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Kynntana (Freedom 38)
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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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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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
 

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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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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...... :laugher I suspect the idea of cleaning, drying, etc will never happen.
 
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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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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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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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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:rolleyes:

Regards

Paulo
 

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Kynntana (Freedom 38)
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, yes, it was...sorta, provided you got all the way through to post #207, though the points made are valid to this discussion. I have both the Mustang PFD, that you mentioned liking, and the Spinlock. The Spinlock, however, fits much more securely on me. The straps on the Mustang never seem to stay cinched tight and they're not easy to adjust. If the PFD is not tight around the chest, this is one of the reasons it can ride up when deployed. The Spinlock has a built-in strobe and spray hood. The Mustang has neither and it's near impossible to find a good location to strap anything to it. I bought the crotch strap when I bought the Mustang a couple years ago and they're pretty flimsy. IIRC, the Spinlock provides the crotch strap with the PFD. The reason I have these types of PFDs is because I am not convinced that a coastal-rated flotation PFD has the buoyancy to keep one afloat offshore in big swells and the extra clothes needed when sailing in 50 deg weather. But they don't give me warm and fuzzy feelings either. There is a huge element of just "trust me" in that they will deploy as expected. My plan is to also test the swimability of each when I replace the canisters. I think I got this idea from the PS article, which said it's near impossible to swim freestyle with the PFD deployed. Another reason is the non-USCG rating on the Spinlock. I need to have the Mustang as my bonafide USCG PFD.

I think Spinlock needs to issue a recall, and in the meantime, make some statement now that they are at least trying to address the concerns.
 

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Kynntana (Freedom 38)
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
They were SOLAS approved long before they got USCG approved. The SOLAS approval is generally considered a much higher standard.
This was the main reason for overcoming my concern about it not having USCG approval. Maybe the SOLAS standards need to be revisted.
 

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Crotch straps should be mandatory and its not clear whether they were wearing them.
The report says two of the four Spinlock wearers were wearing their crotch strap. The PFD went over the head of both the people not wearing them and one of the two people wearing them.

I wear a Spinlock, and will keep wearing it, but for sure it is good to read the Practical Sailor blog about it to understand the failure mode.
 

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They were SOLAS approved long before they got USCG approved. The SOLAS approval is generally considered a much higher standard.


<snip>
The USCG doesn't care if your gear is SOLAS approved when they pull you over for an equipment check. There's nothing wrong with carrying SOLAS approved equipment, but in the US, you'd better have USCG equipment to meet regulations or you'll be facing fines, impounding or both.

Is this proper? Of course not, I'm just pointing it out.
 

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A question I do not know the answer to:

If you knew things were going badly and there was some probablity of going in the water, would you take off your inflatable and put on your paddling jacket, knowing it will perform dependably in very vilolent water?

I'm not really interested in a jacket that works in moderate conditions. As market participants, how do you value rough weather performance vs. comfort? Put another way, if they redesign the product so that it works better in rough water but is less comfortable or less convinient, would you buy it? If the answer is no, Spinlock won't be able to market it.

I suspect we are victims of our own unrealistic expectation and relience on regulators.
 

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Kynntana (Freedom 38)
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
A question I do not know the answer to:

If you knew things were going badly and there was some probablity of going in the water, would you take off your inflatable and put on your paddling jacket, knowing it will perform dependably in very vilolent water?
The main reason I hear of people wearing the jacket type PFDs is because of the protection to your ribs if you bash into something. It also gives more warmth. With the "barely there" feel of the Spinlock and its built-in harness, you could wear both types if things started to get really bad. This would give you greater buoyancy, more padding protection, and a feeling of security knowing that something will work when you really, really need it. Of course, a smart business person out there would be making a PFD that meets all these objectives and likely make a killing over the competition.
 

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The Spinlock is only useful as a safety net to accidentally ending up off the boat, when all primary means are focused on keeping me aboard.

If we are in a situation where we know we will be abandoning ship and have some time, I have a half dozen offshore type 1 pfds in a hold down below. No point goofing around with a delicate bladder, if you know you will be in the water.
 

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The USCG doesn't care if your gear is SOLAS approved when they pull you over for an equipment check. There's nothing wrong with carrying SOLAS approved equipment, but in the US, you'd better have USCG equipment to meet regulations or you'll be facing fines, impounding or both.
Just a reminder that USCG approved inflatables only count toward the one PFD per person requirement while they are being worn. If you wear non-USCG approved equipment, the spares that you carry must be traditional full buoyancy non-inflatable USCG approved PFDs or they will not count toward the one PFD per person requirement.
 

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... you could wear both types if things started to get really bad. This would give you greater buoyancy, more padding protection, and a feeling of security knowing that something will work when you really, really need it. ....
NO!

This is extremely dangerous, particularly if the inflatable is underneath. Folks have worn these under foul weather gear with disastrous consequences, and the foul weather gear was probably loose.

These things need to be worn as instructed. Think.
 

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Kynntana (Freedom 38)
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
NO!

This is extremely dangerous, particularly if the inflatable is underneath. Folks have worn these under foul weather gear with disastrous consequences, and the foul weather gear was probably loose.

These things need to be worn as instructed. Think.
Totally agree. I guess I just assumed that people would wear an inflatable PFD OVER everything else. The foam jacket types could be underneath. I also agree with the prior poster who said he'd just grab his Type I and be assured it's going to work offshore if the ship were going down. This is a good suggestion.
 
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