Saturday, April 2, 2016

What should I wear and bring when invited to go sailing?

My boyfriend and I have been invited to go sailing for the afternoon in early Summer not too far from Newport.  What should clothes should I wear and is there anything else I should bring?  

Know before:

  • When and where to meet
  • The name of the boat
  • Who will bring the food
  • How many people are with you.  Do not show up with more people than were invited.


No matter the weather predicted, no matter what the weather on land, prepare for:
  • Cold, windy rain and
  • Blazing, hot, bright sun.
Don't wear skirts.  There can be a some climbing up and down levels.

For shoes, look at boat shoes or sneakers.  Shoes with black soles are frowned upon as they can mark the deck.  Don't wear heels or wedges.
"We always ask our guests to bring a second set of shoes for Tigris so that they don't bring any grit aboard from ashore. We keep a basket at the point of entry." (Gavin, March 1, 2014)
Leave the jewelry with sharp edges at home.

Don't bring messy foods, such as ice cream or chocolate.

Prepare for cold, windy rain...
...and bright sun. 

Everyone should always wear shoes.

Wear clothes in which you can climb. Skirts should be avoided.

"One of the few 'passwords of the day' that I remember from camp in Maine is this: 'Wool keeps you warm when you're wet.'" (John G)
"Try not to bring anything you would be devastated to loose when it falls overboard." (Katy)

Non-marking Soles

Don't wear jewelry or clothes that can snag.


  • Water
  • Ice
  • Sunscreen (One person suggested Badger Sunscreen)
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat for shade
  • Money to offer to pay for gas 
  • Food that is not messy
"If you're bringing snacks on the boat, it can be helpful if they're not super crumby, especially if children are on board. Crumbs and dropped chips, crackers, etc. can make a mess under the boat's decking. Lifts and hoses, etc. aren't always available to make cleanup easier." (Comment)
"What not to bring: beer (or soda) in bottles; a large host/hostess gift, space is at a premium on a boat; anything that can't be placed in a puddle - like a fancy leather bag - your transport to/fro could be leaky; food that needs a lot of prep." (Patsy)
Depending on your schedule, you may easily have some downtime.  This could be unexpected, such as if the wind dies down to nothing, or this could be planned, such as if you are waiting at the windward mark or start for some races. Be ready to pitch in, or even stay out of the way.
"Recommend Bonine over Dramamine as less likely to cause sleepiness for those in need of seasickness meds. Remember to take them before you get on board. Also bare feet are not good on boats with a lot of deck hardware as these trip hazards can cause seriously sore stubbed toes. Deck shoes are best." (Hearthstone Farms)
Whatever your bring, make sure it all fits in a bag or two.  I like bags that can be completely zipped up, and literally tossed from shore to launch or dinghy, launch to boat, or boat to dock.
"You might want to get a 'Dummies' book or the like, to learn a few terms and the general etiquette. You'll be given instructions (orders)by the skipper occasionally, and they are to be followed, not discussed or pouted over. I've only sailed a very small amount, as passenger/amateur crew, and unlike a power boat there is a reason for you to be hither, rather than yon, and to pull on that rope-thingey (strangely enough, the line, not the sail, is a 'sheet'). But it's so much more fun to be involved rather than just along."  (NCJack)
Good shoes.  Good ice.

Bring sunscreen...
"I'm partial to Badger sunscreens. They only use zinc oxide as their active ingredient. It goes on thick - and white - but it's considered safe and it's effective. I use it every day, sailing or not." (Comment)
...and a good hat.

"A hat clip, to keep your hat from going over the side (same for your sunglasses)" (Queequeg)

Wear a PFD
"....and only Admirals and A**holes stand in the companionway..." (Patsy)

Volunteering to pay for gas is always appreciated.

Be prepared to help...

...or even do nothing at all...

...while waiting for things to happen.
"If you are a bit queasy, do NOT go below as this will worsen your symptom. Fix eyes on the horizon and stay on deck." (Lane)

 Bags should be able to be completely zipped up and tossed.
"I tend to wear quick-dry when racing. Love cotton, but is cold and clammy when wet."
"Agree with the one small duffel comments. Not much is so frowned upon as a guest with too much gear. That being said, plan on the temperature on the water being 20 degrees colder than that on land. Plan clothes with that in mind and then add one more fleece on top! ... Also, chances are that your host has foul weather gear you can borrow if need-be. Ask. Do not feel you need to go out and spend hundreds of dollars. I do support the two pairs of shoes option, but the 'street' pair is to stay on the dock or in the dinghy." (Seth, March 3, 2014)

When Leaving:

  • Leave with more trash than you brought aboard.
  • Don't linger at the club or dock after your hosts leave.  

Leave the club or docks with your host or very shortly after.

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