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Old 14-05-2011, 14:24   #1
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Liferaft Location ?

I am trying to decide on the best location to store a 6 man liferaft on a 42' centre cockpit yacht (approx 50kg). I like the idea of keeping it downstairs, I just wonder how the hell you get it upstairs in a hurry when someone yells "fire." I've seen some stored vertically on the sternrail. This seems ideal for launching but it would seem to expose the pushpit / sternrail to a lot of force with a boarding sea from astern and it might just be enough force to carry the liferaft away. There is room in front of the dodger and this seems to be ideal until you actually had to use it. Ah well, I suppose it will never happen to me?? What does everyone think?

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Old 14-05-2011, 15:29   #2
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Re: Liferaft location ?

Just how much does this liferaft weigh? Mine is a bit over 100 lbs and located on the foredeck. I don't much like either and plan to change to a smaller lighter raft probably located near the mast. There are seldom more than two of us on board and 4 person raft will do just fine. I've also read that one doesn't want too much extra room in the raft unless you like being tossed all over the place. The liferaft company can probably give you some input there.

Another consideration, unless the raft is in a weather sealed cannister, storing it on deck will be the kiss of death. Even with a cover, the elements will get in and ruin it in relatively short order. If in a valise, then store it below decks as much as possible.

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Old 14-05-2011, 15:34   #3
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Re: Liferaft location ?

The ideal is a specially designed locker in the cockpit, but that's rare to find and hard to do.
One thought for those that store them on deck - I have had one ripped from the deck during a rollover, and the holes left behind where the stainless frame used to be through bolted were a bigger issue than the loss of the raft.
On my own boat later I went for a lighter raft in a valise suspened in a quick release sling over a quarter berth, I figured the adrenaline would help me get it on deck in a hurry (under 30s in tests).
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Old 14-05-2011, 22:57   #4
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Bummer. We had our valise in a stern lazzarette but decided it would be too hard to get out. We wanted to put it in a hard case when we repack it & mount it to the aft deck in a stainless steel frame. Now I hear about weather damage and ripping off in a knock down (rare but when you may need it) If we don't have the locker in the cockpit, where is the best idea to keep it. I want it real close to the stern where we will get off.
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Old 14-05-2011, 23:07   #5
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Re: Liferaft location ?

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Originally Posted by dana-tenacity View Post
One thought for those that store them on deck - I have had one ripped from the deck during a rollover, and the holes left behind where the stainless frame used to be through bolted were a bigger issue than the loss of the raft.
...and if they can get ripped off on deck, doesn't that make the vertical sternrail mounts a bit doubtfull?

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Old 14-05-2011, 23:47   #6
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Re: Liferaft Location ?

I hope this thread has helped the OP. It's certainly helped me. Our life raft is in a special locker on the after deck. I just realized that it is just lying there not fixed to anything, and to boot the locker lid is not fixed down. In a knockdown the raft would just fly into the oggin. Duly added to list of boat jobs.

To the OP: IMHO, the pushpit is the best place for the raft if you don't have the special locker. The small risk of losing it from being pooped, in my opinion, more acceptable than high risk of not being able to extricate it from belowdecks of a sinking boat in a storm. On deck it's in the way.
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Old 15-05-2011, 00:15   #7
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Re: Liferaft Location ?

IMO, the cockpit is the preferred place if packed in weathertight hardcase or sealed valise.

If tiller steered then mounted under the tiller against aft cockpit bulkhead as that space is of limited use due to the sweep of the tiller.

If wheel steered than immediately in front of the wheel mounted longitudinally (and perhaps on edge), then a easily removable frame placed over it to serve as seats, table or whatever.

Anywhere will be a compromise between available room, inconvenience, weathering and ease of deployment as no doubt you are now confronting
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Old 15-05-2011, 04:02   #8
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Re: Liferaft Location ?

With our center cockpit, we mounted the hard case Givens on the aft cabin roof. When we gave up the Givens for a Viking in a valise we stow the Viking in the cockpit locker.
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Old 15-05-2011, 07:59   #9
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Re: Liferaft Location ?

I put mine on the back side of the cockpit coming in a locker (under the shore power locker)..the aft deck had an old cockpit recess/sump that the lower half of the canister sits down in...the "step" covers the top half.
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Old 15-05-2011, 08:09   #10
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Re: Liferaft Location ?

Very nice idea!
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Old 15-05-2011, 08:39   #11
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Re: Liferaft Location ?

Mine was a six man Viking in a valise, and weighed about 80 lbs. I had three criteria for the storage location:

The raft needs to stay completely dry to avoid corrosion and deterioration over time.
It needs to be deployed overboard from the cockpit, not on deck.
It needs to be easily accessible so that it's ready to go in under 60 seconds.

I stowed it in a cockpit lazarette, vertically oriented with a handle facing up. I wrapped it in a sheet of stiff polyethylene, which formed a kind of cylinder around the valise. The polyethylene sheet was one of those toy "sleds" that kids love to ride down snowy hills, maybe 3/32" thick. It protected the raft from chafe, etc., and made it easy to lift out of the lazarette since it's so slippery. The lazarette had enough other stuff (mooring lines, life jackets, ditch bag) to keep the valise from moving around, and had a push-button latch to keep the lid closed in case of a roll-over.
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Old 15-05-2011, 08:58   #12
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Re: Liferaft Location ?

On a 52' center cockpit, I have it up against the cockpit on the aft deck. Hard shell case and under a painted hinged cover which doubles as a seat facing aft. This is ideal for a woman who often singlehands; it weighs over 100 lbs and I can just deploy it off the aft deck.

I have a Winslow in a valise below decks as well (yes, I have been criticized for redundancy) but I will say it is a pain to store and I am not sure I could get it up the companionway if I was injured. May give it up....

The significant other and I (both avid sailors) always joke that by the time we need a life raft, the situation will have gotten so bad that we will not be getting in the same raft together.....

Fair winds....
Dr. Michele
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Old 15-05-2011, 09:03   #13
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Re: Liferaft Location ?

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Originally Posted by sailnautilus View Post
The significant other and I (both avid sailors) always joke that by the time we need a life raft, the situation will have gotten so bad that we will not be getting in the same raft together.....

Fair winds....
Dr. Michele
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