Sailing in the Tropics is pretty neat and you really don’t need to pack much at all. A pair of shorts, slip on a sun shirt, slop on some sun screen slap on a hat, slide on those sunnies and shoes are optional. For much of the dry season, you are on your way to a great day on the water. Fair winds, calm seas, with absolutely no rain in sight.
I wish the same could be said about southern waters! There’ll be no strutting around in shorts or bathers, that’s for sure. So we had to turn our attention to purchasing some good sailing clothes. The kind of gear which keeps you warm and dry when the winds pick up, when the seas get rough, or perhaps the rain settles in. The kind of sailing when you get up before dawn and the early morning air has that slight chill to it before the sun has had time to rise and warm your surroundings. Those long night passages…well, we haven’t done any long night passages as yet but I know how cold I’m going to get. I escaped my southern life because I can’t handle cold weather and now I find myself having to think about enduring it on our circumnavigation.
I spent a bit of time researching and asking fellow sailors what we may need and was a little taken aback at how expensive this was going to be. I wanted to find good quality gear for a reasonable price, especially since it’s a once off adventure and we may not get any further usage.
So, what I discovered is that shorts and bathers will be pushed to the dark side of the cupboard and three layers of sailing gear to the forefront.
Layer one, or base layer as the sailing terminology goes, is thermal wear. It’s best to go for 100 percent Merino wool which will keep you warm and dry with it’s moisture wicking propeties. I also discovered that merino wool can go several wears before it needs washing. I can’t tell you how ecstatic this made the Captain as he can basically wear his long johns for a whole week without the need to change them…EWWWW
Then comes Mid Layer – Salopettes. I found these online at a wonderful shop called Marine Outlet. They sell sailing gear at an incredibly discounted price, really worth checking out. The sales people are very helpful. I opted for the bib variety as I was concerned that the braces would constantly fall off my shoulders as being a small person, sizing is definitely an issue. This is a size small.
Sailing boots were next on the list. Lots of recommendations from friends came through for Dubarry boots…..they are very gorgeous but very expensive indeed. I found these Gill boots made from neoprene. I reckon they’ll do the job just nicely even though they are quite tricky to get on. I’ll have to get some baby powder – I hear that’s the trick when dressing in neoprene.
Last is the outer layer. I found these coastal sailing trousers at Boating Central. Web site says they offer safety, comfort and protection from the elements. Made from CB10 Evolution Breathable fabric and featuring sewn and tape welded seams, the Pacific Trouser is 100% waterproof while also offering a high level of comfort and condensation control.
And then the jacket.
Designed for coastal sailing to ensure increased safety, comfort and protection from the elements. Made from CB10 Evolution Breathable fabric for maximum comfort and dryness. I ordered a size medium. It’s a tad too big, yet there is plenty of room to fit more layers underneath if the need arises.
So now I’m all dressed, I have a few little concerns.
How the heck do I use the bathroom?
I’m sure I’ll need to sleep in this get up because it’s going to take far too long to undress and then dress again for my shift !!!!