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Trapeze Harness for kids - recommendations  Bottom

  • Anyone have any recommendations for trapeze harnesses for kids? my oldest (of 3) is now 6, my nephews are 7 and 11 and I'd like to start getting them out sailing with me more and getting on the wire is a lot of fun. (safely, mostly with both hulls in the water at all times, for the little's, a little more adventure for the 11yr old.) are there any youth harnesses that are adjustable enough to fit a range of small bodies, and more importantly grow with the kids?

    The magic Marine smart harness is available in an XXXS but it seems according to the size chart, to have a very narrow range in terms of body types that it fits. I'll be able to use any harness i get for a couple of kids, but I'd still like to be able to adjust it to fit so it will last for a few years for each kid as they grow. We don't get to sail all that often, normally a week or two in the summer so I can't justify spending hundreds of dollars on new harnesses every couple of years for the kids.

    any experience with sailing with kids on the trapeze and recommendations for harnesses would be appreciated. I haven't found much in the search hence the post.

    --
    1987 Nacra 5.8
    1978 Isotope (sold)
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  • I have a small windsurf seat harness for my daughters which they use since maybe that age. I wouldn’t use a full body harness, it seems too much for a kid, i doubt it will be comfortable and practical, and I wonder how long it will fit.
  • Oh, that's a tough one, alright. There's a basic paradox here: You want to get them started young, getting comfortable on the wire, but nobody makes a "training" diaper for little kids because they don't have enough weight to matter.

    I have twin girls. When they were just a few years old I started land training by mounting a hard point 10' up the dining room wall, and stitching webbing for a hook onto their lifejackets. All winter they could just hook up and bounce around on the wall, so come summer the boat was easy. Here they are at six with those original lifejackets.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRAs9GG5JQM

    When they outgrew the hacked lifejackets I had to get serious, so I traced out a really simple, flat, full body Straight Aero Marine harness I'd had since the early 80s (I'll try to find it and add a photo) and took a guess at scaling it down. Hit the local fabric shop, they chose the Cordura colours they liked, a little foam for padding, webbing, and velcro, and it wasn't tough at all to stitch up a custom pair. As they grew like the little weeds they are, I think I had to replace the webbing once or twice, but these did well into their mid-teens - until commercial harnesses fit.

    What's working in your favour (if you choose this approach) is that at this age they're pretty much just little sticks - they haven't developed any curves or contours yet, so you can get away with a flat harness. The material cost is just about nothing (try to buy a small Harken block for this much!) and I did it on an ordinary home sewing machine.

    I'm just digging around my disk for photos... perhaps I can put up a little gallery of these things.

    [edit]

    Okay, I've got some pix up, gallery named "Homebrew kids' trapeze harnesses":

    https://www.thebeachcats.…ictures?g2_itemId=134895

    Comments welcome.



    Edited by jonathan162 on Jun 17, 2021 - 11:39 AM.

    --
    Southern Alberta and all over the damn place.
    *
    1983 SuperCat 19
    TriFoiler #23 "Unfair Advantage"
    Mystere 17
    H18 & Zygal (classic) Tornado - stolen and presumed destroyed by evil people. Very unpleasant story.
    Invitation and Mistral and Sunflower and windsurfers w/ Harken hydrofoils and god knows what else...
    --
  • Been wrestling this this one for a while. My now 11yo wanted to get on the trapeze since about 6. You have to think of the harness and the lifejacket, because the harness hook will push the lifejacket up, and it's a PITA.

    This is clearly visible here -- the link will start the video on a frame where the kid has the lifejacket up his nose: https://youtu.be/OE4wK--_7HE?t=51

    We ended up with a kids kitesurfing harness -- super small, diaper/seat format, I think from Ion. And now we have a Gul kids harness (with shoulder straps, a proper skiff harness).

    For lifejacket, regular dinghy lifejacket the one with the shortest vertical front (ie: the one that allows the highest hook before nudging under your chin) has been the Zhik junior PDF. Works for my 11yo without conflict _now_ that he's 11 icon_smile

    Literally a couple of days ago, however, I spotted some Neil Pryde "high hook" vests, which are super cheap ($30!) in Junior size here - https://www.mackiteboarding.com/2018-np-high-hook-lite-vest-black/ -- I grabbed one in red which arrived earlier today. The Junior size is really small -- my 3yo put it on and ran around the house, and I think it'll fit a 5-6yo really well.

    About how to teach kids -- don't treat it as something special or dangerous. It's one more fun thing to do. In particular, in light or no wind days, have them on the trapeze just horsing around. I challenge my kid to jump (sideways). To body-drag. To do sideways cartwheels. It's fun, it's liberating. And when the time comes to trapeze sailing, it's just one more place on the boat to be.

    (Even then, I've had some challenges getting my kid to helm from the wire. About 3 weeks ago we broke the spell, so hopefully more helm from the wire coming up. This is from his cam -- but sitting on the trampoline -- recently https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YWRKM-9Jmg&t=56s )



    Edited by martin_langhoff on Jun 17, 2021 - 09:04 PM.
  • Oh, yeah - they get used to it early, and there's simply no hesitation or fear. The first time we pulled out of the dock and someone shouted "Aren't you scared?", they were genuinely bewildered at the question.

    --
    Southern Alberta and all over the damn place.
    *
    1983 SuperCat 19
    TriFoiler #23 "Unfair Advantage"
    Mystere 17
    H18 & Zygal (classic) Tornado - stolen and presumed destroyed by evil people. Very unpleasant story.
    Invitation and Mistral and Sunflower and windsurfers w/ Harken hydrofoils and god knows what else...
    --
  • I had an old '70s youth butt bucket for my children were they were little...have a friend whose children currently use youth windsurfing harnesses.

    First time my daughter trapped out she was about 7. We tarried too long and a thunderstorm was approaching. She's snarling piratey is-that-all-you-got remarks at the wind, while I'm worrying...partly about the lighting, but mostly about being murdered by my wife. We made it in safely before the downdraft hit (and my wife hasn't murdered me yet). Had a long conversation with the daughter about bad juju, mocking wind gods, and how mother nature always bats last.

    --
    Jerome Vaughan
    Hobie 16
    Clinton, Mississippi
    --
  • I took one of my old basic Hobie trapezes and sewed it together in places making it smaller
  • rattlenhumI had an old '70s youth butt bucket for my children were they were little...have a friend whose children currently use youth windsurfing harnesses.

    First time my daughter trapped out she was about 7. We tarried too long and a thunderstorm was approaching. She's snarling piratey is-that-all-you-got remarks at the wind, while I'm worrying...partly about the lighting, but mostly about being murdered by my wife. We made it in safely before the downdraft hit (and my wife hasn't murdered me yet). Had a long conversation with the daughter about bad juju, mocking wind gods, and how mother nature always bats last.


    That hits it exactly right on the worries. icon_smile
  • Great stuff here, I didn't know about those high hook vests, that's a brilliant idea. I ordered a Magic Marine smart harness XXXS which i think will work for my oldest nephew and eventually will fit all the other kids as they grow. I'm concerned that it isn't very adjustable but i think the step up from it will be a proper harness with more adjust ability so that should be OK.

    I'll look up the Ion harness, that might be just what I'm looking for, I was unable to find what looked like a decent adjustable kids seat harness but i was unaware of Ion.

    Now just to keep from being murdered by my wife/sister/sister-in-law. icon_biggrin



    Edited by icon149 on Jun 22, 2021 - 09:23 AM.

    --
    1987 Nacra 5.8
    1978 Isotope (sold)
    --
  • Just to make this useful as a reference, the Magic Marine smart harness in an XXXS worked out well for a 6 yr old and still fit the 11yr old with plenty of room to grow (my 11yr old nephew is small). Everyone loved being on the wire, and the 11yr old announced that he liked sailing even better than riding the jet ski... which is clearly mission accomplished.

    The life vests were a problem riding up so that may be the next item on the list for next time, and for the little kids there is a lot of stuff (straps, buckles, life vest) around the hook on the harness, but once they got hooked in no one had any issues, just a lot of smiles. Thank you all for the insight, suggestions and confidence to get the little kids in the trapeze harness.

    --
    1987 Nacra 5.8
    1978 Isotope (sold)
    --

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