May 13, 2012

How to look yachty

 WHAT IS THE well-dressed sailor wearing these days? It's a question that doesn't normally occur to me, but it just so happens that West Marine has sent me a brochure listing all the wonderful boating things they have for sale, including what it pleases them to call "yachting apparel."

I must admit I have never owned any yachting apparel.  My yachting uniform normally comes from the thrift store and usually costs $1 for the top and $3 for the pants. This enables me to take off my tee-shirt and use it to mop up spilled engine oil without experiencing a twinge of conscience or a significant diminishment of my personal fortune. My granddaughter also informs me that the holes in my jeans are absolutely haute couture. She says the holes are  actually supposed to coincide with tattoos on my thighs and calves, so people can see them, but as I'm too old to have tattoos she thinks my hairy legs will do instead.

However, we stray. What I was saying is that I have West Marine's list of what you should be wearing if you wish to be admired and respected at the yacht club and on the racing circuit. Here is what they recommend:

u Tech sailing hat, $19.99.  It looks like any other baseball cap and has a West Marine logo on it, so they should be paying you to wear it because you are advertising West Marine.

u Sailing gloves, $26.99. They look like $5 gardening gloves without the pimples and I dare say you could use them to pull weeds when you're not sailing.

u Shoes. Apparently you need SeaRacer+ Sailing Shoes with GripX3, $119.99 They have an "exoskeleton" that "improves grip and protection for the top of your foot." Huh? The top? Go figure.

u Boots, $79.95. Not your ordinary boots, of course. These are Gills, and "worn by many of the world's top sailors." If you want to look smart, win races, feel like a top-world sailor, and go bankrupt, buy Gills.

u Shirt, $29.99. This short-sleeved, simply styled, classic camp shirt comes in bluestone, ivory, seafoam, and black. Such sweet colors. But it regains macho status from its name: Men's Anchor Shirt. (Not an anchor anywhere to be seen, though.)

u Shorts, $39.99. Real sailors wear jeans, but if you must match the rest of your outfit then you need Men's Admiral Shorts in Driftwood Khaki or Oyster Khaki.  There's a 9-inch inseam from your oysters to your driftwood, which should be long enough for most.

u Offshore jacket and bib, $409.00. Alaskan crab fishermen face the toughest working conditions in the fishing industry. They wear yellow PVC slickers that cost about one-tenth of West Marine's Musto duds. But what do they know?  Musto will keep you looking smarter and smelling fresher than those dumb crabbers.

So if you add it all up it comes to $725.90. Not bad, really, if you're a 1 percenter.  Or pretending to be.

Today's Thought
Fond pride of dress is sure a very curse;
Ere fancy you consult, consult your purse.
— Benjamin Franklin.

"How do you like your new beard?"
"I didn't like it at first. Then it grew on me."

(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)


doryman said...

I decided, during the '90's, to crew on a C&C40. Having been a cruising sailor for about 20 years, it seemed I was qualified. First thing I learned - I knew nothing about short tacking and second was that my foul weather gear didn't cut it.
I said I didn't care about being snubbed, but eventually bought some West Marine off-shore. Nice gear, but worth quite a few groceries.
In ten years I bought two sets, one of which I still wear (racing burns through rain gear like nothing else). Now, however, when I wear my old racing gear around the home docks, locals look at me like I'm a freak. Snubbed again.


EP said...

My club friends and I dress low key stylish, when we are heading out on the Bay, in a smattering of Gill and West Marine, our life jackets on, our foulies and tethers at the ready. A cruising friend and I take just as great care to bundle our cervesa against the devasting affects of room temperature when we we sail the open ocean only a few hours further South.

The conversations we have on the open waters inevitable include updates on "cruising friends" who have waited too long to go, and then find themselves out of time before their sailing dreams are realized: couples that split before the boat was cast off; trips cut short to get urgent medical care.

Cheap beer may be better cold, but people are not, and it is better to be safe than sorry.

Yet could anything be sorrier than a life's opportunity lost? If one is to dress appropriately, one must read the weather which lies ahead.

$1,500 will buy one a good set of sailing threads, or a slightly abused Santana 22 ready to go where a sailor dares take it. All we can probably be sure of is that we will look back and wish we had reefed a little sooner. said...

Aw, snap! Now I understand why we've had to reset anchor a few times when the wind shifted! Mike wasn't wearing the appropriate shirt. Must run out and get one of those right away! I admit I do love my Gill jacket, which I bought on Ebay for less than 1/3 the price wanted at West Marine, and that has a much better fit for me than their store brand. Ok, I admit to feeling slightly smug about that one.