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Do you have a liferaft?

  • YES - For mostly bluewater sailing

    Votes: 11 22.9%
  • YES - For mostly coastal sailing

    Votes: 10 20.8%
  • NO - For mostly bluewater sailing

    Votes: 3 6.3%
  • NO - For mostly coastal sailing

    Votes: 19 39.6%
  • Considering gettting one

    Votes: 5 10.4%
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s/v Tiger Lily
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm curious how many people have liferafts aboard? Are you primarily a coastal or bluewater sailor?
 

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s/v Tiger Lily
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I just bought a used, service-able one for coastal cruising. It was a great deal, but is it overkill? I sail with small children ... seemed to make sense to me.
 

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Ok lets talk about it. I cant see any single reason why you wouldnt want a liferaft, **** happens. The real question is one likely to save you if you have a well maintained boat and are a prudent mariner. Sure there will be all the people who will give the one in a million examples of how a liferaft may have saved someone but for every single savior account there is also a loss account. Read adrift by Steven Calihan. Had he not had a liferaft he would have never written that book or had an ordeal at sea.

What will sink your boat other than lack of maintenance?

Huge storm, if your boat wont survive will your liferaft?

Hitting rocks, most likely poor seamanship, walk to shore.

Being rundown by other boat, good luck on surviving that.

Fire? Poor maintenance, poor seamanship.

rammed by whale? Seriously what are the odds?

hitting container, Scary thought but very unlikely and many well built boats have survived this.

I'm sure 99% of tragedy was owner operate fault but I still would carry one for a false sense of security if I could afford it but its not a priority to me. I prefer a good unsinkable hard dingy as it is always ready to go, that being said, I cant fir one on my boat so I carry an inflatable dingy which I hate. If you look at statistics more people would be saved by wearing helmets than by having a life-raft but I'm not wearing a helmet either.

One last thought, a life-raft and epirb make it way to easy to abandon a boat in a scary situation that more than likely the boat will survive.
Just my 2 cents which is all its worth
 

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One last thought, a life-raft and epirb make it way to easy to abandon a boat in a scary situation that more than likely the boat will survive.
Just my 2 cents which is all its worth
That's absurb and what are you basing that on...a few media or SN stories your read online. A book you read.

We have a life raft valise, have it packed below. easily grabbed for easy rapid deployment. When we coastal cruise in the ocean we have it strapped on the foredeck. We also have an EPIRB and APBs for the vests.

So you think your VHF and wood dinghy would serve you well 10 miles offshore when your boat sank underneath you? Id rather be in my raft with my dinghy attached to it.

Abandoning ship is never an easy decision, and I have never had to do that thank god. I cant believe others abandon the safety of their boats with the cavalier attitude you attribute to them. In fact those who I have talked to have done so at the last moment when in extreme peril and the boat was lost.

The only talk I have ever heard of it being an easy way out is here by a few posters. Even then other like Doug Sabbatg didn't do it out of convenience.

We carry a raft/ EPIRB because we fell it is an added safety measure to prevent loss of life and let us live longer should we ever frightfully have to be rescued. No thought of the easy way way out. To suggest to others that that is the reason we or others carry them is irresponsible.

BTW...you are new to this game. Look around at the many sailors who are in your area who are serious offshore sailors, see how many have them as well as EPIRBS. Go up personally and ask them "is the reason they carry them so they can get off their boats as soon as it get " scary" as you described.". Have good tracks shoes on:):)
 

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I'm not sure what your comment is based on by mine is based on nearly 30 years spent at sea, I'm 45, not as much experience as as you but I have also worked as a marine corespondent for nautical news publications since 1987 so most of everything comes across my desk. I'll check back in another 100 years when I am as experienced as you :)
 

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I'm not sure what your comment is based on by mine is based on nearly 30 years spent at sea, I'm 45, not as much experience as as you but I have also worked as a marine corespondent for nautical news publications since 1987 so most of everything comes across my desk. I'll check back in another 100 years when I am as experienced as you :)
I apologize for citing a lack of your experience. Which marine publication do you work for. Have you ever posted these thoughts in it? Why don't you do that. I would be interested in how many offshore sailors think that having a life raft and EPIRB means they are more likely to abandon in a scary situation. Maybe I am in a minority and that's the "real" reason they have them, a false sense of security.
 

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Old as Dirt!
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We carry a small valise raft in a stern locker with our bail-out bag attached. The gear is sized to allow my wife to launch the equipment without undue difficulty despite her small size in case I am injured, or worse, and unable to do so myself. Our boat is well prepared and maintained and I have over 60 years of sailing experience, on- and off-shore. I am reasonably confident that we will never need the raft yet, if we need it, its there, ready to go. I am sure that most that sail off-shore feel their boats are sturdy enough that they don't need a raft yet one never knows. I am sure that the owner of Lelia B, the well found Tarten 42 that sank off Ft. Myers during the Bone Island Regatta (to Key West) last month never expected to need his life-raft. No one knows what happened aboard the boat but it sank out from under the crew within 20 minutes of their discovery of water flooding the boat, before they could find, never-the-less staunch the inflow. Fortunately, they had a raft that the crew took to and, not long after, were picked up by another boat that responded to their May Day calls. Minor injuries and no loss of life. Absent the raft, who knows. Given the number of times we have had sharks investigate us while we sat becalmed in the Gulf of Mexico, I am really not interested in the possibility of floating around in a PFD waiting for a pick-up when we could be safely cocooned, if not entirely comfortable, in a raft. An ounce of prevention eh?

FWIW...
 

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Would it be safe to guess that the boat sank from lack of maintenance? or lack of knowledge of boat ie poor seamanship? All sea cocks should be closed at sea hence the term sea **** so the only realistic place water would be coming in is from stuffing box, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out, does it? I wasn't there none of us were, still my point is it could have been avoided with a little prudence. My guess is that if the boat wasn't insured and there was no life raft it would still be floating.
 

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Would it be safe to guess that the boat sank from lack of maintenance? or lack of knowledge of boat ie poor seamanship? All sea cocks should be closed at sea hence the term sea **** so the only realistic place water would be coming in is from stuffing box, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out, does it? I wasn't there none of us were, still my point is it could have been avoided with a little prudence. My guess is that if the boat wasn't insured and there was no life raft it would still be floating.
Engine intake would also be a good one to be open but I am no rocket scientist. You do not mention engine running but I took it that is what you meant as a normally maintained stuffing box should not be leaking unless the engine is running and in gear.

How about a rudder post? How about any given transducer that is installed in the hull, especially the speed which is likely removable?
 

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Engine intake? so they could cheat on a 200 mile race course? again through hull failure is a lack of maintenance ie lack of seamanship. As far as the rudder shaft a good friend of mine lost his in last years Cabo race, they fixed it and continued on 12 hours later to a great performance. He is half way to Hawaii at this moment in the Trans Pac and on the same boat, the one that would have sank if they followed their first instinct which was to abandon ship.

Tominny, thanks for the great link
 

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My sailing on my own boat is a mix of coastal and offshore, often in the off-season or in cold waters. I have a Winslow packed inside a Pelican case stowed in the cockpit. The case could serve as a very useful watertight backup to an already packed ditch bag... Have a dry suit, as well...



If I had the time, and the conditions allowed, my inflatable tender would definitely be coming with me, as well... it's stowed on the foredeck, always with the foot pump and other gear necessary to render it usable in an emergency...

For anyone thinking about liferafts - and Offshore Safety in general - I think Beth & Evans' approach is an extremely worthwhile read... One may not endorse their final choices, but their focus on 'seamanship' over 'gear' is a mindset far too few sailors appear to have today, in my view...

Go to Seamanship FAQ. and click on #30...
 

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Would it be safe to guess that the boat sank from lack of maintenance? or lack of knowledge of boat ie poor seamanship? All sea cocks should be closed at sea hence the term sea **** so the only realistic place water would be coming in is from stuffing box, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out, does it? I wasn't there none of us were, still my point is it could have been avoided with a little prudence. My guess is that if the boat wasn't insured and there was no life raft it would still be floating.
I'd want to know a bit more about the actual event, before making such assertions...

Scott McWilliams
Below is a link to a slide show my son put on the web.

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BzEWzZMcZVhzM1hqQlVST3pDbFk/edit?usp=sharing.

Liela B was in great shape. The thru hulls and diesel were replaced in 2012. she was restored. We sailed her to the Bahamas last summer through tropical squalls and no problem. We were taking her to Mexico next month. I did all the basic repairs myself and knew every inch of the boat. A race crew of 5 very experienced sailors, ex navy, sail makers, master 50 sail, past commodore. 20 year live aboard. We started the yanmar and it stalled immediately. We looked and there was debris under the boat. We dove the boat and there was a line wrapped gently around the shaft. It was removed by uncoiling like a winch. It did not need to be cut. We started the engine again and it ran smoothly. We noticed water in the bilge, checked the bilge pumps and they were working. Put a man on the whale gulper and a lift pump. Shut off the thru hulls. All seemed solid. In 15 minutes the boat was half full of water and it was unsafe below. We rigged the dink took the epurb, outboard vhf gps flares etc and abandoned ship. None of us who were there could find the leak. None of you can either. Know that a well maintained bluewater vessel with an experienced chew can sink from unknown causes in 30 minutes and be prepared for that. The best guess of the cost guard, marine surveyor for the ins co and the crew is that the entire can where the shaft exits the keel ripped out and the shaft became off balance and ripped a giant hole under the engine (v drive).

PHOTO: When that sinking feeling is real - Scuttlebutt Sailing News

While it will never be known whether either was relevant to this event, such a scenario touches upon 2 features I would never want in a boat: a V-drive, or a hull liner/pan, common on so many of today's production boats...
 

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Would it be safe to guess that the boat sank from lack of maintenance? or lack of knowledge of boat ie poor seamanship? All sea cocks should be closed at sea hence the term sea **** so the only realistic place water would be coming in is from stuffing box, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out, does it? I wasn't there none of us were, still my point is it could have been avoided with a little prudence. My guess is that if the boat wasn't insured and there was no life raft it would still be floating.
You seem to be stuck on the "why" of an event. In the event, the "whys and woulda, coulda, shoulda's" are irrelevant. It is the "if" one is preparing for. Or not.

Recently MarkJ began a thread on a multi-million dollar yacht that burned to the waterline, fortunately, while at anchor, shortly after a transatlantic passage. No one is certain of the cause, although electrics are suspected. Fortunately, all were able to abandon ship without injuries to other than their dignity and wardrobes (and the wallet of the owner). Had that fire erupted a few daze earlier, they'd have been far at sea and likely in shoot city absent a raft. Similarly, a few years ago some friends of ours returning from Isla Mujeres "hit something" in the night and promptly lost their rudder. Only very fast action saved the boat and it was very touch-and-go for several days at that.

The why's and woulda, coulda, shoulda's of an event are irrelevant to any but Monday Morning Quarterbacks and condescending self anointed "experts" although the after-action lesson's learned for avoidance/prevention are no doubt of value. Never-the-less, it is the If's that need be prepared for. The Why's are merely fodder for bar-side debate.

N'any case one can choose to prepare or choose not to. Different ships, Different Long Splices, eh?
 
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Ok line around the propeller shaft was it from their boat? seamanship again. They weren't saved by a life raft. Thank you though for share a much more accurate account, like I have previously said a wasn't there. I have just scratched Tartan's off my list of sea worthy boats. How long did it take to inflate the raft when they could have been plugging a leak in the boat.
 

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s/v Tiger Lily
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I'd like to keep it stored in my cockpit hatches ... because it woudl be easy to access, but I fear that it would get too hot in there. Otherwise, I'd put it on one of the shelves/lockers mid-ships. It seems like the heat it would suffer in the cockpit locker would not be good for its longevity.

By the way, I assume that our boat can sink at any moment. I do not rule out a whale swimming up the Chesapeake and leaping on top of us. Our boat is 34 years old. Even with a lot of due dilligence I think that anything can happen ... particularly with through-hulls, shafts etc.
 
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