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BlueWater

Long, Version A Long, Version B Long, Version C Long, Version D
Long,
Version A
Long,
Version B
Long,
Version C
Long,
Version D
 
Long, Version E Short Short
Long,
Version E
Short,
Version A
Short,
Version B

Overview


Long, Version A
(#2518)

Front View Rear View Side View
Front View Rear View Side View

Technical Details

I acquired this rack from Geary Schindel in at the 2019 NSS Convention.

This rack is 362 mm. tall, 71 mm. wide, 20 mm. thick, and weighs 729 g.

The frame is made from 9.4 mm. alloy steel bent into shape, with an internal width of 36 mm. and a 26 mm. diameter coiled eye. There are 6 Rockfarer brake bars on this rack. The bars are 19 mm. in diameter and 71 mm. long. Allowing 45 mm. for the rope leaves 71 mm. for spreading the bars. THe bars are held in place with a lock nut

There are no markings on this rack. The bars are stamped "ROCKFARER."

Comments

This rack has a purely classic design: a coiled eye, wide frame, and solid aluminum bars. The gap between the nut and the eye could be shorter as any excess is wasted length.

Some early racks were alloy steel and they functioned well. Rust was a slight problem, but not as bad as one might expect. Alloy steels have a better grain structure than stainless steels; however, the corrosion resistance of stainless eventually pushed alloy steel racks out of the market.

The Rockfarer brake bars were Speleoshoppe’s brand. I put these on the rack, as Geary supplied it to me without bars.


Long, Version B
(#382, 1498)

Front View Rear View Side View
Front View Rear View Side View

Technical Details

I acquired my BlueWater Long, Version B from L&S Sporting Goods in 1989. I acquired another in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun’s collection.

This BlueWater rack is 364 mm. tall, 73 mm. wide, 21 mm. thick, and weighs 719 g. The frame is made from 9.5 mm. stainless steel bent into shape, with an internal width of 35 mm. and a 26 mm. diameter coiled eye. There are six brake bars. The bars are 19 mm. in diameter and 73 mm. long. Allowing 45 mm. for the rope leaves 97 mm. range for spreading the bars.

There are no markings on this rack.

Comments

This rack has a purely classic design: a coiled eye, wide frame, and solid aluminum bars. The large gap between the nut and the eye is wasted length: either the rack should have been made shorter for the same control range, or the control range should have been increased by lengthening the nut side of the rack.


Long, Version C
(#3172)

Front View Rear View Side View
Front View Rear View Side View

Technical Details

I acquired this lightly-used rack from J. C. Astur at DP Auction Co. in 2022.

This BlueWater rack is 371 mm. tall, 71 mm. wide, 22 mm. thick, and weighs 740 g. The frame is made from 9.5 mm. stainless steel bent into shape, with an internal width of 35 mm. and a 26 mm. diameter coiled eye. There are six brake bars. The top bar is a 70 mm. long Ed Seaman type bar with a turned groove cut to help center the rope. remaining bars are 71 mm. long, 19 mm. diameter BlueWater bars. Allowing 45 mm. for the rope leaves 97 mm. range for spreading the bars.

The lower five bars are stamped with "BLUEWATER."

Comments

This rack has a purely classic design: a coiled eye, wide frame, and solid aluminum bars. I like the idea of replacing one of the BlueWater bars with an Ed Seaman type bar. This is not strictly necessary, but doing so provides a means to keep the rope centered where a bar has more margin for wear.

The larger bar should be moved to the second position because the second bar gets more heat input than the top bar. All of the bars should be relieved and moved to pivot on the closed leg of the frame, where they are far less likely to get bumped open if the rack contacts the pit lip.

As with many BlueWater racks, the large gap between the nut and the eye is wasted length: either the rack should have been made shorter for the same control range, or the control range should have been increased by lengthening the nut side of the rack.

This rack and its bars are nearly identical to the Rescue Systems Inc. rack and bars, the only difference being the lack of markings on the latter.


Long, Version D
(#3175)

Front View Rear View Side View
Front View Rear View Side View

Technical Details

I acquired this rack from Carl Dougal in 2022.

This BlueWater rack is 366 mm. tall, 70 mm. wide, 22 mm. thick, and weighs 766 g. The frame is made from 9.5 mm. stainless steel bent into shape, with an internal width of 35 mm. and a 26 mm. diameter coiled eye. There are six brake bars. The top three bars are 22 mm. in diameter and 70 mm. long, with a shallow rope grove in each. The remaining three are 19 mm. diameter, 70 mm. long generic bars. Allowing 45 mm. for the rope leaves 97 mm. range for spreading the bars.

There are no markings on this rack or its bars.

Comments

The top three bars with their shallow machined rope grooves remind me of the hyperbar on the Rescue Technology rack, which has a similar machined groove. Judging by the striations inside the bar notches, I believe that all six bars were made at the same shop.

As received, this rack had all six bars opening the same way. I reversed three of them so that it could be used. I should file the unloaded side of the bar holes so that the bars could pass over the top of the frame and pivot on the back side of the frame. This reduces the likelihood of accidentally disengaging bars by bumping them against an edge.

As with many BlueWater racks, the large gap between the nut and the eye is wasted length: either the rack should have been made shorter for the same control range, or the control range should have been increased by lengthening the nut side of the rack.


Long, Version E
(#1151)

Front View Rear View Side View
Front View Rear View Side View

Technical Details

I acquired this rack on eBay from S. Scott in 2008.

This rack is 360 mm. tall, 71 mm. wide, and 45 mm. thick. It weighs 684 g. The frame is made from 9.5 mm. stainless steel bent into shape, with an internal width of 35 mm. The 26 mm. diameter coiled eye is turned 90° from the plane of the bars. There are 5 brake bars. The bars are 19 mm. in diameter and 71 mm. long. All five bars have angled slots. Allowing 45 mm. for the rope leaves 90 mm. range for spreading the bars.

All five bars stamped "BLUEWATER."

Comments

The previous owner set this rack up with five bars, although it is long enough for six. The rack is actually shorter than Version B, so with six bars, it would have about 2 mm. less free bar motion. Someone filed grooves in the top four bars to help guide the rope, and engraved the initials "GSR" into the top bar.

The 90° eye facilitates using the rack with harnesses that hold the attachment maillon vertical rather than horizontal.


Short, Version A
(#1002)

Front View Rear View Side View
Front View Rear View Side View

Technical Details

I bought this rack on eBay from Vern Veer Jr. in 2005.

This rack is 274 mm. tall, 73 mm. wide, and 23 mm. thick. It weighs 607 g. The frame is made from 9.5 mm. stainless steel bent into shape, with an internal width of 35 mm. and a 26 mm. diameter eye. There is one 22 mm. diameter brake bar followed by four 19 mm. diameter bars. The top bar is 70 mm. long and has a factory groove cut to help center the rope. The other four bars are 71 mm. long. All five bars are solid aluminum alloy and have angled slots. Allowing 45 mm. for the rope leaves only 13 mm. for spreading the bars.

Comments

The previous owner set this rack up with five bars. Five bars barely fit on a short rack like this, particularly when no one has filed them to move them to the back side where they belong. In effect, this rack, as rigged, is a constant-friction device when used with five bars.


Short, Version B
(#3095)

Front View Rear View Left Side View Right Side View
Front View Rear View Left Side View Right Side View

Technical Details

I acquired this rack from On Rope 1 in 2021.

My Bluewater Short, Version B rack is 278 mm. tall, 71 mm. wide, 22 mm. thick, and weighs 611 g. The frame is made from 9.5 mm. stainless steel bent into shape, with an internal width of 35 mm. and a 28 mm. diameter coiled eye. There are 5 brake bars. There is one 22 mm. diameter brake bar followed by four 19 mm. diameter bars. The top bar is a 70 mm. long Ed Seaman type bar with a turned groove cut to help center the rope. Below this are two 15 mm. spacers cut from copper water pipe, followed by four 19 mm. diameter bars.

There are no markings on this rack or its bars.

Comments

This was Carolina Shrewsbury’s rack, and she set this rack up with five bars. In effect, this rack, as rigged, is a constant-friction device. The spacers help reduce friction to an appropriate amount for a lighter caver.

The Seaman bar, being larger, would be more appropriate in the second position where bar heating is greater. All five bars should be filed to move them to the back side where they are less likely to open if the open leg of the rack is bumped.