Kay, guys, gimme a break here. (Even tho I think if you use the Fortress you don''t need the all chain rode.)
Everyone here has had their PFDs on within a bay or within reasonable distance from shore, yes?
I used the SOSpenders automatic inflatable for years on many offshore trips. I gave it away when I left the biz and moved inland. And no, I don''t recall the model number, but I had the type that included the harness, the harness hardly added any weight at all. Bought it at the Annapolis boat show years ago.
The nice things about the automatic inflatable are - the comfort and the security. But you have to take care of them, of course, and you have to wear them. Even if you have the harness and don''t tie onto the jackline, i.e. during a bay sail, I''m certain they can still be a great asset to you.
I have been in three knockdowns, (you can see the keel over the foam and surf) two when I was in the cockpit, one when I was actually thrown overboard - no fault of my own, I was holding on. Though I was dragged beside the boat for a bit in 30 foot seas, it is a much better fate than that which would have beset me if I had 1)not been attached to the boat by the harness and 2)not had an inflatable, because I was knocked quite silly, not knowing which end was up. This was in the middle of nowhere, not Long Island Sound.
My opinion is that the SOSpenders and other pfds (especially the auto inflates) can be worn with so little discomfort that it would cause much less grief to those families left waiting to hear of their loved ones. Sorry, but safety first.
I did once use one of those god-awful type IIs (the orange things everyone has) and strapped it very, very, very tightly with duct tape around me when I was having to steer back home through a mad jetty with 10 foot swells because I had three broken ribs from the storm cell we had been through. But I bet it was the duct tape that helped more than anything
It felt better, anyway, then they put me in a wrap (and gave me wonderful pain pills) once we reached land.
Anyway, I can''t say enough for the auto inflate, and put it on, it weighs barely anything, and what does it hurt?