Are you wondering what kind of gear you should be wearing for the upcoming season? Browse our complete guide to clothing for dinghy sailing below.
What you choose to wear when dinghy sailing will depend on the weather and time of year. It’s important to remember that the wind is stronger at sea and a lot of the time you are heading into it as well so wind chill will be felt much more. Add to this the spray from the water and an ill-equipped sailor can become cold and wet in no time.
Being cold or wet can at best be uncomfortable and at worst be dangerous – water takes heat away from the body 27 times faster than air. As dinghy sailing means much of the time is spent at the spray line, being well prepared will ensure you can stay warm and fully enjoy your day on the water.
Wetsuits, drysuits, salopettes and hiking shorts for dinghy sailing
When choosing what to wear on your bottom half when dinghy sailing, weather conditions must be considered.
Cold weather – if it is cold or the weather is not in your favour, a pair of waterproof salopettes will allow you to sail in comfort. Alternatively, many sailors favour a dry suit which they can pair with warm, breathable layers underneath.
Cool weather – cool weather or particularly windy days can be difficult to prepare for as it’s important to stay warm without overheating. A wetsuit will provide vital body insulation; depending on the weather (e.g. warm day with a wind chill) you may wish to opt for a shortie wetsuit, with lightweight waterproofs which can be removed if the weather improves. Otherwise, for cool weather, a full wetsuit can be worn with a rash vest for added comfort.
Baselayers – layering is just as important for dinghy sailing as any other outdoor sport. Baselayers work by keeping the air next to your skin dry and warm at all times and wick or push moisture away from the skin. If you are likely to be getting wet, a baselayer made with technical fabric will help to ensure you dry quickly as these fabrics offer minimal water retention.
Rash vests – rash vests are designed to be quick drying and many offer UV protective fabrics to keep you safe from the sun’s harmful rays. Rash vests are extremely comfortable to wear and can be worn under a wetsuit on cold days or on their own during warm weather.
Spray tops – a mid-layer spray top is designed to give you an extra layer of warmth on colder days while being quick-drying, lightweight and breathable. The inner fleece lining and waterproof outer material is designed to keep you warm, dry and comfortable.
Gilets, smocks and technical jackets for dinghy sailing
Sailing gilets – gilets can provide added insulation without overheating on warmer days. A number of sailing specialists such as Musto and Gill, offer gilets which are waterproof yet lightweight and breathable for maximum comfort.
Dinghy smocks – dinghy smocks provide lightweight waterproof and windproof protection against spray and wind and feature waterproof seals at the hem, neck and cuffs. Dinghy smocks are designed to keep sailors warm and dry without restricting movement – making them perfect for colder days when staying warm and dry is crucial.
Technical jackets – choosing your jacket for dinghy sailing as always will depend on the weather. Whether it’s a lightweight thermal waterproof or a warm breathable jacket, it’s vital that this layer is warm, durable and does not restrict your range of movement. Browse our range of technical jackets – many of which are suitable for dinghy sailing.
Accessories for dinghy sailing
Gloves – it’s a good idea to invest in a quality pair of sailing gloves to prevent any nasty cases of rope burn, and also to keep your hands protected from the cold and wet while on the water.
Sunglasses – protect your eyes from the glare of the sun on the water with a pair of sailing sunglasses. Many manufacturers have created sailing glasses which float, so if they happen to go overboard all is not lost!
Waterproof cases – If you are planning to take any valuable gadgets out on the water with you such as a phone, camera or tablet – investing in a quality waterproof case will ensure that if the worst happens then you can be assured they are well protected.
For dingy sailing, a specialised pair of rubber or neoprene boots will ensure that you can move comfortably around the boat while being well protected from the elements. Neoprene sailing boots will offer a secure, non-slip grip without marking the deck, and many also offer reinforced toe and foot protection for use while hiking.
Safety when dinghy sailing
Last, but certainly not least, it’s important to have a life vest or buoyancy aid. If you’re not sure which is best for your needs, browse our guide to life jackets and buoyancy aids for more information.