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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:06 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 12:36 am
Posts: 97
Location: Eagan (St Paul), MN
Had an 'incident' today: A MN lake, 'White Bear Lake', is at historic low levels - water apparently draining out into underground aquifer. So guess what I did? Huge rock vs dagger board on high speed broad reach (I think winds were 15-20). Almost pitch poled over the rock. Through some miracle the only damage was to a now completely obliterated dagger board. Anyway, the sudden near-stop got me thinking about how I could have face planted into the mast without too much difficulty - and then pitched poled the boat.

I always wear a PFD but this has gotten me thinking about having something that will keep me face up if unconscious. I wear a Stholquist vest that is this style:

Image


I know that there are PFDs (type 2 like this:

Image

) that are supposed to keep you face up. But that looks miserable to wear. Anyone been unfortunate enough to have been unconscious in the Stholquist type shown above and lived to tell? Any thoughts (besides staying conscious) on PDFs that fit this need and are still workable for sailing (couldn't find old posts to specially address this issue)?

thanks!

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e-mail: ab at medjet.net
H17S, Hobie Bravo, A cat
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 2:19 am 
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Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 3:55 am
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Location: Dumfries, SW Scotland
We use different terminology in Britain, so don't copy my names for things. But what I would call a "life jacket" is designed to keep you face up if unconscious. Yachtsmen often wear them, as do professional rescue services. Normally they use the inflatable kind, which are quite compact deflated. For the scenario you have in mind, you'd want the type which inflate automatically when immersed in water.

The trouble with those is, when inflated, they are so bulky that they would seriously limit what measures you could take to help yourself. Yes, they'll keep you face up, but you're pretty much reduced to being a passive casualty, waiting for somebody else to rescue you. If anybody has experience of doing a self-rescue while wearing something like this, I'd love to hear about it.

A normal PFD ("buoyancy aid" in Britain) won't do the face-up-support job, but does leave an active swimmer enough freedom of movement to self-rescue. They also score points for comfort, and for pockets so that you can, for example, keep your radio with you even if you end up in the water.

So you need to decide what kind of "accident" is most likely, and dress accordingly. Not very helpful, I know. Sorry.

Mary


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:35 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2003 7:11 pm
Posts: 4623
Location: Detroit, MI
If you're wearing any modern trapeze harness, you're pretty much cooked if you end up unconscious in the water.

Trap harnesses are made to float. (It's actually a requirement in the Racing Rules of Sailing). Where's that flotation? On your butt.

I conducted an experiment by going into a pool fully geared up and trying to float on my back. When I relaxed, invariably I would roll over and go butt-up from the flotation in the harness.

The kind of PFD that will turn you over and keep you face up in the water is too unwieldy to be of any practical use on a small beach catamaran.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:41 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2005 10:13 am
Posts: 699
Location: Nepean S.C. Ottawa, Canada
Low water levels this summer are a problem everywhere.....
Glad it was only a Dagger that suffered....imagine if the trunk/hull failed!

Lots of us around here wear either hockey helmets or white water helmets....
to protect our heads against contact with the boom or mast....
you never know.

Interesting to learn about the buoyancy of harnesses...I'll have to check out in the pool soon, thanks Matt.

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'Only two things are infinite, the universe, and human stupidity. But I'm not sure about the former.'


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:11 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2007 5:40 am
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Location: Metuchen NJ
a couple years ago our bowman got knocked clean off the boat by the boom during an accidental gybe in gusty conditions. He was wearing a 'full' jacket type PFD and wound up face down in the water, out cold for 15-20 seconds.

The PFD did not roll him over to a face up position.

Fortunately he came to just as I was about to jump in for him, we quickly got the life ring around him and hauled him in.

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'88 H18SE Arís


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:34 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 12:36 am
Posts: 97
Location: Eagan (St Paul), MN
Hmmm. Trap harnesses that turn you face down. Yuck. Not sure I can endure the crap from my fleet but I'm seriously considering the helmet option. I did once hit my head on the mast during a fall from the H17 wing (I was trapped out from the wing). Fortunately it was only a minor injury. I wear a bike helmet everytime I bike and I've never fallen off of that. Conversely, I don't wear a sailing helmet but I have had a few head strikes over the course of my sailing life. It's the old safety vs humiliation equation. I'll probably go the humiliation route.

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e-mail: ab at medjet.net
H17S, Hobie Bravo, A cat
Fleet 444


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:26 am 
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Location: Metuchen NJ
there's no humiliation when you walk away from a crash landing intact.

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