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Old 04-12-2009
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Foul Weather Gear

So the question I pose is this.

How different is marine foul weather gear from a good set of foul weather ski gear?

I'm sailing in the Newport - Ensenada race and realize foul weather gear is essential. I have typical ski, multi-layering gear including Moonstone polar fleece, and a Gore-Tex Moonstone shell.

Other than a shorter tail, the gear seems as if it would be sound for this race and could save me the immediate expenses. I do plan on purchasing a marine foul weather bib believing my ski ones to be significantly different. I just can't seem to see a real difference between the shell my friend just purchased and my 2 piece system.

I'd appreciate any thoughts on the subject.
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Old 04-12-2009
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Major differences between ski gear and marine gear are:
  • Retroreflective tape on the gear so that if you go overboard, there's a better chance you'll be spotted.
  • Inner cuffs seal tightly to the wrists to prevent water from going down the sleeve when reaching up to adjust something...
  • Usually not insulated, and requires you to layer beneath... yes, you can get pretty hot working on a sailboat.
  • Pockets often have drains in them so that water doesn't get trapped in the jacket pockets
  • Most have a hood, which a lot of skiing gear does not.
  • Collar is often higher than that of ski gear, and usually fleece lined so that it doesn't irritate the skin.
  • Marine gear is often better vented, since the average temps are higher.
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Old 04-12-2009
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In addition to everything Sailingdog said:

Foulies designed for yachting (As opposed to the kind used by commercial fishermen etc.) have patches of heavy nylon on seat, knees and lower back of coat to prevent wearing holes when scooting around on non-skid decks

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So I again, all things considered, for a single night in the Newport - Ensenada, I would probably be ok?

Everything is well vented, I use it to ice climb, also a bit warming for the body.

I appreciate your follow up comments.
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To answer your question - yes, for a single night, if it's pretty nice weather, you'll be fine.

The primary differences between ski/mountaineering gear and sailing FWG derive from the immense difference between the activities. Skiing is an active sport, and for mountaineering, weight is critical, so the designers strip as much weight out of the gear as possible. Also, hiking and skiing are exercise, so breathability takes precedence over weather protection.

Watch standing involves a lot of just sitting and looking around, or steering, or a little trimming. Not much exercise to keep you warm. Sitting on the rail in cold weather would be even worse. You need heavier stuff.

I found this out the hard way when I did an overnight in spring in the gulf of Maine with my Arc'teryx ski/ice climbing shell gear. I was wearing a lot of clothes underneath, and was still cold.

So I got real offshore foulies, the difference is amazing. Now I just snuggle my head down into that tall, fleece lined collar and baby, I'm toasty for hours.

Good luck!
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Old 04-12-2009
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Dog gave a good description.
I also heard that marine gear material is more resistant to salt water.
When sea water dries out on the wind then salt crystals are formed. They can damage the fabric of the ski gear and make it no longer water resistant.
I am not sure if that is true or it is just marketing speech of a sales person trying to sell me marine gear.
You will be OK in your ice climbing gear to start with. After a few days on the water you will also know better what you want and what is important to you.
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Old 04-12-2009
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Ooops... knew I was forgetting something.. Yeah, heavily reinforced wear areas. You don't scoot around on non-skid stuff skiing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by vega1860 View Post
In addition to everything Sailingdog said:

Foulies designed for yachting (As opposed to the kind used by commercial fishermen etc.) have patches of heavy nylon on seat, knees and lower back of coat to prevent wearing holes when scooting around on non-skid decks

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Old 04-12-2009
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FOr a single trip you will be fine. Then again, for many trips you will be fine! I have a marin set of bibs, I got in a raffle drawing. For a top, I use either my current or old ski coat.

If you snowboard, I am sure the reinforcements are equal. As both need butt and knee padding etc.

Other than the reflective part of the coats, I really do not see much difference when trying the two coats on. You can get insulated coats for both sports.

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I have marine foul weather gear for the warmer seasons I usually sail in. For really cold sails I have used ski gear which worked just fine - Not optimal but certainly good enough that it was nowhere near worth it to spend the hundreds of dollars it would cost to get marine foul weather gear for that range of temparatures. As marty said above, the snowboard pants have the right reinforcements - Mine are shells to begin with and with an assortment of long underwear and fleece pants to go underneath I am all set.

Two things to do though

1. Buy a roll of reflective tape - any bike store will have it

2. Get real boat boots - sneaker or sandal types wont cut it - you want real boots that are tall enough that when you slip the ski pants over them there is no way water can get inside of them
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If I can add another difference.

The seams in foul weather are welded to prevent leaks. Some ski wear might be welded, but I trust my foulies much more. I spend about 6 months a year in a ski jacket.

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