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  #11  
Old 07-06-2008
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Liam,

I wondered about that myself a few years back, and one Saturday afternoon, after a couple of beers, I went to Walgreen's and bought a kid's inflatable swimming pool ring, then to Home Depot and I grabbed a couple cans of foam. Back at the dock, we hooked the foam to the ring using an admittedly mickey-mouse hookup, and with the nice uninflated ring laying on the dock, punched the button on the foam can.

I'll make a long story short. It didn't work for beans. The foam got into the ring and started expanding. In very short order the entry point for the foam was plugged by foam, leaving most of the ring uninflated. Then a second thing happened: as the foam cures, it gets REALLY hot. The little life ring melted.

While this wasn't the best experiment, I admit, I think it did point out that using foam would be difficult at best, and impossible at worst. Maybe if you used the two-part foam like they use for form-fitting stuff in boxes, you could devise a way to keep the two parts away from each other until you wanted them to mix, but that stuff gets hotter than blazes, too.

It's a great idea, I think, but the mechanics of engineering it would be tough. Certainly beyond my ability to jury-rig stuff together!



Cap'n Gary
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  #12  
Old 07-06-2008
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sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice
Also, most of the self-expanding foams are not close celled and if there is a leak, the will soak up water like a sponge.
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  #13  
Old 07-07-2008
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On our first circumnavigation in the early 70s a friend gave us a 4 man avon life raft in a canister. We kept in in the cockpit with a piece of plywood over it supported by fids on the sides of the cockpit. When we got caught in a hurricane and did a 360, the main hatch was ripped off and by the time we righted, the cabin was filled with water to the level of the bunks. The grab rails were ripped off the cabin op and nothing was tied to them; ergo I would NEVER have a life raft mounted on the cabin top. I like to say that we had the most efficient bilge pump in the world, "A frightened woman with a bucket!" As Kitty bailed, I went o n deck to deploy warps to keep us stern to the wind and seas and then spent three hours bolting a the life raft piece of plywood over the hatch to keep more water from coming in. All the while it was like trying to bolt a piece of plywood on the top of you car while driving down the highway at 90 miles per hour in the pouring rain. All the while I kept eyeing the life raft and felt good knowing that if everything I did failed to keep us afloat, and the boat actually started to sink, we could escape in the life raft. That kept me from panicking and allowed me the mindset to do what I had to to keep us afloat.

Bottom line, I would definitely not leave without a life raft and I always keep ours in the cockpit with a piece of plywood over it. It will be much easier to launch from the cockpit and will not be blown off by a knockdown.
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  #14  
Old 07-08-2008
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never mind, I answered my own dumb question
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Old 07-08-2008
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camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough
poopeck...zodiac avon and achilles make both dinghy's and liferafts.
Example...my Zodiac:
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  #16  
Old 07-08-2008
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crap, I was hoping nobody saw that........hehehehe

Thanks Cam,
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Old 07-08-2008
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All these responses have convinced me to buy a life raft before I head offshore. I'm going to need to buy a small one, since I'm a single hander and preferably one that requires little maintenance.

Thanks!
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  #18  
Old 07-08-2008
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Single-handing with a lift raft is problematic, because to my knowledge the smallest available is a four-man raft and one guy is going to be a bean in a can in that, unless it's the type with floodable ballast bags. Also, and again only my probably faulty knowledge, there are no SOLAS grade four-man liftrafts.

You might want to find out what the single-handed racers use and purchase that, or go with a foam filled dinghy with hard points in which to lash food, sails, oars and a ditch bag with watermaker, EPIRB and light reading on laminated pages!

We are going to be a crew of two adults and one youth, with the potential for one crew or two guests (I can sleep nine at dock, but on passage, it's three sea berths on rotation). So we will get a SOLAS six-man liftraft and I will probably stow in in the pilothouse lockers, which means it's safer from the elements and I trust I'll be motivated to haul the thing onto deck. In addition, we have a positive floatation hard tender with a sail rig and a Portabote, but I think I would take the dinghy if I had the time to assemble it (it's nesting) and would put in the sail rig if weather permitted.

We all think a Force Ten or worse will kill the boat, but it's just as easy to navigate oneself onto an awash reef or to hit an awash container in perfect conditions. The situation could be terminal for the boat, but there might be plenty of time (15 minutes or better) before she settles even if fatally holed.

That's enough time to decide if it's a life raft or a dinghy situation. If you are within reach of SAR, you can throw the liftraft in the Portaboat and tow both behind the sailing dinghy! I recall Webb Chiles lost a boat and ended up towing an inflatable until he absolutely had to transfer his "flag" to it.
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  #19  
Old 07-15-2008
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Lightbulb Viking 6 Man Valise

If you so choose to go out to sea without a life raft, then you are a fool . I do not care what kind of boat you have, anything can happen in the open sea. Partially submerged containers, whales, logs, partially floating boats, ripped up docks, hawse lines from tugs, ETC, ETC. I had a friend get his transom blown off by lightning and the boat sank in less than 3 minutes. I have over 85,000 offshore miles, am a professional licensed captain, and I will not go offshore without one. You buy insurance for your boat right ? A life raft is the best insurance you can get for your LIFE. When you buy one, do not be cheap, this is the lives of your family and friends. However, NEVER get off the boat until you KNOW she will slip UNDER the water. Suck it up and go get a Viking, they are the best made on the planet and get it checked every 3 years. Do not gamble with your life, sometimes it takes a long time for the USCG Helo to get there, if they even have enough fuel to get there. Also, there are lots of big hungry creatures out there that WILL EAT YOU too.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!BUY A LIFE RAFT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last edited by waterman007; 07-15-2008 at 01:43 PM. Reason: misspelling
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  #20  
Old 07-16-2008
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Where you gonna go?

You have got to have an alternate place to go if and when the boat sinks. when stuff happens at sea, it happens fast.

Sailboats don't sink? Here are just 2 simple scenarios to consider.

#1. Lightening hitting the boat. When that happens a hole will blow in the boat and water gushes in too fast to purge. The electronics fry, maybe including the epirb and vhf's. Where you gonna go?

#2. You are 25 miles offshore and a storm starts building. Suddenly the calm sea is now 8-10 breaking seas, lightening all over. The propeller shaft strut repair job performed by experts 6 months ago starts to break down. They forgot to tighten the 4 SS clamps around the PSST and water starts gushing in the stern tube. Your life now depends on batteries to purge the water. If the batteries fail, you sink!

It's a pretty lonely feeling thinking you may have to jump into the water at this point. Better have something to get into...

Sound like experieince talking? I would never go offshore w/o an alternative..
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