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View Poll Results: Do you have a liferaft?
YES - For mostly bluewater sailing 11 22.92%
YES - For mostly coastal sailing 10 20.83%
NO - For mostly bluewater sailing 3 6.25%
NO - For mostly coastal sailing 19 39.58%
Considering gettting one 5 10.42%
Voters: 48. You may not vote on this poll

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  #51  
Old 07-21-2013
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Re: How Many Have a Liferaft?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
.... Calahan's liferaft was trying to sink for the majority of the 76 days. His HEROIC measures kept it afloat....

I argue that our regular tenders, with some kind of shelter, and a ditch bag, are superior to the packaged raft....

Besides longevity your tender also has the advantage of being able to be maneuvered by oar or sail....


The only advantages I can see of the packaged rafts are that they are possibly easier to launch, and might fair better (than a regular tender) in a huge storm. Fairing better in a storm, however, only applies if you spend the big bucks on an "offshore" model with lots of ballast bags. As for the advantage of being easier to launch, your tender, you will have practiced launching, whereas most haven't actually practiced launching and boarding their raft.

The big storm is also NOT the only reason you'd be abandoning ship. The reasons I can think of to abandon are:

1: Fire.
2: Sinking by collision with debris.
3: Sinking by collision with whale.
4: Sinking by collision with ship.
5: Huge storm.

I really think that in case #5 you're probably screwed anyway....

In case 1-4 there is no huge storm, and no need for your ballast bags, and all that. What percentage of our time do we spend in storms anyway? Lyn and larry pardey, who sail full time and go off the beaten track say they're in gale or above conditions 3% of the times by their logs. The tradewind sailors that pick their windows sometimes never see a real storm.

So, I would like to ask again if everyone really thinks that the flimsy $8,000 raft that may or may not inflate, and is only superior 3% of the time, and can't be maneuvered, is really the better choice?
MedSailor
Medsailor, thanks for the reply. A couple of clarifications, below, regarding the above excerpts from your post.

First, Callahan's FRIB as noted above was not the raft he was adrift in - it was the one he designed afterwards, to correct the deficiencies of the raft he was adrift in. The Callahan FRIB is maneuverable by oar, sail, or motor - check the linked info.

So the FRIB, like the Pudgy, would have similar maneuverability and survivability to a hard or inflatable dink or RIB, plus it would "come with" the necessary additional life raft items such as a cover, sea anchor, flares, medical kit, etc., etc.

Second, as this is a new subject for me, I was asking for confirmation or clarification as to whether I understood what appeared to be the consensus (on SN- lol!) of the bulk of the posts on this thread. At this point, I don't "think that [or any particular] way" - it's still an open question in my mind as to whether dink + life raft is best, or some all-in-one option is best. Right now it's a theoretical question for me, but a few years down the road, it may not be.

A separate point is that you state the cost of a packed life raft is @ $8K. Assuming this is right (I haven't checked), then the Portland Pudgy as fully equipped for life raft duty ($10K+) might be more expensive by itself than a regular dink plus life raft. Meaning that the additional margin of safety of having the life raft might be had at literally no cost (other than a bit of storage space in a lazarette, the psychological issues of likely reactions in an extreme emergency, as previously mentioned in this thread, aside) vs. the fully equipped PP. There are no cost estimates that I am aware of for the Callahan FRIB.

Interesting - though I realize that at some point in making potentially life or death decisions, cost is irrelevant.

I also realize that this post still does not resolve the issue of whether a suitably equipped, augmented dink might be a preferable or at least equally worthy option to a dink plus life raft.

To answer that, at minimum we'd need to consider what sort of additional prep and costs would one need to make a dink the functional equivalent of a blue water life raft. A cover, a sea anchor, storage for food/water/medical kit, communications, a swim ladder, etc.? Where and how are these to be stored so as to be accessible quickly as needed, yet not clutter up the dink for its regular uses? And then there's the issue of having all this already packed in one convenient place - how useful might it be to abandon ship, if it is inevitably sinking, in a dink *with* a packed life raft? Can one open the life raft in the dink, take out the emergency gear, and toss or tow the raft shell? Maybe this is a silly question - I have zero practical experience here, so my apologies in advance if warranted.

Thanks to everyone so far for your thoughts. No doubt there are other lurkers here who hope to learn about critical emergency systems from teachers other than (their own) bad experiences....
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  #52  
Old 07-22-2013
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Re: How Many Have a Liferaft?

Joe,

To clarify my post a little more, when I'm challenging the collective wisdom in my post, I wasn't attributing any of that to you. The only part I intended to attribute to you was the comment about our regular tenders being short term.

I did read Callahan's book several times and am aware he wasn't in a FRIB. I REALLY like the look of the FRIB and would trade my pudgy for one in a heartbeat.

Also, when I'm talking about tenders in my post, I'm talking about regular old RIBs, and hard dinks, that have been home modified vs the packaged rafts.

Finally, I checked landfallnavigation.com quickly, and it turns out 4 person offshore rafts are more like 4-6,000. Plus yearly servicing fees. And yes, pudgy's are really expensive. I got a deal on mine, paying half price for like-new.

MedSailor
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  #53  
Old 07-22-2013
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Re: How Many Have a Liferaft?

I also found, after a year of searching, a used, never deployed, service-able raft for more than 1/2 price. The idea of a used raft might be disconcerting for some, but if it hasn't been deployed and has been stored correctly, and is still service-able, then I can live with that (no pun intended).

I think that the hard-raft supporters make good points. But for a coastal/bay sailor, I just need a raft that can keep us out of the water for a few hours and certainly less than a day at most. I cannot trust myself to rely on my hard dinghy. I just won't bring it all the time.
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  #54  
Old 07-23-2013
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Re: How Many Have a Liferaft?

Curious what a service-able raft is? Was it re-certified? If so, a used raft is perfectly good. If not, one could have no idea that there isn't a leak, unless they've tested it, or that the inflation canister will even go off. Seems do separate and splits form at the folds.
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  #55  
Old 07-23-2013
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Re: How Many Have a Liferaft?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Curious what a service-able raft is? Was it re-certified? If so, a used raft is perfectly good. If not, one could have no idea that there isn't a leak, unless they've tested it, or that the inflation canister will even go off. Seems do separate and splits form at the folds.
Service-able meaning that a certified service-center of that liferaft manufacturer deems the life-raft young enough to still be re-certified, and when certified they are able to check the condition, inflate-deflate, and replace any components such as the inflation device. I've spoken to some manufacturers of some used life rafts that I was considering and they said that certain models were too old to service. My raft is four years old. But they might not service a raft, say 15 years old. Admittedly, there is a fine line where used life rafts start to cast doubts. I think I am outside of that window. Hopefully, we live to tell you how it turns out.
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