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Old 16-03-2015, 17:03   #1
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Valise liferaft in a cradle

I'd like to float an idea and see what others think. We, like many, have a valise liferaft and normally its kept below, but we could put it in the very limited cockpit locker space if we were planning a more offshore trip.

However, I was thinking of getting one of the liferaft stern rail brackets and when we are going offshore we put the valise in that (maybe with some lightweight protection like a black plastic bag to protect from UV.) Then when we are just coast sailing, the valise can be tucked away inside.

This would make it readily accessible when we are more than swimming distance from shore, but allows us to store it in a more protective environment and out of the way when we are close to shore

We are limited for space (35' boat) and while a canister is possible, Im just wondering how it would compare to what Im suggesting. The money we could save on switching to canister could fund an EPIRB which is also useful

Its just an idea and Im interested in what people would see as the pro-s and con's
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Old 17-03-2015, 03:25   #2
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Re: Valise liferaft in a cradle

To me, there are some advantages in having it aft as you suggest, ease of launching in an emergency comes to mind. But there you go putting more weight out astern, and making the boat hobbyhorse more, as well as having some more windage on some points of sail. The UV absorptive cover will help preserve the canister.

Honestly, I think you are (or will be) better off to keep it below, near the companionway. Really, none of us expect to use them, anyway.

Hope you find a match for your concerns.

Ann
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Old 17-03-2015, 03:51   #3
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pirate Re: Valise liferaft in a cradle

I'm in favour of it being topsides.. the chances of one being able to dig it out of a locker down below and haul it up a narrow companionway in an emergency situation is pretty small.. I'm no weakling but these are both heavy and cumbersome when speed is of the essence..
I think I'd be more inclined to fit a wood plinth under the boom, or just ahead of the mast if there's space and keep it there.. quick easy access.. 30sec's and its launched.

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Old 17-03-2015, 04:38   #4
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Re: Valise liferaft in a cradle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
.. . Really, none of us expect to use them, anyway.. . .
Famous last words!

By that logic, no need to have it at all!
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Old 17-03-2015, 05:01   #5
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Re: Valise liferaft in a cradle

Having a liftraft down below or even tucked in a cockpit locker is a no go

When and if you need to launch, it will almost certainly be terrible weather and you will be very tired from having fought to save th boat for (many) hours. trying to drag a raft up from below is not easy even in calm conditions, but if the boat is in heavy seaway - chances are you'll not get it up. The same is true for one buried on a cockpit locker.

Mount it on the coach roof or the rail. Then you can loosen the strap or the hinged gate and push it into the sea. Just make sure it is tied on.
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Old 17-03-2015, 08:42   #6
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Re: Valise liferaft in a cradle

I had your same concern prior to doing a trans-Atlantic crossing, so I relocated my (8 man Zodiac) valise from below deck to behind the mast. But I was fortunate because I already had a fiberglass hard case and a cradle. When the raft was inspected, I had it repacked for the hard case. Keeping the valise in some other protective cover is better than nothing, but you defeat the option of an easy launch, should that become necessary. I'd investigate the cost of a hard case. Check with your raft manufacturer for a used case. You can fabricate deck chocks, if you want to avoid the cost of a cradle.
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Old 17-03-2015, 08:52   #7
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pirate Re: Valise liferaft in a cradle

Get some green/black/blue.. whatever.. garden waste bags.. tho' lighter colours are better.. cut them to your pattern then assemble using stick n stick velcrose..
No need to unpack it just toss it over and yank the cord.. the inflation process will make short work of the cover..
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Old 17-03-2015, 12:18   #8
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Re: Valise liferaft in a cradle

There is no point in keeping the liferaft in a location that is not easily accessible in an emergency. Either on the stern rail or at least on cabin top behind the mast.
And I speak from experience, being on a boat that sunk within 10 minutes from discovery of water ingress. Our raft was on the cabin top and had been launched within 5 minutes from the stern. Had it been hidden in some hard to get locker we would have to swim...
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Old 17-03-2015, 17:01   #9
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Re: Valise liferaft in a cradle

I have a four man valise standing in the cockpit against my pedestal rail. I use a short length of cord with two carabiners to keep it in place. It is secure but immediately available for use without having to leave the cockpit.
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Old 17-03-2015, 21:47   #10
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Re: Valise liferaft in a cradle

Valise life rafts must be kept dry and in an accessible location. If you find the need to place your life raft above deck, whether you stowe it in a heavy duty trash bag or a waterproof storage bag (suggested), you must remove it prior to deployment. Valise rafts are not tested to deploy packed in an additional bag and you may very well hinder your inflation, or worse yet cause the raft not to fully inflate. You must remove any outer cover you have placed over the valise provided with the life raft from the manufacturer.
WaterShed produces very nice waterproof bags that would allow you to store your raft on deck, however, keep in mind YOU MUST REMOVE the valise from any additional form of protection you have stored it in. You don't want to hinder the inflation of your raft should the need arise. Know we all think it is never going to happen to us, but it happens to someone, otherwise rafts would not be being deployed! I'd rather be safe in my life raft than tredding water! Stay Safe!
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