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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:59 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 3:55 am
Posts: 103
Location: Dumfries, SW Scotland
Water in the suit will not make you sink. It isn't any heavier than the water outside the suit. However, it will make you cold. How much depends on the extent of the damage. A pinprick puncture will only give you a damp patch on your under-layers. If you get a serious tear in your suit, get out of the water as fast as possible. But I haven't personally known anybody get such serious damage to a drysuit.

Mary


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 2:00 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:57 pm
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Location: Delaware Coast
jkkartz wrote:
I may be wrong but, when a dry suit gets a hole in it, water gets in?

If so:

Will you be able to float with your PFD.

Will you stay warm with cold water in your suit?


Yes, water will enter through a hole.

Yes, you will still float with your PFD.

With most dry suits, there is no insulation value at all. The insulation comes from what you wear underneath of it. This is why it is so important to wear items that retain their warmth even when wet...a "just in case" measure. This is a good idea anyway because you can get wet from perspiration even without a hole in your suit.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:08 pm 
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Location: Detroit, MI
jkkartz wrote:
I may be wrong but, when a dry suit gets a hole in it, water gets in?
Short answer is yes.

Most drysuits are pretty durable. Their weak spots are the seals, but they can be easily replaced.

jkkartz wrote:
If so:

Will you be able to float with your PFD?
Yes. Water in water is neutral bouyancy. Getting out of the water is a different matter. Your legs will be very heavy.

jkkartz wrote:
Will you stay warm with cold water in your suit?
Not as warm as a wetsuit, but you'll still have insulation.

It's really not that much of a problem (water intrusion) if you take care of your suit.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 4:50 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 09, 2005 10:25 am
Posts: 2549
Location: Jersey Shore
I personally know of a Hobie sailor that also kites and had the relief zipper on his drysuit get blasted open by a wave while kiting. Luckily, he was able to get the zipper closed before water got in. I also recall hearing a story from several years ago where a kiter was killed while kiting in a off shore wind. When they found him, his drysuit was full of water.

But I think on a Hobie, you're pretty safe from having the suit fill with water, because you spend 99% of the time out of the water. If you do end up holeing the suit, you would just sail to shore, call it a day, and get the suit fixed. But there is that element of danger that if your suit does have a leak and you end up spending an extended period in the water, you could be in some trouble.

Wetsuits, on the other hand, are considerably safer. If they get a hole, you will be somewhat less comfortable, but the remainder of the suit will continue to provide insulation and it won't fill up like a plastic bag.

sm


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:39 pm 
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dry suits are not at risk of filling up and killing you, the ankle gaskets are not tight enough to hold any significant volume of water IN the suit, it will come out past the gaskets as soon as you start to climb out the the water. So the scenario where your suit gets water in it and is so heavy you can haul yourself back on the the boat and drown, is not a realistic one.

I flipped my tracer (sea kayak) about 200 yards off shore and could not recover and had to wet exit, and hold onto my boat drifting in. I didn't have my waist band tight so by the time I got to the shore I had about a gallon in each leg. It drained down to a cup or so as soon as I started walking out of the water. the gaskets let it pass right by going OUT.


Now the scenario where you fall off your boat miles off shore and it flies away or is eaten by the Kraken or whatever.. where in you are left bobbing around for hours.. In that case (in terms of hypothermia) its going to fall more upon what you are wearing UNDER the dry suit, because in those conditions, even a good try suit is eventually going to start letting in some water. That's why its important to have something that insulates even when wet, such as wool or modern synthetic.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:48 pm 
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Location: Jersey Shore
Wingnutt wrote:
dry suits are not at risk of filling up and killing you, the ankle gaskets are not tight enough to hold any significant volume of water IN the suit, it will come out past the gaskets as soon as you start to climb out the the water. So the scenario where your suit gets water in it and is so heavy you can haul yourself back on the the boat and drown, is not a realistic one.


I disagree.

Many drysuits have built in "feet" which means they would not drain out of the legs. Or if you've got a suit with ankel gaskets, but are wearing booties and are unable to remove them, the water will be trapped in the suit.

The other problem is that if your suit fills with a significant volume of water, it'll be virtually impossible to swim. Couple that with the stress on your body from being exposed to 50 degree water or the fatigue from trying to right a Hobie for 15 minutes (or 30, or 45, or an hour) and I could definitely see having your drysuit fill with water as putting you in serious risk of drowning.

sm


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:13 pm 
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srm wrote:
Wingnutt wrote:
dry suits are not at risk of filling up and killing you, the ankle gaskets are not tight enough to hold any significant volume of water IN the suit, it will come out past the gaskets as soon as you start to climb out the the water. So the scenario where your suit gets water in it and is so heavy you can haul yourself back on the the boat and drown, is not a realistic one.


I disagree.

Many drysuits have built in "feet" which means they would not drain out of the legs. Or if you've got a suit with ankel gaskets, but are wearing booties and are unable to remove them, the water will be trapped in the suit.

The other problem is that if your suit fills with a significant volume of water, it'll be virtually impossible to swim. Couple that with the stress on your body from being exposed to 50 degree water or the fatigue from trying to right a Hobie for 15 minutes (or 30, or 45, or an hour) and I could definitely see having your drysuit fill with water as putting you in serious risk of drowning.

sm


Well if you set up a scenario where having anything less than an emergency cold water survival suit would kill you then yea a dry suit wouldn't save you.


But I would think in the time it would take for a dry suit to fill with water, without said dry suit you would have been toast much sooner due to hypothermia given the same exposure without a dry suit.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 6:57 am 
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Location: Jersey Shore
The alternative is a wetsuit. They keep you warm even when water gets inside, you can swim in them even with water inside, and the neoprene foam provides positive bouyancy and insulation.

I'm not trying to say that drysuits are death traps - clearly lots of people use them and do so safely, but there is an inherent level of risk in wrapping what is essentially a sealed plastic bag around your body and going in the water. That risk is substantially less with wetsuits. Of course anytime you play in cold water, there is some risk.

sm


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 12:07 pm 
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Location: Clinton, Mississippi
I use both, and, if you can afford it, a dry suit is the way to go for the conditions the OP mentions. It's much more comfortable, and, with proper clothing underneath, it's way warmer than a wetsuit, even with a small leak. For the doomsday scenarios above, I'm betting a wetsuit would have been even worse.

If you do go with a wetsuit, add a (preferably windproof) spray top (and maybe bottoms) to combat evaporative cooling.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 2:13 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 21, 2004 7:46 pm
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Location: Santa Cruz
rattle 'n hum wrote:
It's much more comfortable, and, with proper clothing underneath, it's way warmer than a wetsuit, even with a small leak.


I'm not so sure about that. Drysuits always make me clammy and claustrophobic. If you have to swim, the wetsuit wins hands-down.

It boils down to personal preference.

A spray top over a wetsuit works well when it's really cold.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 5:52 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2005 10:13 am
Posts: 662
Location: Nepean S.C. Ottawa, Canada
I have not tried a dry suit.
One day, I'll try.

The last time I sailed in cold weather, (air temps around 29F with windchill, water temps around 60F, this is Canada, go figure), I put on in this order:
my pure lambswool T shirt, (stays warm when wet),
a wool sweater,
my farmer john wetsuit pants,
then the wet suit top,
then spray pants, spray jacket,
hockey helmet, sunglasses, long fingered sailing gloves, and scuba boots.

I looked like I'd landed from Mars, however, I was not cold.

On another cold day, with similar gear, I fell in...dog bone came undone while trapping in chop....even wet, my body stayed warm.
Later, the feet began to get cold as I was sailing with beach shoes not scuba boots.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2011 3:05 pm 
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Thanks for all the replies--lots to consider and look at---good for one who loves to shop!


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2011 6:39 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2007 6:37 pm
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Location: Sechelt, BC, Canada... Sunshine Coast
A good drysuit with proper clothing under is great... you can sail and never worry about being in the water... this is after 20 min.... swimming... bring extra gloves in a ziplk for when your hands get wet....
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 3:11 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2003 7:11 pm
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Location: Detroit, MI
Excellent source of info on drysuits courtesy of Annapolis Performance Sailing:
http://blog.apsltd.com/


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:14 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 11:23 am
Posts: 534
Location: Lake Norman NC
Full wet suit wet suit gloves wet suit boots wet suit hood if very cold or really rough seas enough said
Warning do not drink a lot of BEER and try to use the BR before you go out
It is very hard to undress a wet wet suit on the boat and even harder to redress :lol: :lol:


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