Re: wet gear
Anyone reading marine catalogues and magazine ads can find the bigname pricey suits, some of which do perform well, but at a considerable price. Amongst our crew and acquaintances we have seen lots of gear go by, Helly Hansen seems a good bet if you can get them on sale. Gill seems to have occasional problems with longevity but has a generous replacement policy.
For weekend racing in the moderate climates I think you can get a lot of service out of run-of-the-mill raingear sold by, eg, Workwear World. On the West Coast they are sold under the name "Wetskins" for under $250 CDN for jacket and pants and I'm going on 5 years and still staying dry. Not the best "breathable" style but for short races and shoulder season cruising it seems a good bargain.