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  #1  
Old 09-05-2010
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Liferaft on a 31

I am preparing my 31 for offshore sailing and trying to decide between an on-deck canister vs a valise down below for a 4-man liferaft. Anyone have some experience/thoughts/suggestions on this question? Thanks!

Paul
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  #2  
Old 09-06-2010
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I would have a read of the accident investigation into the yacht Pricewaterhouse Cooper (previously Shockwave) an 80ft maxi that crashed into Flinders Islet, off the caost of Sydney, Australia last year. Two people died.

The yacht had two soft pack liferafts stored below. After running aground the crew were unable to access the liferafts as it was pitch black below and they were buried under a mountain of debris. The relevant section from the report are:
Stowage of Liferafts
247. PwC’s crew considered deploying a liferaft but was unable to get access to or launch a raft. The boat carried soft pack liferafts which were stowed below decks next to the mast. After the grounding the mess below decks was described as a ‘death trap’ – it was flooded, the motion was violent, there were heavy bags of sails, the liferafts and other gear which could pin you down and trap you. It was also pitch black.
248. A single crew member could not lift a liferaft. Two or more crew would have found it extremely difficult to work together in the conditions to lift a raft onto the deck. Fortunately the liferafts were not required.
249. The YA Special Regulation 4.19.2 (c) does allow boats with an age of series date before 06/2001 to use liferafts packed in a valise “not exceeding 40 Kg securely stowed below deck adjacent to the companionway”. In addition Special Regulation 4.19.3(a) requires “each liferaft shall be capable of being got to the lifelines or launched within 15 seconds”. PwC met the age date criteria but the liferafts were not adjacent to the companionway and could not be launched in 15 seconds.
250. The crew strongly recommended that all liferafts should be stowed on deck. The Inquiry notes the current requirements for newer boats and suggests boats with an age date before 06/2001 be reminded of the applicable Special Regulations.
My suggestion would be to have liferafts on deck utilising a release that activates if the yacht sinks. There have been plenty of cases where yachts sink in minutes and there is no time to run around below trying to get a heavy liferaft on deck.

Fyi the Yacht Club of Australia safety report link is here

Ilenart

Last edited by Ilenart; 09-06-2010 at 07:29 AM.
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Old 09-06-2010
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On our 31 we chose the valise type. It is a Revere 4-person. It weighs around 80 lbs. We stow it in the quarter berth. It has strong heavy duty straps for lifting, but still a challenge to get up the companionway. We expect that in an emergency the adreneline would kick in making it easier.

We couldn't find an acceptable place to stow a canister on deck because all would have obstructed the view forward.

I would rather have on deck for the reasons noted in paragraph one. Maybe we are overlooking some place to stow on deck, but can't think of a good place.

We cruise in Florida and Bahamas and are offshore often enough to require an offshore raft.

Ed

PSC 31 " Patty Ann"

Daytona Beach, FL.
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Old 09-06-2010
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I had a soft pack but it was in the way on deck and too heavy to bring up from below so I just sold it. Figured my dinghy and EPIRB would have to do.
Larry
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Old 09-07-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by okapi3 View Post
I am preparing my 31 for offshore sailing and trying to decide between an on-deck canister vs a valise down below for a 4-man liferaft. Anyone have some experience/thoughts/suggestions on this question? Thanks!
Paul--

Given the relatively smaller size of your yacht, a deck cannister may be problematic. However, a heavy valise pack stored below-deck could also be a problem, particularly if you are injured and it is your wife or sailing partner who has to retrieve and launch the raft. We had a 4-man Avon in a valise pack but it was clearly evident that my wife would have had major difficulty with the 80# raft under any but the most favorable circumstances--which are unlikely in the event of an emergency. So we sold the Avon and will be replacing it with a Winslow Superlight vaccume packed in a valise (45#) that can be kept handy in a lazzaret locker. Some might argue that the raft is not sufficient for the deep but, given our cruising areas, where help (via GPIRB) is usually within 24 hours or less, it would seem that the Winslow is a good combination of utility and reliablilty. See http://www.winslowliferaft.com/downl...ftspecs/17.pdf . The Winslow is admittedly not inexpensive, but, as they say in their advertisements--"Isn't your (your wife's) life worth a Winslow?"

FWIW...
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Last edited by svHyLyte; 09-17-2010 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 09-07-2010
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We had a similar discussion not too long ago, when bjung asked about a liferaft for his 31:

PSC 31 Liferaft Options

I am partial to the Winslow Superlight soft valise (mentioned by svHyLyte), stored in the port cockpit locker. Folks unfamiliar with the PSC might question this location, but it is a shallow locker (about 6" deep) approximately 2'x2.5'. So it wouldn't be lost down in the depths of the locker -- it would be the only thing in it, right at the top, very handy.

Brainstorming, another idea I've had would be to build a box that would fill the cockpit well forward of the binnacle, that would hold the liferaft. It would essentially become an extension of the bridgedeck, and could be removed in port/harbor.

Or, a soft valise in a low profile box that would lay on top of the bridgedeck. It would have tracks that drop into the channels for the companionway wash boards, and barrel bolt hardware on the trailing end where it would latch into the coachroof. It would end up serving as one more shallow step for exiting the companionway.

Let us know what you decide -- it's a tricky question and every solution represents a compromise to a certain extent.
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Pacific Seacraft Crealock 31 #62

NEVER CALLS CRUISINGDAD BACK....CAN"T TAKE THE ACCENT

Last edited by JohnRPollard; 09-07-2010 at 12:56 PM. Reason: fixed link
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Old 09-10-2010
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Thanks to everyone for your replies. That gives me plenty of food for thought. So from what I am hearing, no 31 owners have canister liferafts attached to their foredecks because of the space issues.

About 3 years ago I rented a soft pack 4-man for a 2 week trip and kept it in the aft quarter berth. It was pretty heavy, don't know if it was 80 lb, but I remember noting to myself that is was a very awkward package, and in the way below. I remember wondering to myself how it would be to actually have to deploy such a thing in an emergency.

It is very clear that a deck mount canister such as Ilenart describes is the safest option if space allows, and I will critically examine the real estate on my foredeck again when I am at the boat in a couple weeks.

I am surprised to hear of a 4-man liferaft that will fit in the 31's 6" high port cockpit locker! I will research that. I keep a lot of useful junk in that locker right now but could probably organize it in another locker.

It's amazing in this day and age how few yachts come with liferaft storage incorporated into their designs. Building a dedicated liferaft locker into the cockpit is an interesting thought but, hey, I guess it all boils down to how much to weigh that unlikely necessity for a liferaft against the day to day livability of one's boat.

In the end, I don't think any of us is drawn to the sea because it is 100% safe.

I'll let you know what I end up doing.
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Old 09-16-2010
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Life raft

Interesting posts.

I have been trying to figure out how the winslow, which is listed as 9 inches height, would fit in the port lazarette, if the lazarette is only 6 inches height.

Also, would a small canniser not fit on the foredeck between the dorade boxes?
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Old 09-16-2010
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Good question on the dimensions, there. I seem to recall looking into this previously, and some other folks too, and coming up with soft valise dimensions that would work for the port cockpit locker. There's always the possibility that the raft dimensions have changed over the years.

Another thing, though, is that the published dimensions are for standard packaging. Winslow will do a custom packing for you (at least, they used to offer it) to accommodate the dimensions of the storage locker. Maybe that was how it worked?

I don't see why a low profile canister wouldn't fit on the coachroof, either over the seahood or forward of the mast. Although, some folks worried about visibility.
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Pacific Seacraft Crealock 31 #62

NEVER CALLS CRUISINGDAD BACK....CAN"T TAKE THE ACCENT
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  #10  
Old 09-16-2010
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Ours is in a hard case. immediately f'ward of the dodger. I'd probably prefer to store it off the boat but we are on a mooring and moving it is a pain.

Needs to come off for a service so will then leave it ashore until we head offshore in the new year.

To some extent , yes it does interfere with vision f'ward but that is something we have learnt to live with. As the old Eskimo saying goes...you can't have your kayak and heat it.
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