Once the sailing bug has bitten you, it’s hard to think about anything other than the glamour of your next downwind thrill. Then as winter rears its head, sailing withdrawal kicks in. The empty playground of our favourite waterways beckons as we work out how to get back out there for a cheeky ‘send’. But don’t panic; we’ve got the right winter dinghy sailing gear that will keep you warm through winter, so you don’t have to wait months for your next sailing session.
Base Layers for Winter Dinghy Sailing
After chatting to Australian 18ft Skiff Sailor Jim Colley, it was clear that the biggest priority for winter dinghy sailing and skiff sailing alike is to keep “as warm as possible without compromising mobility.” This is precisely the balance offered by Vaikobi’s unisex FlexForce wetsuit collection.
“I wore the FlexForce 1.5mm Long John throughout the entire 18 sailing season. I loved it, especially because I generally tend to rug up more than the average sailor! FlexForce neoprene has the best range of movement and warmth,” Colley said.
Depending on your layering preferences, our FlexForce range includes several styles and thicknesses, from the 3.0mm long john to individual neoprene tops and pants. These products perform exceptionally over a broad temperature range, making them a worthwhile choice for all-weather dinghy sailors. If you want to check what gear performs in a particular temperature range, check out our handy guide on what to wear sailing.
Sailing Jackets for Winter Dinghy Sailing
When you are hurtling downwind at turbo speed, seaspray is the biggest culprit of freezing, water-induced misery. A good-quality dinghy sailing spray top should also be at the top of your winter kit list.
“I’m a big fan of the sailing spray jacket. A good fit will keep the inside warm and the water out,” Colley said.
The VDRY Lightweight Jacket comes in several colours, with a 100% Polyester water-resistant shell and mesh air vents to regulate thermal control while training. The full-length zip allows for versatility and will keep you fashionable both on and off the water. And because it’s available in bright cyan, grey and orange, this sailing jacket makes great teamwear.
Dinghy Sailing Smock for cold weather
In even colder weather, a dinghy smock is a must-have. With neck and cuff closures, you won’t get pesky leaks down your elbows after a full-body drenching - ideal for high performance dinghy sailing classes such as foiling boats, skiffs and sportsboats. The smock design also prevents icy water from flushing up your back with an adjustable neoprene waist.
PFDs and Lifejackets for Dinghy sailing
Finally, our best-selling VX Race PFD Life Jacket is specially designed for dinghy sailors with a low scoop neck that won’t ride up or restrict movement, even when you have winter layers underneath. With adjustable straps for a firm fit and soft form-adhering panels, this is by far the most comfortable option for dinghy racing, one design sailing and foiling.
Best of all, it has a protective zip-up pocket (aka protein bar holder) for those precious mid-regatta snacks! “By all standards, it’s a winner.” Pro Skiff Sailor Jim Colley adds.
Happy winter dinghy sailing from all of us at Vaikobi!