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Old 16-04-2015, 11:29   #1
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Help me not look stupid

Hi,

I am a Gonna-Be Sailer, not a Wanna-Be, not a Wish-to-Be, but I'm actively working towards my goal of sailing.

Even though I've yet to be on a sailboat.

But that is all going to change next month when I take a day cruise with a local sailing school. I've been on boats enough to know I love them and the water, just no sailboat experience (yet). If all goes well next month, and I expect it to, I'll start proper training probably next year.

The school has kindly sent me a list of things to bring for the day sail, to include things like lunch, wet weather gear, deck shoes, etc.

I've heard stories of people showing up for their first sailing adventures in brand new gear, kitted out to the hilt looking like they bought one of everything in the local boat store. I don't want to be that person. I want to look like I belong.

But, I also want to get some decent stuff as I fully expect to be spending time in it in the coming years.

So, any recommendations on bad weather gear? Things to look out for or avoid?

What about deck shoes - do you wear them when not on the boat, or should I take them in a bag and put them on there?

It's basic stuff like this I'm worried about. Probably quite silly actually.

Thanks,
MG
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Old 16-04-2015, 11:37   #2
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Re: Help me not look stupid

Havent bought in years so not a lot of help. But one thing to keep in mind.... some expensive very heavy duty sailing wetgear, is very nice, but very heavy and bulky. You don't need that yet... and depending on where you sail, you may never need it. I had it, but sailing from Maryland to Trinidad ... rarely used it.... except the first month.
Buy something comfortable and decent quality... just to stay dry... don't get "oversold" on it....
Wear deck shoes, or at least ones that dont make black marks on the boat. Except for boat shows I always just wore them. Some boat owners are very picky though, so not sure what to tell you.
Do you have boots? if it's wet you may want those. Bring layers of clothes... it can be much colder on the water.. although you don't say where you are located....
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Old 16-04-2015, 11:46   #3
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Re: Help me not look stupid

Jeans, sneakers and if it rains some inexpensive rain gear from WalMart for your first outing. Hardware stores sell inexpensive rubber boots - don't buy the ones with the black soles, get the red - bottomed ones. And a good baseball type hat with a keeper string. That's all you need for starters.
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Old 16-04-2015, 11:49   #4
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Re: Help me not look stupid

For a daysail? Look at the weather in the AM and dress appropriately.

Shoes - something that won't mark. I wear skate shoes. Like em better than boat shoes and they're cheap. I do wear shoes most of the time 'cause I hate stubbing my toe on the chainplates and stuff.

I wouldn't run out and pick up a $400 set of foulies. Just something to stay dry/warm in if it's gonna be wet. For where I am, I'll know if it's going to be wet before I go out.

Disclaimer: I sail where it's warm, almost never rains, and don't have foulies myself. YMMV, and location matters.
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Old 16-04-2015, 11:53   #5
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Re: Help me not look stupid

I think you can distinguish into offshore and coastal. Offshore gear can certainly be used for coastal, but it is more expensive. Coastal gear may not be up to the necessary standards you want for offshore, but it is cheaper and perfectly reasonable for coastal.

Other than that, you need to decide if you want to be warm and dry, or just dry, and whether you want full coverage or just part. If it's just a rain jacket you are looking for, any gear will do (I assume we are talking about coastal), or go to West Marine where you can get a reasonably priced rain jacket. Or Columbia, Eddie Bauer, etc. When you start buying the fashionable stuff the racers wear (Helly Hansen, etc), the price goes up astronomically). As for foot gear, any boat shoes will do for not marking the boat. I wear mine everywhere (on the boat and on shore) when I'm staying on the boat (and almost never any other time!).

Personally, I wear a West Marine Gore-Tex hooded parka shell and Sebago boat shoes, other than that, regular clothes. But then, I don't go north of Florida... So where you sail will determine what you wear, to a large extent. If you're sailing somewhere colder you will need insulated versions of the stuff I've mentioned above, plus some waterproof pants, plus some polypropylene glove liners and a pair of gloves, and some sort of a skull cap. But nothing has to be particularly extreme for coastal sailing.

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Old 16-04-2015, 11:55   #6
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Re: Help me not look stupid

Where are you sailing that you need heavy weather gear for an orientation sail?

I wouldn't spend a lot on new clothes just yet. Blue jeans, sneakers, sweat shirt, baseball cap, gloves, wind breaker, ski parka; anything water proof or resistant you might already have in your closet. If you plan on getting wet, cotton does not dry quickly so synthetic fibers are better.

If you seriously believe more sailing is in your future, then you might consider investing in a pair of deck shoes (with laces - not sandals or loafers), and yes, I would only wear them on the boat(s). They can be pricey so you might want to wait until after you fall in love with the sea to purchase them as well.

Have fun
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Old 16-04-2015, 11:58   #7
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Re: Help me not look stupid

Thank you everyone for the quick replies.

I did mean to say where I was sailing from. S/E England, near Ipswich.

They are predicting a warm summer for England this year, which is nice. But they don't tell you, that the summers here rarely last more than a week or two. So hoping for a warm day come mid May. But still, gonna dress warm.

MG
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Old 16-04-2015, 12:00   #8
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Re: Help me not look stupid

Just get some polypropylene liners head to toe under your clothes and some waterproof liners over your clothes and you will be fine! In the summertime anyway...

Pete
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Old 16-04-2015, 12:03   #9
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Re: Help me not look stupid

Quote:
Originally Posted by MoxieGirl View Post
Hi,

(...)

So, any recommendations on bad weather gear? Things to look out for or avoid?

What about deck shoes - do you wear them when not on the boat, or should I take them in a bag and put them on there?

It's basic stuff like this I'm worried about. Probably quite silly actually.

Thanks,
MG
Look what others wear in the same kind of sailing. Long term sailors often settle for comfort and quality. Look up their kit and then adjust for your own comfort and style.

Do NOT forget the 'looks' factor: get stuff you do dig: colours, shapes and patterns are part of everyday life, no reason to wear black neoprene if you like it pink.

Do not save on good deck shoes, you want best grip and protection from deck gear.

Remember you will get exposed not only to wind (cold) and green/white water (colder) but also to extreme sun: you want some sort of hat/cap on the sunny days and most people will wear quality shades: ones that will protect your eyes from the UV.

Protect your skin overall: rash vests, long-sleeves, high-necks and gloves: use whatever you find fit for the day. Suntan is fine, UV skin damage is bad.

On the same note, many girls will protect their hair. I think it is important to do so.

And so on and so forth.

PS Do get an oversize gear bag - you may want to have both the wet and the sun kit with you at all times as one never knows what the wx will do next.

PS2 avoid metal zippers and do wash down and dry all kit when done sailing. It will last longer and you will save heaps of freedom tokens this way. Good gear IS pricey.

PS3 Nothing silly in your post, quite contrary; sailing is less fun when you get cold, sun-burnt or (often) both.

Have fun being a water drag queen ;-)

Cheers,
b.
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Old 16-04-2015, 12:05   #10
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Re: Help me not look stupid

Canvas shoes with white soles bought anywhere. Mechanic's gloves with the finger tips cut off so you can pick things up off the deck. A hat you can tie under your chin to keep it from blowing off. Sunscreen for obvious reasons.

Marine stores will charge you more for the same gear you can buy at big box discount stores.

If you have a good hooded rain jacket just take that and some waterproof slip on trousers.

You didn't mention where you'll be sailing but here in Hawaii its shorts t-shirts and flip flops. A hooded nylon jacket helps if it rains but usually the showers are short and you dry off when the sun comes back out. Sunscreen is a must.
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Old 16-04-2015, 12:09   #11
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Re: Help me not look stupid

Dang! While I was typing everyone beat me to the punch. England? I've heard it can be cold even in the summer there. It's good you can learn to sail and then sail to somewhere warm.
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Old 16-04-2015, 12:10   #12
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Re: Help me not look stupid

I understand your question.

As others have said, check the wx before going out & dress accordingly. Take a small, soft, duffle bag (such as a gym bag) if you have one to put below to hold your stuff. Layers are good, a windbreaker (or a rain jacket if required), hat with a string, sunscreen. If you happen to have wet gear from some other sport that may well work. You may wish to invest in some sailing gloves if it's cooler wx. Some boat owners are very fussy & only allow boat-only shoes on deck--you might ask the course provider. Normally any shoe with with white soles which won't mark the decks work--even running shoes. There are some neat summer shoes such as GoWalk available now with white soles which aren't too expensive & would serve the purpose in warmer climes.

Have fun! Take your camera.
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Old 16-04-2015, 12:23   #13
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Re: Help me not look stupid

If you know someplace where the commercial fishermen buy supplies you might look there. Fancy sailing boots are fine but the local guys buy inexpensive white boots. Similarly you won't see them running around in 1,000 euro foul weather suits.

A decent camping supply store might have all you need for a lot less then a marine store.

As suggested above use layers. The only thing as bad as freezing is sweating to death because the gear is too heavy.

Remember it's only for a day or so and you can put up with just about anything. Next time you can adjust your kit according to what you learned.

Have fun,
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Old 16-04-2015, 12:33   #14
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Re: Help me not look stupid

Every one has mentioned what you need and how to get it without breaking the bank. You really don't need the decent stuff right now. As you learn to sail, you will also learn what other people are wearing and what is working or not. If you have a chandlery nearby that sells used gear, you could look there, but it may still be more expensive than a good rain jacket that you'd wear for hiking and just as functional. A big thing to remember is that it might seem nice and warm on land, but the water and wind have a chilling effect so bring layers. Fleece is my preference and I often wear two layers of fleece under a wind breaker, as well as a fleece cap under my hoodie. As to shoes, also check that they have good tread. There's nothing worse than sliding on a deck that is wet from salt spray. I don't think you mentioned gloves, but they are useful if you will be handling lines. I like the more expensive "offshore" brands because they don't wear out after a few uses, but this is not important for your first times out. The most important thing is to not worry about looking like a newbie. As long as you don't show up in flipflops, or geez forbid, in a bunch of makeup and jewelry, everyone will take you for the serious student you are. (Which reminds me...I also keep my nails short when sailing because it really hurts to snag or rip off a nail when you're working the winch handle or something.)

So just don't worry and have fun!!
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Old 16-04-2015, 12:40   #15
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Re: Help me not look stupid

In my experience, "deck shoes" are about the most slippery type out there. Go figure. Years ago, for racing, I picked up a pair of racketball shoes with that gummy brown ribbed sole on them... far better than Sperry Topsiders!
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