Portland Pudgy multifunction dinghy -- the fun boat that could save your life!
3) I would like to genuinely propose that everyone considering a liferaft also consider the more modern thought (or old sailor's thought, before you could even wish for a rescue) of a sailing tender that can double as a raft. I am becoming more and more convinced that you should take your rescue into your own hands and hope for a rescue along the way. A sailing dink can be righted in many conditions, and can be sailed to your destination. This might not work in a hurricane, but that probably is not what takes down most well founded vessels. And if a hurricane took down your mother vessel, I cannot imagine riding it out in some flip-easy liferaft where I can guarantee you its tortoising will cost you your life. At least with a sailing-tender that is 'unsinkable' you have the CHANCE to hold on until the weather permits righting it, crawling inside, and making your own decision on whether to bob along or start making for port. In a raft, assuming she stays ass down, you are just going to be sitting there and waiting and hoping you can stay alive until some lucky soul finds your unlucky soul. Hopefully you are still breathing.
4) I will probably make a fuss of this, more than I should, but I think that we as sailors need to challenge life raft companies to test their products in real life conditions. SOrry, I do not sail in a swimming pool. Drop her offshore in 6, 8, 10, 20+ foot seas and see how she resopnds. Drop her in 20, 30, 50, 90 kt winds and see whether she flips. I can tell you taht somebody makes a raft that will flip over! I saw it! And if by some chance it was an empty coffin, then shame on the raft makers who should have known better. Look for deep, wide, ballasts. Look for handholds on the bottom and a means of easy entry. I can tell you that in the little 4 foot seas we were in, climbing atop that raft should there have been handholds would have been arduous at best. 6 footer, 12 footers, 20 footers... I cannot imagine.
5) A extra EPIRB and flares should be considered for ocean crossings. That means for the mother vessel AND the raft. I have to conclude that a C130 flew close to that raft. A few flares or a spare EPIRB might have given them the fix they needed. If nothing else, keep your old flares in a ditch bag to be taken should you have to abandon ship and choose to step up into your raft.
6) DO NOT LEAVE YOUR MAIN VESSEL! Good lord known that has been harped on a thousand times, but I will say it again. Assuming the vessel did not sink, and should I have found wreckage, my entire action plan would have changed. And I gotta tell you, it would have been a lot easier to see the mother vessel from the sky than that little raft. As said a thousand times, step up into your life raft, not down.
There are probably a lot of other things to say, but I am tired and will see if we can pick it up tomorrow. Thank you for reading the above. I truly hope it was a waste of your time. If not, I hope you keep in mind some of our findings.
All the best,
And thanks for posting the story CD, even though there were nits picked about what you wrote. Sometimes, no matter what you write, it will happen. Thanks for posting it anyway.
"There's nothing . . . absolutely nothing . . . half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats." -- Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows (River Rat to Mole)
1980 Baba 35 Pilot House Cutter - Brigadoon
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Last edited by blackjenner; 04-21-2010 at 04:49 PM.