Sailing and Yachting Function and Fashion

Classic Yachting Style

Depending on your latitude and attitude it is time to enjoy the open water. Cold, Windswept, Raining, Sultry, or CALM; there are classic functional yachting fashion options to enrobe while aboard. I have spent decades sailing, racing, cruising, instructing sailors, managing charter bases, and building yachts. There are some smart choices to make when packing for a passage, island weekend, or local race that will keep you in comfort and style.

Choosing the Right Brands for Functional Fashion

Some brands lead the industry in functional yachting sailing equipment and outerwear. A proper weather kit can be a lifesaver. Brands such as Helly Hansen, Musto, and Gil Marine are a few in a massive industry supporting this culture with safety and comfort in function while retaining class. Fashion will never be a concern in a gale. If you expect hard weather, pack hard-weather gear. You do not worry about the colour of your artic survival suit. I have not found myself strapped to the deck and pondering the hue of the lifeline.

As a passenger, your focus should be relaxing, enjoying, partying, and experiencing, but not boat handling. What would you pack for a cruising holiday?

Tropical or Peak-Season Cruise Essentials

  • A tropical or peek-season cruise requires a banana leaf, maybe some coconut halves, and a sun hat. I know. Keep things simple. Comfort in tropical islands necessitates light, breathable fabrics, which can dry rapidly after a brief unexpected rain squall, or a towel. Who knew being surrounded by water would result in getting wet?
  • If you are not forced to go barefooted on the vessel, choose options with non-marking souls. Gelcoat is used for best UV protection and its life in water. Due to a highly polished finish, it is susceptible to scuffing which is hard to remove.
  • No high-heels for several reasons. The decking and floor laminates designed for life at sea have different characteristics and could be damaged. All boats underway are subject to the effects of wind, wave, and tide. Those elements can alter the pitch of the boat at unexpected times tossing you overboard, down stairs, or into equipment.
  • More reserved vacationers in this environment are likely to be less revealing. Hot days, warm nights, and wet sailing mean your wardrobe needs to be flexible. Linen is a very popular choice. Bracelet or short-sleeved men’s and womens polo shirts are ubiquitously donned. For good reason.
  • Shorts, Skirts, Capris, and Swimwear are POPULAR options, suitable, flexible, and comfortable. Dresses are cute when at anchor or when you dinghy into dining at a beach restaurant. Beach landings will be wet and sandy. Pack sandals.
  • Protect your face, neck, and head with appropriate head covering. Panama hats are attractive and useful. Depending on the material they are called a boater, basher, skimmer, or canotier. A sunhat with a brim depth of your choice is a fantastic solution.  Pay attention to wind gusts, especially when underway.

Preparing for Shoulder Seasons

  • Shoulder seasons, or non-peek tourist destinations and environments can be less expensive when booking a vacation. Being responsible with your well-earned income is important. Peek seasons are busier and I prefer to be away from the bulk of tourists or holidaymakers. The nights will be cooler, and there may be more rain or high wind in the weather. We can’t change nature, but we can be happy while in it.
  • Light, hooded, long-sleeved shirts can “cover you” from afternoon to evening beverages. A thin trekking-style waterproof jacket is an intelligent grab before going ashore. Long-sleeved button-downs are a classic option.
  • Leggings, light pants, casual khaki trousers, or only shorts (if you’re a bloke) are favourites in this environment.
  • Crew caps or skulls might be desired by less hair-endowed individuals. Bald is beautiful and you need to keep warm.

Classic Yachting Style

Classic yachting style based on the above functional comfort will give you fresh grace and suaveness in the sun or sunset. Here are the accents to throw in your bag;

  • Cover-ups, Sarongs, or Wraps are easy to jump into and disguise your swim or casualwear while boating, and island hopping.
  • Tunics with a belt option can class up your boat wear for a free feel while shopping or dancing on the beach.
  • Kaftan is another word for longer tunics. Robe-like and popular in many cultures, this definitive attire has been worn for thousands of years.
  • Headbands of all styles are a must. Wonderful for providing vibrance to an outfit and creating a simple hair solution in the not-so-friendly hair environment of sun, salt, and humidity.

When packing leave space for shopping. Many times, in my career I have had to ship packages back for customers. Avoid hassles and expenses by planning for what you will do to your account while “browsing local shops”.  Ready? Set. Sail.

Fair winds and following seas.