Manufacturers' answer to women's equipment seems to be just
to make smaller sizes, something between kids sizes and
men's. Though for most women this still means rolling up
the sleeves and pant legs for foulweather gear.
There are a few manufacturers that are trying to provide
a product designed for active women. Of course women like
Dawn Riley, America3 helmswomen, and the all-women's team
on EF Education, lead by Christine Guillou, competing
in the Whitbread Round-the-World sailing race are helping
to change this. They are truly pushing their equipment
needs to the limit.
Lots of boat stores sell these. They're easy to find
and are made in women's sizes. However, there are some
options. Some sailing gloves come with only the thumb
and pointer finger exposed. This gives added protection
against possible rope burn.
Solid footing on a boat is imperative! Make sure the
shoes have a non-slip tread and that they fit well. Leather
shoes will stretch once they've gotten wet, which they
will. Also, all boat shoes smell after they've gotten
wet a few times. It goes with the territory.
If you know of any tricks for freshening boat shoes,
please pass them on! email@example.com
Women's boat or deck shoes are being made by companies
that just make boat shoes to women's athletic shoe manufacturers.
Look around for the best fit and comfort.
Ryka, at Lady Foot Locker, 1-800-877-5239. Make
sure they have boat shoes in stock.
P.O. Box 3000
Westbrook, Maine 04098, USA
Highly recommended from other female sailors for their
fit and comfort, and not a bad price. Look for their Bayside
or Oceanside styles.
Sperry Top-Siders, Inc.
Foul Weather Gear
Fit is really important for the gear to work properly.
Men's jacket arms are too long, so you end up rolling
up the sleeves. For expensive equipment, this is not an
acceptable solution. Most manufacturers of foul weather
gear offer multiple sizes. Musto has 11 different sizes
from Junior JXXS to Extra Extra Large XXL. For petite
women, this will probably be your best option.
If you're going to be sailing in cold weather and water,
or just want to extend your sailing season as long as
possible, you should consider a dry suit. As the name
suggests, a dry suit is a waterproof jumpsuit that will
keep you dry if you go for a swim. The suit has rubber
seals around the neck, wrists and ankles that prevent
water from getting into your suit. Windsurfing, kayaking
and scuba diving also use dry suits.