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I think 2 ft seas are about max capability of a dinghy. Mine has a range of about 50 miles (estimate) if the tank is full.

I’d definitely use it in tame near shore conditions, as it’s hanging on the davits. I don’t think it’s of any use offshore.

Stories of sailing past life rafts ended with the availability of EPIRBs. We have one in the ditch bag and another in a hydro release bracket on the mothership. VHF and spare batteries in ditchbag too.
 

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Discussion Starter #42
I think they are of use offshore, but its not easy and a balance of life risk situations.

In my post I said "1970s books where the dude is in the life-raft watching ships sail past."

For a start, nowadays, most are rescued in under 24 hours since the advent of EPIRB.

If one is still floating around a week later then the EPIRB hasnt worked/wasnt recovered, so no one knows youre out there.

After a week the weather has calmed or a calm day picked. Shipping is often very undermanned on the bridge and a good visual lookout is not kept well enough for any liferaft/dinghy to be spotted.

So the ability for one, on a calm day, to motor fast 2 or 3 nms to intercept a ship and fire flares near the bridge with the ability to return to the life-raft if unsuccessful, would be a life and death risk. But maybe better than a die anyway risk.

How the dinghy is stored for the passage is immaterial. Just make sure you launch it after the liferaft and before you cast off the foundering boat. :) Dont just say: "We've got the raft we don't need the dink." :)



BTW I did a stupid thing a few years ago.... a friend said we are all going scuba diving to this great reef 1nm off shore. 5 couples in 5 dinghies headed for the marker buoy. I thought the leading dinghy had the exact location marked on his handheld GPS. Until I realised he didnt.
We couldn't find the buoy.
Thats about the time I realised I didnt bring an EPIRB or my mobile phone (didnt want to get it wet). My handheld VHF would have already been out of range from the shore. The shore was now about 2nms away and we were DOWNwind of in it the tradewinds of the Caribbean, next stop Mexico 1,000nms to leeward.

About then, the furtherest flung dinghy noticed the buoy about 500 yards/meters BEHIND us.
We had our scuba dive and then headed home... into the Tradewinds.

That was one long, worrysome ride home.

I count my blessings...
 

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In those conditions, it doesn't seem likely that you would be able to make a suitable patch with mat/roving and resin.

For an emergency in which a hatch or portlight has been broken, I'd want something like self-adhesive Typar flashing or self-adhesive ice and water roof underlayment. That stuff is tough, it sticks to anything, and it would make a good, water-tight gasket. Put it over the broken port. Have two pre-cut pieces of plywood that are slightly larger than the hatch's frame, one for the inside and one on the outside. Thread a bolt through a small hole drilled in the centers of the plywood pieces. Tighten up with a wing nut. Use a little butyl tape and an extra nut between the inner plywood and the flashing to keep the bolt from leaking. Once you have the situation stabilized, you can then think about sealing things better with more butyl tape, underwater epoxy, or resin & mat.
 

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......So the ability for one, on a calm day, to motor fast 2 or 3 nms to intercept a ship and fire flares near the bridge with the ability to return to the life-raft if unsuccessful, would be a life and death risk. But maybe better than a die anyway risk.......
That's in interesting thought. Stay in the raft, but keep the dink so you can motor toward a potential rescue vessel. I'll bet it's much easier to be recovered from a dingy, with a motor, as you can help maneuver into position yourself.

Of course, this would require calms seas, as you note. I also wonder what it would be like in really snotty seas, with a dinghy tied to the liferaft. Would it be more or less stable, as it went over sea tops. What would happen if the dink was capsized.

Good stuff to think about. Captain's call.
 
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rafts have a water ballast for stability and would make towing difficult to say the least.
 

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I carry a couple of small Blue Tarps that can be quickly rigged as a hull diaper should the hull be breached. After stopping the water coming in with them I would try to come up with a more permanent solution after the initial emergency has been taken care of. That might include some plywood and fiberglass matting and epoxy and other sealants. BTW these tarps are sometimes available for free at Harbor Freight stores with other purchases.
 

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Hi Folks :)

For your advice :)

To add to my "Ooops This Voyage Ain't Going Well" emergency supplies I am wanting to get something to cover a blown out hatch / window etc, or general purpose large hole problem, to stop water ingress.
Scenario:
Long passage over 1,000 nms and a wave breaks off, smashes etc one of 13 opening hatches or 3 large deck windows. Resultant water ingress or clear danger of it.
Cover hole with any firm board, timber, door etc
Mark, While delivering a Hinckly 50 from Main to Virgin Gorda, we got caught up in terrible weather, well south of Bermuda. Tremendous waves were coming out of the north while another wave train, of equally high waves, came out of the east. Sometimes these waves collided perfectly to send geysers high into the sky. One wave did catch us and blew out the portlight over the nav station, and opposite the galley. Very impressive. While laying on a favorable tack to keep the break in the lee, the only quick fix was to take the spare hatch board, (the normal hatch boards were a gem of highly glossy varnish) and set it outside the break and take a stainless steel pipe to secure from the inside. The join was a length of line used like a Spanish Windlass. So we had to use a sharp knife to drill holes in the spare hatch board. Rags stuffed around the edges did a pretty good job of keeping the water out. Sounds easy but it took 10 hours to complete. You can't use fiberglass resin in wet conditions.....and even if dry, bouncing around in bad conditions, trying to mix and spilling resin would be an additional disaster.
 

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.....You can't use fiberglass resin in wet conditions.....and even if dry, bouncing around in bad conditions, trying to mix and spilling resin would be an additional disaster.
I agree that traditionally wetting out glass, doesn't strike me as a viable emergency procedure. It was one of the scenes in Robert Redford's, All is Lost, that I found silly (many others too, including how the hole was made in the first place).

However, epoxy made for underwater use is a different story. It's thick (some even as thick as putty) and typically mixes 1:1, so measuring isn't that hard. I've not needed it for survival, but have for other purposes. Perhaps the bigger problem, especially in bad conditions, is that it could find itself adhered to everything within striking distance, including the crew. Very, very sticky. A box of nitrile gloves is a good idea aboard, for all sorts of reasons.
 

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it's hard enough to work with epoxy on a calm day and a level surface. Use the stuff Minni recommends. have storm covers for the ports in the hull and plywood and the right range of screws and washers to make emergency repairs.
 

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Discussion Starter #53
spare hatch board, and set it outside the break and take a stainless steel pipe to secure from the inside. The join was a length of line used like a Spanish Windlass.

Very nifty trick!

I will keep that idea in the shaddows of my mind.

:)


Mark
 

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Good ideas. I was thinking about how to seal the repair of a plywood hatch cover. Still consider using toilet bowl wax to stuff in the "lip" of the gap between plywood and deck. Think: deck, rubber matting, plywood with the wax to fill any cracks. Or use pieces of cloth to fill any gaps. Then I thought (the reason for this post) ... I wonder if you could use expanding foam (like from an aroseol can you buy at a hardware store). Would it become waterproof? Would it set in a moist environment? It would be interesting to experiment with it, to see if it works.
 
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