Sailing Jackets

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Sailing jackets are a necessity if you want to be comfortable on the water, whether aboard a sailboat or on some other type of vessel. If the weather’s cold, they can make sure you and your crewmates stay warm. In rough seas they will form a barrier against spray, keeping your skin dry (along with any inner layers of clothing).

For sailing, general boating, or water activities such as windsurfing, not just any kind of jacket will do. Today’s sailing jackets are constructed to stand up to the elements as no mere landlubber’s windbreaker or raincoat can do. They are meant to be impermeable as well as completely salt-, sun- and water-resistant.

Many of the complete sailing outfits that are for sale today will include a jacket as part of the total boating ensemble, along with pants or shorts, and perhaps a hood or matching cap of some sort. Or, you can buy a jacket separately.

The first and most important consideration when choosing sailing jackets is to try to match the types of weather and water conditions you are likely to encounter, whether you are planning an extended cruise, a day’s outing on the bay, or a regatta. Some jackets are very heavy; others are quite light. Choose the former if your primary need is to stay warm and dry, and the latter if flexibility and freedom of movement are more crucial (as during a sailboat race).

Next comes style. People who sail generally like to look good aboard their boats. As you might guess, you can find boating clothes, including jackets, in virtually any color. White, perhaps with some kind of nautical trim, makes for a classic look. Navy blue or aqua — both colors that evoke the sea and sailing, by the way – are also good choices, while “hot colors” such as red and yellow lend a certain dramatic flair to a sailing jacket.

Most people like to choose their own look and style when it comes to sailing outfits. But if you’re the captain of the vessel, you might insist that every member of your crew (even if that crew consists simply of your spouse and any kids) be kitted out in matching clothes. Some sailors go so far as to “brand” all of their jackets across the back with the name of their boat, for an extra dose of esprit. Sailboat regatta crews are particularly prone to want to do this.

Whether you are sailing alone, or trying to outfit an entire boat, you should not try to cut corners when it comes to selecting the proper attire for working on deck. Sailboating is fun, but strenuous. Not only can it push your muscles to the point of exhaustion, it can subject you and your mates to pounding waves, drenching spray, and relentless sun. The right outfits — including, especially, the right sailing jackets — will keep the fun in your sail adventures, wherever they might take you.

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Sailing Jackets: Don’t Skimp on Quality

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The quality of your sailing jackets can make all the difference between an enjoyable cruise on the water and a miserable day (or week or month) for you and all your crew. This is one item of boat clothing you should not skimp on.

The best brands of sailing jackets deserve your consideration because they have earned their reputation for keeping their wearers safe from the elements while being sturdy enough to resist rips, tears, seam failures and fastener breakage.

This is an important point. You’ve heard of being left “high and dry?” Well, cheap or knock-off sailing apparel can leave you “low and wet,” so to speak.

Among the respected sailing apparel brands are North Sails, Fred Perry, Henri Lloyd, Helly Hansen, Musto, Gill, Patagonia, and Slam Gear. Some of these make boating jackets and complete sailing outfits that lean toward heavy-duty foul weather gear. Others focus on making on-deck clothes that are for warm days, light winds and a moderate chop.

The well-prepared sailor will make sure he has at least a couple of different sailing jackets and other components, such as pants, shorts, and shoes, to be prepared for whatever the wind, waves and sky throw at him and his vessel. A specialty sailing clothing store will offer the most complete selection of brands and types.

Offshore sailing clothing will generally be more suited for all-weather boating than apparel intended for in-shore cruising or gunkholing. Among the top sailing foul-weather gear brands are Gill and Musto.

The line of Gill sailing clothing in particular is famous as the choice of many of the most particular yachtsmen, such as the captains of boats that regularly endure the rigors of the world’s most grueling sailboat races. When rough seas or stormy weather is anticipated, you can’t go wrong with Gill sailing gear–not only jackets, but complete weather-tight outfits as well.


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Right up there will Gill is the Musto sailing clothing line. Musto’s foul weather gear will see you and your yacht crew through almost any type of seagoing scenario you can imagine, including riding the swells in a storm while waves crash over you! But even the casual sailor will appreciate the strength and protection afforded by Musto’s sailing jackets.

If you’re looking for the most variety in one brand of sailing apparel, do take a look at Henri Lloyd. The Henri Lloyd drysuits, as the name suggests, will keep you dry from neck to foot, and are as suitable for windsurfing in brisk weather as they are for battling the spray washing over a sailboat’s deck. Other items from this company you might consider include the Henri Lloyd flex jacket, the TP1 and the TP2, and the Henri Lloyd Shockwave.

This is just a sampling of your many choices when it comes to buying sailing jackets and other boating clothing. Your options are many, so take your time in deciding exactly what your needs require and your budget can accommodate. Just remember that when it comes to sailing wear of any kind, you should aim for quality in every stitch and grommet.

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