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Old 02-02-2013, 12:39   #16
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Re: Life Raft Brand?

I'm very impressed with my Winslow.

I live close enough to the factory to deliver it myself for recert. The tech went through it completely, inflated it, show me all the features, etc.

Winslow has been making rafts for over 50 years.
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Old 02-02-2013, 14:03   #17
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Re: Life Raft Brand?

My previous raft was a Plastimo coastal. After 15 years of cruising (9 with a sailing association, 6 with me, repacks as scheduled by manufacturer) and 2 years in my basement, it inflated OK and looked like new.

My new raft is a Plastimo offshore. The first repack is scheduled this year. We will see its condition then.

Anyway, I'm not sure if it's possible to buy Plastimo rafts now: the company went bankrupt last year and was taken over by financiers. I don't know if they still make liferafts. Their website (plastimo.com) is not fully functional now.

Alain
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Old 02-02-2013, 15:19   #18
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Re: Life Raft Brand?

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Originally Posted by Thames 4 Blood View Post
My hobies include motorbikes, skiing and sailing.
Cool! Add kitesurfing (which you will out there), and we sync up perfectly.
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Old 02-02-2013, 15:29   #19
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Re: Life Raft Brand?

Thank you. I have heard the same advice myself.
Mostly it will be 2 persons aboard but up to 4 so a 4 man raft should be ideal and the lower weight means Sam has a chance of deploying it if I am unable...

Its grim stuff!
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Old 02-02-2013, 22:16   #20
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Re: Life Raft Brand?

Switlik, Winslow and Viking are all very high quality. I think Revere is a good price point raft if you can't afford the others.
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Old 02-02-2013, 22:47   #21
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Re: Life Raft Brand?

I too have been looking at life rafts and I am leaning towards a Viking RescYou Pro because it appears to be a quality product but more importantly, because it is self-righting. The prospect of having to right a life raft that launched inverted in rough conditions sends a shiver down my spine.

I would be interested in your opinions especially if you have any experience, either with the RescYou Pro or a life raft that has inverted.

Thanks.
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:31   #22
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Re: Life Raft Brand?

Geoff,
I would think that self-righting rafts, being much higher on the water, are exposed to a greater risk of being capsized by wind and waves.

I don't have any experience of righting a raft in severe conditions but, in training, it wasn't that difficult.

Regarding the quality of materials and workmanship, it can be wasted if the raft container is left exposed to the sun, especially in tropical areas. For this reason, some manufacturers require a repack every year for these rafts.

Alain
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:46   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff54 View Post
I too have been looking at life rafts and I am leaning towards a Viking RescYou Pro because it appears to be a quality product but more importantly, because it is self-righting. The prospect of having to right a life raft that launched inverted in rough conditions sends a shiver down my spine.

I would be interested in your opinions especially if you have any experience, either with the RescYou Pro or a life raft that has inverted.

Thanks.
During STCW training, one of the requirements is to invert a 20 person Liferaft in a pool, which is hard. Try to invert a Liferaft of any size in even small seas is going to require exceptional skills. Also understand that a Liferaft capacity is based on something around two square feet per person. In both my STCW classes we had 13 adult males inside a 20 person raft and it was crowded.

Order a raft that is two persons larger than your normal crew size, but remember if it is too large and doesn't have enough weight in it, it could be unstaable. This can be compensated by using a water ballast systems.

My advice is look for one that is self righting. I believe any SOLAS rated off-shore raft is self righting.

Also consider where you mount the raft. Most Liferaft deployments are done by the crew, not the hydro release. Make sure the average person can deploy it. Lots of people are storing their rafts in places that will be difficult to deploy, if needed. If you use a canister have it in a place you can access it safely in heavy seas and can slide it across the deck into the water instead of lifting it. If you used a a soft container make sure it is located somewhere near the cockpit and that the average person can get it out of where it is stored without having to dig for it.

I have two friends that ended up in liferafts, one spent 4 hours in the water after striking a whale and the other spent 38 hours in the North Atlantic after the bow sheared off on hie one design catamaran. I also heled coordinate two rescues via SSB. One 1900 miles SW of San Diego, which took 10.5 hours to get parachute medics to them and anthoer 12 hours to get a rescue ship to them. The other was in the Sea of Cortez, where a singlehander fell asleep and went aground in 90 miles from no where. It took 7 hours to rescuers to him. I have also read several books and reports on rescues at sea and the bottom line is the time it takes rescuers to you is based on where you are and how close someone else is to you. But these stories should give you an idea how long you could potentially be in a liferaft.

The people who commented about safety being overated are entitled to their opinions and can blame it on the governments, but in my opinion, safety is important and you should consider the bad things happeneing and have a plan.
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:49   #24
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Re: Life Raft Brand?

[QUOTE=

One advice for any new buyer: do not buy 'one size' up - a liferaft should not be oversized for the number of crew.

b.[/QUOTE]

B, interesting, what is your reasoning here?
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:55   #25
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Re: Life Raft Brand?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff54 View Post
I too have been looking at life rafts and I am leaning towards a Viking RescYou Pro because it appears to be a quality product but more importantly, because it is self-righting. The prospect of having to right a life raft that launched inverted in rough conditions sends a shiver down my spine.

I would be interested in your opinions especially if you have any experience, either with the RescYou Pro or a life raft that has inverted.

Thanks.
If you are planning to buy a Viking RescuYou Pro new, you might check with the Miami distributor. They sometimes have the prior year raft new available at a good discount. They are still inspected and have a 3 year re-cert.
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:04   #26
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Re: Life Raft Brand?

The point of not "sizing up", or so I understand it.... is that in severe conditions you would be tossed around inside the raft like a pebble in a tin. In a corretly sized raft you and fellow survivors can brace.
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:08   #27
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Re: Life Raft Brand?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hydra View Post
Geoff,
I would think that self-righting rafts, being much higher on the water, are exposed to a greater risk of being capsized by wind and waves.

I don't have any experience of righting a raft in severe conditions but, in training, it wasn't that difficult.

Regarding the quality of materials and workmanship, it can be wasted if the raft container is left exposed to the sun, especially in tropical areas. For this reason, some manufacturers require a repack every year for these rafts.

Alain
Alain makes a good point about repacking as well... The purpose of repacking is to extend the service time of your raft. The folds tend to weaken the material, especilly in heat, so when they repack the raft it is folded a different way to extend its life. Vacuum packing does not help with this problem.

As far as windage on self righting rafts, that might be true, if it didn't have water ballast system, which most SOLAS Rafts do.
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:17   #28
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Re: Life Raft Brand?

I purchased a New Zodiac Offshore 6 person raft 2 years old. Got it at a resonable price from the dealer here in Toronto. Vacume packed cetified etc. Vacumed packed will apparently last for a very long time? In a Valise pack. down side we have to keep it below and it is heaavy and awkward to lift out.
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Old 03-02-2013, 08:06   #29
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Re: Life Raft Brand?

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The point of not "sizing up", or so I understand it.... is that in severe conditions you would be tossed around inside the raft like a pebble in a tin. In a corretly sized raft you and fellow survivors can brace.
I think the more common reasoning is that a raft relies on the weight of occcupants in part for ballast and with too few it is more likely to flip.
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Old 03-02-2013, 08:30   #30
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Re: Life Raft Brand?

That makes sense!
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