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You don’t have to stop sailing over the Southern winter. In fact it can be a lovely time to get on the water with crisp blue skies, kind breezes and the promise of a hot drink when you hit the land. 
The key to enjoying winter sailing is staying warm and if you are new to sailing here are some ideas about how to layer up and beat the cold.



Starting with the wetsuit, a Steamer or Long Johns have the advantage of keeping your torso warm as there are no midriff gaps.  Whilst a great choice for winter warmth, they can require a lot of undressing for toilet breaks particularly if wearing a number of top layers.

Leggings are an alternative to the full wetsuit  providing the option to mix and match clothing for different conditions.  However, if you have ever experienced a nasty cold rush of water down your back or the slow undignified decent of the leggings with movement and hiking, you will appreciate the importance of a good fit!

Because most leggings are unisex, they don’t take into consideration female hip to waist ratios. The Gul Hydroshield leggings with a female cut and high waist band suit a range of water sport activities. Made from breathable and waterproof fabric, they don’t restrict movement but don't provide as much cushioning as thick neoprene against bumps.


 Gul Profile Steamer                Code Zero Long John    Gul Viper Rash Vest         Gul Hydroshield leggings


Whether you  prefer a wetsuit or leggings, additional layers are required to insulate your body against heat loss.  Choose clothing that has thermal properties but still allows flexibility of movement.  The Gul Evotherm Ladies top has thumb holes to hold the sleeves in place when putting another layer or a wetsuit over the top. 

If wearing leggings consider a top with some length in body that fits tightly over the hips or tuck the thermal base layers in. This will reduce the risk of it riding up over time.


Gul Evotherm Ladies Top

A wind and water proof top layer is a good idea in the winter and spray jackets  are a popular choice. 
When choosing a spray jacket make sure it can be tightened over the hips. Elasticated waists tend to ride up. Not such an issue when wearing a full wetsuit or long johns but really annoying with leggings if your midriff gets cold and wet. Spray jackets need to be big enough to accommodate the extra layers worn in winter and a tight fit can make it hard to get the jacket on and off.
Apart from Spray Jackets there are waterproof tops with some thermal insulation in the fabric such as the Gul Hydroshield Top.  If used this way make sure there is plenty of room to put layers underneath.

Gul Hydrosheild Pro Ladies Top

Gul Balistic Spray top




If you suffer from cold feet your wet boots might not be enough.  Wet socks  can be worn with sailing boots and give an extra layer of insulation. If your sailing boots are already a snug fit, try thinner 0.5 mm titanium lined socks



At the other end  there are several options. Perhaps not the most glamorous of headwear, the Surf cap  made of neoprene works like a wetsuit to keep your head warm when wet.  Strategically placed holes next to the ears mean you can still hear  what is going on around you.

Water proof beanies help keep your head dry and if you really feel the cold, look for several layers in the cap as this will insulate more effectively.



Popular in colder climates, the dry suit is designed to keep you dry even after a capsize. You will need thermal layers underneath though.  Breathable, flexible, waterproof and windproof fabrics offer great protection against the cold  without compromising comfort and movement.


Gul Taw Ladies Dry suit                                                Gul  Code Zero Ladies Dry Suit



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