Seasoned Sailor Need Information
You know, over the years, I have come to question the validity of certain key pieces of gear and equipment. Thus, I would like to call on the help of Sailingdog, Surf, Camaraderie, Jeff_H, and the many, many other sailors that read these threads. Feel free to jump in.
1) Floating Winch Handles. I will throw this one off to Cam. I think you are in the Bahamas right now?? Please do me a favor: Would you sail out to the Tongue and throw your new, floating, winch handly in the drink and see if it really floats? I keep finding myself buying those things for all my boats... but still do not know if they really float. I personally have not been able to bring myself to tossing a $40-60 winch handle in the drink. I can tell you, from experience, that the $80 Lewmars double-handers do not float. In fact, they sink quicker than you can say, "Aww-Sh**". Come to think of it, the only thing I have found that sinks quicker than a winch handle is a $360 dive watch. All you would be sailors and old salts: These should be standard equipment for your ground tackle. SHould an anchor fail in a hurricane, just tie a line onto a dive watch and toss it overboard. I guarantee you it will sink so far down you will never find it again.
2) Submersible VHF. I think this one belongs to SD & Jeff - our most knowledgeable sailors. I am intrigued by the depth of their answers and the thoughtfulness of their replies. Now, would you mind buying a $350 ICOM, swiming down 5-10 feet (isn't that what they say they are good for??), then coming back up and giving it the ole' college try?? Personally, I cannot do it. Just cannot.
3) Life Raft with Hydrostatic release. Ahh now, this one really is the clincher. The test to end all test. Only a successful lawyer should get stuck with this one. Surf - you the man. Please go out and buy a 6 person Switlik life raft (oh, about 5-6K), tie it on an anchor, and see if it really does pop at 15 feet. Oh, and since you are doing that anyway, please check and see if that $700 watermaker you had them stuff in it really made it in there and not just on some Mexican "resale" shelf. I hate to tell you, but if my boat is going down, DO YOU REALLY THINK I AM GOING TO JUMP IN THE WATER AND WAIT FOR MY BOAT TO GET DOWN 15 FEET SO THE LIFE RAFT CAN BLOW????????? No. Hell no! I am going to be kicking, prying, and cursing that thing open... even if I have to use my teeth.
I realize this is a lot to ask of you, but you all-- I MEAN WE ALL-- have to make sacrifices for the sailing community.
I look forward to your "consumer" reports and kind responses.
Your true friend,