Sailing school. An exciting place to spend your summers, a way to spend time on the water and get a wicked tan (albeit with some serious tan lines).
With sailing school just around the corner I figured it be a good idea to get the summer staff, who have spent numerous summers on the water at sailing school both as attendees and instructors, to compile a list of their sailing school must have items.
The first on their list was a PFD, with most of them recommending the Salus Regatta or the Salus Abacus. Once you've picked your PFD, don't forget to attach a whistle! Gloves was next on their list, whichever style you prefer just make sure you have a pair, and if it's going to be cold get some neoprene ones.
Next? Clothing. An exhausting world with endless options and combinations. All depends on what you're sailing, what you need and what you already have. Base layer must have? Rashguards. Lots of them. Long sleeve or short sleeve. If you'll be sailing in early June/July or late August, then Hydrophobic gear isn't a bad idea (available in both pants and tops) as it'll help keep you warm on those colder days. Padded pants, John suggests, are a great idea if you aren't racing and/or don't need hiking pants, as they help protect you from the non-skid on the boat and provide some warmth when needed. Pants like the Zhik Deckbeaters, Sea Metalite Pants, Zhik Microfleece or the Gul Response trousers are just a few suggestions.
Psst. check out our layering post to learn more about layering your gear for sailing.
If Opti's are the boat of choice this summer, Kirsten recommends knee pads. For Lasers, John and Mitchell recommend hiking pants with spandex (to help protect against the non-skid on the deck and increase longevity of the hikers) as a must. For 420's, Kirsten and Mitchell recommends padded shorts. Again, to protect from the non-skid on the boat and add a bit of cushion.
When it comes to footwear, dinghy boots are essential as they help protect the feet from getting damaged, keep them warm and provided necessary grip. Lots of styles are available. Check out our Dinghy Boots 101 blog to see our selection. Mitchell and John recommend the Gill Hiking Boot because of the re-enforced heel and toe, while Evan suggests the Gill Trapeze Boot. If you're in Lasers and have the Zhik Hiking Strap, Evan recommends the Zhik 360 boot as you can clip the boots into the hiking strap.
A hat, ZBlok, and sunglasses are also on their list of must have items. Sun protection is important ladies and gentlemen! Keep yourself protected from the sun, especially since most of the day is spent in the sun on the water. John also recommends lip balm with 30 SPF to help protect your lips from getting burnt, because that's never any fun. PS make sure to get a hat clip so your hat doesn't fly away (it happens.all.the.time) and retainers for your sunnies.
Kirsten's favourite item of all time, and a must for all, is the Kanberra Gel. Why? So you don't wreck your parents car with the smell of your gear! If you're coaching or teaching at a sailing school, Evan recommends wetnotes!
Now where to put all this stuff? A waterproof gear bag. Keep everything in one place so you know where everything is! We have a wide variety with all different sizes. Louisa's favourite is the tarp barrel bag from Gill while Kirsten recommends the compact bag from Gill. Another good idea? Have a small dry bag (6L or 12L) that's clear (so you can see what's in it) to keep a lunch, sunscreen, phone or water bottle in. The benefit of the small dry bag is that it can be taken in the boat with them as it's small, doesn't take up much room, and won't get in the way.
Now if you're racing, Kirsten recommends a watch and splash top - great for breaking the wind and keeping the water out all while being extremely breathable. Quick dry tops are also a great idea if doing White Sail.
Fogh Marine stocks a wide variety of sailing gear that is available in men's, women's and junior sizing! If you're looking for a specific item, have questions about sizing or any general inquiries about gear feel free to give us a call at 416-251-0384, send us an Contact Us or drop on by the store Any Fogh Marine employee would be happy to assist you!