Hats and Sunglasses for Opti Sailors | Expert Advice

Sailing Accessories: Hats and Sunglasses, An Opti-MUST Have Item

Sailing Accessories like Hats and Sunglasses are a MUST for sailors and Opti-MUST sailors alike

With the summer season winding down and only a a few weeks left before schools are back in session we can be comforted by the thought that the regatta calendar is not completely done for the year. If you’re like me and happen to have made the mistake of enjoying summer time sailing without one of the most important Sailing Accessories (i.e. head wear) then you might have occasionally find your skin resembling the color of a lobster.

With this sometimes painful mistake in mind, we thought it would be a good idea to start our Opti-MUST Have Guide with a focus on one of the most important pieces of Opti hardware you can have on the water, yer noggin!

Annapolis Performance Sailing Hats

First step, get a HAT!

Necessity Scale: 7 out of 10 (Highly Recommended/Not exactly mandatory)

Good news: APS makes cool hats that will fit any head (not just juniors’) and stocks various styles made by Patagonia, Musto, Zhik, and Outdoor Research.

Bad News:Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Hat Clips for Optimist Dinghy Sailors Occasionally, your opti sailor might be faced with a tough decision I call “The optional 360” when their favorite hat gets knocked off their head into the water during a race. To lose precious time, circle, and retrieve? Or not…

Best News: We sell hat clips, too. You have a few options in that department. Have a quick brows through our Hats category to the a look.

Recommended Name Brand: The Musto Waterproof Performance Cap is by far one of the most comfortable hats on the market. In addition, it is completely waterproof.

Personal recommendation:

  • Hat clips are very effective.
  • Any hat will do as long as it provides shade to your face so your nose won’t blister up and peel.
  • APS branded hats are comfortable on your head and good for your wallet as they typically sell for 25% less than most other Name-Brand hats.


Annapolis Performance Sailing Sunglasses


Necessity Scale: 9 out of 10 (Put it this way, I would never go sailing without some sort of eye protection, but there’s always sailing with your eyes closed… Looking at glare off the water is basically the same as looking at the sun through a mirror.)

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Polaroid Lenses in Gill SunglassesGood News: Gill Sunglasses are an affordable choice with some designs made specifically for junior sailors. Not only are they polarized with lenses produced by Polaroid (who might know a thing or two about lenses), they are under $70.00! This means the glasses will actually fit an opti sailor’s face/head properly, which means that gravity is not going to cause you to have to get another pair of sunglasses ever again.

Bad News: Unfortunately, sometimes opti sailors find super special ways to take their sunglasses off with out using their hands. This will oftentimes mean the sunglasses have been launched out of the boat and into the water if my experiences have taught me properly. If they don’t go in the water, they somehow end up in 10+ pieces the second they hit the deck.

Best News: Gill had all the bad news in mind, and they made their sunglasses super durable….and they FLOAT.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Croakies on SunglassesPersonal Recommendation: No matter how well your sunglasses may float, or how well they protect your eyes, your sunglasses will do you know good if that flew off your head at the last mark rounding. Cover your bases and get a pair of Croakies. They are always a good idea.

  • Share

2 Responses

  1. Thank you, Yacht Racing News! Glad you liked the post. Of course we wrote it about Optis – but the lessons/advice apply to sailing in all kinds of boats. I lost my favorite hat off a J/80 a couple of weeks ago and had to pull a man overboard when we were on our way to the first sequence. Luckily, we retrieved my hat and made it on time to start the race…but it was unnecessary stress that could have been easily avoided if only I'd sported my croakie! Thanks, again!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *