As the new sailing season approaches (ahem, finally) it signals the start of a lot of things - a new season, new adventures, boat prep (clean the boat, get the lines in order, paint the hull, etc etc...and the list goes on and on). Good news is, it also means the start of one more thing: regatta season.
A lot of work goes into prepping for a regatta both by the teams competing and the hosting club. I see it every year: the rush, the panic, the "I need it now" stare. You know it's a regatta weekend when there's a rush during the week from Thursday-Friday of people coming in, getting required safety gear or new lines, new rigging or new gear.
Over the years, I've had quite a few people come in and ask what we'd recommend for racing whether it be lines, clothing, footwear or items in general, or what they'll need for regattas. Even if they don't ask, the phrase of "Oh I'm racing this weekend, I should pick 'x' up" is made at some point during the visit. Yes, ladies and gentlemen even with my one cup of coffee I'm still awake enough to be observant of what you buy and when!
So with this knowledge, and to hopefully help lessen the frantic last minute trip, we've put together a list of must have regatta items. Some of it may seem self explanatory but every now and then we all need a refresher or if you're new to the sport of sailing, then it's some helpful advice.
There is nothing worse than a burnt forehead and/or face. No one likes to be dubbed a lobster. Hat's not only help protect your face from harmful UV/UVB rays but they also help keep your hair out of your face and water out of your eyes if it's raining.
Louisa's Tip: Find a cap/hat without a button on top (see left) Why? So if you collide with the boom or forget to duck your head when going below, you won't have the button jabbed into the top of your head.
Seriously protect your eyes and keep from squinting all day - no one enjoys that. Besides, seeing glare off the water all day is zero fun.
Tip: If you want to prevent, as much as possible, your sunnies from going overboard - get some retainers for your sunnies.
I've seen it a thousand times. You tell them to put it on and they go "Yeah, Yeah I'll put it on" and wave you off the dock; but then they come off the water burnt and feeling sun stroked. No one wants to get up the next day and race with a sunburn, feeling like a lobster. Hello you're on the water from the early morning to late afternoon - PUT THE SUNSCREEN ON! I REPEAT PUT THE SUNSCREEN ON! Got it? Good.
Louisa's Tip: Keep a bottle on board or in your gear bag of Zblok and/or some spray stuff and put it on before leaving the dock. Once less thing to worry about while out on the water.
Now generally the skipper is in charge of bringing lunches but it doesn't hurt to have your own snacks to help keep you going. I know junk food is quick & easy, not to mention tasty, but when you're out on the water all day doing physical activity your body needs nutritious food that will give your body protein and energy. Granola bars or protein bars are quick and easy to eat while on the go and don't take up a lot of room in your bag.
If you are the Skipper in charge of lunches, may I suggest Fruits, like apples and grapes, cheese slices or slices of meat like ham, turkey or kielbasa. These were a popular choice with my guys last season.
Louisa's Tip: Pack foods that are easy to eat in Ziploc bags and/or containers. Why? First off, the crew can see what's in what and second, containers stack easier in the cooler and prevents over packing. If you're feeling really organized, label them so everything's easy to read so there's no wasting time or fumbling around. This system seemed to be a hit last season with the crew!
<-- Ziploc is a glorious thing
Hydration - Water & Gatorade
Dehydration sucks. Plain & Simple. You're body needs fluids to keep going, so drink up.
Last year, I think I ratio'd it out to 2 waters & 1 Gatorade per crew member per day with some extra water stored on board.
Rope burn is never fun. Period. Help protect your hands and gain grip with a good pair of gloves. With so many options - long finger, short finger, neoprene, sticky - you're sure to find a pair that's right for you.
Think you might loose a pair or part of a pair? Keep an extra pair in your gear bag, like these.
You never know what you'll meet out on the water, so be prepared. Mother Nature can be cranky and change so quickly sometimes, so being prepared for all conditions is key. One way to prepare against Mother Nature? Check the weather forecast for the weekend and/or the morning of each race. This can help you decide a) what to wear and b) what to pack.
Make sure to have a good base layer with UV protection - when it's warm and sunny it'll keep you protected from the sun's UV rays while still being breathable. When it's cold it'll help keep you warm & dry under all your layers by wicking away moisture & perspiration.
Louisa's Tip: Pack another shirt to change into post-racing. No one wants to hang out in a sticky (or smelly) shirt all night.