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Old 25-06-2022, 15:58   #1
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Liferaft location

I regularly see liferafts secured on deck immediately below the main boom.
This seems to me to be the worst possible location on a yacht given the danger of an uncontrolled boom in bad conditions.
Do any cruisers have experiences they could share or preferred location for easy and safe deploying in bad conditions.
Pete
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Old 25-06-2022, 17:47   #2
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Re: Liferaft location

Depends a bit on the boat in question I suppose.

Dedicated cockpit locker or capsule secured outside of sturdy pushpit.
Pros: Easily deployable from the stern (most likely scenario?)
Cons: More weight in the ends.(Especially for smaller boats.) Builder may not have provided a good location. In case of fire, the stern is likely to be downwind.

On the deckhouse, before the mast or under the boom.
Pros: Weight may be more balanced. May provide a good bench to sit on. May be safer in case of fire.
Cons: May be more difficult to deploy in heavy weather. Weight up high.

Stored below or in the bottom of the sail locker.
Forget about actually deploying it.
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Old 25-06-2022, 17:49   #3
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Re: Liferaft location

Another con for the deckhouse is that it may block the view forward.
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Old 25-06-2022, 17:51   #4
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Re: Liferaft location

European regulations apparently call for liferaft stowage in the cockpit. New boats are designed with a place for one under the helmsman's seat. Have also noticed boats that secure them on their sugar scoops. Conditions that call for launching a liferaft might include having the storm trysail up - in which case the boom will have been strapped down already.
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Old 25-06-2022, 18:10   #5
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Re: Liferaft location

Another con of the pushpit-mounted racks is that they look as if they might get carried away in heavy weather. But I suppose that's true, to some extent, of all deck-mounted locations.
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Old 25-06-2022, 19:17   #6
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Re: Liferaft location

Mine is mounted directly behind the center cockpit under the mizzen boom. I've seen other boats that have them mounted on the pushpit, and while the risk of being swept away is there, but it also seems smart. I've taken it off to have it serviced once and it is HEAVY. Having it mounted on the pushpit would make it very easy to deploy especially in less than ideal conditions.
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Old 25-06-2022, 22:34   #7
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Re: Liferaft location

From the armchair quarterback perspective, it seems that far too many people abandon ship prematurely. Still, I’ve seen recent testimonials from contributors whose boats sank before they could do anything about it. Or their injuries prevented following The Plan. It’s really got to be a ten second procedure. Or less.
And FIRE really bugs me. By the time you realize that the fire is winning, the cockpit may already be uninhabitable. In my mental fire checklist, step ONE is having the crew (if any) prepare the life raft. THEN try to fight the fire. This might be expensive, but the alternative is death.
Rudder tube failure, for spade-rudder boats, also pushes my buttons. WHY don’t they build crash-boxes around those things? Easy to do during construction, hard to retrofit. Sinks boats in a hurry. And Willy can do that just by scratching his back on the thing. (“Ahhhh.” “Ooohhhh!”)
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Old 03-07-2022, 07:47   #8
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Re: Liferaft location

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmyhenry View Post
I regularly see liferafts secured on deck immediately below the main boom.
This seems to me to be the worst possible location on a yacht given the danger of an uncontrolled boom in bad conditions.
Do any cruisers have experiences they could share or preferred location for easy and safe deploying in bad conditions.
Pete
Never had to deploy one. I have a 4-person Plastimo in a hard canister. Must weigh close to 60 lbs so it’s not something you really want to wrestle with. I stow it in my port-side cockpit locker when the boat is home. It’s a shallow locker no deeper than the cockpit sole. Traveling, I may and usually do pull it out and strap it to my cockpit binnacle on one end using quick release straps. It’s in a canvass bag I had made which fits it loosely, closed at top with a Velcro flap; so it’s easy to pull open the bag. The bag has two hand-lift straps, one on each side, below the center of gravity so it would be easy while holding the straps to tip the canister out through the top of the bag when lifted. The end that’s up gives access to the tether.

The basic deployment plan is to open the bag, attach the tether, release the holding straps, then with a mighty heave of one or two crew, lift it from sole and over the coaming then “spill” it out of the bag under the lifelines and into the water. Yank on the tether to open the canister and inflate the raft, etc. Should be able to do this in 10 sec if the crew have been briefed. No good way to practice, however. Could also pull it out directly from the locker and deploy using the same basic procedure. I take care that the raft is not blocked or impeded from being pulled from the locker. The fact the locker in not “deep” means that it can be flooded w/o letting water below, but also does not drain.
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Old 03-07-2022, 14:30   #9
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Re: Liferaft location

On a Cal 2-46, I'd mount it on the foreward part of the afterdeck, or, if it is a soft pack liferaft, then in the aftmost locker. (If it is too heavy for the smallest or weaker crew to lift out of there, lengthen the mizzen halyard so it is long enough for them to attach it, and winch it out.) Remember, in most conditions where you'll want to get into a liferaft, the boat will be very lurchy...You might want to strengthen the lifelines for the afterdeck.

I see the OP is in New Zealand. One issue you'll have to solve is where to put the dinghy, also. Another, if you're going offshore, is how to mount effective storm "boards" over the "windows".

Ann
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Old 03-07-2022, 15:27   #10
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Re: Liferaft location

A recent Beneteau Oceanis I sail on has a dedicated space under one of the cockpit seats for a liferaft. With the open transom it would be possible to drag/shove it off the back, and to me it also seems the simplest to deploy in hurry.

Another variation I've seen is under the cockpit floor, right at the transom. This placement was one of the least-intuitive I've seen to deploy.
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