What to wear sailing would seem like a no brainer, but you would be surprised what people show up in. People have this image of sailing like the Kennedys and show up wearing high heels and their Sunday best or even worse, flip flops! Guard your toes should be your motto. Sailboat decks are slippery and there are tons of protrusions from the deck where you can stub your toes. I for one love my Keens as they practically have tractor tire bottoms and a terriffic big rubber guard for the toes. I have actually worn mine for three sailing seasons straight and you’d never know it looking at the bottom of the soles.
Another thing people don’t consider is the temperature on the water, particularly here in Chicago, can be 10 to 20 degrees colder than on land. So bring layers. Nothing will ruin an evening more than your teeth chattering on a sail and your tush freezing off. Also, you are likely to get wet while sailing, especially on a windy day so keep that in mind if you get cold easily.
You need to bring what are known as “foulies”; gear for wet weather. Foulies typically include a pair of bibs, a sailing jacket that is water proof and where the sleeves, neck and face can be either cinched up or velcro closed to keep water from seeping in, good non-skid sailing boots and no matter the weather…sailing gloves.
There are dozens of manufacturers and dozens of styles out there to fit every budget and style. Even budget foulies are better than none.
For warm weather number one on your list should be sun tan lotion and lip balm with spf protection. Remember the water reflects the sun and you will be in the wind so save your lips. You may want to bring a hat and you definitely want some sun glasses, polarized is preferable, and did I mention sailing gloves, yes sailing gloves. You will be working lines and the last thing you want besisdes a sun burn is a rope burn. Swimsuits are great in warm weather especially when you stop to take a dip, just bring a set of dry clothes for after your sail or after your swim.
One of my sailing friends that has been sailing his whole life (Gene) has a great rule…no wet clothes below. If you want to stink your boat up real fast, put wet stuff below. Trust me, yuck!
More on sailing clothes another day.
See you on the water,
Sail Away Girl