In some sports, all a competitor needs is a jersey and a good pair of shoes, but a sailor has a full bag of gear just to get on the water, and that's not counting the boat and all the hardware. Here’s a look at some of the most essential items sailors are using in the Olympics this year.
Gloves. Sailors wear sailing specific gloves to give them a better grip on the lines, and to protect their hands from getting rub burned on the lines.
Hat. Not every sailor wears a hat or visor, but the most do. It keeps the sun out of the eyes, and keeps the hair and face a little drier. Superstitious Finn sailor Zach Railey never sails without his University of Miami hat.
Sunglasses. Olympic sailors don't wear sunglasses just to look good. The sometimes stylish lenses protect them from sun, wind and splashing water, while improve the view of every part of the course. In a tight race seeing a better line or an upcoming puff of wind can make or break a race.
Sunscreen While not the most obvious piece of gear, Laser sailor Paige Railey said via Twitter that her sunscreen and zinc were the most important thing she wears: "I am outside a lot and the sun is so strong. It prevents cancer, wrinkles and brown spots."
Wetsuit. Weymouth has an average temperature of 65-69 degrees Fahrenheit this time of year, and the water's only cooler. Wetsuits keep the sailors warm and offer a little extra padded protection against a bumpy ride and a boat with lots of hard parts.
Life Jacket. Every Olympics sailor can probably swim quite well, but a lifejacket remains a standard piece of equipment for all competitors. In case of a capsize the life jacket makes it easier to stay at the top of the water, and in a dire situation --like being knocked unconscious-- the jacket can save a sailor's life. Competitive sailors wear small lightweight jackets that stay out of the way and also offer a little extra padding.
Shoes/Boots. Sailors wear boots or shoes specially designed for this fast paced wet sport. To get the maximum grip on the deck the rubber soles have an abundance of grooves and traction points.
On the boat
Tiller Extension.One piece of gear you will see many of the Olympic sailors using is a tiller extension. This pole attaches to the end of the tiller and keeps a sailor's body further outside of the boat so that he/she can counterbalance the force of the wind on the sail. The short pole often has a padded grip like a golf club to give the helmsman a better grip and feel.