Be Prepared. Have The Right Gear.
Below are some helpful guides to acquiring the right gear for your sailor. The value in terms of safety and success when wearing the correct gear is inmearsuable.
Team Rules Regarding Gear:
During the Fall Season the Coach will make the call that wet suits or dry suits are mandatory. This is weather dependent. Once they are mandatory sailors must have a wet suit or dry suit on to go sailing at practice or regattas. No exceptions. This rule will continue through Spring Season until the coach lifts it.
Life Jackets must be Coast Guard Type III and cannot be altered in any way. Life jackets must also be sailing specific with adjustable straps and at least one pocket.
The Coach has the ability to deem a sailors gear unacceptable for sailing and not let them on the water until they have appropriate gear for the given conditions.
Hope for the best, prepare for the worse.
High School and Middle School Sailing are during Fall and Spring Season - in the northwest that typically means: rain, rain and rain.
Check out the gear guide to the right for a general idea of what is necessary for sailors to have to compete at regattas and practice in comfort and warmth.
Regattas are typically 2 days long - away from home. Laundry abilities are usually limited to non-existent.
Bring LAYERS. Sailors should have extra warm layers in the event they capsize and need to change; their waterproof layers are not 100% dry; the conditions become worse than expected etc.
It's an investment - start with the essentials, go from there.
There are many cost-effective ways to acquire the appropriate gear. We've provided some resources below, but know that simply asking team members and "seasoned" parents can also be a great way to get ideas, and buy used gear.
When purchasing sailing gear it can be overwhelming - there are a lot of components and it can add up. Focus on acquiring the essentials and then invest in additional items from there.
Essentials (1st week of sailing):
Life Jacket / PFD
Wet-suit by mid-Fall Season
You don't need "sailing specific" right away
Having sailing specific brands and items is great, but you don't need them right away. Old fleeces, rain pants, sneakers work just fine until you decide to invest in sailing specific gear.
Old fleeces, long johns, and wool pull overs work great as layers
Old sneakers are fine for footwear
Rain jackets and pants are okay till you have spray tops and bibs
Gardening gloves make great sailing gloves!
...Once you're serious, the right gear makes the difference.
You and your sailor(s) will want to start investing in sailing specific gear as they become more committed to the sport so they are more comfortable and have more appropriate gear.
Some parents reward sailors with new gear for good grades, or as Christmas, birthday presents, etc.
Sailing specific gear you'll want once you're serious:
waterproof watch (timex, ironman, ronstan, etc.)
Spray top and bibs - sailing waterproof layers are reinforced where sailors need them to be. They don't have hoods. They typically have rubber wrists, necks and ankles, or velcro.
Booties! Have sailing specific booties really can make a difference in terms of traction and comfort.
Best Places To Buy Gear:
West Coast Sailing is our very own local NW dinghy gear and distributor. They have all the gear a youth sailor (or adult for that matter) could want.