Spinlock Aero Pro PFD
For high-performance sailing, Spinlock’s newest design combines efficient form with added protection. The first phase of the project was designing the T2 vest for America’s Cup challenger Land Rover BAR. The T2 then evolved into the Aero Pro model, available in early 2017. The new design, an overhead-entry PFD, is made of pliable, high-buoyancy foam meant to move with the body while also providing required protection for crashes and capsizes.
The most unique innovation in the T2 is its back panel, which is made of shock-absorbing body armor for impact protection. On the Aero Pro, this panel can be replaced with a hydration bladder with a tube feed. The flotation is constructed within a woven shirt with a close-fitting neck and waist gaiter to eliminate snag points. For Land Rover BAR sailors, the T2 also includes a knife pocket, accessible to both hands, and a recessed emergency oxygen cylinder in the back panel, but these features are not included in the Aero Pro.
While not U.S. Coast Guard-approved, the Aero Pro meets ISO requirements and weighs 1.6 pounds.
Mustang EP Ocean Racing Inflatable Vest
Mustang undertook a two-year design process to create its EP Ocean Racing Inflatable Vest, which meets U.S. Coast Guard and ISO regulations. The design focuses on comfort and movement, using a low-profile chassis that is slimmer around the body than on older models, without the bulk of a front closure system.
At 3.6 pounds, the PFD feels heavier in the hand due to added features — including a spray hood, integrated harness and lifting loop — but the weight is distributed evenly to sit across the shoulders, not the back of the neck. The hydrostatic inflator and cylinder are oriented sideways to avoid contact with the ribs during movement, and a shortened waist profile provides good mobility. By merging design and function, Mustang has created a high standard for offshore personal flotation, and at a reasonable price ($329).
For 2017, Mustang has also released its Elite 38 Inflatable PFD, designed for high-performance sailing with a body-armor panel.