For a person who is going on sailing for the first time, it is hard to know what he will need and what is not appropriate to wear on a yacht. Taking into account different weather conditions on the sea and ashore, different regions and seasons and many other things we will try to put together the right set of yacht clothes for charter or first sea practice which can satisfy all your needs on board, depending also on your role on the yacht: as a skipper, crewman or a charter tourist.
There are basic rules on what to wear yachting in terms of health and safety, and this is what will top the list of necessities, there are still things that are out of place, as a yacht is a fairly limited space and its storage options are limited.
For starters, how to pack properly
The first important clarification, as newbies may not think about this at all. Yachting vacation is still closer to active tourism. Ideally, it is better to pack things on the yacht in a backpack, travel bag, soft bag on wheels, or maximum in a small soft suitcase. On a yacht, it is more convenient to place small size luggage, so if you are traveling together, instead of one large suitcase for two, it is better to take two small soft suitcases, bags or two backpacks.
Special yachting shoes
Special sailing shoes are needed for safety so as not to hurt your toes on the metal parts of the deck and not to slip on the wet surface. They are needed when the yacht is underway and you are moving around the deck, especially in high waves and winds. Yachting shoes are probably the main thing on which you should not economize. The most important thing in yacht shoes is that they do not leave sole marks, i.e. the sole should be white or marked “not-marking”, they should not slip on plastic deck and wet teak deck coverings, and should be well ventilated, dry quickly, sit tight on the foot so it does not slip out, but not shrink, and should be quickly removable and put on. The shoes do not have to be a well-known yacht brand, but they must meet these criteria.
There are several types of yacht shoes for different weather:
Topsiders are suitable for dry, warm weather. They are made of soft leather and treated with water-repellent impregnation, and special laces, which are stretched around the circumference, securely fix the heel. Nowadays, yachting brands produce sneakers for yachting that look more modern.
Yachting sneakers are the best option, quite closed, warm, with a high degree of flexibility, with a higher sole, with a fast-drying synthetic breathable mesh, etc.
Yacht boots are necessary for long ocean crossings, in high waves and storms, they are mostly rubber, although there are also leather – more breathable and more expensive.
Waterproof socks in crossings are also a necessity. Cotton socks are not suitable for a yacht, they absorb moisture a lot, and take a very long time to dry out. In this case, your feet will freeze very quickly. Generally, on the yacht it is very important to keep your shins and ankles warm, that’s why high socks made of wool will be very useful in spring and fall.
Additional yachting shoes, shoes for going ashore
In addition to special yachting shoes, you will need flip-flops for showers in the marinas and comfortable shoes for walking ashore. If you are trekking, hiking, going to climb the local peaks of mountains or volcanoes, visiting wild national parks the choice of shoes should be thought in advance in planning, as the usual sneakers are not always suitable for such purposes. This also applies to the need for aqua shoes for coral or specific local beaches.
In good weather, as well as at anchorages, it is okay to go barefoot on a yacht. It is also important to be aware of yacht “shoe” etiquette, according to which you may not enter the boat wearing outdoor shoes. They should be left on the pontoon when entering the boat, or in the cockpit.
The basic yachting outfits
When it comes to clothing, the first rule of yacht outfitting is layering. Yes, this does not apply to summer charters in the Mediterranean, but you need to understand the basic principle.
The first layer, the closest to the body, is thermal underwear which wicks away moisture. The thermal underwear should be the right size and fit snugly against the body.
The second layer serves as insulation – it should be a fleece garment. A fleece jacket is a necessity for transitions in the spring and fall and during night watches. Even on the bare body fleece keeps heat well, even when wet, and it dries very quickly, in contrast to cotton. Fleece clothing is very soft and warm, it will not be hot in the wind at temperatures above 20 degrees, but it will be very warm in cold weather, if under it will be thermal underwear, and above a jacket that will protect against moisture.
The third layer is waterproof, it consists of pants or overalls, and a jacket that repels all moisture – rain, splashes, and serves as protection from the wind. For the skipper, it is important to have yacht pants or overalls with reinforced inserts, on the knees and back. Charterers will be fine with simple waterproof pants, which should be wide enough to be worn with their shoes on straight and over warm pants right in the cockpit, in case the weather deteriorates drastically. The waterproof jacket should be comfortable, definitely with a hood. Even in summer, a windbreaker, Windstopper, or lightweight waterproof jacket should be on the yacht.
Layering is relevant for cold and wet weather conditions. At sea, the weather changes frequently, and as it gets warmer, layers are removed and then lighter items are put on, etc.
Packing list for sailing
Protecting your head from the sun, wind, rain, and spray on board a yacht is very important. Panamas are good protection from the sun, not only for the head but also for the ears and neck and partly for the shoulders. A baseball cap with a lanyard is also suitable so that it does not fly away. Depending on the region and season, you may need a hat that covers your ears. A windbreaker or jacket should have a hood that completely covers your head, ears, and neck, but does not restrict your view to the sides.
It is better to buy specialized sunglasses because they have a polarizing effect, special shape, and soft rubber inserts which firmly hold them on your face and protect your eyes from lateral light. Since on a yacht, apart from sleeping, you are always in the cockpit or on the deck, it is necessary to protect your eyesight. In any case, you need goggles, even if they are not yacht goggles. By the way, for equipment – phone, tablet, and camera, it is desirable to buy waterproof cases.