Watergill AtPac

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mike_s

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ScoobieDooo:
So was it any good? I read something about in its day be labeled as 'dangerous' - and many shops didn't want to sell it because Watergill had recommended new buyers to receive training in its use - kinda of like what Dacor did with the Nautilus.

I used to have one.

I sold it to someone on the web a couple years ago to someone who used to be a WaterGill employee. According to him the "dangerous" thing about them was I think how the power inflator hose was attached on some models... I think he said that it had a tendency to tear away from the bladder, which of course could cause negative bouyancy.

Anyway, he bought it regardless. I think he new how to fix this or re-enforce the part where it attached. I think it also had an issue with this part being plastic or brass (the elbow turn of the power inflate hose off the bladder).

Hope this helps some.
 

diversteve

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I had a SeaPro AtPac, looked very similar to the ones posted here except mine had a full jacket(not jacket BC) with pockets and d-rings. And no plastic shell.

I bought it in 81' and dove it till about 94'. Once I had the inflator break while getting ready to submerge. When it happened it was a comedy of errors, the pack started inflating faster than the purge could let out the air so I started swimming back to the boat with one hand on the weight pull thinking if the bladder pops, I'm going to blow 20 lbs. of lead shot and marbles all over the reef in Maui and not wanting to do so. Luckily I made it back to the boat and shut off the air.

And as mentioned previously, the lead shot had a tendency to settle. I mixed mine with marbles and shook it each time before I dove to loosen it up. Mine also had a nifty yellow pull handle mounted in the front of the jacket for pulling the pin on the shot pocket.

The best feature of mine with the jacket was that there was a 6" wide velcro band across your midsection. The way the jacket was designed that was all you needed to secure the pack, so by slipping my arms in the openings and closing the velcro, I could be ready to dive in about 5 seconds. I still miss that when I'm fumbling with the straps, clips, cummerbund etc. on my Ranger.

It also had one of the worst cam tank bands I've ever used, they were velcro with a smallish flat metal buckle. About 1/2 the time I'd bend a nail trying to get the d!!! thing to release post-dive. The only redeeming quality about them was that they were completely removable, there were fixed metal tubes mounted through the plastic shot pocket and the tank brackets had bolts that went through the holes with a big plastic wingnut to secure them. So when you removed them, you could fold and store the pack in a carrier about 3" wide by the l/w of the pack.

Mounting doubles on this pack was easy, the mfr. sold a doubles bracket with the same fittings. And since it was a hard plastic backpack, they were mounted solid.

I sold it to a former employee of the company about 5 yrs. ago who still uses one. A few years ago I found a company on the web - I think near Seattle - who were still selling the component pieces, I think they bought the rights when SeaPro folded.

It was a good pack for it's time. It was an early adaptation of the BP/W design. When everybody else was fussing with weightbelts and BC's with straps, it was a pleasure to don and use.

It had the problem of floating you face down at the surface if that was the position you surfaced in since all the weight was in back. You could compensate for this by carrying lead blocks in the front pockets, they had individual velcro releases.

Attached is a picture from sometime in the late 80's/early 90's. You can see the horsecollar bladder in the back and the yellow quick release weight handle. The jacket is a bit obscured as I'm wearing a black t-shirt. The reg is a Dacor Pacer 900XL.
 

DA Aquamaster

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Rick Inman:
Hey, come on, Aquamaster! Sweet ol' Grandma may have some gas, but there's no need to tell everyone about it. :D
I dived my AtPac from '71 to '78, and when I got back into diving went quickly to the "new" BP/Wing because (I said) it made sense, and because it felt so much like diving my AtPac.
I am inclined to agree with you. Other than the over age bladder failure, I never regarded the other weaknesses as real issues as I have never needed to dump my weights nor been in a situation where I was ascending so rapidly as to worry about the smallish OPV. It had a reputation for being dangerous, but I don't think it was entirely deserved. And with a couple of minor engineering changes it would have been outstanding.

I have very fond memories of the At Pac, in part since I coveted one from a very early age. I started freediving and hanging out in dive shops in about 1975-76 at age 11 or 12 and remember seeing a brand new At Pac with fairing, a regulator (SP Mk 5) and gauge combination for something like $470, which stuck me as a huge amount of money at the time. This early desire to have one had a lot to do with my ultimate purchase of a used At Pac in 1984 for $75.00.

I really liked the wing idea from the start and my other "early" BC was a Scubapro wing mounted on a standard hard plastic pack (I forget what they called it). Then, being young and stupid, I caved to pressure from dive buddies who thought I should go with a cutting edge SP stab jacket. After about a decade I was eventually thrilled when back inflate BC and wings became trendy again.
 
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ScoobieDooo

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Sounds like a fond memory!

I'm still hunting around for a nice Dacor Nautilus myself. Since ew1usnr sent me that Xerox copy of the original test results of it back in its day I have been intrigued with its design and function and would like one for my collection and to dive with. Its sounds interesting.

eBay is loaded with all kinds of goodies these days and its just a matter of timing. perhaps one will appear again in the future and I'll be in a position then to grab it. being a FT student has made it financially difficult in 'collecting' vintage gear, but that'll change soon. I then plan on adding some late-model DA and Royal's to my collection along with a Nautilus (if I can find one).
 
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