Rolex Fastnet Race: What To Pack For Sailing By Pete Cumming

 

Rolex Fastnet Race: What To Pack For Sailing By Pete Cumming

The challenges of crossing the Irish Sea to the Fastnet rock are well documented and the Rolex Fastnet Race can provide the fleet with a barrage of different weather conditions over a few short days, even at the height of the British summer. With crews limited to the amount of kit, and importantly weight they can bring on board, it’s essential that the right kit is packed for the job.              

Here are my kit essentials for your kit bag:

Sailing Footwear

Starting from the bottom up, the key to your comfort is keeping your extremities warm and dry, and the priority here is your feet. It’s no secret that damp, cold feet can cause misery, especially over an extended period of time. That’s why a good pair of boots are of vital importance:  look no further than Musto’s Gore-Tex® Ocean Racer. Being super lightweight, they enable you to stay nimble on the foredeck in an offshore classic that’ll see a host of sail changes at different points of the race course. Manufactured with a Gore-Tex® membrane, they deliver complete waterproof protection with maximum breathability. Combined with the Evolution Thermal sock, cold feet won’t be the reason for any discomfort.

Offshore Ocean Racing BootThermal sock

Sailing Base Layers

Arguably the most important layer that forms the foundation of Musto’s three-layer system: the one that sits right next to your skin that needs to keep you warm whilst still able to wick away any perspiration from physical exertion on deck. For this purpose, Musto’s Active Base Layer Long Sleeve top and trousers would be my choice. A mesh knit in high heat areas allow for ventilation, with a honeycomb thermal knit for heat retention on key areas. The Nilit® Bodyfresh anti-bacterial treatment also prolongs the freshness of the garment - a key ingredient for staying friends with your crew mates.

Sailing Mid-Layers

Keeping in mind that lightweight warmth is of paramount importance to enable freedom of movement when clambering around on deck in the middle of the night, I’ve gone for Musto’s Extreme Thermal Fleece Trouser and Top as my preferred choice. The snug fit of the trousers and top make them super comfortable, whilst the 300g fleece does the job of trapping the warm air close to your body and allows perspiration to escape. The added bonus is that the DWR coating enables water to bead off, allowing you to wear these on deck in light spray to help with a sail change on your off-watch.

Sailing Outer-Layers

Look no further than Musto HPX Pro Series for this. For so long, Musto have set the standard in this area and continue to set the benchmark in the industry. As the layer that protects you from the elements, HPX garments work in unison with your other layers by using GORE-TEX® Pro fabric with an Ocean Technology® membrane.  This ensures maximum breathability with complete waterproof protection. My preference when racing offshore is to combine the HPX GORE-TEX® Pro-Series Trousers with the Pro Series HPX Dry Smock. However, I know solo offshore sailing legends such as Armel Le Cleac’h like to utilise the lighter weight MPX GORE-TEX® Dry Smock which provides the protection of an offshore jacket minus the bulk.

Offshore HPX SmockHPX Ocean Sailing Trousers

Putting the correct kit in your bag is a key ingredient to being the best crew member you can be. If you start to suffer from the elements, then you are sacrificing your ability to concentrate and function effectively, physically. Make sure you are not that member of the crew who struggles and ensure you plan in advance, seek advice where needed, and pack correctly.

Fair winds and good sailing,

Pete Cumming

 

 

 

 

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