Heading for the Southern Ocean? Solo? Take a TPS
by Nancy Knudsen on 15 Mar 2013
So you want to go sailing alone? Solo? Even worse for your family, you want to sail in the Southern Ocean? Tell them you'll invest in a Guy Cotten Thermal Protective Survival (TPS) suit and this might be of some comfort to them.
Thermal Protective Survival suit .. .
They'll feel even more comfortable when you remind them that Tony Bullimore famously survived about five days in a TPS suit in the Southern Ocean before the Australian Navy arrived to collect him, and that Raphael Dinelli would never have survived without one while he waited for fellow racing competitor Pete Goss to heroically sail to his rescue in the Southern Ocean several years ago.
They are quite amazing suits. In the early nineties it took Guy Cotten, famed protective suit manufacturer, to design and create the TPS, which is soft, light and insulating in the most frigid weather. While Guy Cotten was born in 1936 and dominated the market for many years, his daughter, Nadine Bertholom, now runs the company. Since its first inception the technology has improved and improved.
Today the suit can certainly change life on board. It is extremely light and comfortable as a dry suit, with a good level of buoyancy and thermal insulation. Even better, because it is very manoeuvrable, it can be worn as soon as the weather changes.
This amazing result is partly because of the material used, 3mm titanium neoprene with nylon both sides. The whole thing only weighs 3.6kg. There are neoprene mittens that go with the suit, and the non-slip booties can be worn over any other footwear.
You may never want to go solo sailing, especially not in the Southern Ocean, but one can't help marveling at the technology which will keep one alive in freezing water almost indefinitely.
Here's a http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtqHx-XeEyk&feature=share&list=UUwGLc9zirMhigiLCeIwWuqQ!Youtube_video of the testing of the suit by Toby Hodges of fellow magazine Yachting World.
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