengers. I am using fire retardant resin in the boat's construction, the engines are diesel, the engine rooms will have automatic fire extinguishing systems, we will have an engine driven fire pump and fire hose system, the galley stove will have stainless steel under and around it. I think I'll also put intumescent paint in the engine rooms. The galley and water heating equipment are located on the bridgedeck, and the boat's interior is like a Wharram, with each entrance into the hulls being outdoors on the bridgedeck, so no propane can sink into the bilges. There are also many watertight bulkheads which would serve as fire stops.

It is always safer to stay with the boat if it hasn't actually sunk, so with a multihull, I think the best survival strategy is to make it possible to stay with the boat no matter what.
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