Have had a couple of Spinlock Vests over the years. Currently have a 2017 model that I think is equivalent to the 5D. Wore the first vest 24/7 for the passage
and it was very comfortable even to sleep in. Never took it off because I was solo and could've been forced to go on deck
at any minute. The only complaint I had was no provision for the PLB as the PLB's clip didn't hold worth a damn and was constanly falling off. Bought a pouch from a police gear
supply place that perfectly fit the PLB and attached it to a side strap. That has taken care of the PLB issue. Think they've now made provision for PLB's on their vests. I had/have the pill auto inflate mechanism on both my vests. It's had no problems with some nasty weather
causing an unwanted auto inflate. The barometric inflator would probably be best if your going around the Horn but for normal cruising use the cheaper pill inflator has worked fine for me.
FYI, Spinlock is a great company to deal with. My original vest, circa 2008, had a recall
. Since I didn't register it they weren't able to inform me of the recall
. Had a glued on piece on the bladder come off after 8 years or so. Emailed them to tell them about the problem as a heads up to them not expecting anything from them. They immediately got back to me and arranged to do a swap out on my vest for no charge or the option to get an upgraded vest for very little money
. Really appreciate them standing by their vest that was more than 8 years old.
As far as which is best really depends on your use. Would definitely get one with a built in harness. You're way safer not going in the water
in the first place. Don't know why but the Lite version with harness doesn't say it's CG approved while the CG approved Lite vest doesn't appear to have a harness clip on ability. I don't give a damn about CG approval but if you are going to wear it as the only vest forl you it might have an issue. Have been boarded a number of times for a 'Saftety Check' by the CG wearing my old non CG approved vest and it was never questioned. Used to hate the crotch strap and would tuck them into pockets on the vest. They'd eventually work
their way out and were a constant hassle. Finally solved
the problem by just clipping the crotch straps on as prescribed. Voila, no more crotch strap issues and they just disappear from mind once clipped on. Know that their was a rise up issue with a vest and drowning of a crewmember in a grounding in heavy surf off the Farallones without the crotch straps.