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Old 02-01-2008, 13:17   #1
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Foul weather gear...

hey everybody, Im about to do a fastrack course for 18 weeks in gibraltar and the surrounding areas which will include a trans-atlantic crossing. My school, straits sailing, says I need wet weather gear for the crossing, taking place smack dab in the middle of summer. Question is I dont know the first thing of what to buy and where to find it. I know I need layers, but what about outer shells, boots, gloves, etc... Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-01-2008, 13:45   #2
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Just check out defender or west marine. Foulies are expensive; no doubt about it. But it really is one area that I don't cheap out. Ponchos and cheap pvc outfits don't work on sailboats; they are not nearly tough enough.

Get a set that has goretex (or something similarly breathable but wet). For pants, you *need* to have suspender style bibs. I wear my pants constantly when underway, to the point that i'm picking up a second pair. Re-enforced seat and knees are good too.

For color, get bright yellow or bright red. Not the "stylish" stuff that's dark blue or grey. You want to stand out like a circus clown. Integrated hoods are nice too, but in a lot of conditions I wear a Seattle Sombrero by Outdoor Research on my head.

Don't forget gloves either, and it's a good idea to have a spare set as well, since they get wet quick. Maybe not an expensive double set. Get one nice set, and another set of Target-cheapo gloves to wear if those are drying.

Lots of wool socks.

For boots, just get the high calf models. Don't wear them on land; it's one of the best ways to get holes in them. They're very soft, and little shards of metal will puncture them. Your foulie bibs will lock around them. Get them big enough to wear comfortably in your wool socks. You don't want to be swimming in them, but they should be easy to take off and on with big socks on.

Also, make sure they have reflective panels on jacket (or add them), and make sure your harness / life jacket fits properly with it all on.
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Old 02-01-2008, 13:47   #3
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One other thing I'd add:

It's worth it to bring a lightweight goretex shell. I have one by Marmot that was $60 on sail, and it's designed for backpacking, so it covers my butt. It's nice because if it's just drizzling a bit, or you're catching spray, you can use that instead of your foulie jacket.

And have a fleece jacket to wear under that shell, and make sure your foulie jacket fits over that as well.
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Old 02-01-2008, 14:55   #4
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Depending on the water temps and the exposure you anticipate, maybe look at Sealskinz lined neoprene gloves. For somewhere near $25, they are warm, waterproof, and yet so sensitive you can pop your wife's back zits while wearing them.
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Old 02-01-2008, 15:29   #5
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And when you can see your breath and its raining/snowing. I like heavy rubber gloves that you buy at Ace Hardware with lots and lots of cheap cotton inserts. Like two packs of two dozen pairs of cotton gloves.
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Old 02-01-2008, 15:33   #6
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Look for a day glow green hood....ya never know when you may go in the water.
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Old 02-01-2008, 15:52   #7
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Something in the moderate price range includes the Gil "Key West" series. It has the good basics just not the hideously expensive stuff. These might be had for under $500. In case you don't catch the drift of the thread. The good stuff only really matters when you really need it. There are few things worse than being cold and wet. Being out in the middle of the Atlantic at the same time would be one of them. Add some polypro or fleece just in case it does turn cold. In dry weather the fleece is nice too.

Dry means warm and that means happy!
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Old 02-01-2008, 16:01   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joli View Post
And when you can see your breath and its raining/snowing. I like heavy rubber gloves that you buy at Ace Hardware with lots and lots of cheap cotton inserts. Like two packs of two dozen pairs of cotton gloves.
I used to race Hobies on really cold days wearing rubber dish washing gloves. They are amazingly warm because the moisture cannot evaporate off your skin. You can also still pick up a line while wearing them.
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Old 02-01-2008, 19:09   #9
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I'd be careful of gortex in a salt enviroment. Its been years since I bought foul weather gear but the gortex stuff started leaking after a year or so b/c of the salt. Layers. Have lots of layers. And then something waterproof on top.

Also it really helps to buy a big box of baby wipes. After your watch you take a "spoonge bath" with the baby wipes it really helps you feel better.
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Old 02-01-2008, 20:16   #10
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Hey thanx guys for all the insightful responses, answers alot of my questions.
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Old 02-01-2008, 20:27   #11
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One note - Breathable fabrics will only breath in dry air. If it is humid, most, if not all of the breathability goes away.

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Old 02-01-2008, 20:35   #12
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Best foul weather gear is a pilot house. Second best is wool.

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Old 03-01-2008, 06:34   #13
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Initially I only meant to use `em for back-up, but my relatively un-exotic (and cheap – about $65+/-) motorcycle wet-weather gear has somehow become my main foul-weather attire… Is bright orange with reflector strips all over, but except for vents it doesn’t breath (but my experience with the various &&&texs is that they always seem to breath the wrong way) -- since it is roomy enough to fit over leathers, once I put a thin PFD insider, there seems to be enough ventilation… not sure I’d recommend for heavy-duty/racing trans-oceanic use, but doesn’t leak and seems to give good, inexpensive utility for those showers on raining weekends puttering about…
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Old 03-01-2008, 08:20   #14
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After passing around one set of good foul weather passed between 3 people on a very wet passage from Tonga to Fiji I swore I would have my very own foulies before the next trip! Thankful to say that I got them for Christmas. My husband found some Musto bibs marked down from $400 to $82. Unbelievable! Got a Gil Key West jacket for $69. I will now be dry, warm and happy.
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Old 03-01-2008, 11:14   #15
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Since you are taking classes in Gib I assume you are you on the continent or in the UK.

Gill is an international brand that is well regarded (generally). I got a set of Gill Atlantic foulies from Purple Marine (I think - it was at the Southhampton Boat Show) a few years ago and have been very happy with them -- they have an inner jumpsuit, bibs, and a jacket. Get a couple of sets of really good long underwear (try Damart in the EU - #3 are fine unless you are doing the Barents in winter). I got Dubarry Shamrock boots and am very happy with them, but you can do as well with something from a local fisheries supply store. The fisheries supply is a good source for gloves as well.

On the latter point there are lots and lots of opinions. I carry two kinds of cold weather gloves: rubber coated gloves for when I need to be using my hands for extended periods and ski gloves for watch standing. During watch if I need to adjust a sail or take in a reef I leave the gloves and my station and use regular warm weather sail gloves. Other people may well tell you that I am nuts but it works for me.

When it is really cold, I also wear either a old-fashioned oiled wool Norwegian sweather I have had for years or a polyester fleece.

Socks are important. You want to keep your feet warm and avoid sores from salt water. I don't know any EU sources -- I use 'Wild Thangs' from sahalie.com in cold weather and WrightSock (same source) in warmer weather.

There are lots of right answers. I suggest making some choices and getting guidance from your school before making a purchase. You could check back here also, recognizing that opinions will vary.
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