Posted by: Helena Smalman-Smith | June 23, 2011

Not just any old liferaft

Welcome to my first ever post on our WordPress blog – which I think will be the way ahead for blogging from the ocean waves.

Today I had yet another phone call with a liferaft hire company. We’re hiring a raft because the boat didn’t come with one, and the advantage of hiring is that because the ISO standards do change moderately frequently, you won’t be saddled with an obsolete one. According to the race rules, we have to have an ISO liferaft with a SOLAS B pack. A WHAT? I think this standard for something like “saving of lives at sea”. Sounds good. We definitely want to have one of those. Except that apparently we already have most of the contents! All we’re missing is the 2 parachute rocket flares (red) and the buoyant orange smoke signal (I think that’s because the boat’s previous owner let this off in quite understandable jubilation whilst entering English Harbour, Antigua after his solo row across the pond). Oh, and an INFLATABLE radar reflector. Now I understand the concept of a radar reflector, but I thought they had to be metal, so I can’t really be inflatable. Sounds as improbable as a vicar with an inflatable dog collar, or an artist with an inflatable easel. I mean, some items just HAVE to be made of a rigid material. However, since I know nothing, I’ll just shut up and order one.

The other thing you never knew you never knew about life rafts is that butyl ones are lighter than the ones made of something else. I forget what that is. But you definitely don’t want a life raft made of it.

And here’s a pic of our Didi looking out over the Henley course to demonstrate how photos work from an emailed-in blog post.

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