Re: How Many Have a Liferaft?
We carry a small valise raft in a stern locker with our bail-out bag attached. The gear is sized to allow my wife to launch the equipment without undue difficulty despite her small size in case I am injured, or worse, and unable to do so myself. Our boat is well prepared and maintained and I have over 60 years of sailing experience, on- and off-shore. I am reasonably confident that we will never need the raft yet, if we need it, its there, ready to go. I am sure that most that sail off-shore feel their boats are sturdy enough that they don't need a raft yet one never knows. I am sure that the owner of Lelia B, the well found Tarten 42 that sank off Ft. Myers during the Bone Island Regatta (to Key West) last month never expected to need his life-raft. No one knows what happened aboard the boat but it sank out from under the crew within 20 minutes of their discovery of water flooding the boat, before they could find, never-the-less staunch the inflow. Fortunately, they had a raft that the crew took to and, not long after, were picked up by another boat that responded to their May Day calls. Minor injuries and no loss of life. Absent the raft, who knows. Given the number of times we have had sharks investigate us while we sat becalmed in the Gulf of Mexico, I am really not interested in the possibility of floating around in a PFD waiting for a pick-up when we could be safely cocooned, if not entirely comfortable, in a raft. An ounce of prevention eh?
"It is not so much for its beauty that the sea makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from the waves, that so wonderfully renews a weary spirit."