Day 2 – Counter Balance Construction Begins

Cayman 2005 Logo

In association with Performance FreeDiving International

After an 8 a.m. wakeup call from Doc we head off to catch breakfast at the restaurant. It’s a beautiful morning with a light, fresh wind and over breakfast we make our plans for the rest of the day. Martin and Doc will do a shore dive from Divetech at Cobalt Coast, while Goh and I will meet Danny Kupkowski from ‘Off The Wall Divers’ and start on the construction of our "implements of depth".

Danny supported us last year as our training boat captain. He assisted us while Mandy, Martin and Doc attempted Free Immersion and Constant Ballast and achieved two new world records and one national record. This year we expect better things and Danny is here helping us make it happen. First off we need to begin construction on our counter balance safety arm which’ll support the sled during the discipline of Variable Ballast.

Variable Ballast is an assisted/unassisted discipline in which athletes ride a weighted sled to depth and then swim and/or pull themselves up the line from depth under their own power. It may sound crazy, but it’s a discipline that has its own unique characteristics and training. This will be Team PFI’s road of adventure during the coming weeks.

By early afternoon we’ve been to the hardware store, gathered our last minute supplies and headed to Danny’s boat in the Cayman Islands Yacht Club to start construction. Construction consists of two 18 ft. 2X6 pieces of wood that will be fixed together to make a diving arm. In this framework there’ll be two sailing pulleys, one on each end of the vertically standing wood, and two sailing clutches mounted in the center opposite to each other.

The idea of the contraption is that the framework will hang across the beam of the boat mid-ship with the port side being the competition side and the starboard being the safety counter balance side. A continuous piece of 1/2 in. / 12 mm line will run through both pulleys and be controlled by the sailing clutches.

A counter balance system essentially allows the surface activation of a counter balanced weight to drop, pulling the lighter side weight up. This lighter side weight contains the bottom plate and sled that the athletes utilize. It’s one of many safety systems we’ll employ during the next three weeks of training, with week four being the record attempts.

By 5:30 p.m. we are collecting tools and getting ready to head back home for showers and a nice dinner out.

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