I really canīt remember ever trying to hail a ship onshore, like a channel crossing, so canīt comment there.
But off the shelf never had a problem. Not a huge sample size though when you only see maybe 1 a week. They usually seem bored and quite happy to have a chat. Sometimes Iīll watch their ais course change by maybe 10deg to leave me more room then change back again, which is an excuse to radio up to say thanks and have a chat. Canīt remember ever having one not answer quickly. And they always knew I was there as well which is heartening.
As I am sure most long distance sailors would agree we should be resonsable for our own safety and prepair out yachts to the highst standard. That said If you wnat to sail the oceans the size of the yacht is not important its your attitude and knowledge that will save you. 3 pieces of equipment I personaly regard as esential on an ocean going yacht of ANY size are. 1 x E.P.I.R.B. 1x Jordan series drouge. 1 x hand operated water maker. You can catch food but you can run out of water. No water you die but you can last along time without food. But all said I am very happy for the chap and his family that he is safe and sound