Padded sailing shorts -- info on how to make my own?!!

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by Petrel, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. Petrel

    Petrel Member

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    Hi guys,

    Does anyone have a pattern for making their own padded sailing or "technical" shorts? Or can you tell me the type of foam padding used? Polyester foam? rubber? The thickness?

    Last week I went out on our local pond in a nice breeze with moderately stiff gusts. I was such a blast, and I almost capsized a couple of times. Once while running the trigger snap came undone. Never had that happen before. Mostly, my butt was sore, even though I often had a gardener's foam pad under my butt, sometimes the wind was so stiff that I didn't have the extra hand to swap and position it from one tack to another.

    I have thought of putting down (with Velcro/hook & loop) 3/4" foam along each gunwale or deck. Or adhering foam to my shorts. I wish I could afford those padded sailing shorts (($95-125 -- ouch), but will have to fashion my own. Flexibility is necessary (obviously), but also I need them to really cushion. Anyone owning these, can you please tell me if the foam is like rubber foam or pool noodle foam and about how thick. If you have a pattern or a RATTY BEAT UP PAIR, can you please share?

    I wish I had a bulky butt because sailing would be so much more comfortable.

    Thanks,
    Petrel
     
  2. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    Well, I can't do much about that exquisite body part you are referring to, but here is a link for the foam padding:

    http://www.oneoceankayaks.com/Material.htm

    I guess one reason that these padded sailing pants are on the expensive side, is that they are (still) made in the USA. At least mine (Camet) were. The latter ones have two inserts, one for the left side and one for the right side of that precious body part. These Camet ones have lasted quite some time and I have used them a lot.

    The padded sailing pants that I had previously (Sailing Angles) had just one big insert that was hand cut to fit in the rear pocket. These also lasted several years of hard use.
     
  3. minifish2

    minifish2 Active Member

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    You can get a pair of the foam insert pads ( by gill) on line for something like $11 from Amazon or Landfall.
     
  4. Pat75

    Pat75 Member

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    Making one sounds like a real pain in the ass... butt in a pinch you might be able to get away with strapping your life vest around your waist instead of your chest. Or use a second vest.
     
  5. Petrel

    Petrel Member

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    Thanks, Wavedancer, Minifish2, and Pat75.

    Wavedancer, I went to look at that foam. I sure looks like great stuff and unlikely to mash down like the yoga matt foam I was thinking of using. I looked at all the padded sailing shorts at APS and elsewhere. I spotted some (kinda ugly ones) on sale -- but nothing would beat the ugly ones that I'd end up making. I didn't see where that specific type of foam was used, so I'm guessing that it was written on the foam inserts of your technical Camet shorts. I was surprised however that the foam is only about 1/4" thick. Geez, and my tush hurts with a 3/4" gardener's foam pad. I probably need to do a few leg lifts and buff up.

    Minifish2, I will probably either buy the shorts on sale or order some foam inserts. I am on a tight budget, so was thinking of actually putting velcro on my butt, then velcro on the gardener's foam. Let people laugh ;) I came across someone's photo of her home made padded shorts. But she knew how to sew.

    Pat75, yes, I think that making a pair would be a headache. I was going to put in thicker foam, but then how would it be flexible enough to allow me to move. "Sailor capsizes because of stiff foam in shorts." Imagine a SF gunwale or deck that was like the SLEEP NUMBER...
     
  6. Pat75

    Pat75 Member

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    I think you will need to go with the idea of attaching strips of cushion to the boat rather than attaching it to yourself because at some point, the foam inserts are going to be too thick and too buoyant. Buoyancy is really not safe if it will not help keep your head up... I think you've probably thought of all this already, but I think you should experiment with some different padding materials, on a bench or something, figure out which is best, weigh the pros and cons of thickness needed, how fast it dries etc. I'm guessing that closed cell polyethylene foam (pool noodle foam) would be great for some reasons, but maybe not soft enough? I think you mentioned using velcro to hold them in place, that sounds like a great idea - Sunfish sailors learn how to get rid of adhesives with acetone when they want anyway. You might come up with a good product that many people could use...
     
  7. mhirte

    mhirte New Member

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    Petrel, here's an outfit that offers lots of foam products. Maybe they'd send you some samples. http://www.mcmaster.com/#standard-closed-cell-foam-sheets/=j859gl On slow wind days in the summer I will use a piece of closed-cell foam that is 1/2" thick and it is a great cushion. Not sure what type it is. I leave it loose on the deck and it will stick in place. When you tack you drag it over and repark it under you. On heavy wind days there is no time for such foolishness, and I'll gladly trade a sore butt for some good hiking-out time. Now that the season is requiring a wetsuit the whole problem kind of goes away.
     
  8. Pat75

    Pat75 Member

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    McMaster-Carr is like the convenience store of the industrial world and for that reason everything is expensive - like every convenience store. Searching for materials through Google, after looking at their descriptions on McMaster-Carr is a better idea.
     

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