Lots of threrads on this....
so do a search and you'll find plenty of ideas and info.
My two cents:
If you plan to do a lot of foul weather sailing, invest in the best stuff that you can. If you have to sacrifice $ somewhere, sacrifice on the pants, not the jacket. Also, ask your self if you are primarily going to be doing it in warmer weather or cooler weather (colder water)
The most waterproof stuff that they make is coated rubber/PVC, like Grunden's. However, it doesn't breath well and you can get clammy/cold in them if you over exert yourself and don't properly layer. They are the cheapest option though.
The other $$$ extreme is a gore-tex/cordura material that supposedly breathes and is almost 100% waterproof. However, to be effective the DWR (dry water repellency) needs to be maintained, else the cloth becomes saturated and then doesn't breathe. Rain water doesn't get in due the gore-tex membrane, but your perspiration doesn't leave and you can get wet from your own sweat. Any material labelled breathable will have this as an issue, not just gore-tex.
All the companies make decent stuff at some level. No need to get $1100 Musto, Gil, HH, stuff if you're mostly doing day sails/coastal stuff port-to-port. However, if you are going off shore for several nights, remember there is no port to pull in and dry off, so better over dressed than under.
FWIW - I have three set of Foulies: One $1200 HL jacket/bibs that was given to me by a guy getting out of sailing. A couple of WM and Gil coastal jackets and bibs, and some very light EMS/REI wind breakers and pants. I mostly use the coastal stuff as warmer wind block and rain jacket in cool weather. I only once used my HL $1200 stuff and that was during a 8h 42 deg F pouring rain delivery in early May. Even with that stuff, by the end I was getting chilled. We normally don't sail in foul weather, but the few times we have it has been only for 5 h max.
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Last edited by DrB; 10-12-2012 at 03:07 PM.