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  • #3830

    I am considering getting myself a dry suit to extend the sailing season with a few months. Being unfamiliar with this type of clothing I seek advice from existing dry suit users:

    So far I have seen suits for around 200 pounds but also for 700+ pounds, are the expensive ones really better? Or do I just pay for the brand name only?

    Other questions:
    – What type and brand would you recommend for use on a Wayfarer and why?
    – What is good (or bad) about your current dry suit? If it wears out, would you buy the same again?
    – Is there a suit that you would never buy again?
    – Front zip or rear zip?
    – Breathable or non-breathable?
    – Recommended materials?
    – Re-enforcements, are they needed? And if so, where should they be?


    I used a dry suit a few years back when catamaran racing was my main watersport, but have not used it with the wayfarer (yet) so can only offer a few general comments.

    Mine is a Gull which I think cost somewhere around £250-£300. It was ok to start off with but after around 3 seasons of average use started to leak. I had it pressure tested and was advised it was not worth having any part of it repaired plus the manufacturer wasn’t interested – so all in all pretty disappointing. I wouldn’t buy another Gull suit but I have no idea whether an alternative would be any better or worse.

    Mine has a breathable upper and non-breathable lower. I’m a bit sceptical about breathable fabrics in general, probably a bit better than non-breathable but best not to expect too much from them. Once you are wrapped up in a bouyancy aid (+ trapeze harness for cat sailing) how well are they going to perform?

    Zip – definitely front zip (well definitely for blokes at least …) also rear zip needs assistance to do up and undo.

    Reinforcements – some form of seat reinforcement would be good, possibly knees as well.



    Trident UK will do a dry suit made to measure at reasonable cost. They should also be able to add on useful items for dinghy cruisers – extra reinforced seat would seem useful


    Tony Green

    I and a number of others at my sailing club use DAM watersports (Andi Riley) – he is a one man outfit (active sailor and canoeist), and only supplies made to measure drysuits.
    His line on breathable is that it only breaths when it is dry and is less hard wearing. He does a Hybrid breathable top / hard wearing lower part suite which I have used for a number of years and have found it much better than the non breathable it replaced. Wearing a breathable spray top over the drysuit has helped when you are just dealing with spray. He only offered back zips when I bought mine as he has found the front zip unreliable, but does offer a fly zip as an option which has been well worth the money (£50 quite a few years ago). He also offers a good repair service.

    Hope that helps!

    If you do go for a dry suit, the clothes you wear under it are as important as the suit – good thermal layers.

    A quick google of DAM Watersports will find many appreciative comments but no website.
    Contact details that I can find for Dam Watersports are: Andi Riley on 01234 267314 or email

    I have no association with DAM watersports other than being a satisfied customer.


    If you want a lightweight breathable (but warm) drysuit you could take a look at the Canoe drysuits on

    I have had mine for several seasons now braving the North Sea in most weathers….



    I used Dry Suits for many years whilst SCUBA diving in and around the UK, throughout the year.
    I would say 3 things to consider:
    1 – Front entry allows you to be self sufficient if you ever solo sail
    2 – as mentioned already, the clothes underneath are as important as the dry suit itself.
    3 – If you do have a shoulder entry zip, then having a ‘Convenience Zip’ (men only!) makes a big difference to comfort when needed.


    I only wear my drysuit for maybe six weekends a year, but it has lasted me since 1992 and is still completely waterproof! It is not breathable, but that isn’t a problem provided you wear proper thermal underwear – e.g. polypropylene base layer and fleece mid layer; the moisture passes through the underwear and you stay dry. I suspect that breathable materials do not stay waterproof for so long.

    The latex seals have been replaced a few times, and if I bought another dry suit I would ensure that it had neoprene or “Glideskin” neck and wrist seals, at least. I also have a breathable dry-top which has neoprene seals, and while they are not quite so watertight they are adequately so, and they are much more durable.

    I’d agree with another respondent that a front zip is convenient, even if it maybe isn’t quite so comfortable when bending over; I’d go for that option again.

    You do have to be careful that the boat you are sailing in doesn’t have any sharp edges that could rip the suit, and maybe for that reason, damage avoidance, I tend to prefer to wear a 3mm wetsuit and a dry-top until it gets really cold. The wetsuit also provides a ‘body-armour’ effect, of course. If I could find a 5mm thick long john wetsuit with a smooth waist that the dry-top could seal onto, i’d probably wear that in preference to the drysuit even in the coldest months, maybe with dry socks.

    The bits that still get cold are the hands. i’ve tried a number of so-called winter gloves and found they were either not warm enough or were too cumbersome. The best to date are cheap household rubber washing-up gloves (e.g. Marigold) – they at least keep the wind off, and if you wear thin polypropylene (Meraklon) gloves underneath provide a modicum of warmth.


    I can thoroughly recommend a company called Hammond Dry down in Kent. A google search should find their website. I have had a pair of dry trousers from them for nearly 15 years and still going strong with a couple of foot changes.

    Colin Parkstone

    Matt, How do Dry Trousers work, do they seal some where or ?

    Crew, who makes Dry socks, I do gett cold feet when wet and have to date not found anything to help as its the clod water that does it!!

    Beeeeeer!! 🙁

    C P


    Hi Swiebertje – mine is from a uk company called “Ravenspring”. I use it for Laser sailing. It is made to measure – I visited a tailor to get my vital dimensions and turnaround and company service are second to none

    When you look at the website check out the large zipped drybag. It fits very neatly in front of the aft tank under the tiller and is superb for storage. I’ve had mine for over 5 years and it holds masses of kit and is easy to access

    Since your so good at putting pictures on the web it may be worth adding it as I’m sure others will find it useful!!

    All the best. Robert



    Thanks Paul – the bag is brilliant for cruising – it could be made for a Wayfarer!


    Hi Swiebertje,

    Just as a matter for interest, which drysuit did you buy in the end?


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