The importance of layering.

After reading Kristen’s inspiring “What’s in my sea bag?”, long time industry partner Jerry Richards sent us this article as a follow up.  Enjoy.

What to Wear

Protecting The Power Within

Making it Your Advantage


How Important Is What You Wear?

As long as conditions are safe, rough weather should not keep you from going racing. Rough weather days can be the most enjoyable and certainly the most memorable. However, poor quality clothing and out of date fabrics can ruin the day for racers of all ages especially the novice.

Clothing using the latest fabric technology is without doubt  less restricting, lighter and if you are not up with the latest gear then other competitors may have an advantage using less energy to get around the course; especially when it comes to recovery for the next days race!.

Temperature tolerance: Genetically, levels of tolerance to hot and cold temperatures are unique to each sailor. Be sure your team member or student is not suffering after a long day on the water.

Hope for the best but always be prepare for the worst.

So What Is Layering:  

 1.The Base layer. Next to skin

Often considered as a piece to keep you warm, its true function as layering system is to be sure the skin’s surface is dry.  Base layer is essential for not only staying warm in cold conditions but is as important for staying cool on a hot day especially while wearing mid layer and waterproof breathable outer garments. Often overlooked the base layer can be a night and day changing experience and certainly improve performance.

With moderate exertion our bodies give off about a quart of moisture vapour in one hour. This is the body’s natural cooling system. To prevent discomfort this moisture should not built up inside the clothing system but be able to evaporate or wick to the next layer

Cotton clothing absorbs moisture up to 25% of its own weight. Damp air then transfers heat away from the body twenty times faster than dry air. If you are wearing cotton clothing next to the skin it will absorb the moisture and suck the heat out of your body leaving you feeling cold, clammy and during the regatta early fatigue will set in, again perhaps giving your competitor an advantage.

When your skin is dry you will be warmer than if damp cotton clothing is against the skin. On a hot day you will be cooler.
Be aware: A rash guard protects from the suns UV rays but is not suitable for layering to keep warm

2.Mid Layer: 

Worn over the base layer.

No magic to staying warm. Trap dry warmed air close to the body. Body core 98.6F skin temp around 87 degrees, this heats the air next to skin. Warm air can be trapped in fleece or lofted garments like sleeping bag materials.

The trapped dry air like double glazing in a house keeps you warm. The garment must be highly breathable to allow moisture to escape. (MVT Moisture vapor transfer)

 3.Waterproof Breathable Outer Layer : 

The outer layer is where the real protection against the elements takes place. It must be completely water and windproof.

 Often looked to for keeping warm which can be a practical side effect. The principle purpose for the outer layer, jacket, smock, drysuit and chest high trousers is to stop water getting in and also contain the warm air within the mid layer from escaping while letting the buildup of moisture out. (MVT Moisture vapor transfer)

To be effective this layer must be very breathable and capable of keeping you dry all day in the worst conditions. The most effective protection for the worst conditions is the drysuit.

The latest fabrics are lighter, more flexible but are also more durable than ever before.  You cannot gauge these fabrics by touch and feel as technology has advanced and the water proof garments have become more breathable, more durable ( hard wearing) but also softer and lighter allowing greater freedom of movement and less tiring when worn for extended periods.

Gill North America

Jerry Richards

Gill North America

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