Need HELP with wing and harness purchase decision (LONG)...

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Drewski

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Hi All:

I could use some advice concerning the purchase of a wing and rigging a new kit for my doubles set-up. Just about everything is "on the table," and I'm open to suggestion. I know much of this has been discussed before, but I would appreciate "fresh" perspective.

I live in Virginia Beach and most of my diving will be offshore of VA, NC and NJ between 60 and 200 FSW. Although I'm an instructor, I don't instruct anymore and all diving is purely for my enjoyment. My range of experience includes wreck, deep and cave. I've done 3 stage air decompression in OW before, long before EAN or O2 was ever used. I am very comfortable with a "large" equipment load underwater and train rigorously on new equipment in both the pool and confined water before going offshore. I’m not planning on using what I’m describing here offshore for at least 6 months, giving me plenty of time to “work out the kinks.”

In terms of my diving "philosophy," I do NOT believe in using doubles just to USE doubles. In fact, for diving above 130 FSW, I prefer using a single tank with an "H" valve (2 regulator set-up). My current kit consists of an OMS 60# bungee wing, IQ Pack, SS plate and multi-use pockets. This set-up works perfectly for me using a single tank and I don't intend to change it. :wink:

I use the Worthington LP-121 (don't say it...) for all diving except beach. I’ve doubled a pair of these and I’m planning on using them ONLY for depths below 130 FSW, longer duration above 130 FSW, wreck penetration or cave (if I get back into cave). When I rigged out and tested these last week, my existing kit set-up was "weak" (I kind of expected this). The 60# "bungeed" wing is really more like a 40# wing because of the added restriction bands (I like it tight on the single) and I have some doubts about the durability of the IQ Pack supporting the significant weight of 2 large cylinders. Even wearing my 5 mm wetsuit, the BCD barely floated me to where I like to be on the surface. Ditched, the BCD needed to be more than 1/2 inflated to just float the kit. Although a dry suit could help with overall buoyancy, I will NOT wear a dry suit for water temps above 75 F, especially for BTs of 60 minutes or less. Below 65 F, it's ALWAYS a dry suit. Everything else is a 5 mm once-piece or less.

In terms of buoyancy and "weight," I'm calculating a -35 LB buoyancy factor for the kit alone at the start of the dive, not counting any additional weighting for wet or dry suit use or for using another cylinder for gas switching. I figure a buoyancy change (delta) of around +13 to +15 LBS by the end of the dive, so potentially my overall buoyancy at the start of the dive could be -45 LBS assuming dry suit weighting for my size (YIKES!). As I indicated before, I also need to surface swim with this rig and I prefer more than just my nose sticking out of the water.

Finally (whew..), I'm leaning toward using a plate/harness system for this kit, not an integrated pack. With the weight of the tanks, I'd feel better about a more solid connection like I had when I was cave diving using a plate/harness system.

OK, so here are the questions I'm asking for help with:

  1. Single or double bladder BCD for this set-up? I'm nervous about a BCD failure at depth given my starting buoyancy. I've also experienced dry suit failure before and when it happened, I found it fairly difficult to make the surface. Combined with a BCD issue and this large a kit, I'm viewing the double bladder option as attractive.

  2. Recommendation for lifting capacity of the wing? I don't see a reason to use bands on this set-up unless I'm missing something. The tanks have a wide profile and surface lift is important to me as 90% or more of my diving will be open ocean.

  3. The wings I've been looking at include the DiveRite "Super Wing" "Super 1" and "Classic," the OMS 60 and 94# single and double bladder wings, the Oxycheq 70# single and double bladder wings, the DSS LCD 50/70# wings and the Custom Divers TDB wing. Also, many thanks to John with Northeast Scuba Supply for good advice and attractive pricing. Any advice/recommendations from folks who have USED these products is MUCH appreciated. BTW, has anyone in the USA heard of or used that "Custom Divers" TDB? It looks pretty cool (along with the company's other stuff...).

  4. Finally, a harness recommendation. I'm pretty sold on a DiveRite Deluxe or Transplate harness, but the OMS Comfort Harness matches my current kit so things could be inter-changeable. Hearing about this from others would help. I can appreciate that "simple" harnesses feel the same underwater, but they can hurt like hell walking around on the deck. I'd really prefer avoiding a long discussion on Hogarthian vs. DIR philosophies. I'll only say that "I'm not as good as I once was, BUT I'm good ONCE as I ever was..."

Anyway, if you're still reading at this point, I'm impressed! Any advice will be respected and appreciated.

THANKS!
 

Jim Baldwin

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I'll try and take one of the first cracks at it. I dove PST HP 120 set up as doubles and used two 80 Al's as stage and deco bottles. I had a DR stainless and ABS plastic plate with a Classic wing. This setup floated me on the surface with no problem. My head was way out of the water.

I used my drysuit as backup buoyancy and never had a problem. I did a wing failure and if I was vertical I was not going to surface. If I got horizontial my suit would capture the air and it was no problem to do a controlled ascent. I have since switched to HP 100's as I just don't need the extra gas and I trim out better.

I agree I definitely would not wear that much weight and gear with no backup buoyancy. I would venture to say that most folks are going to advise against the big steel tanks and just a wetsuit. I have never dove with a double wing so I can't answer that question but I just always thought it was a little too much. If you're set on using a wetsuit then this may be your only option.

The DR Classic would float all gear and deco bottles when they were full on the surface but it has to be nearly full.

For me a standard wing in the 50 to 60 range I think would be able to float you easily or if you lean back make you look like a turtle on his back. With my rig I could lean back and surface swim with no problem. I would certainly go with a SS backplate and a standard Hog harness with a full set of D rings. I have three of these setups two for singles (40 lb.) and one for doubles (55 lbs.) and they work great. Extremely durable and will easily handle the weight. I would get rid of the bungees and let the wing fully expand and see how it works. If it will carry your load just opt for a new BP and harness.
 

cool_hardware52

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Why would you be 45 lbs negative? You need to be negative by the weight of your gas + a little. Below 130 I hope you are planning to use Trimix. 240 cuft of Trimix will be ~15 lbs give or take a little.

Add the initial buoyancy of your Drysuit, ~ 30 lbs, and I see a 50 lbs wing. (If your Drysuit is far more bouyant you may need a larger wing.)

It's hard to see many dives that need 240 cuft tanks, breathing Trimix, that wouldn't also need a Drysuit. With a DS you have a ready source of redundant buoyancy.


Tobin
 

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