There's never been anything fancy about foul weather gear, that stuff sailors pile on in a sometimes vain attempt to stay dry. In the last few years, though, the classic look of foul weather gear -- bright yellow oilskin jackets, high-rise pants secured with suspenders and black sou'westers -- has slowly changed to incorporate both inventive design changes and a more fashionable overall look. New fabrics such as Gore-Tex allow for more ventilation, Velcro closings make getting in and out of foul weather gear easier, and the predominance of yellow has given way to bright red, blue, orange and even white.
So whether your idea of sailing is an afternoon spin around the lake or a world-class race like the America's Cup, now there are better -- and more fashionable -- ways to avoid getting all wet. CAPTION: Picture 1, Sea Gear's red and blue lightweight "Stow-A-Way" jacket is $58 at Backyard Boats, Alexandria and Annapolis.North Sport's red and blue vest is also a Type III flotation device, approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, $89.50 at Fawcett Boat Supplies, Annapolis. She wears a red ultralight foul weather jacket by Atlantis ($82) and corduroy shorts by Patagonia ($29.95), both at Fawcett's PHOTOGRAPHED ON A GEMINI 31 CATAMARAN, COURTESY OF PERFORMANCE CRUISING, MAYO MD.; Picture 2, White lightweight foul weather jacket by Line 7 is $85 at Backyard Boats; canvas hat is $16.95 at Fawcetts, PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOHN BOWDEN