Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dry Suit Dressing Competition

Crabfest is more than just food. We have a parade, bed races down the street, etc etc. Lots of fun. Here the crowd watches the Dry Suit Competition.

In this race, a team of four run down a ramp, put on their wet suit, get checked to be sure they made their suit watertight, then jump in the water and swim to a raft on the other side of the harbor.

There are many novices who have never competed before, high schoolers, families who are in the fishing business, fishermen, and a few years ago, a group of Army guys who were here decided to show that they too could compete in the water sports.

The person who gets into the raft the quickest is declared the individual winner. This year is was shortly over one minute for an individual. The fastest team, (when all 4 were in the rescue raft) took about 3 1/2 minutes.

I listened carefully to the announcer as he reported on the progress and challenges of each team. From what I gather, some think wearing jeans is a hindrance because of the friction on putting on the suit; others have no problem at all with that.

The main problem is getting the hood over the head once you've put on those clumsy crab-claw like hands and sleeves of the suit. If you have problems, your partners help you. On average, it seems 1 out of 4 needs someone else's help to get zipped up.

As you would expect, the number one cause for failure:
broken zippers as you try to close the suit.

That is why they say, you don't just check the suit for integrity once, but more than once a year...and maybe before each trip out. Even then, problems happen.

Here a young girl had a defective zipper and decided to swim anyway,
though disqualified because of failure to make the suit watertight.

You can see they are carrying her on her back, to prevent water getting into the suit form around her neck.

Moral to the story: check your gear...and hope for the best.

No comments: