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Life Jacket, PFD, Harness #113495
08/03/07 10:30 AM
08/03/07 10:30 AM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 22
Fairhope, Alabama
cookwithgas Offline OP
stranger
cookwithgas  Offline OP
stranger

Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 22
Fairhope, Alabama
Hi guys. Scott Laughlin here. I'm new to this group as well as to H-16 sailing, in fact we are going out in the boat for the first time on Sunday.
I am going to have my 13-year-old daughter try the trapeze for the first time and I was wondering if you guys have a recommendation for a harness I can purchase. The boat came with two bulky things. Is there a life jacket or PFD that has the harness built-in? Is there a new-style harness I can buy?

Thanks for the help in advance.
Scott.
P.S. I've attached a pic of my boat in the driveway.

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Re: Life Jacket, PFD, Harness [Re: cookwithgas] #113496
08/03/07 01:03 PM
08/03/07 01:03 PM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 9
B
buyer Offline
stranger
buyer  Offline
stranger
B

Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 9
Good question. If you have a wetsuit, do you need a PFD? How would you manage a wetsuit, PFD, and a harness? Will the experienced cat sailors enlighten us newbies on what gear or setup they use?

Thanks

Re: Life Jacket, PFD, Harness [Re: buyer] #113497
08/03/07 03:24 PM
08/03/07 03:24 PM
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 5,582
“an island in the Pacific....
hobie1616 Offline
Carpal Tunnel
hobie1616  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 5,582
“an island in the Pacific....
One of the functions of a properly designed PFD is to hold the users head above water if theyre unconscious. A wet suit will not do that.

If the water/air is cold enough you need some kind of protection. It may be an unlined spray top or suit, dry suit or wet suit.

There are many types of harnesses available. All the way from diaper-style to full harnesses with bars across the front to keep from digging into your sides. One option is hook or ball style. There are many different opinions on these.

PFDs are a MUST!! Wear them at all times.


US Sail Level 2 Instructor
US Sail Level 3 Coach
Re: Life Jacket, PFD, Harness [Re: hobie1616] #113498
08/03/07 03:41 PM
08/03/07 03:41 PM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 27
Eastern Massachusetts
S
swanbike57 Offline
newbie
swanbike57  Offline
newbie
S

Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 27
Eastern Massachusetts
The Hobie accessories catalog has PFD's and harnesses that seem to be designed to work together. I'm a newbie too. You may find your hands full just sailing without the added rigging complexity of the harness. But I'm an engineer, naturally cautious. Have fun!

Re: Life Jacket, PFD, Harness [Re: buyer] #113499
08/03/07 03:49 PM
08/03/07 03:49 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 182
Coopersburg, PA
V
Vinny_M Offline
member
Vinny_M  Offline
member
V

Joined: May 2006
Posts: 182
Coopersburg, PA
Quote
Good question. If you have a wetsuit, do you need a PFD? How would you manage a wetsuit, PFD, and a harness? Will the experienced cat sailors enlighten us newbies on what gear or setup they use?

Thanks


Yes indeed! A wetsuit is used when the water temperature is cold and protects your body from hypothermia. The neoprene in the wetsuit traps a layer of water between it and your body and your body heat raises the temperature of the trapped water and slows the rate at which your body cools. Without a wetsuit in cold water your body would have a much higher chance of going into shock after getting wet. (and trust me, you will get wet on your catamaran)

A PFD is a necessity when sailing, on a catamaran or a monohull. Always wear your PFD and make sure you buy one that you can be comfortable in for extended periods of time. I recently bought a new PFD from Hobie made by Stohlquist. It is a side entry PFD and is very comfortable and low profile while sailing. It also has a zippered mesh pouch attached on the side where I store a Leatherman tool and a whistle.

Regarding the harness, there are many options you have when purchasing a harness. In my honest opinion I feel that the safety and comfort of the harness are more important than the price. I use a Magic Marine Hydro half harness because I am a skipper and do not spend as much time on the trapeze wire as my crew, but if you crew, I would recommend a full harness with shoulder straps. Hobie makes very comfortable harnesses, and I love my Magic Marine. Other companies, such as Gill, Gul, and Aquata also make harnesses as well. I would recommend finding a dealer nearby and going there to try on different harnesses or as around at your local club to try on other harnesses before you buy one.

In addition to comfort I would also recommend investing in the new quick release systems available. The quick release systems prevent your trapeze hook from snagging any lines while you capsize. I was skeptical when I first heard this too, until it happened to me. After we capsized on a windy day, my trap hook got caught up in the jib traveler line and hooked onto the shroud, and as the boat started to turtle, I realized I could not untangle the jib traveler line from the hook. Luckily I had my knife with me and immediately cut the without any hesitation. After that I immediately spent time investigating the quick release system. I am not sure of the details, but the last I heard, ISAF was going to make it mandatory that all trapeze harnesses are equipped with a quick release system by 2009.

Ok, so, to the best of my knowledge, there are basically four options you have when purchasing this system. I use the Magic Marine Quick Release Spreader Bar (because it came with my new harness). this one is a padded spreader bar with a velcro attachment on the side. To release the hook from the bar you simply pull on the velcro line and the hook shoots out of the bar. I have never tried it but have heard from my dealer that there are no problems with it.

The second option is the Gill RWO Spreader Bar. This quick release system had a red button on the top and bottom of the hook that you press to release the hook. I have never seen one in person, but it is comparable to the Magic Marine system.

The third option is offered from Gul. I believe that their system involves two quick release clips on both ends of the spreader bar that you pull to release the entire spreader rather than just the hook.

The fourth option is the Bethwaite Keyhole system. Again I have never actually seen one, but I have heard from many people who say that love it. I believe it is a bit more expensive than the other options but that is because you have to buy the little balls along with the keyhole. In this system you replace your spreader bar and hook with a carbon fiber keyhole and instead of trapeze dogbones, you use a small plastic ball. To trap out, you just insert the ball into the keyhole and to disengage, you just pull the ball right out of the hole. Since this system does not have a spreader bar with a hook, there is no possibility of becoming "hooked" onto a shroud or stray lines.

Honestly I was very seriously considering purchasing this system instead of the Magic Marine System, but, because I often do not sail with the same crew, it did not seem practical for me to use the Keyhole System while the crew who I am sailing with to use their harness with the hook.

I hope I covered most of your questions and sorry about the length of the responce. Please don't hesitate to bring up other questions on the forum, the people here are more than willing to help you out. We were all newbies once in our lives.


~vinny~
Re: Life Jacket, PFD, Harness [Re: Vinny_M] #113500
08/03/07 03:51 PM
08/03/07 03:51 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 182
Coopersburg, PA
V
Vinny_M Offline
member
Vinny_M  Offline
member
V

Joined: May 2006
Posts: 182
Coopersburg, PA
Wow, in the time it took me to type my college essay responce, two other people basically covered what i said in a nutshell.

Last edited by Vinny_M; 08/03/07 03:52 PM.

~vinny~
Re: Life Jacket, PFD, Harness [Re: Vinny_M] #113501
08/03/07 04:18 PM
08/03/07 04:18 PM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 976
France
pepin Offline
old hand
pepin  Offline
old hand

Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 976
France
Warm day, warm water, low wind: Short, t-shirt, PFD
Warm day, warm water, windy: Short, t-shirt, harness, PFD, spray top
Warm day, cold water, low wind: wetsuit, PFD
Warm day, cold water, windy: wetsuit, harness, PFD

cold day: t-shirt, fleece, fleece trousers, drysuit, harness, PFD

Add some boots, gloves, hats and sunglasses if sunny.

I've done sailing in the Mediterranean sea (short t-shirt in summer, wet suit in winter) in the bay area (water is cold, so a wet suit is a must at all time, dry suit sometimes in the winter) and in the UK (drysuit most of the time, except some lucky days in the summer).

I have a now old Murray's full harness, that's the best investment I've done ever. Same model is probably available from the shop on this site. You can spend two hours on the trapeze and still be comfortable with it.

My current PFD is a simple flotation aid (I'm doing all my sailing on a lake constantly patrolled by qualified safety marshals, they are usually on a capsize less than two minutes after it happened). I would no recommend it on open or unsecured waters.

Re: Life Jacket, PFD, Harness [Re: cookwithgas] #113502
08/06/07 07:18 AM
08/06/07 07:18 AM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 206
Virginia USA
CMerrell Offline
enthusiast
CMerrell  Offline
enthusiast

Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 206
Virginia USA
Put some air in the spare, bro!

Re: Life Jacket, PFD, Harness [Re: buyer] #113503
08/06/07 07:19 AM
08/06/07 07:19 AM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 206
Virginia USA
CMerrell Offline
enthusiast
CMerrell  Offline
enthusiast

Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 206
Virginia USA
Most of my gear is getting a little old but I'll share some tips.

Stay away from the Type 2 PFDs (orange horsecollars). They are too uncomfortable except for, maybe, kids. The kayak-style PFDs are popular now.

Most of the time my crew wears a Murrays crotchless full harness with a speader bar. This harness has been very durable and reasonably comfortable but needs to be replaced. I keep hoping I'll win a new harness at a regatta raffle. <img src="http://www.catsailor.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> The harness is too large for my crew so she wears it over her PFD.

I wear a Hobie crotchless half harness with spreader bar. The foam is softer than the Murrays harness but is also "squishier" and soaks up water like mad.


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