We've been working with crews and owners to ensure their boats are optimized for the upcoming east coast race season and while the Yachting Australia Audit Forms for Category 1-7 are extensive for boat preparation, when it comes to crew gear you have a lot of freedom. Crew performance is as important as boat preperation, especially in overnight races.
You should consider the following crew gear for your kit bag, especially if you're doing the Brisbane to Noumea, Sydney to Gold Coast or Sydney to Hobart races.
- PFD - With harness, whistle, strobe, reflective tape, lifting strap and spray hood. We like the Ergofit Crewsaver 190n or 290n version.
- Tether - Try these elasticated Spinlock versions 2 hook or 3 hook.
- PLB - must have GPS from 1/7/15 - the OceanSignal PLB1 is the world's smallest
- Personal Knife / Tool - ideally with a Marlinspike like this Wichard or Gill Knife
- Head Torch with red light to save your night vision
- PFD Rearm Kit for when your jacket goes off!
- Warmth; Gloves, Beanie, Neck Warmer, Waterproof Socks
- Seaboots - Zhik ZK Seaboot is dry and grippy
- Wet Weather Gear - The Marinepool range is the perfect blend of function and value. You'll need a Smock or Jacket and Trousers / Salopettes
- Hat, Sunglasses - Wide Brim sailing hats are very functional for keeping the sun off.
- Thermal Base Layer
- Deck Shoes - Henri Lloyd Deck Grip or Zhik ZKG
- Mid Layer and Fleece
- Knee Pads - especially for bowmen
- Deck Shorts and Long Sleeve Shirt
- Personal Medication
- Soft, water resistant gear bag - you need to carry this stuff, but if it doesn't fit in 60L, you probably have too much
- Dry Bags in various sizes for gear and electronics.
- Camera / GoPro
- 12v Charger - don't ask to borrow the skipper's, dual outlets save fights over charging spots
- Toiletries - try to co-ordinate, the boat doesn't need 8 tubes of toothpaste
- Sunscreen - again, look to share
- Alarm - so you don't miss your shift
- Start Watch - the Ronstan Clearstart is our favourite
- SeaRug - Your bunk will get wet
- Compression Sack - An old hiking trick. Buy a sleeping bag sack and line with plastic bag, fill it with unused clothing and use as a pillow or to minimize the size of your bag
- Water Bottle - it's better to use tank water and refill than store and carry used plastic bottles
- Gastrolyte - see above... tank water is an *acquired* taste
- Pack as light as possible - weight is slow, weight in the wrong part of the boat is slower
- You won't use it all - you don't need extra!
- Cold kills - hypothermia results in poor physical and mental performance and if not treated will kill you. Keep warm
- No cotton - we love polyester shirts, and not in a 70's wedding photo kind of way. It dries quicker, lasts longer, wicks sweat and keeps the sun off, cotton has no place on a boat
- Layering keeps you warm, modern wet weather gear is highly breathable, but that can also mean loss of body heat. Combat this with a 3 layer approach - thermal base layer, midlayer for insulation and outer waterproof layer. Keep your extremities covered - beanie, gloves and warm socks.
Update July 2015
Here's another great article from Quantum Sails - How to pack like a pro for an ocean crossing