When you picture someone sailing along, you might think they dress like this:
The truth is, these clothes don't work out too well when sailing. Imagine working hard to raise the anchor or raise the sails and breaking a sweat.
This is what we wear when we go sailing: pajama pants, t-shirt, life jacket with harness and tether. Wearing a lot of clothes means more laundry to do, so less clothing means less laundry! The pajama pants offer sun protection without the need for applying so much sunscreen and are light weight to keep you cool.
These clothes are comfortable and easy to move around in, making it easier to do all the necessary labors on a sailboat. I try to stay away from white pants because, as you can see, my knees get filthy. When I raise the anchor, mud from the sea floor comes up and falls on the deck. When we are raising anchor in rough conditions, I will need to kneel to avoid falling overboard. Kneeling on a muddy deck will promptly and permanently stain your pants. If you chose to wear nice white shorts, they would quickly be ruined. Instead, wearing pajama pants that are inexpensive and comfortable, we don't have to worry about keeping them getting messed up while working the boat.
Best of all, light weight pajama pants take up very little space, meaning they can be washed in a small washing machine! And in true sailors attire, wearing the same pajama pants for a few days in a row will greatly cut down on the amount of laundry we need to do. When sailing on long trips, Maddie and I will typically wear the same clothes for a few days before changing them for new ones. While this may sound disgusting to land lubbers who imagine us wearing these clothes for four days straight, that is not the case. We wear them during the day while working the boat; as soon as we finish for the day, we shower and put on clean clothes. When morning comes, we don our old clothes once again after letting them air out all night!
Wearing any jewelry is also risky, as it can slip off and fall overboard. Maddie and I take off our rings and watches when sailing, keeping them in a safe place inside the cabin. If time is a concern, a mounted clock can tell you everything your watch could have without any risk of falling into the great blue sea.
One last thing to note is footwear for sailors. You always hear of people wearing special boat shoes, but the truth is barefoot is best! Yes you can stub your toe on deck gear, but once you learn your deck layout, you will be able to navigate it in the dark. Any shoe will get wet and take time to dry, and will begin to smell in the process. Bare feet will dry quickly and will stay smell free for the entire trip if you never wear any shoes. When we reach port, the hardest part is getting used to wearing shoes again because going barefoot is the best!