Best Life Jacket?

Discussion in 'Laser Talk' started by Sail4SC, Feb 20, 2004.

  1. Sail4SC

    Sail4SC Member

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    What is the best Life Jacket for Laser Sailing? and why?including all those Euro ones. Cost? Availability? :D
  2. rockingaswake

    rockingaswake New Member

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    I have an Extrasport Pull-over Life-jacket. IT is amazing. I'm not sure of the model name, or if they make it anymore, but it goives a great amount of flotation. I'm about 190, and it is great. It stays pretty high above the waistline for great mobility and the shoulder straps are neoprene. It is the most comfortable lifejacket I've ever worn. It also keeps you very warm when you tighten it. I would recommend this life-jacket to anyone in the market for one. It also gives good protection from things like the boom and skippers fists in multihanded boats such as Narrasketucks. :)

    Here is a very similar PFD
    http://www.outdoorreview.com/Paddling/PFDs/Extrasport,Stiletto/PRD_78906_2993crx.aspx
  3. Murphs

    Murphs New Member

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    Try the Henri lloyd side zip one, almost everyone has one around here
  4. mattsterett

    mattsterett New Member

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    I have many friends who swear by Baltic (a european brand), but they are not coast guard approved. Aquata USA has recently come out with new affordable life jackets. They are comfortable and designed to be small and are higher above the waist line than my old extra-sport, not to mention cheaper. I rate the Aquata USA tsunami as just as good or better than the extra-sport tricky inferno and it is $40 cheaper. The website is http://www.aquatausa.com/jackets.htm
  5. Fuzzy Metal

    Fuzzy Metal New Member

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    I use a Salus which is a Canadian PFD. they are very comfy and low profile. Another good PFD I have used is by Lotus. It is the smallest and still "legal" I have ever sailed with. It is called the Lotus Low Rider check it out here... www.lotusdesigns.com

    Steve.
  6. macwas16

    macwas16 New Member

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    I personally have the Extrasport Retrojoust, I think it's called. Well, whatever it is, I love it! It has sufficient front buoyancy and back bouyancy that aren't at all large and bulky. It has a side zip for ease of putting on and off too. But the best part, I think, is that all around the edges of it, even the straps that come over the shoulders, have neoprene around them so there is never any abbrasion woth your skin! I got it through APS for around $120....my friend recently got a nice Lotus that he seems to like too.
  7. Shamu

    Shamu New Member

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    A good high performance PFD is the Stohlquist Wedge, i bought one for $100 Canadian and the jacket hasent given me a single problem. Its low-profile and Canadian gov't approved, so for my purposes it works best. I defenetly would advise checking into it if looking for a new performance PFD.
  8. JacksonAUS

    JacksonAUS New Member

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    I also use the Henri Lloyd side zip PFD... It's really small, tight on the body, no collar, perrfect for laser sailing. The zip up pocket is really good too, for storing things like shackle keys and maybe fruit bars.
    The only thing is, if you get one, make sure you get the yellow version, not the blue... can you imagine a rescue boat trying to spot a blue life jacket out on the water. http://www.wetweathergear.com.au/category54_1.htm
  9. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    Peter, I think you are seeing your answer - there is no clear cut "best"! It's all a matter of personal prefrence. There is a wide range of jackets available today, I found what worked for me by trying on 3 or 4 different models. Besides the sailing shops, you might want to check out local kayak dealers.

    There are two issues I will point out to you.
    #1 If you are doing any of the major US events, they can toss you out if you don't have a USCG approved jacket on board - at last year's Master's NAs in Newport this was made clear and a number of competitors had to take one of the NYYC supplied jackets to avoid it. (given the number of pretty decent models in the US, it shouldn't be a problem for you)

    #2 Test whatever you decide to buy with a capzise. One of the issues I have seen with some of the jackets with more bulk in front on sailors "a wee bit past their youth" is the bulk of the jacket hindering them pulling themselves up onto the daggerboard to right the boat, and also pulling themselves into the boat after it's righted.
  10. james17

    james17 New Member

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    If your lookin at these european ones go for either crewsaver or gul! definately the best for price. I swear by crewsaver as they are mainly a buoancy aid (life jacket: whatever you call them over there) company! I have 2 crewsaver max, just got a new one from the sailboat show! erm if you're looking for high cut ones the rooster ones look excellant also! will definatley provide the best fit as you can adjust pretty much anything on them. have a look at the sites.
  11. 420shelterisland

    420shelterisland New Member

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    About your lifejacket question....
    I have just recently moved from the club 420 to a laser. In the 420, I crewed a lot and had to wear a trapese harness. My life jacket always got in the way of the harness because it was too long. I found a great company called Lotus Design Life Jackets. The life jacket model I bought (called the Sea Sherman) isn't long, in fact, it only goes down to about mid stomach and I'm 5'10". Because of Lotus Design's lifejackets are maded for whitewater kyacking, they have to be super manuverable and have to be comfortable. The prices range from around $100-200 but they are super durable and last. Here is the web site for the life jacket I have:
    http://www.patagonia.com/za/PDC?OPTION=PRODUCT&merchant_rn=7385&cgrfnbr=365774&sku=L1046&ws=false

    HERE IS THE LOTUS DESIGN WEBPAGE FOR YOU TO CHECK OUT:
    www.lotusdesigns.com

    enjoy-
    420shelterisland :)
  12. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    Note that Lotus Designs is owned by Patagonia and they definitely make quality stuff. I am a huge fan of Lotus Designs/Patagonia gear, their "water heater" tops are fantasic here in SF Bay and I use their paddling pants for sailing on "big boats" (Etchells and the like). I have a Lotus Designs lifejacket, the Lola I think, and it is a great life jacket... except for one fatal flaw for Laser sailing: the shoulder straps have buckles right on top of your shoulders. I can't tell you how many times I have hooked the mainsheet on these buckles during a tack. Mostly this results in one of those embarrasing capsizes since you get stuck on the wrong side of the boom but twice it has also resulted in broken (carbon) tiller extensions. The solution is to wear the lifejacket under a spray top or wetshirt which works great here at home but is not always that comfortable when sailing in a hot and humid venue.

    Or... the other solution is to buy an Extrasport (or similar) lifejacket with no buckles on the shoulder straps. Extrasport is not Lotus Designs, but I've been pretty happy with the Extrasport Retrograde model I bought at the Oakland boat show last year. In particular, I am happy to report that I have not capsized in a tack since, or had to buy a new tiller extension!

    Tracy
  13. L-P Gauhtier

    L-P Gauhtier New Member

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    I have owned a lotus design life jacket for 4 years now.. & it's still in perfect shape... only the color is leaving but who cares...
  14. obrient

    obrient New Member

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    So far, I have used my old extrasport challenger. This is the original extrasport life jacket. I have mine one size too small so it never rides up in the water. Despite the jacket being at least one size too small, I never have problems with freedom of movement. ANother plus, these jackets can be found for $50 at APS
  15. Teeftie

    Teeftie New Member

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    here in canada many very low profile jackets are coast gaurd aproved which seems to make people happy, i also dont think they care much around here about if its aproved, because in canada if you have any writing on your life jacket its is not aproved anymore, and everyone has lots of writing, so i dont think it makes too much of a difference, the fact that your wearing one is the fact that counts
  16. GeoffS

    GeoffS Member

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    I have the same setup (one-size smaller Extrasport), and I mostly like it alot. It give me good range of motion in the boat, and I've been in the water quite a bit with it, and it almost never gets in the way there.

    I think it's a bit on the thick side. I find myself getting hung up on the boom quite a bit during tacks (esp. in windier weather with the new vang). It may just be be my intrinsic clumsiness, though... My jacket is wearing out (5+ years old), and I'm thinking of trying to find a a replacement with a thinner profile (esp. on the back).

    Cheers,

    Geoff S.
  17. pirouette

    pirouette Member

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    I looked on Laser.org under rules to try to find the PFD specs with no success. Can you tell me if a Class III pfd is adequate?
  18. pirouette

    pirouette Member

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  19. pirouette

    pirouette Member

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    In looking at the picture on the patagonia/lotus websites, it seems that the Sea Sherman has buckles on the top of the shoulders.. other replies on this thread indicate that is potential problem, what has been your experience?

  20. 420shelterisland

    420shelterisland New Member

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    yes, there are "buckles" on the top of the shoulder straps on the life jacket.
    i always keep them pretty tight/fitted to my shoulders and i rarely have problems. HOWEVER, i have gotten caught on the hanging part of the mainsheet on my laser. i have fixed this problem with some duct tape. i bought the life jacket when i was sailing my 420. the boom is higher on that boat so i never had any problems. another great feature about the jacket is the rubber neoprene section around the torso to keep it from riding up when you're in the water. it holds the vest snug around your chest and it works great. i also love its big pockets on the front where i can put my VHF radio, extra blocks and spare parts, and a knife. i bought the vest in 2003 so there may be upgrade to the sea sherman that i currently own. most lotus design life jackets have adjustable shoulder straps. the sea sherman has a side zip which is better than having to squeeze it over your head when you're dripping wet and the vest is sticking to you. thats another plus :) . check the website and see if there isn't an upgrade for the sea sherman and get back to me :)

    sebastian

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