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  • Kevlar safety equipment

    Seeking information on your experiences with cutsuits and recommendations for what has worked. Our 15 year son was involved in an accident this weekend and suffered a large deep gash right through the cut pants on his thigh that required surgery. The lifeline pants he was wearing provided zero protection in our opinion. We expected an injury given the type of accident but aslo expected the product to help reduce the severity...it did not. The companies response has been less then stellar. Any recommendations/advice is much appreciated
    bill hoctor likes this.

  • #2

    Re: Kevlar safety equipment

    Sorry to hear about Peters accident. In my 15 or so years racing, I have used several different brands of kevlar pants and sleeves. While we rely on these products to do their job and expect them to, every accident is different and it makes it hard to pin point where the product failed, Lifeline states right on their website that powerboat racing is dangerous and their products are meant to reduce injuries in the event of an accident. Last year, we saw a young driver run over by his own boat and the prop worked its way up his leg, in my opinion the kevlar did its job there the first strike was strong but the kevlar slowed the propeller down and the driver only required a small amount of stitches instead of serious injury.

    With that being said, there are really only two major brands that produce a product for what we do, Lifeline and SRP and looks like Lifeline is ruled out so that puts you with SRP, I can recommend if SRP is no longer making pants or sleeves with tuffnlite that you purchase a pair of pants and sleeves from tuffnlite or slashpro and wear them under the new pants and sleeves you buy. Double the layers, double the protection.

    Hope the recovery goes smooth,
    -Johnny

    Johnny Wlodarski III
    24J

    Comment


    • Solesen
      Solesen commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you Johnny! Our son and the other driver will be fine. The rescue crew and our fellow racers were fantastic.

      My wife and I appreciate your feedback. We will start looking into the options you suggested. Our kid just wants to get boat fixed and back on the water. Oh yeah, and he wants a Kelvar cup to protect is favorite body part.

  • #3

    Re: Kevlar safety equipment

    It may be time to discuss rules concerning turn fin sharpness and break out forces. It would be easy to implement a new rule that all turn fins must have a blunt, flat leading edge of say 0.050 or 0.100 inches. The manufacturers of cut resistant outfits could tell us how much improvement we could achieve relative to the width of the blunt part. It would not affect racing because we would all have the same fin bluntness. It may even reduce drag, I have heard blunt is better than sharp. A maximum break out force could also add safety. Our mechanical engineer racers could determine a force needed to keep the fin down while racing yet pop up if you hit something. Lee Tietz could invent a cleaver detent mount to sell.
    Solesen and Dave Cofone like this.



    Comment


    • Charlie Pater
      Charlie Pater commented
      Editing a comment
      I like your ideas on turn fins.

  • #4

    Re: Kevlar safety equipment

    Sorry to hear your son was injured.

    Speaking from experience, Lifeline is always my top choice in safety gear for the last 20+ years. The company and their reps have always been helpful and their gear is top notch. Kevlar is in no way cut proof, nothing is cut proof. That is why it is referred to as cut resistant clothing. While being cut may appear that the pants did not do their job, the fact your son still has a leg means the pants did their job. Racing back in the days before kevlar, few lost limbs due to similar accidents. Thankfully the times have changed and the sport has grown with technology but racing is dangerous, we all understand that every time we get in the boat.

    We are thankful for companies like Lifeline who stepped up and developed certain gear in the effort to try and make our sport as safe as it can be.
    Howie Nichols likes this.

    Comment


    • #5

      Re: Kevlar safety equipment

      Grandparacer is really onto something. It's not as if our boats are setting the world on fire with speed. They basically average around 60-70 mph. Even the Budweiser unlimited team sacrificed speed in favor of safety. A more hydrodynamic leading edge shape makes a load of sense in that they won't be as sensitive to angle and much safer than a sharp leading edge. Also it has been shown that a KORT nozzle is more efficient at transferring power into thrust (on large vessels). A KORT type prop enclosure would all but negate prop strikes.....Maybe it's time to start looking at the root cause in addition to safety gear. It may even by possible that a profile change to turn fins and a prop shroud could even increase speeds. Never know until it is tried.
      Solesen likes this.



      Comment


      • #6

        Re: Kevlar safety equipment

        A prop shroud will be a hard sell but think about this... require engine tie down rope be made of a specific rope and number such that when the skeg hits something it breaks and pops the engine up?
        John Adams
        Solesen and Dave Cofone like this.



        Comment


        • Dave Cofone
          Dave Cofone commented
          Editing a comment
          All good ideas. How about an engine brake like they have on lawn mowers. I'd like to try some of these on my boat.....if I can just get beyond 3 feet without some calamity before the season is over.....

      • #7

        Re: Kevlar safety equipment

        Thank you all for the comments, suggestion and ideas. We do know Lifeline is good as anything else. And we definitely joined with our eyes wide open about the inherent dangers and risk. We do accept them. Our concern was raised (admittedly in an emotional state) by the Canned conclusion of gear won’t work in that situation. We reached out to all of you due to our belief that these rare incidents should be looked at closely for any possibility of incremental improvements. Also to learn from everyone else’s experiences through the years. Thank you again.

        Michelle and Steve Olesen
        pav225 likes this.

        Comment


        • #8

          Re: Kevlar safety equipment

          I have old photos of me racing in a tee shirt and Kevlar has made it much safer but not perfect! We should always try to make it better without ruining the fun factor. Sure hope your son recovers quickly and gets back on the 'horse' as they say!
          bill hoctor and Solesen like this.



          Comment


          • Solesen
            Solesen commented
            Editing a comment
            Completely agree.

        • #9

          Re: Kevlar safety equipment

          In the Pro category we are required to have impact panels in our life jacket for protection. Why not add UHMW plastic panels to our kevlar pants and sleeves. They could sew pockets on the outer layer of Balistic Nylon. The panels could be inserted into the pockets. Lower panel could wrap 180 degrees around your leg. Upper panel to protect upper thigh and hip area. UHMW (Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene) has the highest impact strength of any thermo plastics made. 1/8 plastic won't stop a prop or turn fin. But it would help minimize the damage.
          Solesen, and like this.
          Lee Tietze
          Machined Components
          Aluminum, Try Racing Without It!



          Comment


          • GrandpaRacer
            GrandpaRacer commented
            Editing a comment
            We don't even need a rule change for this.

        • #10

          Re: Kevlar safety equipment

          I've wondered if there are any actual tests performed on kevlar pants and sleeves, like throwing a kevlar covered dummy leg or arm into a running prop to see what happens and compare the results of that test with one of just a bare leg or arm simulator?

          An expensive test, but it would be interesting to see.

          As for turn fins, how many incidents has there been where someone has been sliced up by one? I'm sure it's happened, but in my brief racing career, I've only heard of prop strikes (last year's being the impetus to develop the kevlar boot requirement).

          I never understood why anyone wants a super sharp leading edge on their turn fin. The fin is barely touching the water, if at all, on the straights, in turns, the fin experiences an increase in angle of attack in relation to the water (that's why you get a big rooster tail from it). A sharp leading edge has adverse effects when the AoA gets to high (stagnation bubble on the upper side of the leading edge), which translates into a lot of drag. Seems a nice symmetrical airfoil shape would be better.

          Dane Lance
          700-P
          CSH/500Mod

          Comment


          • #11

            Re: Kevlar safety equipment

            I happen to have this Kevlar sleeve material. It is 2 layers of protection. I am going to make a test fin sharpened first and then blunted to various levels, perhaps 0.050 and 0.100. Then put the Kevlar in a press against 3/4 in plywood and see if I can measure a force difference needed to cut through it with the sharp and blunted 'turn fin". Stay tuned..
            John Adams



            Comment


            • Big Don
              Big Don commented
              Editing a comment
              John, thanks for doing this. Can't wait to see the results.

          • #12

            Re: Kevlar safety equipment

            You are welcome to what’s left of our pants if that would help. Thanks

            Comment


            • GrandpaRacer
              GrandpaRacer commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks, lets see how this goes first.

          • #13

            Re: Kevlar safety equipment

            Preliminary surprising results: an AL turn fin sharpened and blunted to 0.025 flat would not cut the Kevlar in my press. I used 3/4 inch plywood backing and pressed the fin deep into the Kevlar and plywood. I will attach photos if I can get it to work. I need stronger backing than plywood because the Kevlar is stronger than the plywood. The sharp edge was distorted in the process but the Kevlar showed no visible signs of being cut. I may have to go to a steel fin.
            ​Can not upload phots for some reason. I will try tomorrow.



            Comment


            • #14

              Re: Kevlar safety equipment

              Ok, I had to reduce the size of the photos to up load them. the first shows the turn fin driven into the Kevlar and plywood with about 500lbs force. the second shows the Kevlar after two punches. the first one was sharpened and the second had 0.025 bluntness at the edge. neither one cut the Kevlar at all as you can see.



              Comment


              • #15

                Re: Kevlar safety equipment

                Great information! Would testing a single layer Kevlar be worthwhile or would it be same since not going through first layer? Also, Michelle looked closer at our pants last night and it looks like prop marks (just a guess) hit the pants about 3 inches below the wound...outer shell held up with just some melting/groves but did not hit Kevlar level.

                Comment


                • GrandpaRacer
                  GrandpaRacer commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Good idea to try one layer. I also will try hard wood backing like oak or something like Delrin. I need to get something that will cut so I can show an improvement if there is one going to a blunter leading edge. The 0.025 would be considered sharp by most racers, probably 0.050 too.
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