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What to Wear

What to wear - cold weather - Lance Jones

As a companion article to a similar one I wrote about warm weather clothing, this one will deal with cold
weather protection. There are only two things to remember when dressing for cold weather on the
water—or anywhere for that matter: 1) Layer, Layer and more Layers. 2) Cotton kills!

Layering is key. You want to create a micro-climate that will allow you not only to survive and function
in cold weather, but to actually be comfortable. Your layering SYSTEM should consist of three basic
layers that can be added to for additional warmth. Those layers are: Base Layer; Mid-Layer and Outer

Base Layer: This is critical for your survival and comfort. The primary purpose of the base layer is to
transport moisture away from the skin while its secondary purpose is the retention of body heat. At this
point, I’d like to explain WHY cotton kills. Cotton will retain up to 25% of its own weight in water—
image having a moist shirt against your body when it is cold. That would not only make you
uncomfortable, it will accelerate the onset of hypothermia.

Mid-Layer: The mid-layer can be one or more pieces. The mid-layers primary purpose is that of body
heat retention while continuing to move moisture away from the body. There are a wide variety of
fleeces that serve this purpose well. Make sure that they are breathable and will aid in the transport of
moisture away from the body. The colder the weather, the more layers of mid-layer you should use. You
can either have a very thick fleece such as Gill’s Polar Fleece or a series of lightweight fleeces.

Outer Layer: The primary function of the outer layer is to provide a windproof shell to keep the cold air
from blowing away and/or co-mingling with the retained body heat. Depending on the weather, this can
be a breathable, waterproof jacket or just a windproof outer shell.

By following these suggestions, your sailing season can be extended to year round and you can maintain
a level of comfort you may not have experienced yet. Of course, proper head gear, gloves and boots are
required. Enjoy yourself!

What to wear - warm weather - Lance Jones

Sunny weather is upon us and we will be spending more and more time out in the sun with less clothing
on. This started me thinking back to Kirk Jockell’s excellent article about skin cancer. I thought of ways
in which one can protect their skin other than by slobbing on layers of yucky sun screen. I do not, have
not and never will like to put on sunscreen. So, my alternative is to minimize the amount that I DO have
to put on. 

The easiest way to protect your skin is by covering it. Easy - right? Wrong – sort of. I remember when I
was growing up in Florida and coming home after a day outside and having various tan lines where
different color stripes were on my shirts or pants. I could see where the lighter shades allowed more of
the UV to pass through and reach my skin
What caused that? I thought the skin was covered. This brings us to the Ultraviolet Protection Factor
scale. What is the UPF scale? It is the standard that the Ultra Violet Protection of clothing is measured.
Unlike SPF, which only measures the blocking of UV-B, UPF takes in to account both UV-A and UV-B
in its measurement. The UPF scale ranges from 0 (Bare skin) to 50 (Fully protected).
In the Marine Clothing Industry, we’ve long had the saying, “Cotton kills!” While cotton is indeed
extremely comfortable and easy to care for, that’s about as far as its good attributes go for sun protection.
The classic example is that a plain white cotton t-shirt has a UPF of 5 – that is currently the lowest
measurable level.

Protection Category           % UV radiation Blocked    
UPF Rating
UPF 15 - 24   Good                      
UPF 25 - 39   Very Good    93.3 - 95.8
UPF 40 - 49   Excellent      96.0 - 97.4
UPF 50         Ultimate        97.5 or higher

So what do you look for in your garments to protect you from the sun? There are plenty of good UPF
rated clothing from numerous manufacturers available to you. Speaking from the Gill perspective, all of
our sun protective clothing is rated at UPF 50+. As the textile technology has evolved, you can get UPF
50+ in nearly any style, cut and comfort level you would expect in your traditional cotton ware.

I’ll use myself as an example. When I am out on the boat in warm weather, this is a typical Gill
wardrobe as worn by me. We, of course, have ladies and junior versions for most of these items listed

Hat: 136 Cap or 137 Broad Brimmed (Boonie type) Hat (All UPF 50+)
Shirt: C1622 Short Sleeve Tech Tee or C1623 Long Sleeve Tech Tee (All UPF 50+)
C005 Escape Quick Dry Shorts, RC012 Race Shorts or the 1642 Padded Fast Dry Shorts
(All 50+

As I mentioned, other companies make great gear too. However, this is what I put my faith in, in addition
to Kitty insuring I slather on sun screen on the areas not covered by UPF clothing. Wear what is
comfortable to you. Just insure that the UPF is sufficiently high enough to afford you the proper
protection level that will keep you safe while enjoying your time outdoors and in the sun.