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Old 17-01-2014, 22:50   #1
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Foul Weather Gear Advice Needed

I don't own a boat but I hope to be crewing on a couple of blue water passages this year (spring though fall) to gain offshore experience so I will need to purchase some weather gear">foul weather gear. The general area I'll be focused on will be boats sailing to, from and within the following places: Virginia, Bermuda, the BVIs and South Florida. Since I'm hopping a ride, though, there is no guarantee that the sailing area won't be outside this range. The longest passage would hopefully be no longer than two weeks.

I've been researching foulies and the Gill OS2 line looks like might be a viable option, but I would like to hear from some of you more experienced sailors about whether or not you think this gear would be sufficient. For the jacket and trousers the price is $550 and I sure would like to not spend more than that for just a couple of trips.

Also, what kind of sea boots are' recommended. Tall or short? Any particular makes and models that you prefer?

I appreciate your help
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Old 17-01-2014, 23:06   #2
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Re: Foul Weather Gear Advice Needed

Anything more than a $10 plastic raincoat is just for posing value or makes you another victim of extremely good marketing!
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Old 18-01-2014, 00:32   #3
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Re: Foul Weather Gear Advice Needed

I have spent 35 of the last 42 years sailing in the Pacific Northwest -think rain about 300 days a year! I have also done quite a few long distance ocean passages including four from Seattle to San Diego (think rain & fog for two weeks at a time).

Jimbo has it right - foul weather gear does not need to be expensive - I might put a $50 limit on each piece but there is no need for that really expensive stuff.

My foul weather gear for the last 12 years has been a long Columbia Sportsweather rain jacket (~$50) and a pair of Viking bib rain pants (~$20). I also have very expensive rain boots that I have worn twice in 20 years and several kinds of rain hats that I have never worn.


I just don't see the need for expensive rain gear unless you are racing in the high latitudes where you must be on deck all the time.

When it is raining and/or wet - I stay under the dodger and try to stay dry. Once crossed the Gulf Stream off Cape Hatteras in a full gale (against the current) and hardly got a drop of water on me because the boat had a great hard dodger.
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Old 18-01-2014, 05:52   #4
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Re: Foul Weather Gear Advice Needed

I disagree with Jimbo485, since a $10 rain coat will become a hot house down here in South Florida.

Also when I was racing on San Francisco Bay, a cheap set of foulies would make your life very uncomfortable and probably wouldn't last a full race. A ten dollar rain coat on a wet boat, like a J-24 ,would have you in hypothermia before you got back to the dock.

Now back to your question.... The areas you will be sailing in will be too Hot & Humid for normal foulies in the summer time. Plan on temps in the mid 80's to mid 90's with 90 to 100% humidity.

You definitely will not being wearing foulie pants. For a jacket, try looking for very light weight and breathable material.

Most of the time down here, you just wear swim trunks and T-Shirts in the rain, which tends to be refreshing except during a squall.
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Old 18-01-2014, 18:58   #5
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Re: Foul Weather Gear Advice Needed

We ended up wearing wet weather gear (lined) in the tropics because we were tired. In that case spend the extra and get a breathable fabric
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Old 18-01-2014, 19:18   #6
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Re: Foul Weather Gear Advice Needed

Don't take advice from folks who can't afford decent gear.
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Old 18-01-2014, 19:47   #7
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Re: Foul Weather Gear Advice Needed

If you're going on an upwind delivery trip, you will want decent, breathable raingear. If you're sailing off the wind in the tropics, your biggest concern will be sunburn. If you know that you want to do lots of sailing in varied places, then treat yourself to some decent quality gear.

My own gear is a Ronstan "Hobart" jacket (washed and re-waterproofed once, 4 yrs. old), and the overalls are West Marine Explorer. The overalls' shoulder straps require replacing every 5 yrs. Yes, you DO understand this correctly--wet weather gear does not have a long lifetime, unless maintained.

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Old 18-01-2014, 20:31   #8
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Re: Foul Weather Gear Advice Needed

You don't have to spend $550 to get a decent outfit. Shop around and you will find the OS2 for $475 - $500. Henri Lloyd have a similarly priced line called Ultimate Cruiser. Whatever you get must be breathable.

One small tip - get the jacket one size too big. You hope for days when there is nothing under it but a t shirt but are bound to strike a few when you will have a bulky fleece jacket on underneath.
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Old 18-01-2014, 20:57   #9
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Re: Foul Weather Gear Advice Needed

If you are going to be sailing primarily in warm weather, you don't need much in the way of foul wx gear. My personal favorite is a long light weight coastal cruising coat made by Gill. The coat is long enough that it covers shorts and keeps your butt from direct contact with wet cockpit seats. No need for foul wx pants. The light weight isn't restrictive and isn't overly warm like the heavier off shore stuff. I found it at Svensons in Alameda, CA but it's not always in stock and was the only place I've seen it. You might have to order it from Gill.Gill IN3 Inshore Lite Long Jacket: Mauri Pro Sailing

When temps get seriously into the 60's, the heavier gear comes out. Wore my offshore stuff 24/7 for 11 days on the sail to Hawaii before temps finally warmed up.
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Old 18-01-2014, 20:58   #10
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Re: Foul Weather Gear Advice Needed

This is a tough question; spring and fall sailing off Virginia is a whole hell of a lot different than the BVIs. What is ideal for one is inappropriate for the other.

I have the Gill OS2 jacket and bibs, which I got second hand, and they are great pieces of gear but they are total overkill unless it is pouring and cold, or you're on an exceptionally wet boat. Both are heavy and bulky (although the jacket is sized slim, so it fits well under a harness and PFD) and I don't go near them unless conditions really require them. I certainly would not pay retail for it unless I was going out day after day after day in challenging conditions.

The most versatile piece of outerwear I own is a Patagonia Adze jacket. I wear it spring sailing off New England over a fleece, and over a t-shirt or not even that in the tropics. It's windproof, highly water resistant, very breathable, and is exceptionally well made and durable. I just finished crossing the Atlantic from the Canaries to St. Lucia, with the wind rarely dropping under 15 knots, and wore it in squalls and gales over a t-shirt, and on night watches for minor warmth. That and a bathing suit and good pair of shoes are basically all you need for warm weather sailing...maybe toss in some fast-drying light synthetic pants for sun protection and cooler nights.

That said, having a truly waterproof top and a decent fleece are critical when it gets colder and wetter. But gear up with versatile layers instead of the OS2 stuff which is really limited in it's applicability. Think like a camper/climber (who are even more limited by weight concerns, and face similar conditions).

I don't agree that you should size stuff too big, particularly if you're spending much time offshore. Your gear should be comfortably trim under your harness; excess fabric has a magical tendency to catch on hardware and actually limit your mobility...real liabilities working on a foredeck in a seaway, particularly if you don't have experience moving around a boat on a tether.
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Old 18-01-2014, 21:58   #11
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Re: Foul Weather Gear Advice Needed

Earlier on I was looking around the net for current prices and spotted this. There is a sale on at Henri Lloyd Australia who only ship to Australia or NZ. Their prices on womens' gear are ridiculous. Overalls that usually cost USD199 or GBP150 are on sale for AUD125. Mens' are almost as cheap at AUD160. Whitworths want AUD270 for the same thing.

Might suit some.

360 - FOR SEA - FOR LIFE tagged "SALE" | Henri Lloyd Australia Official Online Store
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Old 19-01-2014, 09:12   #12
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Re: Foul Weather Gear Advice Needed

Fantastic input here, everybody! Thanks a bunch.
All of you have valid points, and my real concern now is finding the one set of gear that will best cover the most situations. I will look into lighter gear, maybe some inshore models, and just bulk up underneath if I need to. My real concern is when that nasty, nasty storm hits and the water pours down my collar and climbs up my arms through the cuffs and I am miserable. Getting heavier gear may be like constantly bracing for Armageddon, though...making the other 95% of the time unnecessarily uncomfortable. Sounds like the OS2 is probably overkill.
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Old 19-01-2014, 09:35   #13
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Re: Foul Weather Gear Advice Needed

Sailing in those areas in the Spring thru Fall -- just get a set of Frog Togs for $35 and call it done.
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Old 19-01-2014, 09:43   #14
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Re: Foul Weather Gear Advice Needed

What ever you choose, make sure the seams are taped / glued, I have a gill Click image for larger version

Name:	ImageUploadedByCruisers Sailing Forum1390148983.032473.jpg
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ID:	74275Click image for larger version

Name:	ImageUploadedByCruisers Sailing Forum1390149036.365579.jpg
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ID:	74276 great light weight.
Most jackets have a small zip on the inside chest for embroidery, you can see the construction of the seams

I have a oil riggers long( past the knees) jacket with built in harness and Pfd which ' weighs a ton ' for winter weather but it provides perfect long watch protection at an exposed helm, £25 on eBay, never worn.
I'm not sure you will get one set of foulies to do it all , If possible take an alternative set as once really wet, the cold weather ones take ages to dry, even the high tec fabrics eventually become drenched and there is nothing worth- getting out of you nice warm bunk and putting on wet cloths to start your watch.
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Old 19-01-2014, 09:45   #15
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Re: Foul Weather Gear Advice Needed

As most have said re your intended area... It's not foulie fodder...

+1 on the oversize suggestion.... keep it just below too big creating cumbersome, ie sleeve/cuff length... Not a boot fan, but the pair I have are short.... If I'm wearing 'em, I've got the tops covered with my bottom garment of choice, my preferred are a Columbia snowboard shell...
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