In the Press: Sailing Kit for the Cold
Lots of our warmest sailing garments are featured in the March issue of Yachting World magazine in a review of the best kit for the cold on the market:
‘Assuming you already have foulweather gear for the bulk of the season, what additional items can you add to your kitbag at this time of the year to keep your extremities warm and functional? Here are some that have caught Matthew Sheahan’s eye.
Scarves and neck gaiters are a simple and effective way of stopping the cold air getting down inside your jacket, and you can pull them up over your face. Alternatively, if a fleece is too much, a lighter weight neck buff might be just the thing and has the advantage of being able to be worn as a bandana should you feel the urge!’
A new twist on a classic. Polartec fleece with knitted facing – warmth and comfort with contemporary design. Polartec® Thermal Pro® fabrics are the most visually dynamic and technically advanced of the Polartec® insulation fabrics
‘Doctors’ advice: Neckwarmers/ scarves
Neck warmers, particularly silk, are a very pleasant luxury around the face. Can be pulled up to cover the cheeks, mouth and nose when very cold. Silk is excellent and wicking moisture and dries out quickly. Neck warmers are probably more manageable than scarves.’
For conventional sea boots, thick socks are usually considered to be sufficient. Many manufacturers follow the skiing lead and mark their boots as ‘technical’. Some long-distance offshore sailors swear by bigger boots to let the air circulate, while others claim that heated insoles are best.
Doctors’ advice: Boots/ socks
Two pairs of socks may trap more air and give better insulation. Synthetic ‘loop-stitch’ style are best. Synthetic material is a better insulator when wet than wool. Tight boots must be avoided at all costs as they actively decrease peripheral blood circulation to the feet. Our experience of GORE-TEX socks is not good – feet seem to get wet anyway if boots are wet on the inside. Keep the inside of the boot dry at all costs. A boot with a top gaiter works well.
For long beats into a northerly breeze sometimes a hat simply isn’t enough, especially if you’re at the front of the boat on the weather rail. Here, a windproof hat or balaclava could be just the ticket. Woollen balaclavas can be cold and irritating when they get wet, especially when they start restricting your visibility as you turn to look upwind. But there are a few lightweight types that both wick the moisture away and turn with your head. Also, they are light enough to wear as a hat as well if it’s really cold.
Windstopper jackets have demonstrated how effective an efficient lightweight material can be – hats like this are the same and worn equally well when wet.
Doctors’ advice: Head and face
70 per cent of heat loss can occur from an uncovered head. Hats that double as a balaclava are good, synthetic so they maintain thermal insulating properties even when wet and dry out quickly. Remember a wet hat is better than no hat at all. If the conditions are rough, put your hood up early, with a dry hat underneath. The hat must be able to cover the ears if necessary. Take spares.
While bulky jackets and thick fleeces might seem the natural way to go to keep warm, snug-fitting, lightweight modern undergarments can make a huge difference without restricting your mobility. There are plenty on the market.
When the weather gets cold, Musto thermals will keep you warm and comfortable, with Silver Ion technology to prevent bacteria build up and reduce odours. Also available in a Zip Neck, £40 and matches the Thermal Base Layer Trousers, £38.
For active sailing in warm conditions, these seamless garments provide the perfect base layer with engineered areas of warmth, ventilation and protection, as well as silver Ion technology to reduce odours. Matches the Active Base Layer Trousers, £32.
Doctors’ advice: Kidney belt/ body warmers
Used by rescue teams with hypothermic casualties. Not sure if they make much difference for a fit crew/ Adequate clothing should be sufficient. Not expensive so could be tried.
While great for most of the season, the trouble with conventional sailing gloves, even some of the neoprene types, is that once wet they conduct heat away from your fingers alarmingly fast. If numb fingers aren’t bad enough, the pain when they thaw out can be even worse. Keeping your hands dry is the key.
Musto Outdry Gloves, £60 – their newest breathable gloves aim to wick water away to keep your hands dry. (Please note: we haven’t got these in yet for the website – check back in a few weeks and we’ll have stock! In the meantime, browse our other sailing accessories for plenty of other gloves, including the best-selling Offshore Gloves, £35 - pictured below, the Long Finger Amara Gloves, £14 and Short Finger Performance Gloves, £24.)
Doctors’ advice: Hands
Mitts are warmer than gloves and a ‘shell’ system can be used. Mitts are excellent for helming when hands are exposed for long periods and are usually sufficient for a confident grip of the wheel or tiller. Take spares.’
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