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Old 06-02-2007, 00:02   #1
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Life Raft Alternatives

I've always been interested in life raft alternatives. I think it might have started when I read Steve Callahan's book, Adrift, he was very frustrated watching islands drift by and not being able to get to them. I believe that the Pardeys say that they use a Fatty Knees dink with fenders attached for positive buoyancy for their life raft. I think that my alternative will need a made for the purpose canopy for protection from the weather.

I was very interested in the Tinker Traveller inflatable when I first found it.
It has an optional canopy, but it is too small for my purpose, a family of 4. It was included in one of the life raft tests.
1994 Life Raft Test
I think I read somewhere that the ORC finally made the Tinker a legal life raft option under their rules.

Steve Callahan made an attempt at an inflatable, I don't know if or when his idea will continue.
EQUIPPED TO SURVIVE (tm) - Steven Callahan Bio

I have found a new interest at the boat show I just went to, the Portland Pudgy. It has a canopy and is rated for 4 people. There are a lot of ideas that have gone into this boat that I like. The Fiorentino para anchor display was right beside the pudgy display and he said he is developing a sea anchor for it. He has tested it in 16' waves outside of San Francisco bay, and he said it handled the conditions very well.
Portland Pudgy multifunction dinghy--the fun boat that could save your life!
Doesn't look like it will be that horrible to row or sail either.

Any dyed in the wool anything but a real life raft is dangerous folks out there to tell me why not an alternative or why not a Portland Pudgy?


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Old 06-02-2007, 02:30   #2
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I've never liked liferafts(deathrafts?).
The photos show another alternative,
other friends sold their raft in Hawaii and completed their circumnavigation with a glass version of an Hawaiian outrigger with a crab claw sail. said he could throw it over and assemble it in the water, figured he had a range of 500 miles before dying which would get him to land most places on the planet.
Of course if you live in a police state like NZ or AUS the bureaucrats will stop you leaving without a raft, thereby squashing any development of a better alternative.
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Old 06-02-2007, 13:00   #3
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Aloha John,
The only thing I could add to this discussion is that I really liked sailing the Tinker. For a rubber ducky it sailed really well.
I think just having a raft to sit in and be sheltered is ok if you know you'll be rescued but you certainly aren't going to do anything but be blown downwind. Paddling after a few days of reduced rations won't be an option either.
I think the Walker Bay with the inflatable tubes are nearly the same as what Steve Callahan had designed however in any kind of sea the Walker Bay rig will have a hard time staying together unless it is beefed up considerably (too much plastic).
It might be good to hear from other folks reading this forum on any liferaft experiences. The ones that returned after having ditched a boat are the people who "really" have some experience in these matters,
Callahan was quite a survivor wasn't he? Don't know if I could have maintained that mental stability and will to continue.
Kind Regards,
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Old 06-02-2007, 13:04   #4
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Might look at this one but it also may be too small. Portland Pudgy multifunction dinghy--the fun boat that could save your life!

Peter O.
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Old 06-02-2007, 18:52   #5
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I also took a close look at the Portland Pudgy at the Seattle Boat Show. I think they have a good concept but it needs further development.

1. At 7 ft. 8 in. LOA, I think the boat is too small. I would like to see one that is somewhere between 9 to 10 ft., especially for four people.

2. The maximum rated out board is 2 hp. I think it should be at least 9 hp.

3. Additional technical considerations still need to be resolved.

I wish these guys luck. They are on the right track, but on I am not ready to purchase yet.
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