Sidemount has taught us so much about how our stage/deco bottles should ride. The idea is to have streamlined bottles, almost parallel to our body, that break the water in one place. This reduces drag, which in turn increases the ease in which we move through the water. When we have multiple bottles on us like we do in traditional DIR, there is a great deal of drag that we are trying to reduce as much as possible. Our goal should be to have the most efficient configuration reducing drag as much as possible so that our gas consumption is also reduced.
UTD’s experience in both DIR and Sidemount has shown us clever ways of cleaning up our stage and deco bottles so that they hang better and ride on us in the most efficient manner possible. By now you are asking yourself “How?!” Well, the following three tips should clean you up quite a bit.
Make sure your neck (top) bolt snap is not below the bell of the cylinder. Also, ensure that this bolt snap is tight against the bottle and not all loose. (see photo 1)
Make sure the line is snug against the bottle. Keep it snug by NOT carrying your bottle by the rigging on land. Carry your deco bottles by the valve just like all of your other scuba cylinders. (see photo 2)
The bottom bolt snap needs to be able to have two positions. The first position is the extended and the second is the short and tight position. You can wrap the slack and shorten the length of the snap. (see photos 3 and 4)
This last step is very important and affects how the butt of the cylinder rides while we are in the proper diving position. If the bottom snap is not tight then the bottle will hang low and swing under us while we are diving. Obviously this is terrible bottle placement and significantly increases drag and the bottles swing side to side as we swim (just plain annoying). The extended position is nice when you are carrying multiple bottles and “lengthening” the clip length yields better bottle positioning.
Rigging your deco and stage bottles with standard DIR style kits will allow you to make this modification on the fly while diving thus keeping your bottles as streamlined as possible.
If you have any questions or need help rigging your bottles come to Submerged and we will be glad to sort you out with what you need.