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Old 02-09-2011
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Clothes for Atlantic and Mediterranean April-May?

Hi everyone, I'm a complete novice sailor -- never been out overnight and haven't sailed in the Atlantic since I was a kid in Marblehead at (public) sailing camp! Ahem, no Pleon for me... On the other hand, I don't get seasick, so I have some sailor in me.

My cousin from Israel is a regular sailor, renting or delivering yachts a few times per year, usually sailing in Croatia or Greece, but also a few times around the Canary Islands. I decided to quit my job and join him on his biggest adventure yet, a trip from the Canary Islands (Apr. 19) to Madeira to Gibraltar, then up to Malaga (southern Spain) to Majorca in the Mediterranean (May 6). There will be other crew as well.

Now I don't know what to expect of the weather, but I expect I should get at least some foul weather gear. I've read a little here and my understanding is that a Helly Hansen bib and jacket should be okay. Should I just go with something like that and a pair of rubber boots? I ask because I'm in Germany but some family is visiting from the States, so if I order stuff online there it's cheaper and I can save a lot or, alternatively, get better gear.

So what should I make sure to buy as someone who has no sailing gear? And what normal clothes should I be looking to bring? I'm hoping I don't have to spend more than a couple hundred dollars at the most, and preferably less! (See above about quitting job)

Thanks!!
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Thanks sailing dog! But just that jacket kind of breaks the budget for me. I don't think I can afford to spend $500 on a jacket I might only need for this sailing trip -- I was hoping to spend no more than $200 to maybe $300 altogether! I mean, we'll be off the west coast of Africa all the way up to Gibraltar, and the Mediterranean should be even calmer and nicer. Do I really need top-of-the-line gear?
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Old 02-10-2011
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Being warm and dry is overated, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Danila View Post
Thanks sailing dog! But just that jacket kind of breaks the budget for me. I don't think I can afford to spend $500 on a jacket I might only need for this sailing trip -- I was hoping to spend no more than $200 to maybe $300 altogether! I mean, we'll be off the west coast of Africa all the way up to Gibraltar, and the Mediterranean should be even calmer and nicer. Do I really need top-of-the-line gear?

Ask yourself this, How much is it worth to you to be dry and warm if it pouring rain and windy while you are on watch for hours?

If you want to go "cheap", look at Grudens stuff. Rubber coated rain suits. Less expensive, but can be very hot in warmer conditions. Alternative, you can get some decent foulies on sale at various places, like West Marine. For about $300 you can get a decent jacket and bibs on deep discount For the true Ocean Foulies, you will need to drop some $$.

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There's a thread somewhere around here where we recently had a rather thorough discussion on foulies. I'd say that you could be covered by your 2-300 dollar budget if you're careful.

A waterproof outer layer made of something that will take a little abrasion, and under layers of synthetic materials that will pull the moisture you generate away from your skin. Make sure that your outer layer will fit over ALL the inner layers you plan on wearing. I can't speak from experience about the North Atlantic, but I would imagine it'll be colder than Africa.

The desired result is that the foulies keep the sea out, and the inner layers keep you dry. Yes, there will be water build up on the inside of the outer layer, but your body heat combined with the synthetics will keep it from being drawn back against your skin.

Will this work for you? I can't guarantee it, but it worked for me on Lake Superior during the months of November, and December.
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Thanks both! I definitely hear you on the "how much would I spend on the spot" argument, but I don't want to spend as much on the jacket and bib as on the rest of the trip!

I'm looking at West Marine and it looks like they have a lot of good stuff there for less than Landfall Navigation, for example, where the Musto jacket is in the $500 range... from my reading, it seems everyone likes Musto, Gill, and Lloyd... what about the Helly Hansen stuff like this?
HELLY HANSEN Men's Coastal III Jacket at West Marine

For $105, it seems like it should be suited for situations that won't be freezing cold and steadily foul weather. Or should I not trust them?

For bibs, these two look like they're good:
West Marine for $109:
WEST MARINE Men's Third Reef Bibs at West Marine

Henri Lloyd for $125:
HENRI LLOYD Men's Inshore High-Fit Bibs at West Marine

Would they do?

For the rest of the clothes like convertible pants, boots, etc., I think I'll have to buy here in Germany with the higher taxes and prices, just because I want to try them on first! I'm thinking of taking sailingdog's advice and buying a hat too, but I don't know my size, so I'll have to buy that here too.

Thanks again, guys, your generous help is very much appreciated!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danila View Post
Thanks sailing dog! But just that jacket kind of breaks the budget for me. I don't think I can afford to spend $500 on a jacket I might only need for this sailing trip -- I was hoping to spend no more than $200 to maybe $300 altogether! I mean, we'll be off the west coast of Africa all the way up to Gibraltar, and the Mediterranean should be even calmer and nicer. Do I really need top-of-the-line gear?
No, you don't need top of the line gear, and you can often find good gear on sale. I regularly check the clearance racks at Defender and West Marine for just that reason. The day-to-day jacket I wear is a Gill '3-Dot' coastal jacket, and it works pretty well--and retailed for $200, but was on clearance for $40.

The key features I'd look for in a jacket are the inner/outer sleeve cuffs, the high collar and hood, and good retroreflective patches on the chest, shoulders, sleeves and hood. These are features you're not going to find on most terrestrial foul weather gear, so you do need to go with a marine specific vendor.

The Grudens gear is excellent, but not as comfortable, especially in warmer climates.

As for the Helly Hansen gear, I'd avoid them. I had one jacket made by them and the inner coating that provided the jacket with its waterproofness flaked off and left white flakes on everything I wore when I used it. It was a horrible PITA and it lasted less than a year. The Gill and Musto gear I've used has been much more durable.

I'd point out that good quality foul weather jackets are an investment...they last for years if you take care of them. My Musto jacket is six years old... and that breaks down to less than $60 a year, and it still looks almost brand new. The Gill jacket is now on season three, and is used as my almost daily wear windbreaker/light jacket and is less than $13 a year.

DrB's point is a good one. Don't underestimate how cold a night watch can get, especially if it is raining and you don't have a full cockpit enclosure to deal with the rain. Add the windchill from a constant 20+ knots of wind, and you'll be very glad you dressed in layers and have good foul weather gear to keep you dry.

BTW, IMHO, the jacket is far more important than the bibs. In many cases, unless I know I'm going to be sitting in torrential rains in the cockpit, I don't even bother with the bibs. If you have to decide between getting a really great jacket or a mediocre jacket and bibs...I'd say get the jacket... BTW, I own and use a set of West Marine Third Reef bibs, but have a top-of-the-line Musto jacket. The jacket gets used about ten times as much as the bibs. Keeping the torso and core of your body dry and warm is key to preventing hypothermia and staying comfortable.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Last edited by sailingdog; 02-10-2011 at 08:09 AM.
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Thanks again SD! Of course, the problem with clearance racks is you have to check them regularly... and I'm not stateside, nor do I have time to check regularly as my aunt and uncle are coming soon. So I'd have to order by this weekend, I think, to make sure they can bring it to me the following weekend.

Part of the issue is that I will specifically be in a warmer climate, so breathability would definitely be very nice. And a decent jacket is something I could use either way. If the Helly Hansen breaks apart, then I'll definitely avoid that. I think I'll just get that Gill jacket you recommend. Your points are well taken -- it's not worth cheaping out here, and I have the money to spend. Since you seem fine with the West Marine bibs too, I'll get those as well. Maybe I can use them as ski pants too.

Thanks again!
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I use Helly Hansen https://www.hellyhansengear.com/s-2-impertech.aspx Anorak and bib pants for cross country skiing. Layer under the water/wind proof outer cover to suit the situation, but standing around in the low 10's F with a strong wind only my toes get cold.

Anorak and bib for less than $200

I have only used the Anorak for sailing, I am a fair weather sailor.
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I use Helly Hansen https://www.hellyhansengear.com/s-2-impertech.aspx Anorak and bib pants for cross country skiing. Layer under the water/wind proof outer cover to suit the situation, but standing around in the low 10's F with a strong wind only my toes get cold.

Anorak and bib for less than $200

I have only used the Anorak for sailing, I am a fair weather sailor.

What works for a fair weather coastal cruiser is rarely going to cut it when they're out bluewater in heavy weather. Maybe their skiing gear is better built, but their recent sailing gear is CRAP.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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