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Zhik 2021 Season 2 LEADERBOARD

Zhik's top 12 items for offshore racing - with minimal weight in your kit bag

by Liz Rushall, Zhik 18 Jun 09:21 PDT

What to take? Or, what to leave behind when it comes to packing clothing for offshore races such as the Rolex Fastnet Race?

It may be summer, but history shows the weather could be anything. It's been an unusually cold spring for the qualifier races, yet events like the Rolex Fastnet Race are in high summer. A UK summer could be a heatwave or wet and windy.

Having the right kit for all the conditions is essential, yet on many boats so too is the pressure to keep your baggage weight down on board. Here's Zhik's guide to the best garments to take, and many that cross over for other activities too.

Outer layer protection

Zhik's OFS700 range comprises of an offshore/coastal jacket, salopettes and a waist pant - useful if you spend more time in the cockpit than on the rail and, especially for women, its quicker to use the heads.

Lighter than Zhik's IsotakX, OFS700 is a lighter two-layer breathable Apex fabric, with a durable water repellent (DWR) outer and all the essential features to keep you dry:

  • high cut collar & full-face shield gives plenty of protection from spray, wind and cold
  • close fitting adjustable hood - stays put on your head
  • fleece-lined handwarmers - ideal for cold nights on the rail
  • generous utility pockets
  • zipped chest pocket ideal for a PLB or MOB search light

The jacket is tailored for a neat, streamlined fit and for layering underneath with a highly durable, reinforced lower back panel to protect your jacket from abrasive non-slip decks.

Reflexite® safety strips on the shoulders, wrist and hood increase your visibility to other crew members when on deck in the dark.

The OFS700 Salopettes and Pants have an ergonomically-shaped Velcro® snug fitting ankle closure to prevent water going up your leg whilst hiking.

A tough 500 denier abrasion resistant fabric protects the seat/crotch area, ankle cuffs and knee panels from coarse, non-slip decks. The salopettes have a large cargo pocket and multi-tool pouch in the same abrasion resistant fabric to reduce wear and tear.

If the forecast is looking warm, Zhik's INS300 Smock is handy and will take up hardly any room in your kit bag.

This lightweight top, as used by Alex Thomson for his Vendee Globe campaign, is highly versatile and allows you to zip on Zhik's Adaptative Offshore Hood and Collar for additional protection if it gets wet.

Mid layer warmth and heat management

Depending on the forecast, you may want to layer up for warmth or cope with heat, wind and spray when it's too warm for foul weather gear.

Zhik's Zip Fleece Jacket is a light, tightly knit, Polartec microfleece mid-layer, that is made from 100% recycled polyester fibres. It's made with to ensure:

  • a trim ft and bulk-free insulation
  • warmth with a high pile, durable microfleece
  • excellent wicking properties.

Night time on the rail can be cold and dank and a good base layer is worth its minimal weight in gold.

Zhik's Superthermal™ Hydrobase® is one of the fastest wicking fabrics due to its mixed fibre grid weave. Soft hydrophobic fibres next to the skin rapidly draw moisture away, keeping your skin dry even after extended periods of high activity. The moisture passes through to the fabric surface where the hydrophilic outer face spreads the moisture for rapid evaporation.

  • excellent insulation properties
  • XWR fabric cuffs to prevent water ingress
  • flatlock stitching is used throughout to prevent chafing.
Wear the Superthermal Hydrobase pants under Zhik's Deckshorts. Made with a 4-way stretch robust nylon shell for a DWR (durable water repellent) coating. Water droplets and spray are deflected from the face fabric which means you can wear them far longer before waterproofs are needed. Designed with a relaxed fit, the stretch fabric allows unrestricted movement for all day comfort. Tough Zhiktex™ II reinforcement fabric on the seat protects the shorts from non-slip decks and additional wear.

Heat wave

If high temperatures are forecast, Zhik's XWR Tops and UV Active Shirts handle the heat and give UV protection too.

The breathable, soft tech XWR Tops are great for high performance activities and are made with:

  • a high stretch, super lightweight water shedding fabric
  • protects against wind and water chill
  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • breathable for comfort
  • available with long or short sleeves

Zhik's UVActive long and short sleeve breathable tops are incredibly light, soft and comfortable:

  • fabric blocks out 99.5% of UVA and UVB
  • works when the garment is both wet and dry
  • far exceeds the exacting UPF 50+ rating
  • made from a fine gauge, soft interlock weave
  • highly durable, snag resistant with Velcro resistance and antistatic.
With excellent moisture wicking properties, you stay dry and UVActive fabric dries fast too.

Available in men's and women's sizes.

Stay footsure

Fully proven in the Volvo Ocean Race, the ZK Seaboot 900 is a made from waterproof rubber and an insulating neoprene.

These boots give outstanding foot support, flex well for agility and have high grip rubber soles for limpet-like security A waterproof outer self-draining gaiter fits over your salopettes to keep water out.

For warm weather racing, Fuze Shoes are a super lightweight deck shoe, with high grip non-marking soles. Designed to get wet their integrated one-way drainage system in the sole flushes water out, yet water can't get back in. Fuze have reinforced PU heels and toes with perforated panels for fast drainage and breathability.

Top it off

With a:

  • Sports Cap or Visor to shield your skin from UV rays
  • thermal Beanie for nights and cold winds
  • highly abrasion resistant short or long finger pre-shaped G1 or G2 Gloves
Finally, pack your lightweight kit into a Zhik Dry BackPack and you are ready for anything.

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