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rocketwench 06-04-2010 02:10 PM

Dinghy sailor seeking some PFD recommendations
Looking for some input on PFD/floatation aid choice. I am in the US, sailing laser, dinghy, etc, inland waters/the Gorge. I am fairly new to sailing and have been using a whitewater pfd. I am finding it restrictive, snagging boom, generally slowing my movements across boat and balance/speed. Especially irksome is the upper back region and shoulders of the pfd, as that is what snags the boom. I feel like the Michelin (wo)man. I have tried about 20 or more different pfd's and a few are a slight improvement, but... I am debating whether to go w/ a Zhik or Gill flotation aid type of "pfd" (they are not Coast Guard approved here in the states), as they have a sleeker profile. I sail alone much of the time (though almost never out of sight of other boats), so I have concerns about amount of flotation offered and safety. I'm about 140lbs and usually in wet suit. Anyone got any input, arguments for/against Gill/Zhik, experiences or recommendations to share? I'm about ready to start dissecting PFD's and shape, reconstruct/sew with neoprene to make one that works. Gotta be something better! Thanks in advance - Cheers -Andy

BRDuchin 06-04-2010 03:36 PM

Dinghy PFDs
Its all about what fits comfortably. Whitewater PFDs tend to ride up too high to be comfortable for me on a dinghy. I'd recommend going to a good shop and trying some on. Alternatively, ask some of the people you're sailing with to try theirs out. has some nice ones on the sale rack. Good Luck.

BRDuchin 06-04-2010 03:39 PM

PS. I've always like Extrasport PFDs. Light and comfortable. the combination of stretchy shoulders and zipper is best. Maybe you need to try one of the models designed specifically for women. While the wetsuit will give you additional flotation, I'd stick with the USCG approved ones. Safety 1st, and all that.
Drive it like you stole it.

paulk 06-04-2010 06:26 PM

What BRD said. Sailors in the Jr. Sailing Programs around here (more than a thousand sailors, all told, in Pixels, Lasers, & 420's) are required to wear USCG approved lifejackets while on the dock or on boats. Most go with the Extrasport they each think is most comfortable.

rocketwench 06-04-2010 08:01 PM

Bibendum goes sailing
Local folk are mostly in regular pfd's, some in gill's. I'm middle-aged and not req'd to wear USCG pfd, which is why I wanted to hear various perspectives/dialogue. Here I am in my current Extrasport pfd ....

Least that is how it feels...

smackdaddy 06-04-2010 09:32 PM

78 Attachment(s)
Hey rocket - welcome to SN chika. Zhik's got some cool stuff.

BTW - the pics busted.

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