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Old 31-05-2016, 05:44   #1
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Life jacket help

Starting sailing lessons soon and figured I would get a good life jacket, must be comfy and not bulky. Anyone have recommendations? Any good websites to look at? Not many marina shops around here. We have a bass pro, cabalas, and Dicks sporting goods. Thinking I will have to buy online.

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Old 31-05-2016, 06:21   #2
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Re: Life jacket help

Self inflating jackets are comfortable and not bulky. If it's not comfortable, you won't wear it! If you are going to be sailing at night or in rough weather and you want to be attached to a tether, get one with an integrated harness. Self inflating come in either hydrostatic, (which will automatically inflate when submerged) or manual where you pull on a tab to inflate. The theory with the hydro ones is that they will still inflate if you are knocked out/dizzy when you fall overboard.
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Old 31-05-2016, 06:46   #3
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Re: Life jacket help

I bought a self inflating pfd, in part because I have a minor history of fainting when knocked over board while white water rafting. But I wonder if there arent cons to self inflating also, such as restricting movement if you get tangled in lines on a knock down?
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Old 31-05-2016, 06:47   #4
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Re: Life jacket help

Caution buying the self-inflating type... I found out that they can inflate leaving a neck hole your fist won't fit through.
Nothing quite like being in the water and NEEDING to take the life jacket off because its choking you.
If getting a self-inflating, go someplace that will let you manually inflate and check fit while inflated VERY FIRM.
Also, many sailing lesson plans include dumping the boat over and then getting it back upright... that's going to activate any auto-inflating vest and cost you about $25 to $40 for the recharge kit.

I'd say go for a waterski style vest.
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Old 31-05-2016, 16:13   #5
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Re: Life jacket help

Dinghy sailing is very different from keelboat sailing. On a dinghy, capsizing in on the menu, so one needs a low-buoyance foam-padded PFD. Low buoyancy to make it possible to swim on the belly, foam padded to avoid buying many inflation cartridges every day. The low buoyancy doesn't impact safety because there should be a safety motor boat close by.

On a keelboat, capsizing or falling overboard should not happen often but there is no safety motor boat...

Alain
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Old 31-05-2016, 16:48   #6
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Re: Life jacket help

Quote:
Originally Posted by TurninTurtle View Post
Also, many sailing lesson plans include dumping the boat over and then getting it back upright... that's going to activate any auto-inflating vest and cost you about $25 to $40 for the recharge kit.

I'd say go for a waterski style vest.
Excellent point. A lot depends on what sort of sailing lessons you are talking about - dinghy or keel boat.
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Old 31-05-2016, 17:49   #7
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Re: Life jacket help

I won't sail a dinghy (or my Lazer) without wearing a type three vest. I learned that as a kid - dinghies dump, and even if you're fine, you've got a lot of work to do and being supported makes it so much easier. On our big boat, no one goes out on deck offshore or docking without their auto-inflate, with light and radio attached. Surprisingly, the only time we've had them inflate was when our tender swamped. Surprise - they were so fast that my hearing aids didn't get wet. Another surprise - West Marine always seems to be running a sale on auto-inflates at about $100 each. One final note - they actually need periodic maintenance, just like life rafts - the little plug that keeps the pin from puncturing the gas cylinder is filled with something like baking soda that dissolves VERY quickly, and it has a limited life span. I agree with the comment that they don't leave a bunch of space for your neck.
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Old 31-05-2016, 18:07   #8
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Re: Life jacket help

There is nothing more important than survival at sea. If you are planning to be in rough conditions or off shore you should look into a Spinlock or similar. The victims of the Low Speed Chase capsize off of the Farallon Islands (Google it if you have never read about what happened) did not survive because they had inadequate, or no, vests. Only two of six survived. The one I met had a quality off-shore vest. Even he, almost did not make it because he did not have crouch straps or a spray hood.
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Old 31-05-2016, 18:50   #9
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Re: Life jacket help

Spinlock.


Cheers,
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Old 31-05-2016, 18:53   #10
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Re: Life jacket help

This may get some pushback, but I really don't recommend a lifejacket for dingy sailing. They are too big, too bulky, and have too much flotation. Instead take a look at Boyancy Aids. They have about 2/3 the flotation of a certified life jacket but are far more comfortable, are easier to move around in, and while they have enough flotation to help keep your head out of the water, not so much that they limit mobility in the water.

I am a fan of the Zhik but there are others.
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Old 31-05-2016, 20:41   #11
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Re: Life jacket help

Dinghy sailing - foamy pfd.

Keelboat - inflatable pfd.

A lifejacket is too bulky.
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Old 01-06-2016, 09:52   #12
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Re: Life jacket help

Type III vests, thought of by serious sailors as "ski vests," are quite comfortable, fit close to your skin, and are easy to wear while sailing a dinghy. Their disadvantages are limited buoyancy and not turning your head up if you are unconscious. Type II, AKA horse collars, are damned uncomfortable and difficult to get anyone to wear. Type Is are very bulky and impossible in a dinghy. They are commercial boat USCG abandon ship vests. Inflatables come in various versions, from the inshore that basically replaces a Type II but doesn't get in the way (what I wear) to the hard-core harness types for for serious offshore rough weather and racing types.
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Old 01-06-2016, 10:07   #13
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Re: Life jacket help

After much research I bought a Spinlock Deckvest
Main reasons were intergrated harness, thigh straps,spray hood,light pylon
& emergency line cutter. Semi rigid design lowers neck stran.

However I don't wear this while sailing my Dingy, while dingy sailing I wear
a vest designed for kayaking. I tend to get wet and when it gets hot I just jump
out for a swim

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Old 01-06-2016, 10:52   #14
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Re: Life jacket help

If you go with a USCG approved vest DO NOT BUY A SKI VEST. These type III types come in a couple of different version, the ski vests being the worst possible for sailing. They do not stay in place while bending and reaching so you will spend all day pulling it back into place. I would recommend one designed for kyacking at least. They are shorter, and are designed to stay in place even when using your torso.

But I still suggest getting a BA not a life jacket. There is a reason that most of the serious race boats (Melges 32's, TP 52's, etc.) are willing to store USCG ones down below while the crew wear the BA's.

The Battle For a Better PFD | Sailing World
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Old 01-06-2016, 16:56   #15
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Re: Life jacket help

Confirmed.

Neoprene water skiing vests best thing since sliced bread on a dinghy. I love them. It is so easy to swim in one. Now try swimming in an inflatable one ...

+1! for this kind of device.

b.
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