Get into the water to understand the benefits of wearing your own jacket and especially the reasons for its shape and idiosyncrasies. A cut from theory to practice with tripboard engineers and lifeguards at sea for a necessary quick-dating between seven readers and a sailor’s best friend: his blazer jacket.
Starboard – Powerful Experience!
Appearance is clear. Admittedly, the skies are clear, the sea is beautiful—but refreshing—and the SNSM watch riders from their launch deck while semi-rigid in the background, ready to step in to retrieve our wrecked volunteers. However, leaving the boat in perfect condition in raincoats and boots is not normal.
None of the seven particularly motivated volunteers enrolled in this course actually exercised. To tell the truth, none of them wore a life jacket on the ground “to be seen”. However, we recommend it. For the price of the rearmament kit (about 20 euros), it’s a good bit of apprehension that will travel away.
It’s time to get in the water!
Once again aboard SNS 144: Margaux is balanced on the buoyancy limit, one meter above the water. The instructions given to the participants are to change the technique of falling – on the stomach, back, right side, left side, head first, etc. – Then it remains as idle as possible to observe the work of the jacket: the time of blowing, the transformation of the castaway. 3, 2, 1.
Margo rushes his arms along the body, with the help of the boat forcefully … The dish is resounding! Poor Margo. We shiver at her, and choke – sorry – a nervous laugh. However. In less than two seconds, the jacket’s orange bladder appears, and in the process, Margot’s face emerges from the water. Quickly here she is on her back, all smiles, thumbs up. Successful operation!
But the exercise is valid only if it is tirelessly repeated. So, one by one, here are our nominees who embark on a joyful fall into the sea competition. This practice is not mandatory. whatever. The focus here is not on proving that the new Tripod Jacket meets the standards – which it clearly does – but on providing a unique experience for boaters like you and me. The lessons learned from their testimonies and the exchanges that followed are rich with lessons, for them, for the brand, for you and us.
The absent wind and the very present sun warmed the faces of the outcasts, who were saved by a docile sea without waves or spray. Not to mention that they all wear neoprene suits under their swimsuits, but the effect is there: shortness of breath, muscle paralysis.
The second feeling: they feel quite alone even though we are very far from the conditions of solitude and stress of a real man at sea, when the sailboat transom moves away. Finally, some are stunned by the rapid drift downwind of the launch moored in front of Sablanceaux (Ile de Ré). After the effect of surprise, they were all installed snugly. The water will be hot, they will love it!
Living your passion without restrictions is and remains the guiding principle of all the brands of the Decathlon Group. Starboard, led by Figaro 2 marathon runner and sailor Guénolé Havard, is no exception. It is he who explains it to us: his aim is to do everything so that the practice of sailing does not cease, whatever the season, the age, the conditions. To do this, the group must offer practitioners improved solutions to be well protected from all the risks associated with playing outdoor sports in a sometimes hostile environment.
Collaborate with the best
So the design bureau goes into the water, opens its headquarters wide and consults the best. Here SNSM as part of life jacket development; There’s Yannick Pestavin, a recent Vendée Globe winner for imagining a new sailing jacket.
The aim of the small group was to meet offshore boaters, to analyze their needs. This is where the team raises the issue of belt/jacket modularity. According to the deckchair-returning boaters interviewed in Horta, it is the belt that motivates wearing the jacket. Away from the beach, with the family, there is no doubting the fall. The crew also talks with them about comfort, practicality and lightness. The team singled out another point to make: transformation.
The standard requires it. But the rule is set with a nude weighted mannequin. Tests by Voile Mag prove the shifting process is unstable. Here we learn that the buoyancy of a dressed boat at the time of its fall is approximately 100 newtons (a light sailing foam jacket is 50 newtons). It’s the air trapped in your clothes. Moreover, the leaps of two of the participants showed us that.
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This ability to produce prototypes is the peculiarity of the sailing lab. Imagine it’s enough for engineers to cross a simple airlock and go a few hours from drawing to testing in the situation. The visit ends in front of a test pond. Behind the cup, 23 m3 of water at room temperature to watch the hero of the day under the waterline. I’m talking about the LJ 180N of course, but let’s salute Pierre Yves, the self-proclaimed liberation model!
Brilliant illustration as the jacket unfolds in a cloud of bubbles. Great effect guaranteed, but it must be understood that this assembly above all allows Starboard teams to reproduce the conditions for obtaining the CE standard with a weighted dummy. With all of these common means, failure is not an option! Now it’s time to talk about the product a little longer with their designers.
We start backwards with the affected jacket: the asymmetry of the bladder is clearly visible, the larger left part of which covers the right one. It is presented as a reversal key. We keep the reflectors arranged so that they are visible even if the castaway crosses his arms in the waiting position. These seemingly insignificant details are typical of the added value resulting from collaboration with SNSM, in the same way as the location of the flash light (as standard) placed at the top of the bladder in order to provide 360° coverage.
Tribord attaches great importance to the instructions for the use of its products, which must be understood in a few graphs or explicit arrows. A closed bodice also has its share of details. It obviously features this removable lung. If you want to wear the belt alone, it is possible with a zip. You just have to separate a small safety on the pointer beforehand. Then there remains the belt that has been given a lot of attention to make it as comfortable and simple as possible. It starts with a stainless steel buckle, reworked so that its use isn’t like a Chinese puzzle or magic trick!
The discussions are lively and exciting and are settled by SNSM lifeguards: “They are never used: either you are unconscious and we have our own systems or technologies on board (nets, divers, etc.), or we catch you directly by a harness.” Quickly understand that It doesn’t matter where the belt is, as long as you wear the belt, and the jacket, taking care to adjust it properly and clip the crotch!
Text: Damien Bedan. Photos: Thibault Desplats.