Life Vest Recommendations

andyatos

Active Member
Thread starter #1
I'm looking to get a life vest that has a low, contour fitting upper back area that will allow me to pass under the boom during tacks when I have a lot of vang on and my boom is very low and not get hung up on the boom... as is the case when you are wearing a standard kayaking or other life vest.

Any of you regular racers have a recommendation? I'm 5' 11", 180 pounds.

Thanks!

- Andy
 
#2
I'll be interested in hearing recommendations, too. My old kayak vest is starting to fray. But I have to say, having the high back on it has forced me to duck real low, which is a good practice in high wind gybes - protects the noggin'!
 

thieuster

Active Member
#3
Given the posture of the Swedish Standard-class winner in Roses, I don't think that your weight and length should cause a problem. He is about your size and perhaps even a little taller.
More and more sailors are sailing with a vest that makes them look like a muscled character from a Marvel cartoon... Zhik sells them as the 'P2 PFD'. Other brands have'm as well. The vest is a little longer, making it possible to spread the technical floating material around the body. As a result, the vest is thinner and sits higher on the back. Check it out.
 

thieuster

Active Member
#4
... what also helps is wearing a so-called 'bib' or 'overtop' worn over your pfd. It sits higher in the neck, like a collar and that way you can slide under the boom without being catched.
 
#5
And make sure you have a boom with a strap and not with an eyelet.
The bib works well. It covers all the seams of the PFD and is made of very slippery material.
 
#8
I would agree I have a Zhik II Pfd and it works amazing. Quite frustrating though at most of the US events they make you wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket, they are all huge catch on the boom.
 

thieuster

Active Member
#10
I just discussed the 'In-house Laser specialist' (my son) the matter of going under the boom. He told me that it shouldn't be a problem for long people as well (naming a young man we both know who's shy of 2m / 5ft 6 and who's capable of going under the boom without problems).

So he approached your problem from a more technical pov: how do you handle your sheet before you tack? And how do you 'cross'?

Look at Marit's technique (0'32'' and further). Look at the mainsheet and her movement from one side to the other (Specifically not mentioning 'crossing'). Her movement under the boom is also forward, making it easier to create room for her to go under the boom

 

thieuster

Active Member
#11
Quite frustrating though at most of the US events they make you wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket, they are all huge catch on the boom.

I didn't know that. Especially when I know that those dinghy PDF's as we use, are real life-savers. I don't want to go into details, but one of my son's mates in his previous sailing team has survived a shipwreck at sea (yacht's keel broke off) because he was wearing a dinghy PFD and not an inflatable vest!
 

andyatos

Active Member
Thread starter #12
How do you handle your sheet before you tack? And how do you 'cross'?
Watching Marit's tacking technique I would say that mine, when I have a lot of vang on, is quite similar.

If anything, I stretch my body out fore and aft more and lower than Marit because I'm bigger than she is. As I pass under the boom, the main sheet block is right in front of my face.

I handle the sheet and the tiller exactly like Marit. Steering behind my back as I exit then switching hands with the sheet and tiller.

Perhaps in my original post, I should have said, "... looking to get a life vest that has a low, contour fitting upper back area so that I don't have to duck quite so low than if I was wearing a bulky, non sailing designed vest." ;)

- Andy
 
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thieuster

Active Member
#13
... which sounds as technically a proper tack! So it's not something in your movements you have to change! In that case, it's the clothing!
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
#14
I would agree I have a Zhik II Pfd and it works amazing. Quite frustrating though at most of the US events they make you wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket, they are all huge catch on the boom.
I don't see that 'rule' observed consistently in the USA. I think that a sailor can protest another sailor who is not wearing the 'proper' life vest. But who wants to do that?
 

thieuster

Active Member
#17
It is funny how no sailor ever complains about the vest. Not even in hot weather. My son attended the Sneekweek (Europe's largest in-land regatta) two years ago and on one morning he took off, heading for the start and realised that he had no vest on. First time ever! Luckily a guy on a RIB gave him one; a red one. I was on the water too, but couldn't find him (800+ boats on the water at the same time...) simply because I was looking for a black Zhik vest and not a red Magic Marine. He finished 2nd that day.

On returning the PFD, he had no idea who had given it to him, so I called the phone# that was on a label inside. The guy said: "Just drop it off at the finish tower, I'll find it there!" Upon this day, we have no idea who gave him the vest!

The Sneekweek: as said: Europe's biggest in-land sailing event on the first week of August. Always between 700 - 800 boats sailing one course/day. The course takes about 2hrs. The fixed buoys are numbered and depending on the wind direction, a certain 'route' is appointed every day using a letter code. (Course A to M). Centre of the Universe(...) is the so-called Start Island in the Sneekermeer.
Tons of Dutch design boats like the Regenboog (= Rainbow), Schakel (= Link), Locally built G2 (= Modern interpretation of a Dragon). And off course the international classes like Laser, Optimist, etc


Winners of the Sneekweek receive a Delft Blue Plate, every year another design. 'Sneekweek Winner' has a certain 'aureole' for non-sailors when they hear it. In short: try to get a glimp or participate next year! You'll love it.

 
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