What is Light Inshore Sailing?
Light Inshore sailing occurs in more protected waters like lakes, rivers, and bays and is generally considered day sailing. The jackets and pants in this category are waterproof and breathable, and are good for the rain and spray you may encounter while near-shore sailing. These jackets feature short height collars and some with storable hoods.
What’s the difference between Inshore & Light Inshore Foul Weather Gear?
Ultimately these share many similarities, but the main differences are that light inshore jackets are shorter and usually have more in common with a rain jacket than an offshore sailing jacket. Regular Inshore jackets lean the other way and are built to be tougher. Light Inshore bottoms are only available in pants (no suspenders) if there are any bottoms at all. Light inshore jackets are the perfect choice to reach for when you want something in your bag just in case there is an afternoon thunderstorm or the conditions are a little wetter than you expected. They’re also perfect for use on land as a rain jacket or windbreaker.
Light Inshore Sailing Weather Conditions:
Light Inshore gear will keep you dry all day long in light weather, but is not designed to protect against extended poor weather, and never heavy or extreme weather conditions. This foul weather gear is also great for onshore wear on rainy and blustery days.
- Rain: light and occasional medium
- Seas: Light and occasional medium
- Wind: light and occasional moderate
- Duration: Hours up to a full day
Features of Light Inshore Foul Weather Gear:
The two pieces of foul weather gear for light inshore sailing you will want to invest in are a jacket and a pair of trousers. These items should be fully waterproof and breathable. In sailing, your comfort depends on your gear’s ability to keep you dry by keeping water out and transporting moisture (sweat) out. Light inshore gear is made with a light weight, two layer laminate, waterproof, breathable material. The other material, a microporous three-layer, like a GORE-TEX product, is not used in light inshore gear.
There are key features you will want to look for in your gear.
- Hoods: Not all jackets have hoods. Those with are simple and non-fluorescent. Hood adjustments are generally few and simple.
- Collars: Low height collars (below your ears), and some with Velcro front zipper storm flap.
- Cut/Fit: Some extra room in the cut to allow for ease of movement, but a more of a shore jacket cut than fuller cut coastal jacket.
- Fabrics: Fully waterproof and breathable. 2 layer coated fabric with a hanging inner lining of mesh or nylon.
- Closures: Most with exterior storm wrist cuffs, 1-way front jacket entry zipper, and some with Velcro storm flap over top
- Trousers: Waist high pants. Elastic waist band. Some may have reinforced seat and knees, and also pockets. Most will have adjustments at the ankle
How to Choose
In choosing a light inshore jacket, it’s first important to know what the majority of your sailing is so that you can make a choice between features. The scenarios are: A. Someone who’s doing near shore where they may choose to keep sailing to their destination in light and occasionally medium weather conditions rather than heading in to the nearest port immediately. or B. Someone who needs a jacket to keep them comfortable while heading back to port when poor weather approaches and also needs a good ‘rain jacket’ for many other shore based activities. Styles within the light inshore sailing foul weather gear category will lend themselves to either of these needs.
Inshore sailors who keep sailing through in poor weather will want a hood, a storm flap over the front entry zipper, and below the waist jacket length.
Those who encounter poor weather while sailing and will make way for port directly (exposed to the weather for a short period of time) might prefer jackets without a hood or storm flap, and a shorter length cut jacket. These work well for occasional weather protection while sailing, and an excellent around town jacket in inclement weather.
Base and Mid Layers:
With proper layering under your foul weather gear, you will be comfortable throughout a day of sailing in less than ideal weather. Wicking under layers will be your attire in poor weather. Use base and mid layers to maintain a comfortable body temperature by adding or removing layers. The key to all day comfort will be the under layer’s ability to transport (wick) moisture (sweat) from the surface of your skin to your foul weather gear where it can be moved out through the waterproof/breathable fabric.
Avoid wearing any cotton clothes; they hold moisture like a sponge and chill you. Even unworn cotton clothes can become ‘damp’ when exposed to sea air.
Gloves & Boots for Inshore Sailing:
Be sure to match your gloves and boots to the type of inshore sailing you may be doing. For day sailing in poor weather, tall rubber, non-breathable boots will suffice – keep the water out. No cotton socks. Merino wool ensures sustained warmth and moisture-wicking. Plus Merino wool can also absorb moisture (sweat) away from your skin when wearing non-breathable boots – synthetic and cotton socks can’t do this. If it’s cold out don’t forget insulated waterproof gloves. ‘Cold hands are weak hands.’