you go Homeless- you're doin it right.
Hear you on the raft thing. I sailed for 15 years before kids
, mostly bluewater transits to get my own boat to do local charter
stuff on other boats; and unless the boat I was delivering had a raft already, I always planned on using the dink as my escape pod. It was usually my girlfriend (now wife) and I only anyway. We setup the dink with dry bags of gear
, custom shelter tarps etc... but never got to test it in anger. I'm not really sure if it would have worked well or not - The tarps didn't really seal aroud teh edges, the dry bags would have gotten tossed around a lot and I'm not sure they would have stayed in the boat even with ties; and I was worried about being tossed out in a capsize
. but I was convinced then that our solution was cheaper and better than any liferaft. It could be inspected, updated, fiddled with etc any time, and as long as we had time to get it in the water we would be ok I thought.
Now, with 3 kids
under 10 and she and I not quite as invincible as in previous years, I've had some recurring nightmares of standing on a sloping, awash, deck
, tearfully apologizing to my children
for being so damn cheap
as to not buy a good, enclosed form of emergency
floating shelter. It's not a nice scene.
There is a lot to consider around the liferaft issue (and a lot of digital ink has been spilled on it in this forum especially), but times have changed a lot since much of it was written. Even a relatively poorly equipped mini-budget cruiser will have a PLB these days (or they're nuts). This combined with incredible service from SAR resources and AMVER vessels means that unless you're doing high latitude stuff, the days of spending a week in a liferaft or dinghy
are over. Still - it's the first 12-36 hours where most folks will die if they have to get off the mother ship - so some form of immediate and reliable shelter is critical.
For that, it's pretty hard to do better than modern liferaft. Yep, they suck to ride in (been there, but only in training). Yep, most folks will get sick, and yep they are freaking expensive (but getting better). but to be honest, when the **** is hitting the fan and you've got 3 pairs of small, terrified eyes (never mind your own!) to look after, it's pretty hard to beat a "pull the cord and climb in" possibility.
enjoying your thread mate - inspirational and straight up without BS.