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Valiente 10-04-2009 01:21 PM

Do I need to buy offshore foulies for this south-bound delivery?
I have "made do" on Lake Ontario with various Gore-Tex rainsuits (separate pants and jacket) as foul weather gear. In fact, it's the same stuff I use bicycling and the jacket, combined with fleeces, is what I wear in all but the coldest parts of winter.

I have any number of Topsider-type "boat shoes" and I have Gill sea boots to mid-calf. I also have neoprene gloves and a wide collection of toques, caps and hats.

I also have Henri Lloyd bib overalls, but I've never worn them much, frankly.

It appears, however, that I'm going to be crewing from North Carolina to USVIs in the first two weeks of November with "Killarney Sailor" from here on Sailnet on his and his wife's Bristol 45.5. So my question is this:

Do I need basic foulies because of the time of year and the fact that it might get damned wet going south against the Gulf Stream? Or will a lighter selection of rain gear do?

If I need to invest in foulies, what brands are recommended? I suspect that this trip will start out fairly harshly, and then rapidly moderate as we track south to shorts, T-shirt, nylon shell and boat sandals weather.

A lot of you guys sail these waters, so if I need to spend serious money, that's fine. Better warm and dry on deck at 2 AM than shivering and wishing I'd brought sturdier gear.

tommays 10-04-2009 03:01 PM


On this years Around long island race we started in 30 knots + wind with 8+ seas about 3 hours into the event we had several issues

1.1/2 crew seasick

2.Full crew WET regardless of foul weather gear with <60 degree air temp

3.While i was wet and cold my biggest issue was the amount of sea water i was taking in.

4. 40 other boats had the same issue with only 9 able to stay in

westerly 10-04-2009 03:37 PM

foul weather gear
i spent 6 years in the caribbean. wore my economy west marine rain jacket a half dozen times and the pants only once (too hot). jim

labatt 10-04-2009 03:47 PM

All I can say is that when I go offshore I love my Henri-Lloyd Offshore foulies, especially at night - fleece neck liner, double sealed cuffs, handwarmer pockets, water resistant and they dry quickly between watches. I have a lighter set of foulies that I rarely use.

JohnRPollard 10-04-2009 04:14 PM


I think you'll appreciate having a beefier layer.

On an early April run from the Bahamas to North Carolina, we enjoyed fair breezes and temperate conditions the entire way, but even in that fully enclosable cockpit, I pulled on heavier layers during the mid-night watches.

But then, you're Canadian.:)

Faster 10-04-2009 04:22 PM

Val, even leaving the PNW in July/August requires serious foulies until you cross south of the California border... Unfortunately you won't need them all the way and that's a lot of gear for just a (hopefully) short part of your trip.

But if it turns out you do need it, you'll be thankful to have it.

TOMINDC2 10-04-2009 07:33 PM

Yes buy fowlies -- the warmer the better.
Listen more to Tommays, and less to the commenters who so far have lucked out weatherwise. You may think you are in a tropical situation, but gale winds, sea sickness, exhaustion, and spray create a wind chill factor that will be way below the ambient temp when you set sail. In bad weather, dodgers often get torn off and cockpit decks turn blue. The most miserable cold I have ever been was on a June sail from Norfolk to Martha's Vineyard in a two-day Noreaster --sans dodger.

I would not consider any offshore sail without open ocean fowlies which would include two pair of heavy-duty gauntlet-style gloves (one to wear; one to dry out) in order to keep sleeves from draining into your gloves; and lots of fleece everything. Unlike cotton, fleece dries out at sea. You can always take stuff off, but you cannot put on what you do not bring, and your crewmates may not be eager to share.

Now if you were aboard a catamaran with a hard dodger and bimini, my advice would be quite different. That said, our old monohull fowlies are always stowed on board, if for no other reason, our dinghy lacks protective amenities like dodgers. :D

paulk 10-04-2009 09:52 PM

Tom is right. November can be REALLY COLD. The Gulf Stream can also get really nasty. In one Bermuda Race we beat for a more than a day into an 8' chop caused by an eddy going against the wind. Every third or fourth wave we simply sailed off the top of it, and the boat fell 8' into the trough. Down below, crew off watch in their bunks were getting thrown up against the underside of the deck. Wearing foulies below gave another layer of padding. Another item you might want to consider bringing would be clear goggles - either the ski or worktool safety type. In a 40-knot rainsquall that lasts a half hour, it can at times be helpful to be able to see.

Valiente 10-04-2009 11:08 PM


Originally Posted by JohnRPollard (Post 528780)

But then, you're Canadian.:)

Too true. I wear army shorts for bicycle riding until December 1 or whenever I start feeling chilly...then I switch to the kilt.

Still, I feel I should give the foulies a chance. Maybe I'll just Scotchguard the existing Gore-Tex shell (which has very long arms with velcro cuffs and an integral hood) and add a mix of fleeces and thermals beneath.

I have a gigantic raincoat (zips and velcro everywhere) but I look like I'm auditioning as the mascot for "Fisherman's Friend" lozenges with it on, or a crossing guard in Norway.

Valiente 10-04-2009 11:10 PM


Originally Posted by TOMINDC2 (Post 528820)
That said, our old monohull fowlies are always stowed on board, if for no other reason, our dinghy lacks protective amenities like dodgers. :D

Good advice. THanks.

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