Please select your home edition
Edition
Festival of Sails 2017

Zhik - Gear for the sharp end of winter keel boat racing

by Ben Gladwell on 9 May 2013
Ben Gladwell, bowman V5 - 2013 Auckland Cup, Day 3. The transition from summer to winter racing needs some very high quality sailing gear © Richard Gladwell www.photosport.co.nz

Since its inception in 2003, Zhik has developed and expanded to be one of the preeminent brands in on-the-water sailing apparel.

Sailing journalist, Ben Gladwell (NZL), as well as being forward hand on an 18fter, is also regular foredeck crew aboard top TP52, V5, sailing out of Auckland, New Zealand. Their notable wins in 2012 included first monohull in the tempestuous Auckland Noumea race, and again in the 2012 Coastal Classic.

With the Short Handed Series coming up in Auckland and the Fiji Race just a few weeks away, maybe it is time to think about your sailing gear. Ben has been using Zhik gear on both the 18fter and the TP52. Here's what he looks for to stay as dry and warm as possible, while still being able to work in some very awkward situations.

The bow of a TP 52 is hardly the driest place on earth, so unless you like spending your day sailing around in soaking shorts and a t-shirt, having some decent kit is really important, especially heading into winter.

Zhik’s ISOTAK range of wet weather gear is ideal for keelboat racing, regardless of your position on the boat. If you are at the wet end, the REZISEAL smock, is pretty hard to go past. Like the rest of the ISOTAK range, it is made from the latest monolithic membrane, with immunity to salt degradation and ultru-durable pads on high stress areas. The ISOTAK material is lightweight and means that movements don’t feel cumbersome or restricted.

What makes the REZISEAL smock a standout for me is the seals themselves. Instead of being latex, like the seals used by other brands, these are much more resilient to UV, so the smock doesn’t need to be sent off to have the seals replaced because they have started to perish.

Another great feature of this smock is the large chest pocket, which closes with Velcro. Pockets such as these are normally found on much bulkier 'ocean' grade smocks but are perfect for inshore sailing as well. They are easy to access in a hurry with one hand (instead of trying to stuff a hand through a small opening in a zip somewhere) and give you enough room to hold multiple sail-ties, lashings or what ever else you might need to get your hands on in a rush.

For both inshore racing and offshore the ISOTAK salopettes are a great option. They provide more coverage area than standard overalls, so can be worn without a jacket if the conditions don’t mean that you are threatened by a wave trying to dive down the back of your neck. Once again, they are light and moving around doesn’t feel at all restricted.

As it gets colder, thermals and mid layers become more crucial. Zhik has some top kit to wear underneath your foul weather gear when it gets chilly. Their HYDROMERINO thermals are made from super fine merino wool, which has natural odour reducing properties and automatically wicks away moisture from your skin.

So even if you start sweating, you’ll stay comfortable and people wont mind sitting next to you. The big feature with the thermals is the extra length in the body section of the top. This means that even when you bend over, you wont get that frustrating little patch of cold lower back or midriff skin – which is so difficult to cover up without stripping off all your other gear.

For wearing on top of the thermals, Zhik has the ZFLEECE midlayer. This is cut specifically to be worn as a midlayer beneath the ISOTAK jacket or smock, so it fits perfectly with the collar lining up with that of the top layer jackets.

Two great features are the full-length zip, which makes getting into and out of the fleece nice and easy, and the extra length in the sleeves, which ensures that it doesn’t ride up when extending your arms.

When it comes to sailing gear, aesthetics are just as important as functionality. And Zhik’s range of ZKG footear ticks both boxes. Their street-shoe-style sailing shoes are available in a range of fashionable colours and are integrated with high performance materials to make the the ideal show for stepping from the boat into the bar.

The upper section is constructed from neoprene, so is light and keeps your feet warm even when wet and the perforations allow for drainage and rapid drying. The grippy sole is very supple, making the shoes comfortable and easy to wear for an entire day on the water.



Fremantle to Bali Race 660x82Lancer Not Equalupffront 660x82

Related Articles

Amel - Do you fit the bill?
Perhaps it is equally as fascinating as the many features that go into either the Amel 55 or 64 It is certainly an interesting set of criterion. Perhaps it is equally as fascinating as the many features that go into either the Amel 55 or 64 and make them a definitive part of the quintessential bluewater cruiser armada. We’ll come to all of those in due course, but firstly we’ll tackle the hero image and why in so many ways, this explains, so, so much.
Posted on 21 Sep
Knowing Harken takes years and years (Pt.I)
You could imagine that being familiar with all that Harken produces and stands for is a lengthy process. You could imagine that being familiar with all that Harken produces and stands for is a lengthy process. So if you were going to be the person at the top in Australia, it would be best for you to have immersed yourself in sailing from an early age. When you grew up, being one of the technical service team would be more than a handy apprenticeship, as it were.
Posted on 19 Sep
Rio 2016 - America's Cup champ says Paralympic racing is closest ever
Twice America’s Cup champion, Rick Dodson is extremely impressed with the standard of racing in the three man Sonar Twice America’s Cup champion, Rick Dodson is extremely impressed with the standard of racing in the three man Sonar keelboat class at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. The regatta is being held in Guanabara Bay on three of the courses used for the Olympic Sailing Regatta in August.
Posted on 13 Sep
Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2016 - Day 4 Images by Crosbie Lorimer
The Mistral finally blew itself out on Day 4, permitting the Race Committee to run two coastal course The Mistral finally blew itself out on Day 4, permitting the Race Committee to run two coastal courses for the 52 participating yachts in breezes that started at 15 knots and slowly faded as the afternoon wore on. Day 5 (Friday) saw the winds lighten further bringing some changes to the podium positions of several divisions
Posted on 10 Sep
Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2016 - Day 2 Images by Crosbie Lorimer
The Mistral is in and howling at Porto Cervo! After a brief lull to permit racing on Day 2 after the Day 1 cancellation, The Mistral is in and howling at Porto Cervo! After a brief lull to permit racing on Day 2 after the Day 1 cancellation, we have a second 'Lay Day' on Wednesday with racing again cancelled due to high wind speeds and a large seaway. The conditions were near enough perfect on Day 2 however, with 17-18 knots and a short sea, the breeze dropping later in the day.
Posted on 7 Sep
Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 20126 - DAY 2 Images & VIDEO
The fleet of 49 maxis finally hit the water in north-westerly winds of 17-18 knots and a short and sharp seaway. The S The fleet of 49 maxis finally hit the waters off Porto Cervo in north-westerly winds of 17-18 knots and a short and sharp seaway on Day 2. The Super and Mini maxis headed out for a coastal race and the Maxi 72s & Wally fleet competed in two windward/leeward races. The choppy seas made for exciting footage and images.
Posted on 7 Sep
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ train late on the Waitemata Harbour
Emirates Team NZ were out for a training session that ran into the early Thursday evening. Emirates Team NZ were out for a training session that ran into the early Thursday evening. The team were sailing their recently launched AC45 Surrogate test boat which features an articulated rudder gantry - taking the AC45 close to the geometry of the AC50 to be used in the 2017 America's Cup.
Posted on 1 Sep
The C Beetle Project
Every now and then something comes along your way and you just have to read it. Every now and then something comes along your way and you just have to read it. Such is Phil Smidmore’s tale of Mick Miller and if I could be so bold as to implore you to read, then I know your life will be the better for it!
Posted on 30 Aug
Dateline Rio - Sailing Olympics review - as good as it gets?
The Rio Sailing Olympics was widely judged to have been the best of recent times. The Rio Sailing Olympics was widely judged to have been the best of recent times. The weather was better than Weymouth and Qingdao, the courses more varied, but from a working media perspective, it was the people running the Rio regatta who really made the difference.
Posted on 26 Aug
Rio 2016 - Plain speaking by triple-medalist on Olympic sailing moves
Triple Olympic medalist, Santiago Lange has been on the sharp end of changes made to Olympic classes and formats Santiago Lange, a six-time Olympian and Bronze medallist in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, won his third medal – Gold sailing in the Nacra 17 class. With that length of experience at an Olympic level, having sailed the Laser, Tornado and now Nacra 17 classes his comments on the future shape of the Olympic regatta was one of the highlights of the Medallists Media Conferences.
Posted on 25 Aug