Sailing in the Fall means one thing: it's cold. And not just a wee little bit cold but a lot cold; especially if you're doing dinghy sailing.
So what does this mean? What should sailors wear to keep pursuing their passion, extending the season for as long as possible, and training on the water while the inevitable polar vortex approaches? It means two things: mental preparation, which includes a lot of "I love sailing", "I'm not crazy, I'm dedicated" and the correct gear.
With that in mind, I figured it would be helpful to do a gear guide (and boy do I love a good gear guide!) on what pieces are must-have's and recommended to make Fall sailing as smooth (and warm) as possible (puns, yes I use them where ever I can.)
Let's break this gear guide down, shall we?
Toque or Wetsuit Hood - Why? To help keep that noggin warm & dry, Plus it helps prevent your body heat from escaping which in turn helps keep you toasty warm.
Sunglasses - If it's sunny, put those sunglasses on. The sun is still strong as temperatures drop and on cloudier days in the Fall.
Rashguard - To do what the name literally means, it prevents rashes under your wetsuit. Not everyone wears one but it is recommended.
Hydrophobic Gear - Keeps you warm and dry by wicking away moisture and keeping it off of your skin. Available in tops and pants. Can use instead of a rashguard if you like. Great for dinghy sailors and keel boaters - you can wear the pants under your salopettes on super cold days.
Psst...need a refresher on what Hydrophobic gear is? Check out this blog post.
Wetsuit - For Dinghy sailors, at least 3mm thick neoprene. Farmer John or Full Wetsuit would be ideal. Why? Covers the most area of your body (e.g. down to your ankles). You can always wear a neoprene jacket over the farmer john to completely cover your arms and add more warmth on colder days.
Gloves - You can use you're summer ones for the first bit of Fall really but once it gets about mid-September I'd say, you're going to want something warmer with some neoprene. Such as the Gill Three Season Gloves or the Magic Marine Energy Gloves (left).
Booties - Neoprene booties that give you grip and warmth. If you had a pair, like the Gill Hiking Boot, that you wore all summer long then you can keep wearing them. Just layer a pair of socks with them if your feet get cold.
Socks - An extra layer to keep your feet warm. DO NOT WEAR COTTON people, NO, don't do it. You want to wear something that repels water, is breathable and is meant to work with your neoprene sailing boots, like the Thermal Hot Sock or Neoprene Socks from Gill. Not everyone uses them; it's personal preference.
Now for keel boaters, what you wear sailing may be a little different. For starters, you'll probably want a good, warm pair of boots, like Dubarry's, paired with a good sock to help keep your tootsies warm.
Also on the list, salopettes and a waterproof, windproof and breathable jacket. This will help keep the chill out on those breezy days. For your mid-layer, use fleece to help keep the warmth in. It should go overtop of a breathable base layer, like technical shirts for example.
Another good idea for keel boaters - hot-pockets to help your hands stay warm. A toque will also help keep body heat from escaping. Being in Canada, you should be able to find one (if you don't already own a couple dozen pairs).
With these gear tips, your Fall sailing days will be (hopefully) warm and fun-filled days on the water!
Happy Sailing Everyone!