New MPX collection launched with Ian Walker at the London Boat Show
The London Boat Show has played host to all kinds of announcements for advancements in marine technology. This year, however, it was our turn to steal the show, as we announced the biggest developments to our offshore collection in five years.
The MPX collection was first introduced in 1995, breaking new ground as a range for both racing and offshore yachtsmen and women. Adopting the Gore-Tex fabric we all know and love a few years after its initial release in 1998, MPX has always been kept up to date with the movements within the industry.
HPX came first, used by Volvo Ocean Race sailors to navigate the globe and battle the most hostile environments. It was the development of HPX that provided inspiration for the elements which go into the other ranges such as MPX, allowing the creation of kit that offers versatility and unrivalled protection.
Two-time Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker MBE, and International Marketing Manager, Nick Houchin, were on-hand at the show to discuss the impact of practical testing in developing the MPX kit.
Developing the best offshore sailing gear
Seasoned veteran Ian Walker is well-placed to demonstrate the merit of using the professional sailors as technology testers.
“If you want to test dinghy or yachting kit, what better way to do it than to give it to Olympic sailors who are probably spending more hours on the water than anyone else? Let them feed-back and in turn feed that back to the design team.”
It’s no surprise that to build technical garments which help the user to achieve peak physical performance in challenging conditions, it’s imperative to field test. This is why we work tirelessly with the teams, listening to their requirements and understanding how we can change the kit to make it the best it can be. It’s not just feedback from professional sailors, however, as the feedback from customers is also hugely important when making changes to the MPX gear.
For the Volvo Ocean Race, the clothing is customised for each member of the team. Their role and personal requirements play into how the kit is designed.
“Some of the customisation was just sizing changes, some of it was a personalisation thing”, Walker explains.
“The bowman would always want his knife, for instance, whilst the skipper is probably more interested in being able to get on his mobile phone. There are different kinds of demands depending on the role - some people wear out trousers quicker than others, for example. Funnily enough the skipper and navigator spend a lot of time crawling around on their knees going back to the nav station. These are just minor things, but they make a huge difference over 3 months at sea.”
It’s these sorts of insights that help to keep sailors at the forefront of performance.
“If you want to test offshore sailing gear, give it to a Volvo Ocean Race sailor because they’re going to be wearing it 24/7 all the way around the world,” Walker explains.
There are no dry-runs for the Volvo Ocean Race, but after decades of refinement the MPX range has become an all-round range for yachtsmen and yachtswomen.
The MPX series has adopted many of the features from the HPX range. It’s also expanded; with the new Coastal option constructed from lighter weight fabrics being introduced to the collection. This new member of the MPX family is particularly useful for fairer winds, with a lower profile being the trade-off for a lighter weight garment that’s perfect for cruising the coast in any weather.
It’s not just the coastal range that offers a light weight solution, however. Nick Houchin explains how the MPX collection has changed since the last overhaul over 5 years ago.
“The Offshore jacket alone has saved 250g in weight. That’s due to developments in seam reduction, and garment production itself. That’s 15% of its weight, which is the equivalent of taking a bag of sugar out of your pocket, so quite significant.”
“The MPX range has been around for a long time, so each time we develop it, it’s those continual redevelopments that drip down from the Volvo Ocean Race going into the garments for the everyday sailor.”
Who is MPX for?
With an expanding collection, the MPX range is accessible for every type of sailor. From offshore to inshore, casual cruiser to die-hard racer, discover where you fit in the MPX range:
The heavy-hitter of the collection, the Offshore range is built to be hardy when there’s no land in sight. With a high collar and long length, the MPX Offshore jacket, smock, drysuit and salopette are all designed to withstand anything the English Channel, and more, has to offer.
Fair-weather sailors rejoice - the Coastal range has been designed especially for you. Light weight and waterproof, this is an essential for weeks cruising the coast. Don’t let the low profile fool you though, you’ll be well protected when the weather takes a turn for the worst.
The Race collection has been designed with weight and freedom of movement in mind. Featuring stretch panels and no excess bulk, this is the top of the range for rounding buoys against the clock. Forget the elements and let the race series keep you warm and comfortable.