Offshore Racing Kit? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 5 Old 4 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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Offshore Racing Kit?

I recently had an invitation to crew in the Farallons Race with one of my neighbors who owns a 44' racing boat. The Farallons race starts in SF Bay and sails around the Farallon Islands about 30 miles from the gate and then back again. I asked his skipper about clothing and safety gear, and her responses left me feeling like I will need to spend more money to outfit myself for this race than it is really worth to me. If I follow her advice, I will need to get a new PFD, Harness, Tether, Foulies and Shoes. I usually wear basic West Marine Foulies, Gill Wellington Style Sailing Boots and a Mustang Self inflating PFD. Sounds like my Foulies are too bulky, my boots are likely to fill with water and my PFD has inadequate buoyancy. For those with offshore racing experience, what would you consider to be the basic requirements for clothing and safety gear for a race like this?
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It sounds to me like you might have everything already. You should get crotch straps for the PFD, if you don't have these. The PFD will need to have a ring for the tether attachment or you could use a chest harness. A short and long double tether is likely to be required. Also might do an inflate test (manually inflate and let but for 24 hours) to make sure it's all in good shape. Check date on canister, too. You could take the 4-hour Safety at Sea course, which is available online. One of the race rules is likely to require that at least 30% of the persons on board have taken the SAS course. You'll need some other things such as signaling light and whistle on you, too. I like to keep a handheld VHF on me, but this us not a requirement. The equipment requirements will be part of the rules for the race that you should be able to find on Jibeset. You could probably borrow any gear you don't have from another racer. Have fun!
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Oh. You might also pull up the after accident report on Low Speed Chase. This is why the skipper might be suggesting better boots. If you need to get less bulky foulies (not a rule requirement though) check out Blue Pelican in Alameda for used gear.
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Re: Offshore Racing Kit?

Have to agree with gamayun. Top of the line gear is nice, but not worth getting for a one-time event. I'd add a watch cap and perhaps gloves - I hear the water's cold out there. On a 44' boat for such a short race, "bulky" foul weather gear is not going to be a big issue. We have West Marine harnesses & tethers on board for our crew who don't have their own. Borrow or buy those if the skipper doesn't carry them.
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Re: Offshore Racing Kit?

Your tolerance for cold is something you need to evaluate for how many layers of clothing you'll need. The temps once past the Gate will be the same as the water temp which will probably be in the 50's. I froze my butt off most of the way to Hawaii as the damp air, cold and wind make it feel way colder than the same temperature on land. Take at least one warm fleece jacket and be sure that your foul weather pants and jacket will fit over it. I really like fleece pants to wear under the bibs.

If your Mustang vest isn't a combo harness/life vest, I'd get one. A harness to tie yourself to the boat is really important to have any time you are sailing offshore and even inshore. A lot of life vests come with the harness built in. You can make a tether up out of rope and shackles if you don't have one already. Nice to have a double tether of about 6' overall length with another shackle at the midpoint. You can make it up using line and bowlines to attach the shackles though would advise to stitch the knots so they won't come undone. I used these Wichard shackles to attach to the Jack Line and a snap shackle to the harness. I would not use a snap shackle to attach to the Jack Line.
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