What To Bring To Sailing

  • PLEASE, put your name on everything!
  • Water bottle. With water inside.
  • Bathing suit and an extra set of dry clothes
  • Towel.
  • Hat or visor, and sunglasses.
  • Sun Block. We recommend 30 or higher.
  • Appropriate clothing for all weather conditions.
  • Proper footwear: closed toe shoes or sailing boots


Gear Guide:

Most of the year, Oregon is an absolutely beautiful place to sail. At certain times of the season, however, sailing be a miserable activity if you’re not dressed properly. We are lucky in that the conditions are mild enough to allow for year-round sailing here, but you must be aware of and take the precautions for the conditions. In particular, the water temps of the WIllamette River dip down into the 40’s during the winter, though during the summer the water can get up into the low 70’s. You should ALWAYS dress as if you were going to go into the river. Capsizing is a part of dinghy sailing, and being able to self-recover and keep sailing is an important skill. Proper dress can make the difference between being able to continue sailing and having to quit for the day because you’re just too cold.

AVOID COTTON AND LEATHER. Those materials are big no-no’s on sailboats. Not only do cotton and leather have no insulative properties when wet, but both will actually wick heat off of your body! In addition, cotton loses it’s UV resistant properties when it gets wet. Instead of cotton and leather, make sure you’re dressing in materials that maintain insulative and UV-resistant properties. Materials like lycra, nylon, fleece, neoprene, polyester, gore tex and others are appropriate for sailing.

It’s very important to protect your feet, hands and head from the temps. Cold extremities very quickly lead to miserable sailing experiences. On your feet, neoprene dinghy boots (aka “hiking boots”) are best. Non-leather or cotton sneakers with thick wool or neoprene socks are adequate. Chuck Taylors actually make very good boat shoes. For your hands, many styles of sailing gloves are made. For the colder months it’s a good idea to focus on neoprene gloves that have padding designed for sailing. Diving gloves will keep you warm but will also get torn up very quickly in a sailboat. On your head, a good old fashioned wool cap is great.

You should also consider good outer gear for rainy days. In sailing, spray tops and spray bottoms are standard. These are sturdy, flexible, lightweight and water-resistant, and are designed as an outer layer to protect you from the elements. Spray gear have gaskets at neck, wrist and ankle to keep water from getting inside. Regular rain gear is adequate though may wear out more quickly in a sailing environment, and is usually not designed with neck/wrist/ankle gaskets, which can make a big difference if you go in the water.

WHERE TO GET GEAR: West Coast Sailing in N Portland (not far from the Rose Garden) stocks sailing specific gear and offers discounts to students of WSC programs.