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Old 07-01-2017, 03:33   #1
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Clothing needed for sailing across the South Pacific?

With the sailing across the South Pacific you'd expect the usual shorts, t shirt and sun hat to be the norm for sailing wear. But what is also really needed , is my question?

Do I need full ocean going wet weather gear ?
What else? Example , a wind stopper fleece? Light coastal jacket?
Gloves? How cold does it get at night?

Am going to panama beginning Feb to try to hitch hike as crew on a yacht. Got some sailing experience but mostly in cold climates hence the question of what's needed here.

Expected passage is panama to French Polynesia then onwards maybe to Australia. No idea what kind of boat etc I.e dodger.

Any tips on what to take , as crew , would be appreciated? Hoping panama has some good sailing shops!
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Old 07-01-2017, 04:03   #2
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Re: Clothing needed for sailing across the South Pacific?

I have done much boat hitching in my youth. For ocean crossings in the tropics, you need more sun protection than cold. Make sure you have lightweight long sleeves, and one pair of light colored trousers. Flip flops were my only footwear. A light rainjacket and a very light fleece, or better yet merino undershirt. I specify merino because it's warmer and more comfy than capilene or other polyester, and you can wear it longer before it starts to stink. Don't bother with foulies--in the rain you can wear swimming trunks and a rainjacket. A good sun hat is a must, as well as polarized sunglasses, and if you can find a sou'wester, it's the best kind of rain hat, and keeps you from the tyranny of a hood. Hoods are the worst.
Don't count on getting good sailing kit in Panama. Better find whatever you need in your home country, where competition keeps prices down.
A pair of socks can be a great comfort after a quiet watch where you might have got chilled a little.
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Old 07-01-2017, 04:57   #3
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Re: Clothing needed for sailing across the South Pacific?

I have found the most useful outer wear for crossings to be a windproof, breathable, waterproof, virtually uninsulated shell jacket. I have a Patagonia Nano which has done well on several trips, although I think the design has changed. The reason they are so good is that they are comfortable in a wide range of conditions. They keep the wind off you, keep the water off you, but don't overheat you. If you're getting cold it's usually from the wind. Throw on my layers underneath if it gets chilly.

For any non-marine jackets etc that you take on an extended voyage, make sure you rinse metal zipper pulls every now and then or they will seize up on you.

I do keep a full set of offshore gear with me though...jacket, bibs, boots and gloves, because to need then and not have them would suck.
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Old 07-01-2017, 07:10   #4
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Re: Clothing needed for sailing across the South Pacific?

Good advice so far. Rarely need anything actually warm, maybe a long t shirt for night watches and good light fowlies as when it rains it rains. If you are heading to New Zealand then you will need warmer, heavier gear as the climate is not tropical. Enjoy your adventure.
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Old 07-01-2017, 08:20   #5
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Re: Clothing needed for sailing across the South Pacific?

As the other posts have pointed out, a really good pair of polarized sunglasses is essential, as is a breathable, floppy hat. I'd take a spare set of sunglasses, for sure. Also, at night, sometimes it does get chilly (compared to the day) and when it rains, wow, it really, really really rains. A foul weather jacket and pants plus foul weather hat would always be in my bag. You should also have a good set of light breathable shoes and cotton socks. Flip flops on deck .... umm not such a good idea when the weather is wacko, and have you ever had sunburn on your feet?

Shorts are fine, but also carry some very light slacks. Light polo shirts are great.

Be sure to carry some zinc oxide. I know all the SPF stuff is fancier, but you can't tell when it's worn off. Zink on the nose, cheeks and tops of the ears is better.

Finally, bug stuff. I would carry some repellent and some netting. Anchoring in some of those coves is beautiful until the sun sets. Then you are attacked by all nature of man-eating mosquitoes. Yes, they fly out 200 feet from shore to suck on you.
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Old 07-01-2017, 09:46   #6
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Re: Clothing needed for sailing across the South Pacific?

Add a set of packable, smart, long sleeved gear so you can turn up NOT looking like a beach bum.
It make a nice change sometimes to dress up
It makes a good impression on skippers
Some societies are quite conservative and people like customs officials may treat you like a beach bum if you look like one!
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Old 07-01-2017, 10:05   #7
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Re: Clothing needed for sailing across the South Pacific?

Good advice above. khaki and button dollar shirt and proper shoes works wonders in many islands. Local officials respect it when you show up respectful dressed for church.
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Old 07-01-2017, 10:27   #8
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Re: Clothing needed for sailing across the South Pacific?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suijin View Post
I have found the most useful outer wear for crossings to be a windproof, breathable, waterproof, virtually uninsulated shell jacket. I have a Patagonia Nano which has done well on several trips, although I think the design has changed. The reason they are so good is that they are comfortable in a wide range of conditions. They keep the wind off you, keep the water off you, but don't overheat you. If you're getting cold it's usually from the wind. Throw on my layers underneath if it gets chilly.

For any non-marine jackets etc that you take on an extended voyage, make sure you rinse metal zipper pulls every now and then or they will seize up on you.

I do keep a full set of offshore gear with me though...jacket, bibs, boots and gloves, because to need then and not have them would suck.
I agree. Remember cotton kills. Avoid anything cotton if there's a chance of getting wet, whether you're hiking, sailing, skiing. A set of light uninsulated foulies is good to take along- better to have them and not need them, than to need them and not have them. I wear slippers(flip flops) during the day if it's calm, otherwise a good quick drying deck shoe will save your toes from boat bites, and possibly keep you on board better than slippers. Should be fun
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Old 07-01-2017, 10:36   #9
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Re: Clothing needed for sailing across the South Pacific?

A lot of boats leaving from Puerto Vallarta this season.
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Old 07-01-2017, 11:13   #10
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Re: Clothing needed for sailing across the South Pacific?

My simple strategy is always to take my hot blonde captain along and to avoid wearing any clothing as much as possible, day or night....
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Old 07-01-2017, 13:00   #11
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Re: Clothing needed for sailing across the South Pacific?

Quote:
Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
Good advice so far. Rarely need anything actually warm, maybe a long t shirt for night watches and good light fowlies as when it rains it rains. If you are heading to New Zealand then you will need warmer, heavier gear as the climate is not tropical. Enjoy your adventure.
Just the same for Australia (the OP said he'd be heading there).
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Old 07-01-2017, 13:39   #12
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Re: Clothing needed for sailing across the South Pacific?

I've got a long coastal foul wx jacket from Gill. It's long enough to cover shorts and keep your butt from getting wet sitting on deck. It's the same pattern as their coastal gear but just short of knee length. It's the only foul wx gear I wear.

As far as cloths, cotton is not your friend. It holds moisture, slow to dry and begins to stink real quick. You need a relativiely light fleece jacket/shirt for night watches. Even though it seldom drops below 70 degrees even in winter, spray and wind can be chilly on night watches. Nylon cargo shorts and one pair of long pants, polyester tshirt/polo shirts, quick drying underwear, and a couple of swim suits will get you by. Technical apparel for the athlete in all of us... the gear from Dry UV Have a couple of their long sleeve tshirts that are cooler to wear than naked skin and protect from the sun. Leave your leather footwear at home, it will mildew right quick. Like footwear by Keen, their boating sandles are great for deck wear. They are a pain for hiking though as they pick up pebbles and you'll have to stop constantly to clean it out. A good pair of rugged flip flops will probably be your footwear of choice.

NZ and OZ are not tropical except Queensland so will need some light warm fleece but probably best to pick it up there after getting a feel for the temperature.
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Old 07-01-2017, 14:20   #13
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Re: Clothing needed for sailing across the South Pacific?

To the OP, heed this warning!
Quote:
NZ and OZ are not tropical except Queensland so will need some light warm fleece but probably best to pick it up there after getting a feel for the temperature.
_
You might even be able to pick some up at a St. Vincent's or other thrift shop (called "op" shops, down under, for "opportunity".

We sailed from San Francisco, 2 yrs in Mexico, and across the Pacific, from Mexico, not Panama, but had "tropicalized" by the time we got to NZ. We knew we were in trouble one December morning, on our way to do the formalities of clearance in Auckland: we had on expedition weight polypro thermies, tops and jeans, and full foul weather gear, and the locals were sailing in shorts! Yes, their knees were blue from the cold, but we were no longer acclimatized to SF temps.

I'll second getting what you need in your country of origin, because foreign countries are just that, and assumptions of availability of any particular thing, may lead to disappointment.

Take a spare pare of polarized sun glasses, in case one goes for a swim when you're landing a big fish, or......

Also, provide yourself with something against seasickness that you know will work for you, in case you cannot avoid weather that will make most people sick.

Then, enjoy.

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Old 07-01-2017, 18:53   #14
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Re: Clothing needed for sailing across the South Pacific?

Long, very long, ago, being poor, I had a shell and a liner. Never used the liner, and I think it rotted. The shell was too warm, but it beat the other choice when needed. I survived. Just go but modern stuff is generally better.
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Old 08-01-2017, 05:33   #15
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Re: Clothing needed for sailing across the South Pacific?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benz View Post
I have done much boat hitching in my youth. For ocean crossings in the tropics, you need more sun protection than cold. Make sure you have lightweight long sleeves, and one pair of light colored trousers. Flip flops were my only footwear. A light rainjacket and a very light fleece, or better yet merino undershirt. I specify merino because it's warmer and more comfy than capilene or other polyester, and you can wear it longer before it starts to stink. Don't bother with foulies--in the rain you can wear swimming trunks and a rainjacket. A good sun hat is a must, as well as polarized sunglasses, and if you can find a sou'wester, it's the best kind of rain hat, and keeps you from the tyranny of a hood. Hoods are the worst.
Don't count on getting good sailing kit in Panama. Better find whatever you need in your home country, where competition keeps prices down.
A pair of socks can be a great comfort after a quiet watch where you might have got chilled a little.
Ben
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Thanks Ben, will do as you recommend. Only thing is I'm in India and so will have to rely on panama to buy this stuff as goa doesn't have much. I'm flying direct from here. May get a pair of white cotton trousers here as very cheap.

Have read your excellent blog and will keep a tab on how you get on. Any more tips for a first time crew guy on a long ocean Pacific passage then feel free to share? Cheers doug
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