Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 17-02-2016, 03:41   #1
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 19,757
Life Raft Questions

It's time to recertify my liferafts. I carry two four-man rafts which came with the boat.

One of them is an Avon Ocean raft in a container which is now about 15 years old. Last time I had it recertified, I had the firing head replaced and hydro tested the cylinder. It was in very good condition, and my liferaft guy told me it's a top quality raft which should last a long time. It held air and the seams were perfect and it looked very seaworthy. I participated in the certification in order to gain familiarity with the raft and what's inside it and how it works. It's vacuum packed and has a three year service interval.

The other raft is a Seago in a valise, and my liferaft guy told me it's carp and not worth servicing. He told me that the material is inferior and the seams badly done, and that they fall apart over time, and to consider them disposable.


So I think it's time in any case to condemn the Seago. So the question is do I service the Avon and buy something to replace the Seago, or do I sell the Avon as well and start over again?


Liferaft is critical for my sailing because of the latitude. If the boat went down (God forbid) even in sight of land, and even with the superb rescue services we have here, you could still die very quickly from hypothermia. So it is essential to have a way to keep out of the water, and sailing without a raft is not an option.

The primary raft lives in a dedicated locker in the afterdeck near the taffrail -- an excellent arrangement. My first question for those who know is -- is there any advantage to using a container-packed one, if you don't need to keep it exposed to weather? This adds weight and expense. If I replace the Avon, then one option is to go to a 6-man valise packed one, and put it in that locker. I sometimes have more than 6 people on board, but not offshore. Then I could get rid of the Seago altogether and free up some lazarette space.

The downside of this is that I am very often either single handed or two-up offshore, and the larger raft doesn't work as well with only one or two people in it.


I would be interested in people's thoughts.
__________________

__________________
"Parce que je suis heureux en mer, et peut-être pour sauver mon ame. . . "
Dockhead is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 17-02-2016, 03:56   #2
Marine Service Provider
 
edsailing's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Devon, UK
Boat: Sailing vessels up to 200 tons
Posts: 320
Images: 1
Re: Life Raft Questions

Two four man rafts makes a lot of sense to me, redundancy being one and appropriate size being the other - you don't want a severely under loaded big raft.
__________________

__________________
Regards, Ed

Delivering boats for a living - no more!
edsailing is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-02-2016, 04:28   #3
Registered User
 
hoppy's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Boat: Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 40
Posts: 2,842
Re: Life Raft Questions

Keep the Avon and if you are happy to have it for offshore, then buy a coastal LR for when you have more onboard.
__________________
S/Y Jessabbé http://www.jessabbe.com/
hoppy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-02-2016, 04:37   #4
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 19,757
Re: Life Raft Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by edsailing View Post
Two four man rafts makes a lot of sense to me, redundancy being one and appropriate size being the other - you don't want a severely under loaded big raft.
Yeah, that was the original idea. Still thinking about that.

I guess the question is how bad is it to be one or two people in a six man raft, versus a four main raft?

The big advantage of two four man rafts is total capacity up to 8 without carrying a really big raft. I don't really need that as I am never more than 6 offshore, hence the question whether a single 6 man raft might do.
__________________
"Parce que je suis heureux en mer, et peut-être pour sauver mon ame. . . "
Dockhead is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 17-02-2016, 04:41   #5
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 19,757
Re: Life Raft Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoppy View Post
Keep the Avon and if you are happy to have it for offshore, then buy a coastal LR for when you have more onboard.
Could do, but a new four man raft is not much cheaper than a new six man raft, and I could sell the Avon. Therefore this would be a much more expensive option.

Edit: Of course RENTING a second life raft on the odd occasion with more than 4 on board offshore could be an option.
__________________
"Parce que je suis heureux en mer, et peut-être pour sauver mon ame. . . "
Dockhead is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 17-02-2016, 04:53   #6
Freelance Delivery Skipper..
 
boatman61's Avatar

Community Sponsor
Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: PORTUGAL
Posts: 20,222
Images: 2
pirate Re: Life Raft Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Yeah, that was the original idea. Still thinking about that.

I guess the question is how bad is it to be one or two people in a six man raft, versus a four main raft?

The big advantage of two four man rafts is total capacity up to 8 without carrying a really big raft. I don't really need that as I am never more than 6 offshore, hence the question whether a single 6 man raft might do.
Think back to the sea state's and heights on your last N Sea trip.. take into account your weight and that of folk who crew for you vs the load carrying limits of the raft...
A four person raft may not take 4 x 6ft 6", 240lb people... to much strain on the seams..
That's why lifts say 4 or 6 people.. max weight 700kgs.. or something similar.
Do Not assume a standard size and strength..
I'd opt for two 4 mans.. one on deck and one in your locker.. though personally the last thing I'd want is to be struggling with a heavy raft in a deep locker in an emergency.. a couple of boats I've delivered, one had to get into the locker to get it out...
__________________


Born To Be Wild
boatman61 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 17-02-2016, 05:28   #7
Registered User
 
hoppy's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Boat: Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 40
Posts: 2,842
Re: Life Raft Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Could do, but a new four man raft is not much cheaper than a new six man raft, and I could sell the Avon. Therefore this would be a much more expensive option.

Edit: Of course RENTING a second life raft on the odd occasion with more than 4 on board offshore could be an option.
I know the feeling.....

I have a 8 person which I have found out is just is a total pile of s..t. Was looking at a 6 person but as I have been soloing or 2 on board, various people on several forums have made me almost convinced that I should get just a 4. The minimal price difference keeps me switching between 4 & 6.

Right now I wonder if I should just get the 4 and if there is 6 onboard, it will only be for coastal or island hopping in the med, then I can afford to have a couple of swimmers if the dinghy is not available.
__________________
S/Y Jessabbé http://www.jessabbe.com/
hoppy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-02-2016, 05:50   #8
Long Range Cruiser
 
MarkJ's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Australian living on "Sea Life" currently in England.
Boat: Beneteau 393 "Sea Life"
Posts: 12,828
Images: 25
Re: Life Raft Questions

Another thing that reduces cost considerably is the rating.
Some brands the difference between the Offshore and the Offshore Cat 1 is $1,000+ but the only addition is more water and food!

Save the money and attach a grab bag!
__________________
MarkJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-02-2016, 06:01   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: The Netherlands
Boat: Victoire 1122
Posts: 107
Re: Life Raft Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
IThe other raft is a Seago in a valise, and my liferaft guy told me it's carp and not worth servicing. He told me that the material is inferior and the seams badly done, and that they fall apart over time, and to consider them disposable.
Did your guy actually look at the raft? I used to have one made by Seago and when it needed servicing (3 years old at that point) the service station was quite positive about it.
__________________
aluijten is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-02-2016, 06:21   #10
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 19,757
Re: Life Raft Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by aluijten View Post
Did your guy actually look at the raft? I used to have one made by Seago and when it needed servicing (3 years old at that point) the service station was quite positive about it.
No, he didn't waste my money on taking it apart. He was speaking from experience with them. 3 year or 6 years is certainly ok, but mine is more than 10 years old.

His point was that they have a shorter useful life than the better ones.

The Seago rafts are highly rated for function, however.
__________________
"Parce que je suis heureux en mer, et peut-être pour sauver mon ame. . . "
Dockhead is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 17-02-2016, 06:43   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: The Netherlands
Boat: Victoire 1122
Posts: 107
Re: Life Raft Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
No, he didn't waste my money on taking it apart. He was speaking from experience with them. 3 year or 6 years is certainly ok, but mine is more than 10 years old.

His point was that they have a shorter useful life than the better ones.

The Seago rafts are highly rated for function, however.
Fair enough. I think most would expect a useful lifespan of about 10 years for "budget" models. Question is if you want to have any life-raft for more then 10-15 years as the designs do improve over the years.
__________________
aluijten is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-02-2016, 06:45   #12
Registered User
 
hoppy's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Boat: Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 40
Posts: 2,842
Re: Life Raft Questions

I see no Seago are including a 12 year warranty with their liferafts, so I guess they should now at least last that long.
__________________
S/Y Jessabbé http://www.jessabbe.com/
hoppy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-02-2016, 07:14   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Atlantic ICW 29N/81W
Boat: Beneteau Oceanis 36CC, now sold
Posts: 817
Re: Life Raft Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by edsailing View Post
Two four man rafts makes a lot of sense to me, redundancy being one and appropriate size being the other - you don't want a severely under loaded big raft.

ONly relevant if in 'Perfect Storm ' conditions, otherwise ( fire, collision damage sinking etc, extra wriggle room and room for some basic supplies could be useful, more so if an injured person was involved. When we had liferafts that side of the pond, we chose a 6 man cannister partly for that reason and partly becuase if we had more crew than our normal 2 who would we throw over and what if some jobsworth foreign official pointed out we had berths for a fullcrew of 10 but raft space only available for 4


BTW cannister rafts are not fully waterproof and have a drain hole that should be at the lowest point when stowed.


Edited to add:-




We had a very old Avon too many moons back but when it did finallydeteriorate it went very fast ( between annual services when the cannister brasscorroding had destroyed large bits of the fabric.
__________________
Robin3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-02-2016, 07:35   #14
Registered User
 
svHyLyte's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Tampa Bay area, USA
Boat: Beneteau First 42
Posts: 3,434
Images: 25
Re: Life Raft Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
No, he didn't waste my money on taking it apart. He was speaking from experience with them. 3 year or 6 years is certainly ok, but mine is more than 10 years old.

His point was that they have a shorter useful life than the better ones.

The Seago rafts are highly rated for function, however.
For the sake of the exercise, you might simply inflate the Seago somewhere that it will not be damaged by doing so and inspect the raft yourself. You can examine the seams easily enough yourself (at least superficially) and, by leaving it inflated over night, see whether it continues to hold air. (If you don't have a pressure gauge, you can get an approximate measure by standing a measuring rule on one of the tubes and dropping a coin from the top of the rule on the tube, noting how high the coin rebounds. The rebound should be about the same from one day to the next.) If the raft seems to be serviceable to you, you could then take it to the service center where the service agents can re-inflate it, make a thorough technical inspection and, if the raft passes, repack the raft. If not, at least you could recover some or all of the supplies before the raft is discarded. For my part, I suspect the raft will prove serviceable for at least one more sequence if it has been reasonably well cared for. If not, you will not have lost anything with the exercise, No?
__________________
"It is not so much for its beauty that the Sea makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from the waves, that so wonderfully renews a weary spirit."
svHyLyte is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-02-2016, 08:11   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Atlantic ICW 29N/81W
Boat: Beneteau Oceanis 36CC, now sold
Posts: 817
Re: Life Raft Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
No, he didn't waste my money on taking it apart. He was speaking from experience with them. 3 year or 6 years is certainly ok, but mine is more than 10 years old.

His point was that they have a shorter useful life than the better ones.

The Seago rafts are highly rated for function, however.
You mean like the ones wot he sells ....
__________________

__________________
Robin3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Life Raft Alternatives cal40john Health, Safety & Related Gear 4 06-02-2007 18:52
Life raft. Mandatory or not? areso70 Rules of the Road, Regulations & Red Tape 3 04-07-2006 02:50
Switlik Life-Raft Safety Alert GordMay Health, Safety & Related Gear 0 07-12-2004 04:12



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 15:00.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.