Sailing is a popular outdoor activity and sport. It draws people from all backgrounds, with the promise of adventure and romance. However, many new sailors are quite unprepared for how cold it can get on a boat. They end up spending a lot of their time below decks, under blankets, dressed in their Victoria’s Secret lingerie. Being cold is not very romantic. So it is best to come prepared for any weather and with plenty of warm clothing. Here are a few clothing items you should be sure to bring.
Even if you are setting sail in beautiful sunny, summer weather, bring a waterproof jacket. Not only could a storm blow up and dump rain on you, but wind can chill you to the bone. A day that starts out pleasant enough to wear a t-shirt can become very chilly in the evening. Add in the wind and it can get dangerously cold. Here is a windchill chart from the National Weather Service that you can use for reference.
The absolute best brand of waterproof material is Gor-Tex. It will give you the best wind and water resistance. No other brand can match its capabilities, so check labels when buying a new jacket. In this case, the brand matters. If you get a jacket with a hood, you can pull it up around your face to block wind and keep rain from going down your neck.
You will want to bring one or more hats along. Any type of hat will do, but stocking caps will stay on your head better in the wind. A hat is no good if a gust of wind sent it flying into the ocean. Wool has good thermal properties and is superior to most synthetic weaves.
Many people like to use deck shoes on a boat. This is fine for nice weather and calm seas. But when things get rough, you will want to have boots on. Water can splash on deck and fill your shoes with water, leaving you cold. Any type of waterproof boots will do, but be sure that they have a sole with traction, so you don’t slip on deck.
On a boat, the temperature can vary widely in a matter of hours. Wear layers of clothing, such as a t-shirt or base layer, long sleeve shirts, sweat shirts and then a jacket on top. Layering clothing will keep you warmer than the equivalent amount of bulk of a thick jacket. You can take off or put on more layers to stay warmer.
When sailing, it is always wise to be prepared for any sort of weather.