Sail Boat Show in Oakland in April, which means it would be a great opportunity for you to investigate and compare programs.
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• April, 2007
⇑⇓WE USED A ZODIAC AS A LIFERAFT I’m responding to Jean Winter, who wrote for advice about what kind of liferaft to buy when going cruising. You may recall that my Morgan 45 Painkiller sank on April 30, 2000, when 120 miles north of Cartegena in the Caribbean Sea. We didn't have a liferaft to get into, but used a Zodiac Yachtline RIB for that purpose. Since that incident, I’ve attended many of the major boat shows around the country and spent a lot of time with liferaft vendors. Before buying a liferaft, I think Winter needs to ask herself the following questions: 1) What kind of cruising will I be doing? Warm water, cold water or both. The answer to that will tell her what type of floor — single layer or double layer — she should get. 2) Do I want a canopy? Based on my experience, the answer to that should always be 'yes'. 3) How many tubes? The more tubes, probably the safer and drier the liferaft. 4) Hard canister on deck or valise down below? 5) But the most important question is, what is the maximum number of people who might ever have to get into the liferaft. Everyone needs to know that a 'man', as in a 'four-man liferaft', gets four square feet. How big is four square feet? If you have an average size 14-year-old around, sit him/her on their bottom and wrap their arms around their legs, and he/she will occupy about four square feet. If you're bigger than a 14-year-old, as most adults are, that's nowhere near enough room. In fact, the three of us who had to survive in Painkiller's RIB occupied about 20-sq-ft. Liferaft buyers also need to ask themselves how long they would be comfortable sitting on their bottom with their knees toward their chin with their arms wrapped around their legs. If the answer is "not very long," they might need to increase the number of 'men' their raft will hold. If you've ever had to survive in a liferaft at sea, only My guess is the biggest and best will do the next time around. that a couple would want to have a minimum of a six-man liferaft. Also, should I ever find myself in the position again to have to use a liferaft, I’m going to: 1) Light off the 406 EPIRB/GPS early; 2) Call the Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Center in Miami on my fully charged Satphone; 3) Tie my RIB next to my double-walled, double-tubed, canopied, water-ballasted, eight-man (for a crew of three) liferaft; 4) Be wearing a long-sleeved shirt, a big floppy canvas hat securely fastened to my head, along with my polycotton pants and my reef-runner shoes. 5) Have lip and skin protection — and plenty of it — along with my jugs of water, food and other supplies. 6) While I’m waiting for help to arrive, I’ll double-check my flare gun and the three dozen shells that will go with it. The
The April 2007 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.