What should I wear on an RYA Sailing Course?

18 September 2015

It is easy to forget that for those new to sailing, the build up to your first week on the water can be just a little bit daunting. Like anything else that involves learning new things in an unfamiliar environment, hopefully with new friends, your first time afloat has the potential to be challenging.

However, just because your comfort zones might be pushed, there is no reason for your physical comfort to be compromised! And that means packing the right clothing for your course.

Gibraltar is located at the Western entrance to the Mediterranean, just a few miles from the North African Coast of Morocco. It is therefore reasonable to expect that the climate for your RYA Sailing Course will usually be warm and sunny - at least warmer and sunnier than the UK!  During the six months of Summer the mean air temperature is at or above 70F (21C) with the conditions usually described as a ‘hot Mediterranean climate’ Summer nights are usually above 20C, so dressing accordingly is sensible.

Summer days in Gibraltar are usually warm, sunny and breezy; perfect for the teaching of sailing! Evenings at Sea can be chilly anywhere in the World, so it’s worth bringing a fleece along for the odd evening chill or overcast day. Otherwise, we suggest you pack light in a soft bag or rucksack (up to 60 litres) that can be easily carried during travel and stowed away once aboard.

As a general principle, your clothing should be comfortable, quick drying and breathable. Modern synthetic fibres or merino wool are good for garments used at sea. Cotton jeans and T Shirts retain damp air and salt water and are best avoided at sea. Synthetic fibres and merino wool garments stay fresh for longer - and they can be hand washed, dry fast and don’t require ironing - all bonuses to any sailor!

Pack frugally. Stowage space on board any vessel is limited and you will almost never use everything you pack. But perhaps think about bringing a small pack of wet wipes, ear plugs (to protect against snorers!) and if you think you might suffer from seasickness, bring along your preferred remedy.

If it is hot you need breathable lightweight shorts, trousers and tops (long and short arms) to act as a base layer and also as a sun screen. A change of clothes or two for shore side are handy (after all, you are on holiday) as is a pair of shore shoes. A good pair of soft soled, non-marking deck shoes are worthwhile as they give you grip on deck. If sailing in the Winter, sailing boots are worth considering. A fleece and long trousers will be a useful insurance policy for cold weather.

Changes of underwear, a fast drying towel, and a wash bag should be packed with any medicines you are taking and if you wear contacts bring along spares, or spare glasses. Sunglasses and a sun hat and plenty of Factor 30+ sunscreen are essential.

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