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Old 18-11-2015, 16:06   #1
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Seeking foul weather gear advice for Gulf of Mexico

I need to obtain some decent foul-weather gear for a trip this February sailing from Punta Gorda, Fl to Belize via Key West and Cancun on a friend's Morgan 38. It's only the two of us I so I'll be working.

I'm a 60 y/o retired guy who doesn't presently own a boat of any sort but I do sail on OPBs during Michigan summers and hope to relocate to FL to do more someday. The only stores I know of close to the Detroit area where I live that sell FWG for sailors is West Marine.

I assume I'll need a jacket, pants & boots....anything else? I would greatly appreciate any and all advice regarding this important and expensive acquisition including the following:
Coastal or off-shore?
Bibs or pants?
Sizing? Color? Features? Boots?
Brands to consider/brands to avoid?
Approximate amount of $ I should expect to spend?
Good & not so good places to buy from?
Do I need to try it on before I buy? Buying online? Used?

Thanks much!
Terry
Livonia, MI
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Old 18-11-2015, 16:13   #2
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Re: Seeking foul weather gear advice for Gulf of Mexico

: You are heading south! You might need a very light jacket in key west but hopefully by the time you reach about the lat of Cuba it will be Tee shirt wx.
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Old 18-11-2015, 16:28   #3
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Seeking foul weather gear advice for Gulf of Mexico

Well I can tell you I got in a Thunderstorm and got knocked down last July about 100 mi. north of Key West, rain was so cold, I froze my butt off, even after putting on the gear, temp before the storm was probably high 80's and I think the rain was at least 50, maybe 40's. Took a long time for me to warm up.
Get good, warm gear, you may get lucky and not need it.
I'd say Bib and off shore. I got mine used here in the Classified section, amazing how much that stuff costs new. If you get used, waterproof it.


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Old 18-11-2015, 16:33   #4
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Re: Seeking foul weather gear advice for Gulf of Mexico

Yeah, well you will be glad to hear that a 100 miles south of there, your warm gear will get moldy.
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Old 18-11-2015, 16:37   #5
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Re: Seeking foul weather gear advice for Gulf of Mexico

Most of my sailing (south FL) is well north of most of your trip. Even in the winter, here is the gear I take:

Goretex shell (waterproof seams, rain hood)
synthetic pullover for underneath when it gets "really cold"
thin wool cap
polypropylene glove liners
extra shorts
extra socks

I use everything except the short and socks about a couple of times a year, and the shell gets used a couple of times a day...

Pete
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Old 18-11-2015, 16:58   #6
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Re: Seeking foul weather gear advice for Gulf of Mexico

I'm pretty happy with my Frogg Toggs. Much less than anything that says 'marine', and frankly, I don't see the difference between them and Gills or similar.

Frogg toggs® The worldwide leader in Breathable, Lightweight, and Affordable all weather gear and the inventor of the The Chilly Pad®- Stay cool during exercise or general hot weather.

Bought mine of Amazon.
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Old 18-11-2015, 16:59   #7
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Re: Seeking foul weather gear advice for Gulf of Mexico

Think layers instead of heavy offshore stuff. Outter water proof shell with seperate polypro fleece jacket/pants underneath. This way you can stay warm in the Gulf in Feb...where it can get cold and very wet. Then further S ditch the poly pro. A poly pro watch cap is a nice thing too.

This leaves you with a versitile mix of gear that can be used for other things too...not just bulky offshore gear with really only one use.
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Old 18-11-2015, 17:03   #8
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Re: Seeking foul weather gear advice for Gulf of Mexico

It is unlikely you will want heavy onshore or expensive foulies once you are in the tropics.

But you mentioned also sailing in Michigan.

I have sailed in warm water and relatively cold 50 degree Fahrenheit water too.

I like to be warm and dry.

In cold waters, I would get deck boots. In tropical, I would just wear some Teva sandals or mesh topsiders or water shoes.

If I were you, and only had plans to do that sailing you mentioned, I would simply go to West Marine and try to find something that fits your budget, comfort, and projected use (heavy use or only occasional).

West Marine has some nice products and at good prices.

You asked about the choosing coastal or offshore. I chose offshore, but if most sailing would be in moderate weather and warm waters, I would think the coastal gear would suffice.

You asked about colors. Personal preference, of course, but I think high visibility is a good idea and I would avoid white garments as the white can get lost more easily in a man overboard situation if there are white caps on the water. I prefer high visibility yellow.

Last night I happened to look for a new set of foul weather wear on the Defender site. Some of the garments are very expensive and probably overkill for most sailors.

The Gill brand has some very nicely featured offshore jackets at about $500 while the Henry Lloyds were over $1,000!

Here is a nice Gill offshore jacket. $595
http://www.westmarine.com/buy/gill--...cket--11130432

And a mid weight offshore or coastal jacket $399
http://www.westmarine.com/buy/west-m...cket--11499621

That said a quality garment might last you several years with moderate use.

As an alternative, and one that is very effective but also relatively low cost, I highly recommend a particular product made by Frogg Toggs, as I have purchased and worn them and found the jacket and a pair of bibs to be very well made, comfortable, and with very nice features. The product is the Firebelly model and it costs only $90 or so for the jacket. But don't let the low price scare you off, as the garment is much better than some garments costing $500.

Jacket $90
It did come in other colors but you may need to search the web for stock.
http://www.froggtoggs.com/firebelly-...ket-19549.html

Bibs, very comfortable.
http://www.froggtoggs.com/toadskinz-bib-pant-6065.html
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Old 18-11-2015, 17:12   #9
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Re: Seeking foul weather gear advice for Gulf of Mexico

I like bib's better than pants. Often wore them without a jacket, or with a lighter cheaper jacket at times in lieu of the heavy duty cumbersome jacket.
But frankly, I don't think I saw my heavy foulies south of Georgia all the way to Trinidad. Used light cheap pullover pants and a light Helly Hansen rainjacket at times just to keep the spray off.
Just sayin you might want light stuff too... and use it more...
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Old 18-11-2015, 17:24   #10
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Re: Seeking foul weather gear advice for Gulf of Mexico

Hi Steady Hand,

My two cents, since I live in the area you are talking about. At night, even in the summer, it can get pretty darn nippy. Especially if you are wet. What would work well at night will have you drowning in your own sweat during the day. So to all those that say layers, believe them.

My lady and I both have a set of Gill coastal gear. I have had mine for years. Sometimes too warm and sometimes not warm enough. There is a lifetime warranty and I just reapplied their waterproofing.

Avb3 mentioned a brand that I have no experience with yet. My fiancée bought a set for motorcycle rain gear, it came with many fine revues and is inexpensive.

For what you are planning, no need to break the bank. Hopefully you won't even need foul weather gear.

As to boots, my choice would be shrimper boots. All white and cheap.
I have had more expensive ones but they didn't last. I took my cue from the people that make a living from the sea.

Regards,
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Old 18-11-2015, 17:38   #11
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Re: Seeking foul weather gear advice for Gulf of Mexico

For Tropical sailing, I prefer a long raincoat or poncho. Needs to be long enough to cover your shorts so they dont wick. No pants/bibs to mess with, quick on/off. Rain is warm further S so no need for pants really.

And a good old traditional Sou'Wester hat is a very practical design...sheds rain and you can still hear...as oppossed to a hood with rain battering it like a cheap drum. Yes, I actually have one aboard!

Regardless of what you buy...think about how you are going to use the head...Ive seen people wrapped up so tight they didnt make it...how miserable that must be.
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Old 18-11-2015, 18:48   #12
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Re: Seeking foul weather gear advice for Gulf of Mexico

Get on eBay for some used stuff! 2 heavy jackets, 2 light jackets, 2 bibs and a new pair of boots for the admiral, all under$250 and just in the last month.
Happy hunting!
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Old 19-11-2015, 07:34   #13
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Seeking foul weather gear advice for Gulf of Mexico

Quote:
Originally Posted by cabo_sailor View Post
Hi Steady Hand,

My two cents, since I live in the area you are talking about. At night, even in the summer, it can get pretty darn nippy. Especially if you are wet. What would work well at night will have you drowning in your own sweat during the day. So to all those that say layers, believe them.

My lady and I both have a set of Gill coastal gear. I have had mine for years. Sometimes too warm and sometimes not warm enough. There is a lifetime warranty and I just reapplied their waterproofing.

Avb3 mentioned a brand that I have no experience with yet. My fiancée bought a set for motorcycle rain gear, it came with many fine revues and is inexpensive.

For what you are planning, no need to break the bank. Hopefully you won't even need foul weather gear.

As to boots, my choice would be shrimper boots. All white and cheap.
I have had more expensive ones but they didn't last. I took my cue from the people that make a living from the sea.

Regards,
Rich


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Agreed from a former Florida WaterTribe kayaker now a FL sailor.

Add polartec 200 top, a light cheap I nylon jacket and warm hiking socks to the kit. I keep the hiking socks for when I am below to warm my feet.



Sent from my iPhone- please forgive autocorrect errors.
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Old 19-11-2015, 09:36   #14
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Re: Seeking foul weather gear advice for Gulf of Mexico

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Well I can tell you I got in a Thunderstorm and got knocked down last July about 100 mi. north of Key West, rain was so cold, I froze my butt off, even after putting on the gear, temp before the storm was probably high 80's and I think the rain was at least 50, maybe 40's. Took a long time for me to warm up.
Get good, warm gear, you may get lucky and not need it.
I'd say Bib and off shore. I got mine used here in the Classified section, amazing how much that stuff costs new. If you get used, waterproof it.


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Agreed. Bib pants and offshore jacket, seaboots and (possibly) neoprene gloves. You can go in skivvies or naked underneath that, but it's better to sweat before the squall than freeze during it, which, besides being uncomfortable, can impair or even kill you with hypothermia...yes, even at the Equator. The rain may be falling from tens of thousands of feet, and it's damn cold up there. When it's doing this:

do this:



...because once cold and wet, you'll have no opportunity to get warm and dry until the front has passed.
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Old 19-11-2015, 09:49   #15
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Re: Seeking foul weather gear advice for Gulf of Mexico

You will be cold at night.

I love my very old "Line 7" foul weather gear. Still great.
Wet outside dry inside not a small feat.
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