What to Wear Day Sailing & Cruising


Vancouver Sailing Club

Knowing what to wear when sailing becomes instinctive after you have been out on the boat a few times, but for newcomers, use this easy checklist to help you remember.

To dress properly for sailing, you will need a bag or "Kit" with:

  • A hat protecting ears from sun
  • sunglasses UV block and polarized are best with a tether- Maui Jim, Harken and GIL are good brands
  • sailing gloves- you won't go wrong with Harken, GILL and Ronstan- biking gloves will do 
  • at least 2 T-shirts with attitude
  • A sweater or sweatshirt
  • A windbreaker minimum or preferably 2 piece coastal foul weather gear ( musto, Gill, Helly- Henson, Wet Skins)
  • fast drying shorts or long pants with zip-offs ($29 at COSTCO works here)
  • Non-marking rubber-soled shoes or boots in rainy season ( Sperry,West Marine, Gill. Henry Lloyd, Viking)
  • A bathing suit in the summer and Towel
  • Sunscreen spf 30+

Your kit should be a soft-sided bag no larger than 32 long X 14 wide X 14 high (inches) made of sailcloth or water repellent materials

Vancouver Sailing Club

If you are planning for one of our Cruise & Learn Adventures make sure you bring in addition:

  • a knife with serrated blade and marlinspike- Leatherman, Davis, Mersham or West Marine
  • foul weather suit- preferably 2-piece with wrist gaskets to keep the water out
  • in the fall Winter and Spring make sure you bring sailing boots and thermal/ kevlar socks
  • non-scented personal toiletries - leave the AquaVelva, BRUT, BOSS and perfumes at home please
  • personal sleeping bag- we have spares on request
  • at least a 3 layer moisture wicking clothing system X 2- we will be staying at Marinas with laundry and shower facilities so try to keep your in one moderate size duffle bag
  • enough money or VISA / MC for scheduled evening meals and beverages- $30/day
  • 12V DC / USB Cell phone battery charger- we don't have AC on a mooring or anchored


Vancouver Sailing Club

  1. What are the best shoes to wear? It is important to wear shoes with cut rubber soles to protect you from slipping on a wet deck. Either laced cross trainers or deck shoes are the best choice. There is wisdom in wearing laced deck shoes with covered toes. Common brands are Sperry, Harken, Timberland, Sebago and Gill.
  2. What are the best slacks to bring? Wear fast drying shorts or long pants, depending on the weather. If you know it will be chilly, you might want to wear long pants like jeans or zip-offs. Make sure they are loose enough and comfortable so you can work around the boat if you choose. Zip-offs are convenient because they convert to shorts. Nylon pants are idea to wear for sailing because they are lightweight, dry quickly and are almost indestructible.
  3. What is the best way to dress in the cool mornings? Wear layers on top, with 3 shirts or blouses for all weather possibilities. Start with a tank top and then a T-shirt, and layer over that with a lightweight, long-sleeve shirt. Some long-sleeve shirts are especially made for wearing in the sun. These shirts are lightweight and have ventilation sewn in, as well as providing sun protection. MEC offers a very comfortable 3 layered system made of self wicking polypropylene. MEC Gill, Patagonia, Musto, Henri LLoyd, Columbia and Helly Hanson are brands that sailors rely on for coastal cruising and racing
  4. Wear a hat when you go sailing. A hat will protect your head from the sun and heat, providing shade and keeping you cooler. A baseball cap offers shade for your eyes, while a large-brimmed straw hat can also protect the back of your neck and ears.
  5. Bring a bathing suit and towel to go sailing. It may or may not be on the agenda to go swimming, but you may want to bask in the sun on the deck. Bring a suit that is comfortable and one that makes it easy for you to move around freely.
  6. DEFINITELY wear sunscreen when you go sailing- even when the sun is not out. Sunscreen is important, especially if you are not used to being out in the elements. Apply before sailing and bring extra for touch ups during the day. SPF30/45 will do the job and keep your skin comfortable.

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