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Old 14-12-2017, 11:09   #31
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

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Old 14-12-2017, 12:23   #32
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

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Latest stats, shows that offshore, 95% of distressed call are processed within 24h.
So do you really need offshore with all th add-on ?
A grab bag with extra water, food and equipement you consider mandatory will convert an good coastall to good offshore, in case you need to wait rescue for more than 24h.
Unless may be you are very fare offshore (South Pacific?) in an area where nobody can get to you.
I suspect that's because 95% of distress calls are from boats within helicopter range of a Coast Guard station, which is a few hundred miles.

The CG will tell you if you're headed to Bermuda, for example, that there is a point where you are out of range of both the USCG as well as Bermuda SAR and you should not expect a "quick rescue."

It all comes down to where you're voyaging and the conditions you're voyaging in. But don't over estimate the CG's ability to reach you promptly. In 70 F. water you can be unconscious from hypothermia in under 10 hours and dead just as quickly.
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Old 14-12-2017, 12:49   #33
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

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Chuck-
"Third, Zodiac rafts are welded"
Zodiac-US had specifically told me (and tis could be 8-10 years ago, so it is not current) that they were GLUED and their failure rate as they aged is why the French government condemned them at ten years. Forcing Zodiac itself to follow the same policy, and (all according to Zodiac-US) forbidding their dealers to service older rafts under any circumstances.

This may be false, this may be outdated information. The Zodiac rafts and dinks may well be welded these days. (If glue was a problem, they'd have to be cretins to keep using it, wouldn't they?)

But I think it brings up the more general consideration as to "How old is too old?"
The answer is, ASK THE MANUFACTURER directly, and ask their authorized distributor (i.e. Zodiac-US in the US) and find out when authorized service for that specific product will not be available.

Yes?
This is old information but about 35 years ago I purchased a new Zodiac liferaft. The second time I took it in for recert, 5-6 years later if I recall, it was trash, all the (glued) seams falling apart and the material starting to rot. Needless to say I was a bit unhappy and am not too interested in buying Zodiac products. Maybe new ones are not the same but I'm not willing to invest a few boat bucks to find out.
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Old 14-12-2017, 14:26   #34
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

todd-
"For a small boat on a budget, outfitting the dinghy as a lifeboat makes the most sense to me"
In a word, NO. Think about it. Now, a good friend of mine had a Tinker with the canopy and "life raft-ish" option kit. That was his compromise, his budget limit, his choice...30 years ago.

But maybe 25 years ago, Practical Sailor also tested a mess of life rafts, and the Safety At Sea seminars were spreading, and everyone concluded that unless a life raft had serious ballast bags, you will get tossed around like mad in a storm. And oddly enough, boats get abandoned and life rafts get deployed most often in a storm.

After that got published, life rafts suddenly all grew ballast bags and boarding systems. The basic designs changed, because the point was proven so clearly.

So using a dink ("But it was the best of butter" said the Mad Hatter) beats not having anything, but it is not a proper life raft, and the worse conditions are when you need to deploy it, the less suitable that dink will be.

It may suit your waters and your budget--but don't mistake it as being at all capable of the same thing. (And of course with a sail, as his was, the dink can make much better progress towards anyplace else. If you're still in it.)

I keep looking at the numbers (since I can mainly float in a PFD and expect someone to come around shortly) and life raft RENTAL for limited trips is not all that unreasonable, if you can avoid hazmat shipping costs. But on buying one, I think there's a serious case to be made for buying one that has an initial 3-year inspection period, and the SELLING IT after 2-1/2 years and just replacing the damned thing.

The cost of the inspections (especially if they're not local and you're paying hazmat fees again) adds up pretty quickly to the cost of a new life raft over that 10-12 year period.

And one hopes the competency of the factory meets or exceeds that of the repack station.(G)
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Old 15-12-2017, 07:50   #35
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

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This is old information but about 35 years ago I purchased a new Zodiac liferaft. The second time I took it in for recert, 5-6 years later if I recall, it was trash, all the (glued) seams falling apart and the material starting to rot. Needless to say I was a bit unhappy and am not too interested in buying Zodiac products. Maybe new ones are not the same but I'm not willing to invest a few boat bucks to find out.
Probably an MP6 raft? Chloroprene rubber construction, same material as Viking, Avon, BFA, etc for the era. So all of the problems you experienced, could be experienced with other brands of the era. Pre-vacuum bag, elastomer materials.

Twice in 6 years? The service interval in that era was 1 year, due to the lack of vacuum bags. You exceeded the suggested service interval by 300%, and paid the price for it. I don't think I would qualify that as a manufacturers' problem.

That's why most manufacturers moved to a vacuum bag, because most customers were severely neglecting their rafts.
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Old 15-12-2017, 09:00   #36
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

"Twice in 6 years? ...You exceeded the suggested service interval by 300%, and paid the price for it...."

Oh, please DO ENLIGHTEN us. How exactly would exceeding the repack interval have caused the seams to fail at any faster rate, than pulling them apart and stressing them annually during repacks and inspections?

From what I've seen, glues and rubber fail as they age and oxidize, and they'll do that rather faithfully, whether you leave them in a canister, bag, locker, or out in open sight. (The last even faster as UV and more oxygen join the party.)

So please, enlighten us. What laws of physics have I forgotten here?
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Old 15-12-2017, 09:15   #37
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

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"Twice in 6 years? ...You exceeded the suggested service interval by 300%, and paid the price for it...."

Oh, please DO ENLIGHTEN us. How exactly would exceeding the repack interval have caused the seams to fail at any faster rate, than pulling them apart and stressing them annually during repacks and inspections?

From what I've seen, glues and rubber fail as they age and oxidize, and they'll do that rather faithfully, whether you leave them in a canister, bag, locker, or out in open sight. (The last even faster as UV and more oxygen join the party.)

So please, enlighten us. What laws of physics have I forgotten here?
Exactly. And to add a little more information, I kept the raft on board when doing passages and deliveries but stored inside in between sometimes for a year or three, hence the gaps between recerts.

Cannot comment on the claim that other rafts of that time period were made with the same materials and technology but when the raft was condemned the shop did comment that their experience with Zodiacs was quite bad compared to other brands.
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Old 15-12-2017, 09:15   #38
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
"Twice in 6 years? ...You exceeded the suggested service interval by 300%, and paid the price for it...."

Oh, please DO ENLIGHTEN us. How exactly would exceeding the repack interval have caused the seams to fail at any faster rate, than pulling them apart and stressing them annually during repacks and inspections?

From what I've seen, glues and rubber fail as they age and oxidize, and they'll do that rather faithfully, whether you leave them in a canister, bag, locker, or out in open sight. (The last even faster as UV and more oxygen join the party.)

So please, enlighten us. What laws of physics have I forgotten here?
It was moreso addressed at the "rot" problem. Annual service would have allowed proper cleaning in order to allow the raft to dry and be cleaned.

Re : Ungluing
Failure to clean and dry any glued material can lead to contaminants attacking the adhesive. Hydrocarbons will cause the crosslinked bonds of the adhesive to fracture on a molecular level, leading to a reduction in bonding strength. A little soap and water goes a long way. Adhesive oxidization can also be accelerated by ozone exposure.

Adhesive degradation is also accelerated by a phenomenon known as hydrolysis...basically, exposure to water slowly breaks down the adhesive as well. A reactant, typically a type of isocyanate is mixed in to the adhesive in order to cross-link the adhesive in to long chains to help prevent that.

At the same time though, nothing lasts forever. Most polychloroprene type adhesives (The type used to bond chloroprene rubber) have a lifespan of about 20 years. Because they are hand applied by a human operator, that number can wildly change product-to-product. There are many variables.

///

Without seeing pictures and a sample of the material, I would not be able to ascertain the exact cause. But ultimately, the 300% longer service interval certainly did not make the raft last longer. If the raft were serviced annually, we may not be having this discussion.
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Old 15-12-2017, 11:07   #39
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

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Exactly. And to add a little more information, I kept the raft on board when doing passages and deliveries but stored inside in between sometimes for a year or three, hence the gaps between recerts.

Cannot comment on the claim that other rafts of that time period were made with the same materials and technology but when the raft was condemned the shop did comment that their experience with Zodiacs was quite bad compared to other brands.
If the raft was not unpacked, water / contaminants would be trapped in the folds of the raft until they evaporated. If the material "stuck" to itself, it may have trapped water / contaminants permanently until it was inflated for inspection.

The shop's commentary might simply be anecdotal, Zodiac used to command the majority of the liferaft market...someodd 80%+. With a larger sample size, you're more likely to see the 0.1% of problems. No brand is perfect. All brands have had problems, however, some are better at using their legal departments to hide them.

Last service station I visited, they had three of a popular US distributed raft with fabric failures on all of them...


But, as said ;
The service interval was not followed by 300% and no lab data is available. We will never know what the cause was. We can only speculate.

Being the gluing geek that I am, I can say without a doubt, those manufacturer recommend service dates are based on true science and engineering. Whether or not a manufacturer/service station chooses to scalp you with high parts/labor prices though is another story.
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Old 15-12-2017, 13:50   #40
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

"Zodiac used to command..."
Yes, and for good reason. Many of us grew up watching Captain Jacques and all his underwater adventures, and all his small craft were prominently and patriotically ZODIAC. Which was only fitting for a Frenchman. Who may well have been sponsored in some way.

So, ZODIAC was simply THE name in inflatable boats. Not so much in other markets, like marine aviation, private aviation, commercial aviation, militaries...I have no idea what the fishing fleets and larger ships were carrying.
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Old 15-12-2017, 16:33   #41
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

Ryban, I'm surprised no one else has mentioned this yet, but there is no way you should try the six man raft.

First, it will be unsafe for one [or even two] person[s]. It will roll over in the waves like an amusement park ride that lasts as long as the sea conditions. It will throw you out of it into the water till you are too cold and exhausted to get back in. Since you plan to singlehand, you should get a small life raft, just enough for 2 (I don't think I've ever seen one for one person), and get the company to explain how to make it safe for one. Maybe they can add larger ballast bags for you, which might save your life. It may well be cramped, too bad, cramped is better than dead, and it could save a crew as well, if someone crews with you on the long legs of your passages--if your boat can carry enough water for two of you on those longer passages. [I sure hope you have figured out a way to catch rain water safely.]

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Old 16-12-2017, 03:18   #42
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

I've never heard of a liferaft being unsafe without the prescribed # of people
to keep it upright. I can't image a small one being more stable than a big one either. I believe they have water ballast to prevent this problem as well.
Either way, I'd rather use my tender as a liferaft, so when I see a freighter I start the motor and drive over to them. Since it sits on the foredeck rightside up with motor on anyways.
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Old 16-12-2017, 12:40   #43
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

Steve, read up on the experiences of the sailors in the '98 Sydney to Hobart. Also, there are a few articles that discuss the information in some detail.

Yes, they are cramped, too. But there are problems.

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Old 16-12-2017, 14:10   #44
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

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How much is your life worth! You are talking a small difference between new and refurbished!
AMEN! How much is your life worth if you ever need one?
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Old 16-12-2017, 15:07   #45
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Re: $300 old liferaft, or $2300 new?

If money were no object sure buy everything new every year. The fact is most cruisers have a tight budget and $2k is a lot of money.
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