May 26, 2010
First the feet. When you don't care if they get wet, but you want them to dry fast, there is a large selection of athletic style shoes from Dubarry, Harken, and Sperry, to name a few, that have wonderful support and terrific traction. Fit and style is the main consideration.
When you want to keep your feet dry and warm you enter another category entirely. Start with the socks. Make sure they are wicking. Just like with the base layer on your body, cotton acts like a sponge holding water. Now lets talk about boots going from the top of the line down. Dubarry Ultima is the best. They're made from breathable, waterproof leather with Gore-Tex lining that wicks moisture away from your foot keeping it warm. The sole is Dubarry's proprietary design with excellent traction. The cut is at just the right height. Extremely comfortable, the leather molds to your feet. Gill has their version of a breathable leather boot which cost less. Very good, but not quite a Dubarry.
From the breathable leather boots you jump down, and I do mean down, to the waterproof rubber boots. They will keep your feet dry and with proper socks your feet will stay warm. But rubber doesn't breathe. The best suggestion when using these boots is to use them in conjunction with the athletic style shoes--switch off depending upon on the sailing conditions and what you are doing on the boat. With high end breathable boots, they are all you need.
Now for the gloves. What you are looking for is something tough that also keeps your hands warm. Our first choice is Gill's new Extreme Gloves. They are high performance, wind resistant gloves that give you the grip and warmth you need. They're made with 1.5 mm neoprene and lined with a hydrophobic insulation for extra warmth and comfort. Our second recommendation is Gill's new Pro Glove. Also incredibly tough with a new Proton Ultra palm and fingers for a great grip and prevents rope burn. They are not insulated and come in short finger or long finger versions. What's the best choice? Go with both--you'll need them for the varying conditions.
Good luck sailing in the Newport to Bermuda Race. I hope these last two post have been helpful with ideas and recommendations for what you should wear to make the race as successful and comfortable as possible. Remember, foul weather gear is as important as any other piece of equipment on your boat.
For a complete selection of foul weather gear, boots, and gloves for the Newport to Bermuda Race I recommend you visit Whitecaps Foul Weather Gear at www.WhitecapsFoulWeatherGear.com They will give you excellent service and they offer free shipping, free merchandise, and terrific sale prices.