If you are going to be sailing on the open ocean, you want to be well-prepared and well-protected. In this article, we will share some smart tips to help you select just the right offshore sailing gear to be prepared for all kinds of weather. Read on to learn more.
When choosing your foul weather garments, be sure to go with a major brand (e.g. Gortex) that provides offshore gear in lightweight, waterproof, breathable fabrics. Select well-made foul weather garments in bright, easy-to-see colors. Red, yellow, fluorescent green and orange are excellent, high-visibility colors that will make you easy to find in an emergency.
A good offshore jacket should be fully cut so that you can wear warm layers underneath. It should also be long to cover your posterior and your upper thighs. You should be able to zip and button it securely right up to your chin. Your jacket should have an inner lining made of mesh for good air flow.
The closure at the neck of your jacket should be very secure to keep out wind and rain. It should be of Velcro and/or a zipper. There should also be an inner closure of neoprene to completely block water. A drawstring will help you adjust the fit to keep gusts of wind out.
Your jacket should have a hood that can be stowed in a pocket when not in use. The hood should be a bright color with ample reflector patches for optimum visibility. In fact, your jacket should be liberally trimmed with reflector tape so that you can be found at night if necessary.
In addition to a good foul weather jacket, you’ll need a pair of pants specially designed to fight off inclement weather. The best style is the bib-and-suspender type. These come up higher, provide more coverage and stay on better than any other kind of foul-weather pants.
Make sure the pants you choose have Velcro closures on the cuffs to seal out water. Pockets should also close with Velcro to prevent loss and damage of necessary items. Your pants should be heavy-duty with reinforcement at stress points such as the seat and knees. You don’t want to experience icy water rushing into your clothing through a rip in the seat or knees.
Keep in mind that sea boots should never be worn on land. The soles of these boots are quite soft and will become badly damaged if you wear them anywhere but on deck. Your boots should be waterproof, and they should be a couple of sizes larger than your regular size. You’ll need that extra space because you want to be able to wear warm, wool socks. Additionally, if you end up in the water you need to be able to get out of your boots fast to avoid drowning.
You’ll need a lightweight, tight fitting thermal layer under your foul weather jacket, pants and sea boots. A good pair of thermal underwear is a great choice. Top that off with thin synthetic pants and top (e.g. a track suit). Add a polar fleece sweater for extra warmth. Stay away from cotton garments because they absorb and hold water. Water runs through synthetic fabrics, and they are fast drying.
Pay Close Attention To Detail
Under the hood of your jacket wear a tight fitting polar fleece cap. This will prevent you from losing heat through the top of your head. On top of that, wear a baseball cap. This will help protect your eyes from spray. Also, the bill will facilitate the turning of your hood when you turn your head. Without it, you will turn your head inside your hood and you won’t be able to see!
Get a good pair of sailing gloves in a durable, flexible synthetic material that will protect your hands from injury and cold while allowing you to use your hands freely. A neoprene wristband will help keep your hands dry. Sticky gloves will make it easier to grip and manipulate objects in challenging situations.
All of your jacket pockets and your pants pockets should be of a cargo type with flaps that can be securely closed with Velcro. You should test the working of the pockets and closures while wearing your sailing gloves. You must be able to operate them while wearing your gloves.
It’s Always Better To Over-Prepare
For all sailing, it’s smart to get heavy duty offshore sailing gear. This is important even if you only plan on day sailing or coastal sailing. You can always count on even the best laid plans going awry. It is always better to be over-prepared than to find yourself shivering and unprotected on the stormy seas.