Slant Six Throw Bag
Developed for paddle sports, this rescue device could be a boon for sailors, too.
One product not included in the Nov. 1 report on crew-overboard testing, was the Slant Six Throw Bag from Seattle Sports Co., which makes and sells products directed principally at the sea kayaking crowd. This item is one of three throw bags sold by the company.
The Slant Six is contained in a safety orange polyester bag with a broad mesh panel for easy draining and 1-1/2" reflective stripe for nighttime visibility. The bag closes by way of a draw string and plastic, finger-release cord lock. There is closed-cell foam sewn into one end of the bag for flotation, a snap-on buckle (that's also a high-pitch whistle) to attach it to the mothership, and a clear PVC handle (intended for the victim to grab) encircling the 5/16" braided polypropylene line. The line itself is 65' in length. Both the bag and the line are coated to inhibit UV degradation.
Small loops of webbing are sewn at the mouth of the bag, which are intended for the user to hook his/her smallest fingers into so that the bag can be held open and the line repacked with the other digits of both hands. We found this process somewhat awkward initially, but after the first repacking, we developed a fairly efficient technique. The true advantage of this system—though it's not fast—is that it flakes the line into the bag cleanly, ensuring that it will pay out without snagging the next time.
We tested the Slant Six. Right out of the box, the bag sailed 35 feet when heaved with determined effort. We repacked it according to the manufacturer's instructions and repeated the process several more times. In those windless conditions, our throws averaged 40 feet. A skipper intending to use this product to make contact with a COB would have to get his or her vessel considerably closer to the victim, particularly with adverse or cross winds.
The only chink in the armor we found with this product is that the grommets in the bottom of the bag aren't stainless steel; traces of rust were evident there just one day after we used the device.
The Slant Six sells for $39.95 (plus shipping), which is roughly 30% less than the comparable product from West Marine, and that one lacks the whistle.
Contact - Seattle Sports Co., 800/632-6163, www.seattlesportsco.com.