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Old 06-14-2017, 04:47 PM   #1
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Is it easy to install life raft cradle?

Hi all, my next to do item is to purchase and install a life raft in a hard canister. I'm going with the Viking RescYou coastal life raft. They sell a cradle for it. On my boat I have a dedicated area for it on the bridge just behind the stairway. See photo. This area has four D-shaped rings attached. Can anyone tell me how the cradle typically attaches to the D-rings? Or do I ditch the D-rings and just screw it in? The animated video from Viking shows bolts going straight through to the other side of the fiberglass with washers and nuts. Can't imagine this being ideal as on my boat you'd see the bolts on the underside of the overhang that covers the cockpit. Click image for larger version

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Also, do you recommend the hydrostatic release?

Lastly, I assume this is a pretty straightforward DIY project, but if there are any complexities I'm not thinking about, please do tell.

Thanks!
Mike
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Old 06-14-2017, 05:07 PM   #2
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My canister sits in a wooden frame and has a single lanyard that is attached to the boat. If you pick it up and throw it overboard the landyard trips the release. Obviously if the boat sinks the canister floating does the same.
The wooden base is screwed to the aftdeck roof.
How is yours deployed? You don't want to be playing with fasteners when you want it, that's why the base. If you use web straps to the eyes on deck I suppose you could mount a knife next to it.
Ideally I don't think you want to tie down the canister.
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Old 06-14-2017, 05:37 PM   #3
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Ideally I don't think you want to tie down the canister.
Agreed. My question is more around how the cradle mounts to the boat. The canister mounts to the cradle via a strap (in which case I guess it is technically "tied down". Or you add a hydrostatic release so the canister is let loose once the boat is under water.
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Old 06-14-2017, 06:18 PM   #4
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Since you have a cradle you can utilize the the D rings to hold the cradle.
I'd suggest four small stainless turnbuckles with hardware for each end. That way your not adding holes when you already have them.
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Old 06-14-2017, 07:15 PM   #5
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Greetings,
Mr. 1969. I can appreciate you not wanting to see fasteners from the underside of the cockpit overhang but have you considered acorn nuts? Not too obtrusive...

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Old 06-14-2017, 07:31 PM   #6
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I have the same raft. The cradle bolts directly to the deck. If there is enough meat in the glass surface of your deck, you can drill, tap, and use stainless machine screws with 5200 to seal and add some additional strength. That's how ours in mounted.

If you through bolt, just keep in mind that you should hollow out the coring between the glass skins of the deck, fill with epoxy, then drill holes. Otherwise the sandwich will squish over time, leak, and rot.

I would definitely recommend the hydrostatic release. Otherwise the raft will go down with the ship if you don't get it unstrapped by hand, which is a bit counterproductive.

In your case, you might get luck and the cradle holes will line up with the existing fame rails. Either way you probably need to get rid of the D rings.n and worst case the old rails will have to come off or me modified or something.
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Old 06-15-2017, 07:41 PM   #7
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MichaelB -
Just installed a Revere Coastal 6 person with canister and cradle on my ST 44.
Cradle fit perfectly on the factory rails. I only had to use 1/4" plastic washers to raise the cradle above the factory installed pad eyes. I drilled slightly smaller pilot holes, used 4200 and a finish washer. Took less than 1 hour.
For "belts and suspenders" I added 1/8" SS airplane cable attached to the pad eyes.
Send me a PM and I will send you some pics.
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Old 06-17-2017, 03:01 PM   #8
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It's interesting that the boat manufacturer made a build in cradle like that without knowing what raft you would be choosing.

You may want to look at the SS tube frame cradle mounts that are available for most rafts. You might be able to mount the feet on that to those raised molded in pieces the D rings are attached to.

That would give you a more secure mount with the proper tie down points for the brand of raft you buy.

And yes, I would recommend the hydrostatic release.
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Old 06-17-2017, 04:52 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Capt.Bill11 View Post
It's interesting that the boat manufacturer made a build in cradle like that without knowing what raft you would be choosing.

You may want to look at the SS tube frame cradle mounts that are available for most rafts. You might be able to mount the feet on that to those raised molded in pieces the D rings are attached to.
The Beneteau is a French made mass-produced boat, and what I have read is that in Europe life rafts are mandatory for any boat going offshore. So my assumption is that the existing mounting points are for whatever life raft and cradle Beneteau specifies for the boats staying in Europe.

Sojourn4 sent me pics of his install, which is very clean. His cradle mounts on the raised portions of the fiberglass and he used spacers so it clears the D rings.
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Old 06-23-2017, 08:38 PM   #10
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Even if you don't through bolt, if you're drilling the deck where you may penetrate into the coring for ANY fastener, it should be drilled oversized through the coring against the bottom skin, then fill the void with thickened epoxy, let cure, then drill the plug for the fastener. The epoxy plug seals the coring, so even if the sealant for the fastener leaks, it won't ingress into the coring. Don't just drill the outer skin and rely on bedding to seal it, it'll eventually leak. If you are through bolting, do the same process, but cut back more coring and don't drill through the bottom skin. When cured, drill the whole way through, then install the fasteners. The epoxy plug not only seals the coring, but provides structural support to prevent compression of the cored structure when the fastener is tightened.
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