Cold(ish) Weather Gear

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I usually just sail in the Summer, when shorts and a T-shirt do the trick and getting wet is no problem. However, this year I am getting antsy a little early and want to get out in April and May, when the water is still a bit chilly (I sail on the Lower Potomac, so we're talking air temps is the 70's and water temps in the 50's maybe).

What do folks wear for colder weather sailing and what is some good, inexpensive, gear?
While there is lots of dedicated sailing apparel on the market , I like Polarfleece clothing , I have hats, pullovers, pants and socks made from the stuff. It dries quickly and and stays warm when wet. It has a wide temperature "comfort" range.

Layer with a poly pro inner layer when its colder, a Gore-tex shell when its wet and drizzly.

I have used this stuff Mountain biking to XC skiing to Kayaking to Sailing and staying warm keeps the fun in !

Rob's right -- stay away from cotton. It not only dries slowly, but to dry, it requires heat and that comes from you (only!). Fleece dries quickly and "feels" warmer while it is drying.

I use neoprene boots -- much better than water shoes. And get a pair of neoprene gloves to keep your hands warm. I like boots and gloves made by NRS although the gloves aren't toughened for a lot of line handling.

You probably know you want to leave your cotton briefs at home -- get some polypropylene or wear a fast-drying bathing suit. Nothing worse than a cold butt. NRS also makes a good neoprene short with various leg lengths.

I'd recommend wearing several layers around your body core for good water wicking. I use a polypropylene T-shirt, a polypro zip neck long sleeve shirt (see if you can find a long-sleeve rashguard made by Mysterioso -- any of their products are just great, don't bind, and are so comfy you'll want to wear them everywhere). BTW, have someone help you with fit -- Mysterioso should fit more snugly that you might be used to. I normally wear extra large, but my Mysterioso rashguard is a large.

If you have a lot of spray, I'd recommend a good water repellent jacket with neoprene cuffs. Mine is made by NRS and is just right (for me).

I also use a personal floatation device made for kayaking -- I like Kokatat's Bahia Tour PFD. It has good pockets, is cut for good torso movement, and its shoulder straps are really handy for someone to pull you out of the water if you go overboard (don't ask how I know this!).
cold weather gear

See if there is a kayak/canoe shop nearby, they will have tons of gear for the cold weather. I have a surfing wetsuit, a surfers top, and a kayaking spray top that seal up a the neck/sleeves/waist. I sail in the south, so I probably won't encounter anything nearly as cold as you would be sailing in.

1989 Catalina Capri Mod II
1984 Catalina 22'