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Old 09-06-2014, 10:23   #1
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Best PFD + one For Coastal, one for Offshore?!

Hi all,

Just starting with sailing and I'd like to buy a good PFD, and I'm looking at purchasing the Mustang inflatable life vest with harness. They are pricey so I'm wondering if it makes sense to buy the best one and use it for coastal and offshore? The cheaper model doesn't have a harness. Curious to hear what others think, and if Mustang are considered the best PFDs out there.

Thanks!
C
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Old 09-06-2014, 10:57   #2
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Re: Best PFD + one For Coastal, one for Offshore?!

I have the Mustang PFD with HIT and harness for offshore and coastal use. I recently deployed it in a pool to see how it works. It took about 6-10 seconds before the canister triggered, which was a bit freaky wondering if it was OK, and the straps were too loose so I had to readjust them in the water. It's a bit hard to justify deploying the canister when you don't need to because it'll cost ~$80 to replace, but mine was nearing the expiration and it tells you a lot about how it's going to work when you actually need it. The alternative is to buy a separate harness you can wear when you need to offshore. I rarely clip in because most of my sailing is inside the bay, but when you need it, you don't want to be without it. The drawback is that it's one more thing to don when you're getting ready. It is also recommended that you have 33 lbs of lift for an offshore PFD. You'll also want to use leg straps for offshore use.
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Old 09-06-2014, 11:14   #3
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Re: Best PFD + one For Coastal, one for Offshore?!

Thanks Gamayun, you offered a lot of great insights. I never thought about the life-span of the canister... I think I'll take the plunge it is a good one from everything I've read. And I certainly don't want to cheap-out on safety.

West Marine sells the Mustang HIT inflatable with harness for $450. Looking around for other alternatives online to potentially buy one cheaper, also vacationing in Maine in late July perhaps there's a place there where they are more reasonably priced, knowing all the sailing that goes on.

C
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Old 10-06-2014, 20:04   #4
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Best PFD + one For Coastal, one for Offshore?!

Personally for offshore work with potentially heavy weather clothing on, I use a 60 lbs , (275N) jacket, double bladder with a 60 g double bottle. This is because studies in Iceland showed that 150 N ( 35lbs) jackets could not rotate a heavily clothed male upright unassisted.

I do not favour hydrostatic releases, difficult to find replacements, hard to install and often require returning the jacket to a service dealer.

Here I can buy 150n jackets with harness for about 55 quid !!

Dave


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Old 10-06-2014, 20:26   #5
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Re: Best PFD + one For Coastal, one for Offshore?!

I would probably not buy the mustang HIT again.

There is not really convenient places to attach additional safety equipment like a whistle and there are no zipper pouches for things like mirrors, a die pack, glow sticks, etc.

Interestingly, I wrote to mustang to ask where the advertised included whistle was, its also referenced in the instruction manual, and they could not tell me.
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Old 11-06-2014, 00:47   #6
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Re: Best PFD + one For Coastal, one for Offshore?!

There's a small zipper pocket on the Mustang that I've inserted a signal mirror and a whistle, both tied onto the loop of the zipper. There is a strobe that I think Mustang sells that I've attached to the inflator tube, which is tucked inside the PFD. You'll need to unzipper, unfold the bladder to do attach it. I'm surprised Mustang wouldn't know this. I did have to ask someone in West Marine how to replace the HIT and canister. It's not intuitive. The one issue I have is how to wear my VHF radio with DSC. I loop it on my harness and then tuck it inside the PFD or in a pocket on my foulies. It's not the most elegant solution and I probably should sew another pocket on my foulies to better store the radio. I also have a knife on a retractable lanyard that hooks onto one of the waist straps on the PFD. I keep the knife in place with a piece of inner tube around the strap. I didn't want to fumble with the knife inside a pocket on some length of string when I need it quickly. I think having a float coat with an inflatable PFD is a great idea that I've been thinking about for a while. Not only would it provide inherent buoyancy, but warmth as well. The additional cost is a factor, but being in cold, offshore waters makes that a no-brainer. As to the Mustang's cost itself, it might be good to watch for when West Marine has sales such as around Labor Day, Fourth of July, etc. You might also ask someone with a Port Supply account to buy it for you, which should be less. I think I bought mine for about $280 three years ago, including leg straps. I'm surprised they've gone up so much in price.
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