There is WAY too much reliance on modern technology among underprepared sailors who figure if something goes wrong they can just push a button...
I think the main question is, would you do the trip if the device didn't exist?
If you wouldn't be comfortable sailing without an epirb, as in you don't think you could complete the trip safely, then you're probably not ready to do the trip at all. For people who "need" an item like that, it can sometimes put them into situations they normally wouldn't attempt if they were all on their own. You hear about this a lot more now with SPOT and people getting into situations they normally wouldn't attempt without one.
On the other hand a used epirb are going for $300-400 on ebay. To me it'd be silly not to have one at that price for a trip like this. Things go wrong for even the best and most prepared people and something like that is just another tool in the toolbox.