Foul Weather Gear--can I use [gasp] Civilian / Lands End stuff?
About to commit a sin. I hate the pretentious Helly Hansen, have you seen my Oyster Mariner lately, BS. Lest you think I'm a total hack, I spent 4 years sailing open ocean, south pacific with my parents.
Buying my own boat now, need new everything, among them, foul weather gear. Am I nuts to turn my back on the expensive, chandleries, and just get an okay, middle of the road Supplex Squall jacket from Landsend? [or something similar]
I've got 5-6 people to outfit, yes, for San Francisco bay, but don't want to empty the bank entirely.
Some major points to consider:
1) Really good marine use foul weather gear will have things like fleece lined high collars and heavy duty hoods to take the spray and rain and keep it off your face and neck.
2) The marine gear has retro-reflective patches, which make the people far easier to spot, especially in a MOB situation at night. Regular foul weather gear is generally not as heavy-duty, chafe resistant, or waterproof as marine use foul weather gear.
3) Marine use gear also generally has dual sealing cuffs on the sleeves that will allow you to raise your arms but prevent water from coming down the sleeves when you do so.
4) The pockets on most marine foul weather gear is fleece lined for warmth. The jackets are probably better ventilated for the wetter environment than standard gear.
5) Regular foul weather gear also doesn't come with the choice of an integrated safety harness, which is available on many of the marine specific foul weather gear.
This is one instance where the stuff you get for the marine specific use is really far superior IMHO to the stuff that you get at Lands End.
If you're only going out day sailing in fair weather, then it really won't matter...but if you're planning on doing any real sailing, then it will make a huge difference in your ability to stay warm, dry and comfortable. Getting soaked and staying wet, on a long passage, is a good way to get hypothermia and make stupid mistakes that can cost you your life. It is also uncomfortable and miserable.
Ahoy, Captain Thoughtful
SailingDog, when it comes to SailNet, you somehow manage to achieve both Quality and Quantity. Thanks for your input.
My only thought...is that we're basically talking about daysailing. My old foul weather gear, albeit from 1975 when I was 9, was this yellow nasty stuff that was unlined, unbreathable, and unbearable.
So anything would be an improvement over that. (And god knows, my folks probably paid through the nose for it at a chandlery, somewhere)
The harness integration ....etc. is all impressive, but more of an offshore thing that is more than I'll need.
But thanks. Anyone have specific source suggestions?
Thanks Geary126... But, I'd still go with the better quality marine gear. The harness integration can be nice when it is really blowing like stink—as keeping your people on the boat beats trying to do a COB rescue in heavy weather.
Also, the non-marine foul weather gear is often colors I'd not recommend for marine use. Blues, blacks, greens are all fine for non-marine use, but have you ever tried to spot someone who fell overboard in the rain, when they're wearing a coat that blends into the water??? And with out the retroreflective patches, early or late in the day, or in bad weather, you don't even have a chance at finding them. Red, orange, chartreuse or yellow are really the way to go. Pink is also good, but not something most guys would be caught dead in. ;)
The double cuffs and high collar are really nice. Earlier this spring, I was out daysailing on an Olsen 25 on a day that was blowing 20-25 with gusts to 30, and we were having a blast. But if I didn't have the high collar and the double cuffs, I would have been pretty wet, and probably pretty miserable... instead, I was dry, and having a blast.
One of the other people on the boat was in "consumer" foul weather gear, and she was pretty much soaked after the first two or three waves broke into the cockpit. She spent much of the afternoon huddled in the cabin with my spare polarfleece on. All I needed to stay warm was a t-shirt, since I was dry.
I always looked at my foul weather gear, like my ski gear, as a long term investment. A high quality foul weather coat, like my Musto MPX, is about two-to-three times the price of a cheap one, but it will perform better, leave me more comfortable and last much longer. I would probably go through two or three sets of cheaper, less well-made gear in the time it takes me to wear out my Musto. I have one ski jacket that is over 14 years old.... it was expensive at the time...but over the 14 years I've had it...it's less than $20 a year. For children, it probably doesn't make sense to go with the really good stuff, as they're going to out grow it long before they wear it out, but for adults, it really isn't that bad an idea to go high-end.
BTW, West Marine has a new line of foul weather gear that seems to be pretty reasonable priced and fairly good quality. http://tinyurl.com/quxyk
I 've tried cutting corners, in the past, when it comes to the boat stuff. It's just not worth it. Learned my lessons long ago, go with the stuff that has been tested and proven to work. You'll find them to be the better choice and the better value. You might spend more up front, but you'll get many years of service out of them, that to me is a better value. (And you get all of the advantages that sailingdog mentioned.)
This is true for all related marine purchases, it does not pay to cut corners and go cheap, you'll pay more in the long run.
Come on its SF. Do you really think your friends would don something from Target? You have no choice but to be a fashion victim.
Hey Surfesq. Thanks for the link... thought it was an external blog, not an internal to Sailnet... BTW, Land's End is Sears, not Target. :D
my foul weather gear
i personally have 3 sets of foul weather gear.
For local sailing and off the boat shopping and caribbean i find the cheapo west marine gear just fine with gortex but the cheap stuff.
then i have a henry Lloyd setup with fleece and epirb pocket.
i believe it was called the Ocean series. with this i wear polypropolene,then t shirt, sweat shirt and pants, over this fleece tops and bottoms and then the fw gear.
when the going gets really tough i have a one piece Henry Lloyd foul weather suit with a built in harness-- strictly north atlamtic- artic use.
with the above undergarments
for my day sailing guests --try K mart.
I recently went through the same process you are going through, and settled on six Columbia Falmouth Jackets (1XXL, 2XL, 2L, 1M). My thought process was that these jackets would be available in the event a guest found themself short a layer during a daysail and wanted to have something to fend off a light spray or chill air.
If I am doing a longer cruise or an overnight I suggest strongly that all crew bring a full set of their own appropriate foul weather gear that fits them correctly and comfortably. I take responsibility for providing harnesses, teathers, and pfd's -- the safety essentials -- they take responsibility for keeping themselves dry.
Otherwise you will go broke, and when the gear gets broken out you may find yourself with too few XL's and too many M's, etc.
Again, if the 5-6 people you have to outfit are your regular crew, and will normally be the same people all the time, it would make sense to get high-end marine foul weather gear for them, as they will definitely be needing it. If you just want to have spare foul weather gear aboard, for whoever may happen to be along, then I'd go low-end, as they really should be responsible for their own foul weather gear.
You don't say whether the gear is for relatively permanent crew, or for use by transient guests.
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