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What to wear as a sailing beginner?

So, you’re preparing to take up a new hobby, and not just any hobby. You are entering the big wide world of sailing. Now, it isn’t unheard of to feel a bit unsure to start with, after all there is a lot to think about, sailing equipment, sailing clothing on top of learning and nailing the technique. This guide is going to help eliminate one of those worries; what should you wear sailing?

The thing to bear in mind is the weather, you should never – ever plan to go sailing without checking the weather forecast first. Not only will this give you some big clues on what sailing clothes to wear for your adventure but from a health and safety point of view you need to know how rough the conditions are going to be and whether you have the skills and experience required for sailing in them.

Calm and warmer conditions

For those perfect days for a gentle sail around a peaceful lake or ocean your sailing clothes can consist of little more than some board shorts and a lightweight t-shirt. Of course always wear a buoyancy aid no matter how calm the waters seem as it can only take a short time before you tire out if you are knocked into the water. Similarly, always make sure that you have enough sun cream and water to prevent heatstroke or sunstroke.

Colder and rougher conditions

Remember to always keep in mind that although the temperature might seem quite warm on land, when you are out on a lake or sea the temperature is likely to drop, and the water temperature is going to be even lower. When you are first starting to sail, it is best to assume that there is the chance you will fall in, and therefore you will need the right sailing clothes.

Sailing wetsuits

The most foolproof item of sailing clothing that you can wear as a beginner is a sailing wetsuit. Wetsuits work by trapping a small amount of water in between your skin and the neoprene (material in the wetsuit). This water is then warmed by your own body temperature and helps to keep you warm. It is important to remember that wetsuits are actually not waterproof, they are just designed to keep you warmer for longer should you be exposed to cold water.  If you are planning to sail in particularly cold weather then it might be worth investing in a drysuit, these can be worn over your normal warm clothes and are completely waterproof if you fall in due to tight seals around your neck, ankles and wrists.

Sailing accessories

Some other essentials to add to your sailing clothing checklist include sailing gloves and boots. Sailing gloves are ideal for sailing all year round as they not only protect your hands from the cold but they also prevent you from getting friction burns when tugging on ropes etc. You can get fingerless, semi fingerless and full fingered gloves depending on your preference. Having correct sailing footwear is also important no matter what the weather or your ability, neoprene shoes and boots are both designed to stop you slipping on the deck or pontoon. Sailing boots are better for wetter conditions and neoprene shoes will be great for sunnier and drier weather.

It is worth taking the time to research and invest in quality sailing clothing when you first start, it will help to make your sailing experience a lot more enjoyable!

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