Episode #002 Your Pocket Sailing Instructor Podcast: New Sailor Sailing Gear – Do I REALLY Need That?!

spinnaker sailing

People are always asking me “what do I need to start sailing?”. Well, I’m here to tell you, you don’t need much! Your sense of adventure and your desire to get out sailing are your biggest assets! As for sailing gear, that can all be added and upgraded later! Just get out there as much as possible!

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Listen to Episode #002: New Sailor Sailing Gear! Do I REALLY Need that?!

Here’s my most recent episode:

#48: Mindset Shift – Docking Action Items… Your Pocket Sailing Instructor Podcast

  1. #48: Mindset Shift – Docking Action Items…
  2. #47: Docking, the basics!

The Basics

To start off there are only a few things that you will need, and I don’t think you’ll need to run out shopping just yet. There are two different scenarios we will look at:

  1. You are heading out on someone else’s boat.
  2. You have your own boat.

Gear you will Need

Personal Gear: hat, sunglasses, shorts, pants, t-shirt, sweatshirt, shoes, gloves. Layers, layers, layers

Questions to ask yourself

Will I be comfortable? Do the items that you are wearing make you comfortable? Can you sit for long periods of time, or standup and sit down easily? Do you have any issues walking around in what you’re wearing?

Will I stay warm? Do you have a few different layers to add, or take away? Are they easy to put on or take off? Do they fit in your backpack and will they be kept dry?

Will I be dry? Do you have the right outer shell to keep the wind and rain out? Some layers will keep the wind out, but the rain just soaks right in. I find that staying dry on the water is key to a happy sail.

Am I protected by the sun? The sun is getting stronger and stronger. It is becoming more and more important to cover up and keep the UV off your skin. I have purchased several UV sun shirts that I wear regularly all summer long.

3 Places You Should Invest Your Money:

  • FOOTWEAR: shoes should be non-marking, non-slip and comfortable. I wear trail runners or 3-strap sandals. No flip-flops.
  • SUNGLASSES: make sure your sunglasses have good glare and UV protection. Make sure they are durable, comfortable, and have a good fit. Investing in a good pair of sunglasses is a very wise decision.
  • PERSONAL FLOATATION DEVICE: invest in a PFD that fits you properly and that you are comfortable wearing. It should be bright, Transport Canada approved and easy to move around in. You should be able to put it on quickly, with little effort.


In the end, clothing can easily be upgraded and changed as you go. Try out different materials, styles and brands to see what works for you. Try to wear quick-dry, light fabrics in the summer, and warm, comfortable fabrics in the winter. Clothing that you use for other outdoor activities work well too. I wear my ski pants in the winter if it is cold enough! Just get out there and enjoy yourself.

Sail on my friend!

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