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Writer needs information on life rafts for story
My name is Kristene and I'm a writer (fiction), currently working on a short story about a couple adrift on a life raft for several weeks. I'm hoping someone here may be able to help provide me with some technical information - I'm living on Aitutaki, in the Cook Islands and my research resources are limited, to say the least.
Here's a brief plot synopsis and I'll follow it with some specific questions:
A couple, Miranda and Scott, make an Atlantic crossing that ends disastrously. The story opens on their life raft, 43 days after their boat has sunk, with Scott, who is barely surviving, slowly accepting Miranda has died. Weakened, both mentally and physically, Scott's perception of reality begins to unravel, threatening his survival.
1. For two people making an Atlantic crossing, what type of raft would they most likely choose? I've put them in a 4 man raft but would you suggest larger?
2. I know this will likely vary according to brand, but, for the sake of the story, I need to know exactly how the raft is deployed (I'm not going with the type that inflates automatically once submerged). Verbatim instructions would be wonderful.
3. I'm aware of the old adage about "stepping up into the raft" but I'm curious to know how long you would actually wait before abandoning ship? In the story, the boat is sinking fairly quickly (cause is unknown), in rough seas.
That's probably plenty for now. Any input, any suggestions, comments, feedback, personal anecdotes are all very, very welcome! And if you're passing by Aitutaki, please look me up for a cold beer on the beach!
Many thanks in advance,