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How To Layer For Cold Weather Sailing

How to layer for cold weather sailing

Do you find yourself shivering on the chilling upwind legs? Losing all focus on the race, all you can think about it getting back to the warm yacht club. The feeling of being unbearably cold can easily be avoided when properly layering. Here is your how-to layering guide for cold weather sailing.

When looking to give yourself that competitive edge, it is easy to overlook the clothes that you are wearing and focus on your boat’s equipment. During competition, wearing light-weight, less restrictive and highly breathable clothing can make a huge difference in your performance and focus. Being warm and dry even in the worst conditions makes for a huge advantage over the rest of your competition and could mean the difference in a top place finish. Gill is one of the leading manufactures in sailing gear, they continue to make advances to bring sailors the neweset technology available in sailing gear. Below is a summary of the importance of wearing a base layer.


A base layer’s true function is to keep the skin’s surface dry by moving moisture away from the skin. This action is called moisture wicking and it is essential for both staying warm in cold conditions, and staying cool on hot days; especially when wearing mid-layer and breathable waterproof outer garments. Often overlooked, if you are wearing cotton tee's, jeans, or an old washed out base layer, a fresh new base layer can be a 'night and day' improvement in performance and comfort. With moderate exertion, our bodies give off about a quart of moisture vapor in one hour. This is the body's natural cooling system. To prevent discomfort, this moisture should not be absorbed by fabrics next to the skin, but be able to evaporate or wick to the next layer, so the skin stays dry at all times.

Cotton clothing can absorb moisture during the day up to 20% of its own weight. Damp fabric and moist surrounding air, transfer heat away from the body twenty times faster than dry fabric and surrounding air. If you are wearing cotton clothing next to the skin, it will absorb the moisture, and suck the heat out of your body. This will leave you feeling cold and clammy, which will lead to early tiredness and fatigue. So always wear good base layer. Base layer leggings, socks and head wear should not to be overlooked. If you are wearing old base layer, there's a good chance it’s not doing its job. So stay warm and dry this winter and shop Base Layers Now!

The mid layer, much like the base layer is very important to be made of a highly breathable fabric, because this layer is where the actual warmth comes into play it still must all moisture to pass through. By wearing fleece or lofted garments, that are very similar to sleeping bag material.You essentially trap the warm air that has been heated by your body next to your skin, keeping you warm all day even in the coldest conditions. The i4 Polar Jacket by Gill is a densely knitted fabric, warmer and more wind resistant than the standard fleece. It features a high-collar and full length zip that goes all the way to your chin, trapping heat in around most of your body. The mid layer is essential for warmth on those bitter cold windy sails. Stay warm this winter and check out the Gill i4 Polar Fleece!

The outer layer is where the real protection against the elements takes place, and it must be completely waterproof, windproof, and highly breathable (as most modern day fabrics are). Keeping you dry all day in the pouring rain. Never rely on the outer layer for warmth alone, always leave room for appropriate layering. The principle purpose for the outer layer jacket and chest high trousers is to stop water from in, and to contain the warm air within the mid-layer from escaping. The Outer Layer is often looked to for keeping warm, and that can be a practical side effect, but it is not its core function. It is very important that your Outer Layers have good Moisture Vapor Technology. To be effective, this layer must be very breathable (MVT), and capable of keeping you dry all day in the worst and wettest conditions. The Jacket should include a hood and collar system, protective flaps over the front zip, and adjustable inner cuffs. In order to work most efficiently, the fabric should be breathable (MVT), which allows the moist air that's built up inside the garment to escape. Remember to always layer properly to effectively fight the cold wind and rain, leaving you warm, dry and focused gaining an edge over your competition. With the cold winter months around the corner, shop our Foul Weather Gear collections today.

We at MAURIPRO Sailing constantly test the products we sell to help sailors select the proper sailing gear. Send us your comments and let us know about your experience with your foul weather gear! Which brand do you recommend?

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