Different Types of Sailing Tops and Their Features

When it comes to sailing gear, your options are nearly limitless; especially when it comes to clothing. There are constantly new types of sailing tops being added for all kinds of sailing. In-shore, off-shore, freshwater, fishing, etc. All of them get countless new additions to the overall ocean of options every day. 

While that’s great for consumers, it can also be a bit overwhelming when you just need to find out what clothes are going to meet your needs. 

So, we’ve tossed together this brief guide covering the basic features of tops, and the basic designs that are available; of course, we’ll leave notes on what they’re for, too. 

1: Base Layer Tops

Base layers are clothing pieces that are meant to be worn underneath all of your other sailing gear. They’re typically made of warmer, breathable materials to allow you to comfortably sail even if the temperature drops. 

However, since they’re your first last lines of defense vs the cold, they’re almost always made with quick-dry materials. This allows you to dry off before you get hypothermia, and you can warm up faster. 

These are typically worn by off-shore sailors since they’re so far away from the port, and their chances of going hypothermic are higher if they get wet. 

2: Spray Tops

These tops are typically long-sleeve tops that are designed to keep you dry when big waves splash over the deck. They’re typically made from quick-dry, or even waterproof, materials to ensure that, should they have to do their job, they won’t leave you running around soaked for long. 

These are used for any type of situation where splashes and sprays are likely. So, sailors navigating rougher river systems, in-shore sailors, and off-shore sailors all tend to keep one of these nearby at the very least. 

3: Thermal Tops

Thermal tops are all about warmth. They’re made from a material similar to the old-fashioned white pajamas you’ve probably seen your grandpa wearing, and they do a miraculous job of helping sailors maintain their body heat in colder temperatures. These are often used by off-shore fishermen, maritime professionals, and other sailors who have no choice but to sail in bad weather conditions. 

However, they aren’t typically waterproof. Instead, they’re made with quick-dry materials to ensure you can dry them off quickly and get them back on. 

4: Spandex and Rash Guards

Depending on what you’re doing on a boat, you might be extremely active. Fishermen, freight workers, and other professional sailors aren’t just casually drifting around. They’re moving a lot, and they’re often wet while doing so. These tops are designed to allow for free movement while sticking close to the body, but they are also designed to prevent chafing and rashes from popping up. This is key to ensuring that highly-active sailors can continue to do their jobs effectively. 

There are Many More to Try

These are just the most basic types of tops and the features they have. There are countless more on the market, and new ones are made every day. Make sure to do your research before purchasing your sailing clothes.

Krissy Georgiadis

Written by Krissy Georgiadis

Law graduate and wanderlust sufferer. I like rum and beaches.