Hi, I've moved to a laser1 from a yacht. We obviously have life jackets on the yacht but they are not geared for dinghy sailing. What do you guys recommend in terms of styles/makes of buoyancy aid that are good for laser sailing?
If you have something comfortable from the big boat, just wear that. Inflatables (auto or manual) are popular here in the mid-south where high temps and light winds place a premium on comfort. Buoyancy aides are basically lighter-weight, tighter fitting vests which do not - usually - meet minimum life jacket flotation requirements. Probably your best compromise would be a kayak/canoe vest by Astral or Kokatat which will fit comfortably and allow full movement of upper body and do meet life jacket specs. Anyway, just some thoughts!
I agree with the kayak style, something of minimal bulk. I was using an inflatable PFD for many years of keel boat racing as it was very comfortable, but now I wear a regular life jacket, the reason is that you can never be certain that inflatable will inflate. If you are using one of the auto inflate style and you dump your dinghy the vest will hopefully inflate, now it's got to be de-flated and fitted with a new cylinder and arming device, there goes your day of sailing. If you are using a manual inflate style and you are knocked into the water and unconscious you are in big trouble. Go with the regular lifejacket. By the way I have never seen dinghy sailors wear anything other than a life jacket style vest.
i am pretty sure that in pa you need an approved life vest (coast guard approved- most bouyancy vests dont count-which has been previously noted). not sure if that applies elsewhere, i just wear mine everywhere
You can look for a Salus,( http://www.salusmarine.com/ ) ... they make a lot of models that are pretty appropriate for sailing .. , and for sure, they are approved, so you don't have do worry about that !