Navigating a Sea of Choices: The Best Sailing Gear

Written by: federico Da Sie

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Time to read 9 min

Are you ready to set sail and embark on a thrilling adventure on the open seas? Whether you're a seasoned sailor or a beginner looking to dip your toes into the world of sailing, having the right gear is essential to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey. But with so many options available, it can feel overwhelming to choose the right sailing gear that meets all your needs. In this comprehensive guide, we'll navigate the sea of choices together and help you select the ultimate sailing gear for your upcoming voyages. Our expert advice and detailed recommendations will ensure that you're well-equipped to face any challenge that comes your way. Remember, the right gear can make all the difference between a smooth sailing experience and a turbulent one. So, grab your compass, chart your course, and let's dive into the world of the best sailing gear for you. Find the perfect equipment that will take your adventures to new horizons.

Best Sailing Gear for Beginners

As a beginner, it's important to have the right sailing gear to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience on the water. The essential sailing gear for beginners includes a good sailing jacket with high visibility features, sailing gloves, non-slip shoes, and a good thermal layer. A medium level sailing jacket is different from a normal rain jacket because of the high vis components that allow your crew to see you at night, a well engineered hood and cuffs on the sleeves stop water from entering and making you wet, sailing gloves provide grip and protect your hands from blisters, while non-slip shoes help you maintain your balance on the boat (potentially life-saving) plus they don't mark the deck and mean dealing with the fury of the boat owner. A technical thermal layer is essential for keeping you dry (when sweating) and warm, without being bulky and uncomfortable under the external layer. When you are sailing every detail is important so it's important to have the best sailing gear possible for the conditions that you will face.

When it comes to clothing, don't underestimate the importance of wearing layers that offers high sun protection. Products like the new Sail Racing Spray Technical Tee guarantee sun protection and comfort whilst you are active during the day. A hat, sunglasses with high quality lenses like the Prizm lenses of Oakley, and sunscreen are also essential to shield yourself from the sun's harmful rays. If you think you'll be sailing for more than a day sailing I would consider a sailing bag, made with waterproof material and a watertight closing system. This essential gear will ensure that you're prepared for your first sailing adventure and can focus on enjoying the experience.


 

Best Sailing Gear for Experienced Sailors

For experienced sailors who are looking to take their sailing adventures to the next level, there are several advanced gear options to consider. Most of these can be categorised as the best sailing gear on the market but will it be the best sailing gear for you?

One of the most important pieces of gear for experienced sailors is a high-performance sailing jacket. These jackets are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions and provide maximum protection from wind and water. Look for jackets that are breathable, waterproof, and have adjustable cuffs and hems for a customised fit.

Another essential piece of gear for experienced sailors are salopettes: bib pants made of waterproof fabric similar to dungarees, that give more wind and water protection. They generally come cut quite wide and slightly longer than normal trousers to guarantee full protection when sitting on the rail and wearing boat shoes or boots. They feature cargo pockets to hold essentials and they have tough reinforcements on the knee and bum ( the 2 areas most in contact with the grippy deck.)

A full set of offshore/ocean gear can be pricey. If you decide to save money by spending more on one than the other, do the opposite of what most most people do and invest more in pro salopettes and downgrade on the jacket. The jacket is stressed much less then the salopettes, which are in constant contact with the grippy deck that can be compared to sandpaper in some racing boats. A medium level sailing jacket will perform well for 5 to 10 years (when used by a non pro sailor). A similar level of salopettes will last half the life of the jacket so invest in a model with good reinforcements, that's well designed with materials like Gore-tex or similar.

Do I need the hardcore top end line for ocean sailing? The answer is most likely no. Every brand has an ocean line. It is the ultra end of technology and design. Designed using feedback from superhuman sailors who have sailed in the worst possible conditions on boats more similar to aeroplanes. The high ticket price is due to a few factors: high-tech innovative materials, significant time studying new designs and hundred of hours of testing. Don't get me wrong: the ocean lines are the best that you can get but are designed for conditions that most of us will never experience or experience so infrequently that it doesn't justify the purchase.

On entry level Reference line products you can clearly see the innovative features and design details of the top end lines. Try a Reference light jacket or Reference light shorts, appreciate the finishing touches, feel the comfort of new generation fabrics and you will immediately feel the difference compared with conventional gear.



 

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Sailing Gear

When searching for the best sailing gear, there are several factors to consider to ensure that you make the right choices. Firstly, it's important to assess your sailing goals and needs. Are you planning on coastal cruising or offshore passages? Will you be sailing in warm or cold weather conditions? Understanding your specific requirements will help you narrow down your options and choose gear that is suitable for your sailing adventures.

The more you sail far from the coast the more important some features become, for example the height of the collar gives protection from the elements. It is true that a higher collar means more protection but it also means it's less comfortable in normal sailing conditions. Most people don't consider the internal layer of the collar. Some offshore jackets have a soft fleece that people love when they try it in store, but it is completely different when out at sea. Imagine finishing a 2 hour shift during a Fastnet race with tough weather conditions: finally you can go a sleep for few hours, so you go below deck, and you hang up your jacket...When it's time to wake up you put on your jacket that is now cold and damp. 

You are almost never standing up on a boat, you will be mostly sitting. Try a few models in the same price range. Sometimes we think technical features are really important when actually they are a shortcut to save money during production. A good example of this is the protection flap with velcro that we are used to seeing in the offshore jackets of the past 30 years. We are so used to it that we associate it with better protection. The reality is that it is much cheaper to protect a nylon zip with some fabric instead of using the expensive waterproof zips of the new generation. We are so used to that that we don't notice that the removal of the flap will make our jacket much more comfortable when we are in sitting position wearing a life jacket.

Another factor to consider is the quality and durability of the gear. Sailing gear can be quite an investment, so it's important to choose gear that is built to last. Look for reputable brands that are known for their quality craftsmanship and performance. Reading reviews and seeking recommendations from experienced sailors can also help you make informed decisions.

Comfort is another crucial factor when choosing sailing gear. When you try your sailing gear in a shop don't forget when and how it will be used.

Spend less time looking in the mirror, try on the salopettes, ask for a middle layer to wear and reproduce the real conditions, zip the jacket, bend down on your knee and then sit down. You'll be spending long hours on the boat, so it's important to choose gear that is comfortable and allows for ease of movement. Try on different gear options and consider factors such as fit, flexibility, and breathability.


 

Best Sailing Gear for Different Types of Sailing

Sailing gear requirements can vary depending on the type of sailing you'll be doing. Inshore sailing, which involves sailing close to the shore, typically requires less specialized gear. A well-fitting life jacket, sailing gloves, non-slip shoes, and appropriate clothing are usually sufficient for inshore sailing.

Offshore sailing, on the other hand, requires more advanced gear due to the challenging conditions you may encounter. In addition to the essential gear mentioned earlier, offshore sailing may require a storm sail, a sea anchor, and a heavy-duty harness. These items are designed to withstand strong winds and rough seas, providing added safety during offshore passages.

Ocean sailing, which involves long-distance voyages across open seas, requires a higher level of preparedness and specialized gear. In addition to the gear mentioned for offshore sailing, ocean sailors may need additional safety equipment such as an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon), a satellite phone, and a reliable navigation system. These items are essential for communication and navigation when sailing in remote areas.

Considerations in Choosing Sailing Gear

When choosing your sailing gear, it's important to consider a few additional factors. One such factor is budget. Sailing gear can range in price, so it's important to set a realistic budget and prioritise your needs accordingly. It's also worth considering if you'll be sailing solo or with a crew. If you're sailing alone, it's important to choose gear that is easy to handle and doesn't require a lot of physical strength.

Another consideration is storage space on your boat. Make sure you have enough storage to accommodate all your gear items (that can sometimes be bulky). It's also a good idea to invest in gear that is compact and easy to stow away when not in use.


 

Sailing Gear Maintenance and Care

Proper maintenance and care of your sailing gear is essential to ensure its longevity and performance. After each sailing trip, rinse your gear with fresh water to remove salt and dirt. Allow your gear to dry thoroughly before storing it to prevent mould and mildew growth. Regularly inspect your gear for any signs of wear and tear and replace any damaged or worn-out items.


It's also important to follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning and maintenance. Some items may require special care, such as hand washing or the use of specific cleaning products. By taking proper care of your sailing gear, you'll ensure that it remains in top condition and continues to serve you well on your sailing adventures.

Conclusion: Finding the Perfect Sailing Gear for Your Needs

Choosing the ultimate sailing gear can seem like a daunting task with the sea of choices available. However, with careful consideration of your needs, goals, and budget, you can navigate through the options and find the perfect gear for your sailing adventures.

Whether you're a beginner looking for essential gear or an experienced sailor seeking advanced equipment, it's important to choose gear that is safe, comfortable, and durable. Remember to assess the type of sailing you'll be doing and consider any specialised gear requirements.


By investing in high-quality gear and taking proper care of it, you'll ensure that you're well-equipped to face any challenges that come your way.

If you are not sure of how much you will sail in the future go for lines that have everything needed in a sailing jackets but has a design that means you can use it on other occasions like walking or cycling.


If you have questions, please contact us. We'd love to hear from you.


 

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