TIH came complete with a 6 man (person!!!!!) canister life raft, DOB April 1987, to proud parents Mr. and Mrs. Avon, Dafen, Llanelli, Dyfed, Wales. The last time it was serviced was Oct. 1993.
Now, I have a few issues with life rafts having been involved in the recovery operation after the Fastnet Race in 1979 off the South Coast of Ireland. For those too young to remember;
Fastnet Race 1979
My own feeling about having a life raft on board tends to follow the advice of Lin and Larry Pardey. Check out FRIB and Portland Pudgy as two interesting alternatives.
As a result of the Fastnet incident and various cold and miserable life raft training classes over the years I have two rules governing inflatable life rafts;
1. NEVER, EVER GET INTO ONE.
2. If rule one cannot apply, YOU ONLY STEP UP INTO A LIFE RAFT. (i.e. your main vessel and tenders etc. have to be in the process of disappearing).
I was, therefore, not about to try and squeeze a few more years out of this device. We decided to stage a life raft demonstration for anyone available in the yard. The Wright Rev. Marshall was tasked with pulling the painter because if you ever need a life raft, having a religious person around to inflate it is also a good idea. Much to our surprise the damn thing inflated. Well done AVON. (This is NOT an endorsement to stretch the recommended service intervals).
The Rev. Marshall thanking the gods' of all things inflatable.
The original birth certificate. They breed them hardy in Wales.
The absolute best use for an inflatable life raft, a doggy paddling pool and sun shade..