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Sailing jacket classics and newcomers

by The Wetsuitoutlet Team 9 May 2019 04:00 PDT

This week, we challenged the team at Wetsuit Outlet to show us their favourite sailing jackets which included a selection of high-performance classics and tech-rich newcomers...

"Here at Wetsuit Outlet, we have lots of advantages when advising on the wide range of sailing and watersports products that we sell.

Firstly, we're right by the water, so a walk to work reminds us of the joys and vagaries of all four seasons and the mish-mash of conditions you can experience at any time of the year these days. Secondly, the team here enjoy all manner of ways of getting afloat, so have a pretty good idea from personal experience what makes a stand-out piece of boating clothing or kit. Thirdly, what you see on our site is in stock at our premises, so writing an article like this provides the perfect opportunity to browse our extensive rails in the warehouse and showroom, do some side-by-side comparisons and figure out the merits of each product.

For this piece, we've chosen three highly recognisable sailing jacket models with long-standing reputations, plus a couple of relatively new entrants to demonstrate just how well sailing technical clothing is continuing to develop.

Gill OS1 Offshore Ocean Jacket

The OS1 range stands at the pinnacle of this company's yacht clothing range. Its latest 2019 models feature a four-layer fabric system to provide the water-resistance, breathability, and durability you would expect if sailing well offshore. The example we are featuring here is the OS1 Ocean Jacket, which is available in versions for men and women. First impressions are this is impressively light for its purpose and the fabric is pleasant to handle. All the usual features you would expect of such a jacket are there, such as a deep, comfortably-lined collar, double-sealed cuffs at the arm, robust zips and an easily accessed adjustable hood that pops out and stows easily.

It's good to see chafe protection panels in key areas that are as flexible as the main material itself. We also like the range of places to put things, from deep draining pockets, one with a D-ring, to fleece lined hard-warmers further up the jacket and a protected pocket accessed under the storm flap for phones and the like. Overall, this might be a sailing jacket for oceans, but it would serve equally well for the less adventurous who like to stay very comfortable when closer to home.

View the Gill OS1 range here

Musto BR2 Coastal Jacket

BR2 has become a popularly searched-for brand name in its own right. It signifies Musto's rating for the fabric used in a wide range of sailing and other clothing that bears the name. BR2's capabilities include the ability for the wearer to remain dry even when hit with torrential water while offering a lightweight construction. Musto offers the yacht and sailing dinghy a whole plethora of clothing options made from its BR2-rated fabric, but here we've picked a popular choice among Wetsuit Outlet customers, the Coastal Jacket.

It is, in so many respects, the classically optimal lighter coat, perfect to wear out on the water or for a shoreside excursion when you want to keep the wind and rain off. Lined with a practical mesh inner, you are offered a couple of useful inner pockets, including one big enough to swallow the latest generation of large phones. When the going gets rough, you'll appreciate the double cuffed sleeves, cosy deep collar and a hood that flips out quickly from an elasticated retainer.

Buy this in a size where you can wear a mid-layer underneath and it will be all the sailing jacket you might need, at a price that won't break the bank.

View the Musto BR2 range here

Helly Hansen Skagen

Named after the Skagen Lighthouse, a landfall for many making the Norway to Denmark crossing, the Skagen Offshore Jacket from Helly Hansen offers robust protection at a price more in keeping with many coastal coats. The Blaze Orange example we picked off the rail also ticks a box for those that believe your foulies should offer high visibility during the day and night, while having the practical touch of high wear areas in a dirt-hiding charcoal colour.

Looking at the detail, you get all of the features you would expect from an offshore jacket, while the mid-range HellyTech Performance fabric and combination of mesh and soft linings from which it is constructed feels comfortable and light to wear. Big name offshore apparel at a budget price point.

See Helly Hansen Skagen here

Gill Race Fusion Jacket

If it's good enough for Great Britain's SailGP team then you might argue it could well be good enough for the rest of us also. Everything about Gill's new Race Fusion jacket seems pretty much like yacht racing itself, technically focused and with no unnecessary baggage. Designed as a more accessible range underneath Gill's equally new Race Ocean clothing, the Fusion pretty much sets out to do one job and do it very well to keep you dry in extreme circumstances when afloat.

Constructed from three-layer fabric with fully taped seams, the two pockets on offer are flush, which will help prevent anything getting snagged when moving around the boat, and they are protected with YKK Aquaguard zippers that also look great. In fact, despite the fact that this might not be your number one choice for shore wear, the whole jacket has great design detail and the subtle change to Gill's logo sits well with it as well. Tango looks fantastic as a colour choice, particularly as all the high impact areas are still finished in black.

View the Gill Race Fusion range here

Zhik Aroshell Jacket

Innovations keep arriving from fast up-and-coming technical clothing company, Zhik. For our final pick, we've turned to their new Aroshell Jacket, which is another example of the recent trend for unfussy, minimalist designs. Available in male and female versions, the Aroshell is a lightweight coat made of three-layer fabric with a degree of stretch to boost comfort. Close attention has been paid to minimising the number of seams to improve durability. The integrated hood offers Zhik's now trademark close attention to detail fit and is a really positive addition for what can often be an afterthought on a coat of this type.

The example we picked off the rail was a women's Aroshell jacket, size small, but we think even the largest male size should pack up into such a compact bundle it would be a great coat to take on a charter or to a fly away sailing centre, without impacting the meanest baggage allowance on a flight."

View the Zhik Aroshell range here

Further information

Please check out our full range of sailing jackets on offer at Wetsuit Outlet or if you are ever near our showroom in Shoeburyness, pop by to try them out for yourself.

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