In the first part of a three-part series, we’ve gathered all the essentials you need in your sailing gear bag, and a few things you should leave on the dock when heading out for a day of inshore buoy racing.
The summer sailing season is nearly upon us, and whether your punishment of choice is inshore buoy racing, a jaunt up the Great Lakes, or a Pacific crossing, your gear bag for each should be as small as possible. After the crew has spent half the morning unloading all the owner’s cruising paraphernalia to lighten the boat, don’t be the guy (or gal) who steps on with a gear bag the size of a small coffin.
Weight is always an issue on a sailboat and while a little thing like an extra pair of socks can seem insignificant, it quickly adds up over an eight-person crew.
Inshore racing, especially in breeze, is about speed and corners. Things happen fast, starts are critical, and you can get knocked around a lot. But let’s face it—no matter how sweaty you get, it’s highly unlikely you’re going to bother changing your shirt before the race is over.
Follow our handy packing guide and you’ll have everything you need and you’ll still impress your skipper with your lightweight gear bag, and save yourself money on what you don’t.
Do pack: A race watch with countdown, gloves, kneepads, eye protection, and a good knife. Whether you wear foul weather gear or a lightweight windbreaker and shorts will depend on where you are, but a good sailor will check the forecast ahead of time and dress accordingly.
Don’t pack: Extra changes of anything—it’s a short day. If possible, dress at the car and carry nothing on but your car key, wallet, and phone in a small dry bag. If you must bring a gear bag, it should be 40L or smaller.
Stay tuned for parts two and three in our series on packing for offshore racing and an ocean passage!