What To Wear Guide: Sailing Edition

As you prepare to set sail, be sure to bring along the right gear for the type of craft and weather conditions. It is a good idea to check the forecast and make sure that you wear garments that will be comfortable to wear out on the water. In some cases, you may prefer to invest in gear such as buoyancy aids, wetsuits or drysuits or buy mens shoes designed for sailing. If you go sailing less frequently, you can select the best garments and shoes you own to wear on board a dinghy, keelboat or sailing yacht.

Keep Cool in Warm Weather

Sun exposure and breathability are the primary concerns for selecting clothing and shoes for sailing on fair winds. A short-sleeved shirt and lightweight pants or shorts can be worn with any shoes that have non-slip, non-marking soles. The classic look of Sperry boat shoes is a popular choice, as are water shoes that can be worn in and out of the water and dry quickly.

No matter what clothing and shoes you choose, you should factor in the sun protection factor or UPF. Technical garments may be made of moisture-wicking fabric that has a tight weave. An item with a rating of UPF 50 only permits about 2% of UV light to pass through, whereas a plain white tee shirt with a UPF of 5 allows up to 20% of UV rays to pass through. It is also important to bring sunscreen and a hat to prevent sun damage.

Staying Warm in Cool Weather

If it feels chilly on land, it will be important to wear warm clothing and bring layers for sailing. Specialized cool-weather garments include toques, rashguards, vests and sailing jackets. Be sure to bring at least a long-sleeve layer or hoodie on board in fall, winter or early spring.

Footwear is a sticking point for many sailors. Sailing boots are popular options, but other close-toed shoes such as plain white sneakers womens are also acceptable. Wool socks or socks made of synthetic fibers are more breathable and dry out more quickly than cotton.

Be Prepared With Foul-Weather Gear

Sailors rely on foulies and waterproof equipment to stay comfortable and safe while sailing through storms. Look for jackets, pants, bibs and other equipment that are waterproof, rather than water-resistant. If you sail frequently you may want to pick out specialized gear and shoes for inclement conditions.

A wetsuit traps a thin layer of water between skin and neoprene that stays warm due to body heat. A drysuit is entirely waterproof and features tight rubber seals at the neck, wrists and ankles. Warm clothing can be worn under a drysuit. Occasional sailors may be satisfied with a simple raincoat and clothing that dries out quickly.

Sailing garments, gear and shoes may be designed for particular crafts or styles of sailing. Investing in the right gear pays off in terms of your level of comfort and safety out on the water. Plan ahead and make informed purchases of suitable garments, shoes and equipment for your next excursion.