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post #17 of Old 03-26-2009
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Originally Posted by kwaltersmi View Post
Good list CD. Well thought out.

How do you feel about life rafts?

I'm still not sold on radar as a necessity. I agree they are a nice luxury. However, they draw a lot of power when active. And the shipping lane example you gave about the ships bearing down on you and changing course at the last moment was because they were using radar, not because you were. So a radar REFLECTOR might be more valuable as a safety tool, though I've heard their effectiveness is debateable too.

I'm on the fence with EPIRB's too for circumnavigating and bluewater passagemaking. I believe that if you choose to circumnavigate and/or make a major bluewater passage you need to be fully confident in your sailing and survival skills and not rely one bit on rescue from others. If your EPIRB signal is being emitted, you've encountered a major problem and you're likely too far from help for it to matter in the immediate future. But I could be wrong. I'm a bit jaded about EPIRB's after having read Steve Callahan's book Adrift. His EPIRB didn't help and he was constantly rationing it's battery life.

I see where you and CD are coming from, for what Steve Callahan was doing the EPIRB was useless because he was in the absolute middle of the ocean, if you are within a few hundred miles of shore you have a way way way better chance of being picked up. My grandmother used to own a southern cross 35 or 39 and was on her way from Bermuda to NY to visit. I was too young to remember but my dad got a phone call asking if my grandmother was supposed to be pulling her EPIRB and if he was aware she was in trouble, we did not so they sent a Greek freighter to pick 'em up. With out that EPIRB they could have easily lost there livee, my grandmother and step-grandfather. He was sick and she knew nothing about the diesel which had failed them. But you cannot live life with out a little risk. If everyone was too cautious Smacky would not have any BFS to read and there would be no thrill in sailing IMHO. I think you have to find the perfect balance between being over equipped and overly cautious which can take the fun out of certain things. But if you are under equipped such as an ocean crossing with only food and water and sails which is why people get killed. But then again this isn't a veteran blue water sailor that is saying these things.

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