Spinlock PFDs - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 34 Old 02-05-2014 Thread Starter
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Spinlock PFDs

What do you think about the 2013 Islands Race accident report that found "four of the five Spinlock deck vests failed to work properly." The report also said that: "The panel recommends that Spinlock and other manufacturers examine the design of their inflating vests and consider making the inflation chamber more secure to the harness."

There's nothing on Spinlock's website about this and it had been known to be an issue shortly after the accident. I've sent a message to Spinlock. Will see how they respond.
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post #2 of 34 Old 02-05-2014
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Re: Spinlock PFDs

I was wondering if it was a chamber-specific thing - or if they were just talking about what happens when you don't have a crotch-strap.
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post #3 of 34 Old 02-06-2014
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Re: Spinlock PFDs

There was a bit of a discussion about this at the US Sailing Safety at Sea seminar at the San Diego Yacht Club this past weekend and at the end of the seminar one of the presenters pulled apart a Spinlock PFD and showed its construction to a few of us.

My understanding is the inflation tubes on the Spinlock are not continuously attached to webbing. The left side has a strap to which the stem with a light at the top is attached but also holds the inflatable tube to the webbing. The right side lacks this and the inflatable tube migrated from the right side of the head to the left side on 4 individuals. It did not seem to be a case of the units riding up on the body. The energy of the breaking surf and the rolling of the boat in the surf may have played a role

Spinlock apparently claims that this has never been reported before.

The US Sailing accident report is online and is interesting reading.

Marc Hall
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post #4 of 34 Old 02-06-2014
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Re: Spinlock PFDs

Spinlock deckvests were recently USCG approved.
I'd like to think that any defects were corrected as part of the approval process.

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post #5 of 34 Old 02-06-2014
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Re: Spinlock PFDs

Crotch straps should be mandatory and its not clear whether they were wearing them. Any pfd can rise above your head without them, especially smaller people like kids. They came standard with my Spinlock. I don't know if they still do.

I'm due to rearm our Spinlocks and I may consider a little test before doing so. No doubt, my wife I would practice an inflation with the old cylinders. If it have the time, I may try a jump overboard, with an without the crotch straps.

If I have the time...... I suspect the idea of cleaning, drying, etc will never happen.
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post #6 of 34 Old 02-06-2014
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Re: Spinlock PFDs

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Crotch straps should be mandatory and its not clear whether they were wearing them. Any pfd can rise above your head without them, especially smaller people like kids....
Simply not universally true, and that points to the central problem: lack of good testing protecoles.

Why is it not true? Kayak PFDs do not ride up if worn properly. Ever. More than a few paddlers are maytaged every single day, and the jackets stay in place. Why? several reasons:
* They don't rely on a strap around the chest, which is ALL WRONG for a PFD; it will ride up and it restricts breathing. Instead, they are around the waist.
* Real world testing. These guys test PFDs by taking them out and using them. On the other hand, USCG approval is based on flotation pounds and strap strength, not whether they work in actual practice.

The current standards include many measures of sturdiness, and the result is PFDs that don't fall apart:
Table of Contents for UL 1191

But what we need are standards that involve actual use:
* Does is stay in place?
* Can the wearer swim?
* Can all pockets, accesories be reached when inflated?
* Can the harness quick release be reached by a swimmer?

While a leg strap requirement (forget crotch straps--most guys will cut them off) makes some sense, it side-stepps the isssue of performance testing. Spinlock is a good company, but they should find this utterly humiliating; they sold stuff to the public that they should have known didn't really work. If the public wants something that can't work, they should have the character not to sell it.

The Coast Guard should share in the embarasment. They don't require meaningfull use testing. I didn't hear the CG say "we now see that PFD standards are woefully incomplete and will be re-evaluating our standards." Instead, they point fingers at race organizers.
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post #7 of 34 Old 02-06-2014
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Re: Spinlock PFDs

I find it hard to believe that the bladder would "migrate" completely over to the other side of the vest by itself. Something tells me it may have been repacked in a not-so-good manner. In any case, it sounds like some stitching is needed to secure the bladder to the harness on the right side to prevent this in the future.

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post #8 of 34 Old 02-06-2014
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Re: Spinlock PFDs

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Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
Spinlock deckvests were recently USCG approved.
I'd like to think that any defects were corrected as part of the approval process.
They were SOLAS approved long before they got USCG approved. The SOLAS approval is generally considered a much higher standard.


Frankly it looks like Spinlock made products that were defective. I would not be suprized to see a massive recall on these units with a redesigned one replacing it. But this will take some time. Figure a few months at least for them to rethink how they are made and for management to realize they are going to have to spend some major money.

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post #9 of 34 Old 02-06-2014
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Re: Spinlock PFDs

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Originally Posted by MarcHall View Post
There was a bit of a discussion about this at the US Sailing Safety at Sea seminar at the San Diego Yacht Club this past weekend and at the end of the seminar one of the presenters pulled apart a Spinlock PFD and showed its construction to a few of us.

My understanding is the inflation tubes on the Spinlock are not continuously attached to webbing. The left side has a strap to which the stem with a light at the top is attached but also holds the inflatable tube to the webbing. The right side lacks this and the inflatable tube migrated from the right side of the head to the left side on 4 individuals. It did not seem to be a case of the units riding up on the body. The energy of the breaking surf and the rolling of the boat in the surf may have played a role

Spinlock apparently claims that this has never been reported before.

The US Sailing accident report is online and is interesting reading.

Marc Hall
Crazy Fish - Maintaining, Upgrading and Sailing a Crealock 37
That is a big blow and comes as a surprise from one brand that makes very expensive PFD, several times the price of some others. That shows that price is not everything in what regards the choice of an equipment

Regards

Paulo


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post #10 of 34 Old 02-06-2014
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Re: Spinlock PFDs

This was already discussed a few weeks ago.

Rick S., Swarthmore, PA
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