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Old 23-02-2018, 12:47   #1
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Offshore PFDs

Hello, my good old Spinlock Deckvest Pro 5d his showing signs of age.
It will be good for a few more years but I was looking at new models and I like what I see.
My vest
https://www.spinlock.co.uk/fr/catego...ps/deckvest-5d

I love the fit of this vest. Very close to the body, it does not get snagged like looser vest in the rigging.

I race alot and I appreciate the fit.
It as lots of features. But it does lack the capacity to attache accessories to it.
I would like to be able to clip my VHF radio and my rigging knife to it.

Looking at new models I see a shift in the design.

Spinlock as introduced this model.

https://www.spinlock.co.uk/fr/catego...-race-deckvest

It finally has the capacity to attach accessories to it.
Also the design and fit is different and finally uses a HAMMAR hydrostatic sensor instead of the paper soluble one.

I never considered Mustang as they did not have an offshore model with a serious integrated harness. But they now have this model.
The EP38 Ocean Racing.
EP 38 Ocean Racing Inflatable Vest (Auto Hydrostatic) - Mustang

It looks alot like the Spinlock and about the same features.
Biggest difference is the front.. Spinlock is more compact in front.
This good make a difference in hot weather.

Anybody wearing any of these right now that can give me there appreciations?

Thanks
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Old 23-02-2018, 13:14   #2
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Re: Offshore PFDs

I looked.

I did not see a street price retail price. Do you know the price?

It appears the Spinlock has lots of bells and whistles.

It appears to bundle lots of things, which others add as options.

It appears they are including a "bum bag" or waist pack (fanny pack) to hold the AIS and other stuff. In the illustrations it appears as a separate item, with a belt, and appears below the PFD as a separate unit. It is not clear if this waist bag is meant to connect to the PFD in some way, when worn. Are there straps to hold it onto the PFD harness?

I do like the integral spray hood, but other brands have that too (sometimes as an option).
____________

I think the most important feature of the offshore PFD is high buoyancy. The 170N range is important, in my opinion. I currently use a 178N (or 40 pound) buoyancy auto inflating PFD with integral safety harness, soft harness connecting loop, leg straps, (strobe, whistle,etc), and would consider 40 pounds as the minimum buoyancy for serious offshore PFD gear, assuming you are wearing multiple layers, full weather gear">foul weather gear, deck boots, and you are in rough sea conditions.
___________

Crewsaver also makes a nice line of PFDs, with some models ( "Ergofit") that are similar in concept. Here is one I would seriously consider if you are going offshore in extreme conditions or remote locations:

"The Crewsaver ErgoFit 190N ISO PRO provides best-in-class 190N buoyancy, exceeding ISO 12402-3 standards. "

It also has a very comfortable design and an integral hood, hydrostatic inflation, but...

Notice this is 190N. More buoyancy than the Spinlock model you linked above. FYI: 190N = 42.7 pounds of buoyancy. So, it may not seem to be a big difference (what is 2.7 pounds of buoyancy going to matter), but if I were in the water in the high seas, every little bit of extra buoyancy is a positive thing.

It is available from various online sites, and I have seen it priced as low as $295 from a reputable dealer.

NOTE! I have NO financial connection to any retailer or manufacturer of these products. I am simply sharing what I have researched for myself.

Crewsaver Ergofit ISO Pro 190N Life Jacket
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Old 23-02-2018, 13:29   #3
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Re: Offshore PFDs

Both the Mustang and the Spinlock are in the $400 to $500 depending of where you live.

The crewsaver looks good and has high buoyancy, but I do not see an integrated Harness. Because I much prefer to stay on the boat then to float.

During my ISAF Offshore Safety and survival training we did spend alot of time immersed in water with full foul weather gear. Surprisingly the clothing does not lower you buoyancy. It mostly restricts your mouvements. And I had to deflate my PFD a bit to be able to move around freely. Fully inflated they are as restrictive as Solas Lifesavers.
Don't even think of getting in a life raft whit a fully inflated PFD.
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Old 23-02-2018, 13:43   #4
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Re: Offshore PFDs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flagman101 View Post
Both the Mustang and the Spinlock are in the $400 to $500 depending of where you live.

The crewsaver looks good and has high buoyancy, but I do not see an integrated Harness. Because I much prefer to stay on the boat then to float.

During my ISAF Offshore Safety and survival training we did spend alot of time immersed in water with full foul weather gear. Surprisingly the clothing does not lower you buoyancy. It mostly restricts your mouvements. And I had to deflate my PFD a bit to be able to move around freely. Fully inflated they are as restrictive as Solas Lifesavers.
Don't even think of getting in a life raft whit a fully inflated PFD.
The Crewsaver line includes models with built in safety harnesses for offshore use. The model I have has it.

The Crewsaver Ergofit PRO model I linked above also has a built-in harness. Notice the two soft rings in the front. That is where you attach a safety tether.

And, the Crewsaver Ergofit PRO model I linked can be purchased for $295, so it could be about $200 dollars less than the competitors.

I would use that saved money to purchase a good MOB AIS beacon or PLB, etc.
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Old 23-02-2018, 13:48   #5
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Re: Offshore PFDs

With an integrated harness it definitely makes the list.
And yes the money saved would go to a good MOB device.
Have you ever worn a Spinlock Deckvest?
If yes how would you rate the confort.

I will try and find a store that actually sells these models. Living in Quebec, FAR from any oceans, makes this items not very available in store. Very low turn over and fails expensive to keep in stock.
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Old 23-02-2018, 14:08   #6
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Re: Offshore PFDs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flagman101 View Post
With an integrated harness it definitely makes the list.
And yes the money saved would go to a good MOB device.
Have you ever worn a Spinlock Deckvest?
If yes how would you rate the confort.

I will try and find a store that actually sells these models. Living in Quebec, FAR from any oceans, makes this items not very available in store. Very low turn over and fails expensive to keep in stock.
To answer your questions:
I had to order my PFD, as I am landlocked and none of the local marine type stores carry the higher end offshore PFDs.

I considered the SpinLock PFDs too. I researched and read (good and bad).

I have no doubt the SpinLock PFD is comfortable to wear. But the Crewsaver is also comfortable. I wear my PFD when sailing (not just in extreme conditions) and consider it very comfortable (light, good custom fit, nice materials etc.). In 2017 I wore it every day (whenever on deck and the boat was moving) while on a 30 day offshore voyage/cruise to and around parts of Newfoundland. It was always comfortable, and I wear crotch straps on my PFD.

In the end, I could not justify the extra cost ($200) for small design differences that did not matter that much to me (I see those differences as styling) when I looked at the competitors products.

And, regarding a strobe, I chose a different strobe, because I wanted more lumens and more hours of use. So, while the Spinlock does have an integrated light (on a stalk) I don't consider that most important. Higher lumens and more hours of light/strobe means more to me. I do like the bladder lights that can be added to a PFD bladder, but, those are inexpensive and can be added to any brand PFD.

Also, I prefer to purchase my safety tether separately, and chose a KONG double tether. It is the only safety hook design that has the side loading strength (this was discussed on CF about 3 weeks ago, due to an fatality with an offshore racer whose common spinlock type hook deformed and failed).

In the end, I think any of the leading brands can be quality products, especially at the higher end of their product lines. But, I was looking at some fundamentals (buoyancy, cost) that influenced my decision more than brand loyalty (I changed from another manufacturer to a new one). As with many things, it may be a personal choice we each rationalize.

Good luck on your decision.
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Old 23-02-2018, 14:15   #7
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Re: Offshore PFDs

Anyone reading this thread and thinking of buying a new PFD and safety harness and tether for use while sailing offshore should read the following threads (fairly recent on CF).

Also read these threads:
Why Do Sailors Still Die Being Dragged Along By Their Tethers?

Report of deaths aboard Clipper Race boat.
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Old 23-02-2018, 14:21   #8
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Re: Offshore PFDs

Thank you for your input. Much appreciated.
Not many sailors in my area actually use High end PFDs since most only do inshore sailing.
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Old 23-02-2018, 14:38   #9
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Re: Offshore PFDs

We ditched our very old vest/harnesses As they were starting to really show the wear. We bought two Crewsaver inflatables with harness and have used them.a season. They are better fitting and more comfortable than our older ones. I like the fabric tether attachment. We purchased the extra sprayhood, but they do not attach very well. They also lack a crotch strap for racing environments.

I d rate them.a good value so far.
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Old 23-02-2018, 14:47   #10
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Re: Offshore PFDs

Crotch straps are a must.
The spray hood should be easy to install. If you fall in cold water you have about 5 minutes to do what you have to do before loosing your dexterity.
No time to mess around
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Old 23-02-2018, 14:55   #11
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Re: Offshore PFDs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flagman101 View Post
Crotch straps are a must.
The spray hood should be easy to install. If you fall in cold water you have about 5 minutes to do what you have to do before loosing your dexterity.
No time to mess around
The reality is that most cruisers who extensively wear harnesses offshore do not use a crotch strap. I'm not advocating either way, just stating my experience.
The issue I have with the sprayhood on the crewsaver is the inconvenient mount. It gets bumped when.I move around.
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Old 23-02-2018, 15:00   #12
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Re: Offshore PFDs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
The reality is that most cruisers who extensively wear harnesses offshore do not use a crotch strap. I'm not advocating either way, just stating my experience.
The issue I have with the sprayhood on the crewsaver is the inconvenient mount. It gets bumped when.I move around.
Probably because they have never spent many hours immersed with the PFD inflated.
You learn that the hard way during the ISAF Safety and survival at sea course.
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Old 23-02-2018, 15:32   #13
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Re: Offshore PFDs

A few more points:

1. The Crewsaver product line includes some PFDs (that may be called different things including "Pro" models) that come without a spray hood. But a Crewsaver designed spray hood is about $16 additional as an option that can be added later. It attaches with straps.

2. Some of the Crewsaver PFD have an INTEGRAL or attached spray hood. Look to the ErgoFit Offshore models.

3. The Crewsaver ErgoFit model I linked above is just one of FOUR models at that level and "ErgoFit" design.

4. The one I linked is 190N buoyancy (42.5 pounds buoyancy). They have two other high end "Offshore Extreme" models that are 290N buoyancy (minimum 65 pounds of buoyancy)! Those are for extreme conditions (like High Latitudes, etc.). Those are overkill for most sailors.

5. If you cannot find the higher end models you want locally or at an online retailer, contact them to special order. I special ordered via a popular marine chandlery.
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Old 23-02-2018, 15:36   #14
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Re: Offshore PFDs

Mustang has had an inflatable PFD with integrated harness for at least five years now. I know because I own one. I've been very happy with it as far as durability, comfort and reliability are concerned. It looks like mine may have been discontinued to make room for redesigned models.

The ocean racing model has one design aspect I'm divided on. It appears that you have to put it on by pulling it over your head since the bladder is an uninterrupted ring. I could see that being a chore particularly if you're wearing a fleece and offshore foulies. Mine I just step into the crotch straps, stick my arms in, buckle it and go. That said, there's an advantage to NOT having to pick your feet up off the cabin sole to put a PFD on. So perhaps it's an advantage. In any event it looks pretty tricked out in every other respect.

If you can I try before you buy I suggest you do. The less skin they cover the better in terms of hot weather sailing. Also, if you do try, sit down and lean back in a chair. Some models have an annoying bump in the back from a buckle or whatever that can make simple sitting uncomfortable.

If you order online, request a unit with a reasonable recharge date. I ordered a couple of stripped down Mustang PDFs for guests online only to get one where the recharge due date was literally months away. They sent me a new recharge kit but you might not be so lucky depending where you buy.

The old mustang with harness. I think you can still find them in stock most places.

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Old 23-02-2018, 15:50   #15
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Re: Offshore PFDs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flagman101 View Post
Probably because they have never spent many hours immersed with the PFD inflated.
You learn that the hard way during the ISAF Safety and survival at sea course.
In my mind that is learning it the easy way.

It is far more important to have a harness that is easy to use so that it gets used. You shouldn't let perfect be the enemy of good.
I think it should be easy to.design a crotch strap system that was easy to use and easy to store when not being used.
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