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Old 16-09-2013, 22:26   #46
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Re: 4 out of 5 Spinlock Deck Vests Failed in Fatal Accident

Vest issues aside, a few things in that report kind of slapped me in the face. The first was the small quantity of drinking water in the lift raft supply kit (4 oz. per person). The second was the failure to properly use the anchors to hold the boat off the shore. The third was that they didn't stop to check on significant problems with the rudder when they first happened, which was long before the actual failure.

They had 6 sea sickness tablets per person in the raft, but only 4oz of water per person. Their supply choices could have been better.

I think that the failure to prioritize setting an anchor before drifting ashore, was probably the biggest error on the part of the crew & the least forgivable. It was a certain tactical error in my mind. They had 2 anchors dragging. They could have pulled one up, cleared it, & redeployed it when their depth was around 20-75 feet.

Before reading this report, my opinion might have been different, but going forward, if I encounter rudder problems like they were having, I will likely make it a priority to figure out what is happening with the rudder, rather than continue the race.
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Old 17-09-2013, 07:04   #47
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Re: 4 out of 5 Spinlock Deck Vests Failed in Fatal Accident

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Originally Posted by pbiJim View Post
Vest issues aside, a few things in that report kind of slapped me in the face. The first was the small quantity of drinking water in the lift raft supply kit (4 oz. per person). The second was the failure to properly use the anchors to hold the boat off the shore. The third was that they didn't stop to check on significant problems with the rudder when they first happened, which was long before the actual failure.

They had 6 sea sickness tablets per person in the raft, but only 4oz of water per person. Their supply choices could have been better.

I think that the failure to prioritize setting an anchor before drifting ashore, was probably the biggest error on the part of the crew & the least forgivable. It was a certain tactical error in my mind. They had 2 anchors dragging. They could have pulled one up, cleared it, & redeployed it when their depth was around 20-75 feet.

Before reading this report, my opinion might have been different, but going forward, if I encounter rudder problems like they were having, I will likely make it a priority to figure out what is happening with the rudder, rather than continue the race.
I don't know if you have ever tried to set an anchor in the surf with 25 mph winds, but my guess is it is not easy and doomed to failure. With 200 feet of rode they would have been on the beach before the anchor set.

As far as the equipment in the liferaft, that is the owners responsibility.

All liferafts come with a Safety Equipment inventory, which can be supplemented by the owner, either when the raft is commissioned or when repacking.

Many owners deicide that it is easier to carry a ditch bag with extra supplies, including water. This is the second sailboat I know of that lost its ditch bag (Extra Safety Equipment) over the side as a result of waves.

As far as how much water they carried... I don't think it came into play in this incident, but again it is up to the owner to insure that the raft has plenty of water.
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Old 17-09-2013, 10:28   #48
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Re: 4 out of 5 Spinlock Deck Vests Failed in Fatal Accident

This was a race 25 miles offshore and back, with a lot of boats in it and help close at hand. The amount of water in the raft was not an issue. I am sure that is just what was packed with the raft. Anchoring equipment on racers is also notoriously lightweight but I don't really think any anchoring equipment could have helped them once they got into the breakers. See if you can find some pics of the shores of the Farallons and you'll see.
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Old 17-09-2013, 10:31   #49
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Re: 4 out of 5 Spinlock Deck Vests Failed in Fatal Accident

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Originally Posted by pbiJim View Post
Vest issues aside, a few things in that report kind of slapped me in the face. The first was the small quantity of drinking water in the lift raft supply kit (4 oz. per person).
This was a relatively short race with lots of other boats nearby. The time to rescue was only a few hours so probably water supply was not a big concern. However, they were planning to race this boat in the Transpac later. For that race no doubt more water would definitely be a good idea.
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Old 17-09-2013, 11:09   #50
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Re: 4 out of 5 Spinlock Deck Vests Failed in Fatal Accident

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... Having logged more miles in a kayak than most people, I can assure you that if you have a waistline, a kayaking vest will not slip over your head. The cinch straps along the ribs and the waist band on a quality kayaking PFD will cinch like a saddle and hold you up. Like I said, I've screwed up and twice a vest has saved my butt. After reading these reports, my old Lotus vest may get some use again.
Yup, any good paddling jacket will stay in place in whitewater and allow for swimming and self rescue. No failures are acceptable.

But for an even greater riddle, I ask how can a Spinlock vest be a safe vest (with crotch strap) and chest harness? If you fall with the crotch strap you won't enjoy it. Further, chest harness MUST ride high in the armpits to be safe, which the Spinlock vest cannot with the crotch strap. I am also certain that without the crotch strap and worn loose over FWG it will slide off when used as a harness. With the crotch strap and chest band low on the chest in a severe case you will:
* break a rib and/or
* not be able to breath because of the continued compression. Climbers have died from that.
Both of these contribute to harnesses in general having a bad name, I believe unjustly. The problem is trying to get a single bit of gear to serve too many functions, insuring it does most of them marginally.

Not simple to solve. It's tough to get people to wear equipment properly. I once watched a climber die because he fell out of a poorly fitted harness. But he notion of having safety equipment that works untill things are really bad is just pathetic.

I wear a properly fitted harness when I need one and a paddling jacket when I need one. Both are utterly dependable.
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Old 20-09-2013, 07:30   #51
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Re: 4 out of 5 Spinlock Deck Vests failed in fatal accident

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We have the same PFD. I plan to test them and replace if necessary.

We use harnesses with quick releases and we converted the leg straps to crotch straps as it is more comfortable. This must have been an issue as Spinlock published the way to convert.

It will be interesting to get Spinlock's view of the incident, if they will answer!

My guess is that they will have to answer -- in a court of law.
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Old 14-10-2013, 16:01   #52
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Re: 4 out of 5 Spinlock Deck Vests Failed in Fatal Accident

Interesting vid I ran across, the rescue of sean seamour II from a life raft. When they pull the first person aboard the helicopter, notice what the inflatable PFD is doing.



For those who can't pull it up, the PFD is pulled up and almost over the head, no crotch strap that I can tell.

Reading the accounts I could see no complaints about the PFDs but was interesting to see.
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Old 15-10-2013, 12:36   #53
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Upon close examination, it does not appear that crotch straps were in place.
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