Sunday, November 25, 2007

Reid's Safety Equipment (this is a life raft)

With the wheels rapidly coming off this farce I thought it would be a good time to revisit Reid's life raft and safety equipment.

It may not be entirely clear to someone without offshore sailing experience how important having the correct safety equipment is. Reid's theory about safety equipment usage: "The use of an open rubber boat as a life raft is debatable, but it will work as it has on numerous occasions, most notably by Ala(i)n Bombard who purposely took an open rubber boat with very few supplies across the Atlantic in the seventies." Is misguided and based upon the original theories of Alain(misspelled by Reid) Bombard from Alain's voyage in 1952(rather than the 70s as stated by Reid). Great strides have been made in life boat technology in the 55 years since Alain's journey, in part based upon the research of Bombard. We wouldn't want the uninformed to get the wrong idea from Reid's actions so...

Lets begin with an examination of of life rafts:

This is a SOLAS(safety of life at sea) life raft...



It has features like:
- overhead cover to protect from exposure, flooding, and roll over
- a boarding platform
- rapidly filling ballast to keep it upright and under control in the water
- redundant flotation tubes
- a sea anchor to keep the raft upright and stable
- manual accordion inflation to top off the flotation tubes
- and insulated floor
- additional supplies such as flares, VHF radio, EPIRB, food, and a water maker
- storage case so that it can be gotten on deck, ready to deploy in 45 seconds
- a secure mechanism to attach it to the boat and keep it upright after deployment
- automatic upright inflation/deployment in the water within 15 seconds


This However is an inflatable dingy...

Reid's "life raft" features:
- 6 oars to row to shore

- a foot pump for inflation

- takes 15 minutes to inflate with a foot pump on a stable deck with no wind to carry it away. takes 30 minutes to inflate on a pitching deck if the wind and waves don't carry it away.

- stored somewhere in the cargo hold in a plastic bag labeled "life raft"

- easily deployed overboard partly inflated by a gust of wind or wave


While carying a life raft isn't a coast guard requirement, even the Bumfuzzles knew better and they only had 1 sailing lesson before they left sailing around the world for 3 years.

As well....

On Reid's web site he asserts that he has something called a EPURB(should be EPIRB for Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) that would signal authorities for a rescue if he gets into trouble. The following is a photo from Reids web site:

In fact it is a photo of a model of EPIRB that has been rendered obsolete by a change in the radio frequencies that are used. If he turns on this beacon hoping for a rescue he will be VERY lucky if anyone responds.

1 comment:

gst_sucks said...

I have a manual for a similar Avon inflatable going back about 25 years. In the manual it states that the dinghy can be used as a life raft and even makes mention of an optional CO2 inflation kit that is (was?) available for this purpose. Perhaps one of the themes of the Mars Oddity Mission is to retro back to the Apollo era. This would explain the style / age of boat, the life raft and the cheese (by association with the moon). Perhaps Mars really stands for Moon - Apollo - Retro - Sailing???

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