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Old 05 November 2002, 08:15   #1
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Liferafts

It is liferaft service time again except this time it a new raft

As the liferaft is a carry over from when we sailed yacths (all glass boat, 2 ton cast iron keel, no guesses how quick that would go down) where as a RIB we see as a quite different.

Anyway how many people who do offshore passages, especially solo, carry life rafts, and how many think they are not worth it in a RIB.

We have had mixed thoughts for some time but as we had it we carried it. Now its time to put our hand deep in our pockets if we wish to continue carrying a liferaft we thought we would get other peoples views.

All views welcome, especially those who may have a more real life view (guess who Charles!)

Regards Gary
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Old 05 November 2002, 11:04   #2
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There is no easy answer to this question. Space on an everyday type rib is normally a problem. On my Fairline Targa the bow cushions apparently doubled up as an emergency life-raft. In fact I tested this in Braye Harbour, we managed to get four adults on the cushions and they floated superbly.

One of Scorpion Ribs's assertions is that they are unsinkbable due to the construction of the deck. I will attest to this. I would like to believe that I have no use for a life-raft as I have found myself in the ultimate test situation and DID NOT sink. In fact, one breezy day about 4 years ago we were coming through a particularly nasty sea in a race called the Swinge SW of Alderney. We were in our 6.5 Hysucat and 'fell' off the top of a wave, plumetted to the bottom of the trough, and then have a monstrous wave explode it's load on top of us. The water was level with the tubes and we had stuff floating out over the tubes. We kept going, absolutely did not sink and that is why I am the utmost fan of Ribs. No need for a life-raft.
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Old 05 November 2002, 11:19   #3
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Life rafts

I agree with Charles. A well built Rib will not sink. I think a life raft would consume too much space in the boat. I would with out a doubt carry one on any other vessel as they will sink. We had a similar experiance to charles again in the swinge in a humber. Dropped of the top of a huge wave in a force 7-8 and went straight into the trough. The A frame was snapped off and the water level was above the tubes. We managed to keep forward momentum and the water eventually bailed out. The boat was never in any danger of going any further down. even without the tubes the hull will float, at least on the Scorpions. How much is a service for a life raft etc ????

Julian ( Swinge is nasty)
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Old 05 November 2002, 11:19   #4
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Charles is right, the theory goes that you have 5 or 7 seperate sections to your tubes, plus the bouyancy of the hull (if you have Dag Pikes book on Inflatables there is a pic of a RIB hull with no tubes attached puttering around with an outboard on the back and two blokes standing on it!). I don't think I know any Ribster other than those who are coded for charter that carry one. And that includes the Round Britain and upto Scotland trips we'e done.

That being said if you already have one and have the room for it then carry it. Or carry it when you are going on extended cruises on your own. Of course if you have a really big RIB you might be carry a SIB as a tender so you could use your SIB in an emergency!

Alan
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Old 05 November 2002, 12:21   #5
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Asuming the rib doesn't hit anything hasty like rocks its the crew that will give up first. Never felt the need for a liferaft even when we stuffed an osprey sparrowhawk so far under water only the windscreen and A frame was showing above the waves. For the cost of a liferaft I could think of a lot of other safety items I would rather have on board. Second VHF, GPS, extra flares, spare lifejackets aux engine and possibly a SIB. The MSA are rewriting the rules for coded boats at the moment but be interesting to see what they insist on for commerical ribs.
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Old 05 November 2002, 12:24   #6
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We used to carry a liferaft because we had one but given your comments its as i suspected not worth replacing.

From your comments the only time I could see a life raft on a RIB is fire. and hopefully this will be a lower rish using diesel. I like the idea of cushions Charles as flotation devices, maybe more to keep you toghther as lifejackets should keep you afloat.
We often make the bow section padded with cushions, used for some funny think the wife calls, err sun bathing I think . With a little though these could be made dual use.

As far as a tender approch, our new RIB is big(er) 7.8M but not that big Alan, may be just get Keiths SIB across the back though

Thanks for the input, any other views very welcome though.

Regards Gary
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Old 06 November 2002, 02:28   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Garygee
We used to carry a liferaft because we had one but given your comments its as i suspected not worth replacing.

Thanks for the input, any other views very welcome though.
Coming from an off-shore sailing background, Gary, I have also carried a life raft, too. On my last Open 50 I carried a top of the range valise raft made by Autoflug. Very expensive but, to save weight and space, very compact.

Even then I had my doubts about it's real value because Open Class boats are pretty much unsinkable. They have 5 separate water tight compartments. I also subscribe to the view that, in almost all life threatening situations, it is better to stay with your damaged craft than to cast loose in a "rubber ball". Plenty of evidence to support that view. To wit, the Sydney Hobart race disater of 1998.

It was then after the close shaves of some competitors in the '96 Vendee Globe and the last Around Alone that the rules changed to say that all boats in those class races had to have not one but two life rafts.

I won't bore you with more on this subject, except to say that when my Autoflug was opened up to be serviced after the last Around Alone it was immediately condemed. Water had got into it and it was rotten. I'm glad I was never in a position to be tempted into using it!

Now that I am a RIBster I see no circumstances that I would abandon my RIB in favour of a liferaft. For the same reasons as all the other postings on this thread, I reckon one would be a waste of money and space.

Cheers...
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Old 06 November 2002, 17:53   #8
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Being relatively new to ribbing I was looking at getting my boats coded and decided not too because I didn't want to go to the expense of purchasing Liferafts. I felt quite strongly about this as the rib is in theory better than a liferaft.

The only reason I could see for using a Liferaft would be in case of fire, getting around that situation might be tricky.

I also undertand that the MCA are going to remove the requirements for a liferaft when coding ribs for use within thirty miles of the shore. I was told this by a knowledgable friend but he doesn't work for the MCA
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Old 07 November 2002, 08:46   #9
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carried but never used..

I carried a 6 person offshore liferaft during my mostly solo circumnavigation in a 7.3 m Zodiac. It took the majority of available cockpit space, wasn't useful for anything, never even came close to needing it (though water did fill the cockpit more than once, and I did cut tubes in mid-ocean), and it's now out of the boat!

I chose to carry one because I was typically overburdened with fuel (800 gallons on occassion) and was subject to decreased buoyancy and stress on the tubes and hull, the possibility of fire, and usually an absence of rescue resources. For a coward like me it was a comfort knowing I carried every safety device that would fit into the boat.

I would still carry one for ocean crossings or where no rescue resources or other water traffic was present - if you needed one in that circumstance it would be worth any inconvenience.

For coastal cruising in populated seas, the weight/space considerations and potential for early rescue make me favor other forms of emergency floatation and leaving the liferaft on shore. But I would always carry something else that will float and offer some support in case of the unimagined emergency.
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Old 07 November 2002, 13:08   #10
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Sunrider, is there a web site of your exploits ?

Pete
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