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The Scoop on Bluewater Foulies

A look at the materials and design that go into bluewater foul-weather gear. Catch our September, October and November issue features on bluewater, coastal and dinghy foul-weather gear, and check back here for more information about our favorite picks and the materials they're made of.
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Whether they’re racers or cruisers, bluewater sailors have to deal with whatever the elements throw at them.

This means their foul-weather gear has be as weatherproof as possible, durable enough to stand up to weeks of hard use and comfortable enough to allow them to perform at their peak—even when it’s blowing stink for days on end.

View a PDF of our September, 2012 offshore foul-weather gear review.

To help figure out what will work best for you, click on the following links:

Base Layers

Midlayers

Outer Layer Materials

Bluewater Jackets: Crusing vs. Racing

Bluewater Bibs

Bluewater Boots

Bluewater Gloves

As is the case when coastal cruising or racing around the buoys, the three-layer approach, which consists of a “wicking” synthetic base layer, an insulating mid-layer and an outer layer to keep out the wind and wet is now universal.

However, when going offshore for days or even weeks at a time, it’s important that both the materials and design that go into all three layers is top quality. The same less expensive waterproof fabrics, for example, that work well near shore will typically prove unable to withstand the heavy wear typically meted out off-soundings.

Similarly, you want to be sure that your gear fits your particular sailing style. The same jacket that works great at keeping the bowman on a cutting-edge racer comfortable would be a pain in the backside for a cruiser.

See a photo gallery of top picks for offshore racing gear.

And, see a gallery of top offshore cruising picks.

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