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Kit guidance

Having spent far too much money testing stuff, maybe there’s something that you can take away and maybe save some money in the process.

What size bag should I take onboard? How many litres?

I’ve used 5, 10, 40, 65, 70 and 90-litre bags at some stage or other. If crewing, I think one around the 65l with a couple of 5-10’s tucked inside seems to work well.

The 65-litre is the primary bag. The smaller individual 5 or 10 bags help to segment up your deck-bits and gadgetry into something more manageable so you’re not constantly riffling through your primary bag every 2 minutes.

How big is big enough?

Dry-suit or not to dry-suit? … That is the question

A simple answer is … I don’t know. Some people who have done a Southern Ocean crossing suggest it’s not necessary as long as you have really, really, really good quality foulies (foul-weather outfit).

Personally, I see a dry-suit as more of a sea-survival aid should things really go bad. It might be the difference of staying alive for another 2-hours and the difference between being rescued/surviving… or not. In a similar way that life-lines are there to stop you disappearing overboard without a trace, the dry-suit is another layer of mitigation.

A pure hand needs no glove to cover it.

N Hawthorne (1804-1864)

OMG, the amount of gloves I’ve tested is getting ridiculous and from the various communities, this is a biggy!

Sir Robin K-J is known to be an advocate of the NO-GLOVE fraternity. And we should harden our digits up to cope with a bit of saltwater.

It’s true that in most climes gloves don’t add much in the way of grip-performance and indeed, over-gloving can severely reduce your effectiveness at hauling or sweating a line just when you need it most. I’ve been there, got the t-shirt and ended up being a completely useless to my fellow crewmates during those few moments when the reefing lines are flogging like crazy in a F8 because I didn’t remove the gloves before getting a hold.

However, you’re not always working the lines, all the time. And during the quieter moments, your hand temperature can suffer which can compromise grip-strength when you need it again. There’s also a period during the hand-hardening up process where you can look like you’ve got a dose of leprosy, and the outer skin starts to shed like a Wall Lizard. Gloves can help reduce this.

Good cold weather gloves

A solid choice of cold-weather option is: Performance Activity Gloves Waterproof | Unisex from sealskinz.com