Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The clothes make the man - Frostbiting

Sometimes people ask me how I can go sailing in the rain, or in cold weather, or on very cold water, and the answer is always the same – the clothes make the man. With the right clothing, sailing is comfortable, warm, safe, and sometimes dry. One of the keys to happiness in Laser sailing is choosing the right outfit. This is what works for me in the winter…

In frostbiting, the main choices are pretty easy, even though the gear is rather extensive. The water is cold (about 40 degrees) and the air is even colder. The goal is to stay warm, dry if possible, while being able to move around and grip lines. I dress in two to three layers; dry suit on the top, a fleece layer underneath, and a wicking shirt (and sometimes wicking pants) as a base layer.

The drysuit is waterproof with watertight or water resistant seals at the feet, hands, and neck. My drysuit has waterproof booties (that aren’t quite waterproof) made from the suit material, latex waterproof wrist seals (latex seals really are water tight), and a neoprene water resistant collar. The neoprene collar is more comfortable than latex, but water will trickle in when I’m fully submerged.

On my feet I wear waterproof sealskin socks under the drysuit booties, and Rooster sailing boots on top. I wear Rooster AquaPro gloves which have some fleece in them. The whole outfit is reasonably warm when submerged in 40 degree water, and if my neck is above water it doesn’t leak a drop. My feet can get a little cold on days below 25 degrees, and my hands get cold only if I dunk the entire glove in the water. The gloves are way better dry than wet.

The last part of the ensemble is the hat – ski hat under 30 degrees and baseball hat above. A pair of sunglasses and I’m ready to go sailing.

These are my choices, but I know there are variations on this, especially with gloves and boots. What do you wear?


1 comment:

  1. I prefer to wear Gill Sailing Clothes which is ideal for sailing in rain and unsettled weather conditions. If you have a passion for sailing then come rain or shine I think that you can find clothes that can keep you warm and comfortable and enable you to have an enjoyable sailing experience.