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Old 10-05-2017, 11:37 PM   #1
cardude01's Avatar
City: Victoria TX
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Bijou
Vessel Model: 2008 Island Packet steadysailer
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 4,393
When to use the PLB?

I was thinking...

I crossed over from West End to Fort Pierce this summer on the way back from an Abaco trip. Seas were a little rough but no great difficulty. It was my first time to the Bahamas and I marveled how strong the Gulf Stream current was. I mean, I had read about it and thought I understood it, but it was still surprising how quickly it swept us about 20 plus miles north of where we were headed.

Anyway, I was thinking about what would have happened if the engine had conked out. My boat has some sails used mostly for steadying, and I had them out for the crossing, but the way the wind was blowing from the stern that day I was not able to get much production from my fairly small sails. With the current, the sails would not have gotten me to Fort Pierce, and I would not have made landfall anywhere during daylight hours.

So with useless sails and no engine, and with darkness approaching, is that a reason to use the PLB and call for help? (I say PLB because I don't have an EPIRB). Also, I'm assuming I am out of cell phone or radio range. I'm thinking maybe the answer is no, because technically it's not an emergency since I'm floating and relatively comfortable, but in my case maybe it would be since I'm not sure what I would have done. [emoji15]

So if not an emergency, and with nightfall coming, would I attempt to heave to and wait for daylight? I say attempt because I've never tried to heave to in this (or any for that matter) boat, so I need to practice that.
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