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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 09-02-2008, 12:58   #1
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Circumnavigation w/o liferaft

Given that you stay with the overturned Cat, have an eprib and are trying to keep the weight down on a circumnavigating cat.

Would you consider going without a liferaft?

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Old 09-02-2008, 14:49   #2
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Depends on the cat or trimaran for that matter. Does it have enough flotation to be habitable in a capsize situation? If not you will need the raft. If it has enough flotation it depends on your own preferance. A argument can be made either way but I would be comfortable without a liferaft. My arguement is that if you have it you will be tempted to use it and to keep a liferaft tethered to a capsized boat in the open ocean would be near impossible. The argument can be made that in case of fire or collision the boat could be untenable reguardless of wether if floats so you need a raft. My bottom line is that if the boat came with one I might keep it aboard but if I had to shell out 2-3 k or one I would skip it.

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Old 09-02-2008, 15:23   #3
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As above. I'd go without a raft, as long as I was sure the boat had plenty of bouyancy. (ie unsinkable) If the boat was burning then I'd have to use the dinghy. IMHO the odds of the boat catching fire during a storm at sea are low.
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Old 09-02-2008, 15:31   #4
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They said the Titanic didn’t need a full complement of lifeboats and the rest is history.

It would seem foolish to me (if you had the choice) to remove a key survival option. Catastrophic Fire or being run down by a freighter immediately comes to mind as to when a life raft becomes useful.

If your boat is still afloat then my all means stay with it, but if conditions change to an approaching storm and it is merely awash then tethering to the boat with a very long painter and transferring to a good life raft (Givens) would be something I would consider prudent.
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Old 09-02-2008, 16:30   #5
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Originally Posted by BlueRhapCity View Post

Would you consider going without a liferaft?
a) I don't think it 'seamanlike' to go to sea without one. That means more than just you and your life, but the example a prudent sailor should set for others. As Pelagic points out the Titanic catch cry resounds, as it ought to.

b) I would doubt you would get a clearence to leave some (nanny) countries like New Zealand and Australia without a liferaft.
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Old 09-02-2008, 17:49   #6
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Titanic was bult of steel. I wouldn't go to sea in a steel boat without a liferaft.

I took it we were talking about a modern catamaran, built of modern, lightweight materials that simply CANNOT sink. One that even if smashed into tiny pieces - the pieces will float.

In which case I would do it. But if the boat had a liferaft I wouldn't throw it away.

I'm pretty sure you can legally leave Australia without a liferaft.
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Old 09-02-2008, 18:03   #7
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I would probably consider ways to turn the dinghy into a liferaft. Extra flotation(unless it's an inflatable, then just stick with patch kits and a small pump), some kind of covering, some kind of sail kit( even just something makeshift like a tarp rigged up with oars and extra rope. just make sure to test it to see if it actually does work before you have to depend on it)

That in addition to the normal stuff like signal equipment, emergency provisions(or ways to get provisions like fishing equipment and water making equipment). I'm sure I've forgotten something, but all of this could be kept in a ditch bag as long as you made sure it all in working order occasionally.

With that stuff I would definitely go without a life raft, and in fact would probably prefer that to a liferaft if I had a choice.

*disclaimer, I have practically no experience with cats, circumnavigating or liferafts, but this is just my opinion from what I've learned.
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Old 09-02-2008, 20:38   #8
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I'd rather put the effort into making sure the boat can be the life raft, water tight compartments, sealed provisions and extra jerry cans of water. There are two cases in which you would use a life raft in a catamaran, it gets it's keels smashed through on a reef and starts to sink, in which case a plastic life raft thrown onto a reef will do absolutely no good, or the boat catches fire, also something where getting into a life raft which may not be able to actually get away from the burning boat is no good. Just about every cat has a huge RIB ready to go in seconds, and in those situations above I think the RIB provides a better alternative to a life raft as you could power away from the danger. I would have a ditch bag ready to go, as well as having an epirb and vhf. I'd much rather motor to a passing ship than rely on drifting by it.
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Old 09-02-2008, 21:19   #9
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When I sailed offshore, my great fear was fire and explosion. Sinking is highly unlikely, and capsize is a possibility, and with our immersion suits survival is highly probable.

But explosion and fire are another another story. I kept my liferaft in the stern of our cat so if there was a small explosion or fire, we would still have a chance to deploy the raft.

I sailed with a voyager 440 that burned to the waterline as the result of an electrical problem. Over the years, I have seen other yachts burn to the waterline.

A dead short from the electrical system can incinerate a boat in a few minutes. That's why I always carry my Givens liferaft.
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Old 09-02-2008, 22:19   #10
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In the case of a light weight performance oriented cat like a Africancat, Gunboat & Chris White design there is a definite trade-off between weight and safety.

I've heard delivery captains say they would choose the dink over a liferaft any day.

It sure does seem like it's foolhardy to not take a liferaft. But, if the boat has to sink, and the dink has to fail then it's triple redundancy. With a SAT phone and EPIRB I assume you could expect to be saved within a few days and be more comfortable and more in control of your destiny (read safer) by being in a dink?
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Old 10-02-2008, 00:43   #11
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In any FastCat a Liferaft is not necessary The boats cannot sink, even if they burn and that is possible, enough of the boat will rest to stay with, The buoyance chambers alone combined with the closed cell foam will give you 10 times the space of any life raft.
We standard included a lightweigth Rigid Inflatable with all boats that can carry 6 people in more comfort than any life raft for 6 will ever do, this can also be equipped as a sailing Rigid inflatable and a cover can be supplied .
The extra weight of a life raft of 40 kilo or 88 LBS is a lot of extra and in this case unnecessary weight in the wrong spot , always in the rear. A grab bag with all important items is another issue , we supply one standard with a hand water maker and all other items to keep you alive for a longer period, GPS Epirb , SART VHF fishhooks water food etc all all standard in this grab bag including a extensive medical kit.
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Old 10-02-2008, 01:13   #12
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I was once asked what was the best way to get into your life raft. The answer is you step up into it off your sinking boat.
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Old 10-02-2008, 02:13   #13
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We've decided not to buy a life raft. We have 2 dingies, one is an inflateable, and we'll use that as a life raft in needed. I have a jump bag with the necessary items and we think that will work just as well.
LIFE is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well perserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out and Proclaiming - WOW WHAT A RIDE!
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Old 10-02-2008, 03:38   #14
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I read an interesting comment in a book by Gavin Lesuer. In a round Australia race, at night, going like a bat out of hell, they hit a sleeping whale. The whale was annoyed but their boat was reduced to very small pieces in very short order. They spent about three days in a liferaft. I won't go to sea without one. Individual choice of course.... there is a word used in the UK.....Pillock.....I think that applies to anyone who doesn't have one, and frankly that includes manufacturers who think that RIBs are just as good.
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Old 10-02-2008, 03:57   #15
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A circumnavigating cruiser going like a "bat out of hell" at night might also qualify for that description.

How long ago did this happen? Multihull materials are much stronger than they used to be - a 44C was run onto rocks at 6 knots and sustained no structural damage whatsoever. Just some (very) minor dents and a broken rudder.

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