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""breathable" fabrics work only when the outside ambient humidity is far less than the humid interior."
Well, yes. But that should be clarified. They work when there is higher vapor pressure inside your suit, than there is outside. Since the human exterior, your skin, tends to be dumping the heat load from a 98.6F body, that means the temperature 'inside' your suit may be 90F and if it is only 85F on deck in the ambient rain...your body heat will still drive out the moisture, keeping your drier with a GoreTex suit than without.

Conversely, if you sit on a heated car seat after getting in from the rain, the heated seat will drive the rain back IN through your GoreTex. Nasty surprise, that. Good thing there are no heated helm seats to worry about on sailboats!

Given the choice between my old top-brand foulies and my camping GoreTex? I'll take the GoreTex every time until it gets chilly out. And even, sometimes. To paraphrase Galileo, "Nevertheless, it works!"

And if it wears out? Gore will replace the garments, free of charge, under warranty. Can't complain about wearing out with that policy, either. Other "breatheables" and water repellants? You'd have to tackle case by case, they're not all the same.
 

· Over Hill Sailing Club
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Goretex surely is more comfortable than a rubber/poly coated jacket. Just the better movement from something that feels like cloth makes it much more comfortable. I have a number of Goretex garments, none of which were designed specifically for sailing but I find that, having insulation, they are very often too warm. The Gore rain shell I have soaks through after a while so I don't even take it aboard anymore. That's another thing about these fabrics, they require special maintenance. When it's really wet and raining hard I almost always go to the old, green Helly Hansen jacket and bibs left over from my commercial fishing days with the right amount of layers underneath. For the OP, I guess my point is that having adequate combinations is really the essential element in keeping from getting cold. And, remember the hiking adage, "COTTON KILLS." I have a couple of microfleece undershirts which are absolutely the best 1st layer I've ever tried. They are useful for a large range of temperatures and IMO are much better than any standard hi-tech long underwear (I've tried them all). They're also inexpensive. That first layer is really important.
 

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smurph, GoreTex needs next to no maintenance.
"The Gore rain shell I have soaks through after a while so I don't even take it aboard anymore. "

Let me put it this way: CALL GORE.

They will ask you to mail the shell to them, so they can inspect it. (Marmot and other companies will treat you equally well, by the way.) Assuming the GoreTex has failed, as it eventually always will, Gore will confirm that, and then they will ask you to pick a similar new garment, from ANY vendor. And they'll ship it to you at no charge.

Really, can it get any better than that?

CALL GORE. They've even got a toll-free number. They charge a premium price for their product, but they back it up with absolutely magnificent customer service.
 

· Over Hill Sailing Club
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smurph, GoreTex needs next to no maintenance.
"The Gore rain shell I have soaks through after a while so I don't even take it aboard anymore. "

Let me put it this way: CALL GORE.

They will ask you to mail the shell to them, so they can inspect it. (Marmot and other companies will treat you equally well, by the way.) Assuming the GoreTex has failed, as it eventually always will, Gore will confirm that, and then they will ask you to pick a similar new garment, from ANY vendor. And they'll ship it to you at no charge.

Really, can it get any better than that?

CALL GORE. They've even got a toll-free number. They charge a premium price for their product, but they back it up with absolutely magnificent customer service.
Although I can't believe they'd replace a 30 year-old shell, will give it a try. Thanks for that info.
 

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<snip> It doesn't have to be labeled "Sailing" gear to work. Having the right layers and combinations is really what it's all about for any sport. <snip>
No, it doesn't have to be labeled "sailing" gear, but I've learned that buying quality "kayaking" foul weather clothing costs virtually the same as buying quality "sailing" foul weather clothing.

It's a false economy...
 

· Over Hill Sailing Club
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No, it doesn't have to be labeled "sailing" gear, but I've learned that buying quality "kayaking" foul weather clothing costs virtually the same as buying quality "sailing" foul weather clothing.

It's a false economy...
Yes, any of the niche markets charge a premium. Just saying that if the OP is looking for gear without spending a pile of money, it might be worth looking through all the different choices instead of just sailing gear. More opportunities to find a sale on some good gear.
 

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Yes, any of the niche markets charge a premium. Just saying that if the OP is looking for gear without spending a pile of money, it might be worth looking through all the different choices instead of just sailing gear. More opportunities to find a sale on some good gear.
That has generally worked for me. I've used a mix of hiking, kayaking, and ski gear that I already had. I bought some new Goretex kayaking pants for sailing this winter because they were on closeout and one third of the price of comparable sailing pants.

I did finally break down and buy a real foul weather jacket during the last Defender sail. The higher collar (already mentioned) and two layer wrist gaskets are nice features that aren't so common in other gear.

My true "the **** has hit the fan and I need to sail home now" foul weather gear is my kayaking drysuit. I also use this when sailing the dinghy. It looks goofy but is comfortable and warm in all conditions.
 

· Over Hill Sailing Club
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One piece of kayak gear I keep in my ditch bag is a Kokotat dry top. It was ghastly expensive years ago but will keep out water while inverted in a w/w kayak. Now that's a real test of watertightness! I also keep a full 1/4" wetsuit in the ditch bag. Wetsuits come in really handy even in "warmer" water for cleaning the hull, etc. The jacket I use for cold weather is a Goretex LLB Maine Warden's jacket. It is designed for very cold/wet weather. Have been glad to have it many times, even when it's in the 40s or so.
 

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Getting ready for my first real offshore sailing, helping bring a boat from Bahamas to the Chesapeake. Is it kind of irresponsible to not have a nice set of foulies or are they overkill? or maybe a better question is will I need them this time of year (mid May) if we aren't planning on pushing it in bad weather? I have decent rain gear (ie dads old grundens from tug boats) but I don't want to be irresponsibly unprepared. I also don't want to be the guy who shows up way over prepared with the batman utilty belt. I'm cool with looking like the Gorton fisherman though to delay this purchase a bit longer!

Thanks
I sure hope not! I've been messing about on wet boats in the Pacific Northwest for 15 years or so now and still don't own a set of name brand follies. I think better value can be had at your camping and hiking stores.

Currently my gear is a north face gore tex jacket that I bought 15 years ago at half off and a set of cabellas camo (they didn't have other colors) gore tex bibs. My boots aren't even "sailing boots" they're fleece lined (and oh-so-warm) neoprene kayaking boots.

Do I look the part? Nope. Am I warm and dry? Yup. You should do just fine with your dad's gear. Those tugboat guys know all about wet. If the yachtie types don't like that you're not wearing $2,000 of Henry Lloyd gear, just give them the finger and tell them you're french. :D

Here's a photo of me from last week from This little adventure. Wet on the outside, with a crunchy dry center.


MedSailor
 

· Closet Powerboater
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Foulies? How quaint. This isn't England.
Hehe, or maybe something like this for when the weather is "fine"?


That'd do nicely. ;)

MedSailor

P.S. Funny story. I was delivering my very first boat down from Canada, and the two day delivery doubled my entire life's boating experience to that point. The boat was, shall we say, not ship shape on the outside, and my friend and I were wearing a collection of thermals and well worn hiking gear that had seen better days.

The Army Corps of Engineers guys who run the ship locks in the Seattle area were yelling commands like drill seargents to all the yachties that approached wearing clothing like the photo above. To us they said, "You guys look like you've been out in it. Go forward and tie up on number 22." We were both green as could be but we looked more the part to their eye than the yachties and stinkpotters wearing all the right gear. ;)
 

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I've done the trip back from Bermuda and spent 10 hours in heavy rain. I didn't once think about how much my foulies cost. Just how dry they were. My only regret was not spending even more. My thought is for inshore stuff, by 'outdoor' gear, cheapies. If you're going offshore and need to live in them for days, spend the big bucks.
 

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" camo (they didn't have other colors) gore tex bibs."
Hey, Med!
So you're the other guy who goes duck hunting under sail.(G) Yeah, one of these days I'll replace the old proper bib pants, but the heavyweight genuine GoreTex ones were something like a twist-my-arm $85 from a brand name and for that money, I'll go duck hunting.
 
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