Wetsuit advice?

Discussion in 'Laser Talk' started by DFlather, Feb 14, 2017.

  1. DFlather

    DFlather New Member

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    I'm eager to get out on the Chesapeake ASAP (probably April, water temp expected to be high 40s-low 50s)

    I need to get a wetsuit, but I see all kinds of styles available for other sports. Is there anything to prefer or avoid? Is there a difference between a kite boarding suit and wetsuit for diving?

    I'd assume a long john with optional long sleeve jacket/shorts might be ideal.
    With a pair of heavier neoprene boots.

    Any suggestions or advice?

    Thanks everyone.
     
  2. geoffbp58

    geoffbp58 New Member

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    Y'know, I asked this very same question last year (who wants to stop sailing in the winter?) and the prevailing response was "get a drysuit!". The problem with a wetsuit is eventually you get cold in it. I wound up with a Mythic Sobek- very inexpensive, breathable, front zipper. Best investment ever!
     
  3. DFlather

    DFlather New Member

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    Thanks geoffbp58. I'll check it out. Back in the 80s folks used to call dry suits "body bags" due to failures. I'm sure this is a dumb question but safe to assume technology has advanced to the place where dry suits are considered "safe and effective?"
     
  4. cskudder

    cskudder Active Member

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    I've sailed in a Gill drysuit for a couple years now + I am *very* happy with it. No problems with leaks or anything. For 10-15 years before that I tried hard to make it work with layers of wetsuit pieces, thinking a drysuit was too expensive. Looking back on it, I'm sure I put considerably more money into neoprene pieces over the years, than I paid for the drysuit, and the neoprene / wetsuit solution never worked well for me. It was always a struggle to try to minimize the rate at which cold water infiltrated + circulated, and I could never slow it down enough to sail for more than an hour or maybe 2, max, before I'd have to come in cuz I was cold. In trying to find a size / fit that minimized infiltration + circulation, and balance that with flexibility, the neoprene layers were always ended up being constricting. The drysuit is completely different + much better: it is truly completely dry inside, I can layer, + I have much more freedom of movement.

    If I knew then, what I know now, I would have "bit the bullet" 15 years ago, and invested the $500 or so on a decent drysuit at the start, rather than trying to save some money by using neoprene instead. It didn't work. I would have spent less on the drysuit, and also had lots more time sailing and enjoyed it a whole lot more, over those 15 years.

    Now I have a lot of neoprene stuff needs to go on ebay.

    I use 5mm neoprene lobster gloves- seam sealed, watertight at the wrist; and 7mm boots. My hands + feet are frequently the first to get cold especially when it's down in the 30's. But I can still get out there for and hour or 2 and that's worth it to me. I might have posted links a while back but if you want, I can dig them out + post again, if the stuff is still for sale.

    Have fun!
     
  5. DFlather

    DFlather New Member

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    thanks much cskudder for your clear and compelling response.
    Looks like dry suit is the way to go when lasering about.
    This is a really helpful forum!
     
  6. LaLi

    LaLi Active Member

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    The following maybe doesn't add to the forum's helpfulness, but the fact is that my experience is completely opposite to cskudder's. I had used drysuits since they hit the market in the early 1980s, when about 15 years ago I bought a sleeveless wetsuit and a spraytop, for what I thought would be warm-weather sailing. The way it turned out is that I haven't worn my drysuit after that - not once. The wetsuit is much more versatile, less clumsy, easier to put on and take off, easier to maintain, and isn't even colder except for some extreme conditions. (If you plan to swim a lot in near-zero water, then a drysuit might be ok.)
    Yes.

    Looks like you're located very close to APS. Go there and ask what Laser sailors buy. Here are some of the things you might be interested in:
    Men's Sailing Wet Suits | APS
    Dinghy and Small Boat Sailing Foul Weather Gear | APS
    Dinghy Hiking and Trapeze Boots | APS
     
  7. Genoni

    Genoni New Member

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    It's tricky, winter sailing in the U.K. in a wetsuit, I'm less,likely to sail if it's windy and there's a chance of a dunking as the water is only just above ice levels currently. Drysuit, I'm trying to decide on still, but I reckon buying a second hand one from eBay and then reselling it if you don't get on with it is a good option
     
  8. DFlather

    DFlather New Member

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    Thanks Genoni. I bought an entry level dry suit yesterday from one of your neighbors in the UK. It's supposed to arrive on Thursday (2/16). I'm also going to follow LaLi's advice and hit the APS shop which lucky for me is about a 30 minute drive from my home to pick up some boots. I'll then suit up, and gently wade into the water, sans boat, just to see what happens and how it all feels.
     
  9. Genoni

    Genoni New Member

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    Good luck. Couple of drysuit tips from my diving days. If you struggle to get hands/head through the respective seals, use a bit of talc. You want to protect those seals, although I've not seen sailors using this for some reason. Wax on the zip if it begins to get stiff. once on and zipped on, squeeze excessive air out by squatting down if needed. G
     
  10. Eyeper

    Eyeper Member

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    I don't know from drysuits. Only wore one once in Alaska on a rafting trip and still got cold. For Lasering with a wetsuit, I'd recommend you just start with whatever is comfortable (my first one was a thick diving suit, and I could barely move!) and then either sail and capsize to see how it feels or just go jump in and try the thing. I've gone through several wetsuits in N. CA sailing and find the ones that allow the most comfort and movement OUT of the water are best for me. The more you sail the less you will swim.
     
  11. LaLi

    LaLi Active Member

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    Just realized that it's Laser 2 sailing we're talking here...

    The helmsman on a doublehanded trapeze dinghy can wear pretty much the same clothing as a singlehanded sailor, except you don't need as much protection/support for hiking. Instead of actual hiking shorts, I've used these for a few years now and have been very happy: Zhik Deckbeater Hiking Shorts

    The trapezing crew needs footwear that doesn't restrict ankle movement. I haven't trapezed for a long time, but I believe these would be perfect: Zhik Lightweight Race Boot (I use them often on the Lightning and they're nice for that special style of hiking, too.) Of course you can choose higher boots to use at both ends of the boat, but you need to see that the sole and ankle are flexible enough.
     

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