Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Slam BOR Spray Top

In preparation for a somewhat significant sailing race a while back, you may have heard that BMW Oracle Racing Team partnered with SLAM to provide the foulies and gear they needed to stay comfortable and dry while cruising along at 40+ knots. (Snail speed, we know.) One of the benefits of all the R&D (research and development for those of you not in the know) SLAM put into outfitting the DOGzilla crew is the BOR Spray Top, which APS now has in stock. I was fortunate enough to get a sample of the top back the fall and have been putting it through its paces on dingies and keelboats.

The BOR Spray Top is a top of the line piece of gear. It definitely falls into the same group as the Musto MPX Race Spray Top, which up till now has been a step above all the other spray tops out there. Made from a 3-layer waterproof & breathable fabric, this top also features 4-way stretch throughout. The stretch is really what sets the BOR apart from other tops out there - allowing for freedom of movement even with lots of layers and letting you take advantage of the slim fit. I wore the top often for frostbite sailing on my J22 this winter and had no problem layering up to keep warm and had no problems with range of motion.

The neck seal is a fairly common type of setup with no tabs or zippers but a flap that folds over onto some Velcro on the shoulder and some more Velcro on the neck itself. It has a fairly wide range of adjustment even allowing fitting my skinny neck but able to be a lot larger. The waist adjustment is a pretty standard affair as well with double Velcro tabs. The wrists have double cuffs which is nice for when you're getting really wet though I found I usually just cinched down the outer cuff and that was enough for me.

As far as other features are concerned, it's a pretty simple top. Reflectors on the shoulders keep you visible but mostly provide that extra bit of sailing style for those who want it. The front kangaroo pocket is fairly larger but obviously inaccessible if you're wearing a life jacket over top. After letting a sailing knife rust in an old spray top pocket because I forgot about it, I usually try not to use those pockets anyways so it didn't bother me.

The other notable feature on the BOR top is a DOGzilla-specific innovation. Under the arms are Velcro cinch tabs for sucking in sides of the top around your chest to cut down on any bagginess there might be. For Spithill and the boys, it meant reduced windage at 40 knots when every little bit matters. For the rest of us, it means a little bit of custom fit adjustment to keep the top slim and out of your way when moving around the boat.

You may have picked up on the fact that I used the word slim several times to describe the BOR Spray Top. Like a lot of SLAM gear, it's designed to fit the tall, athletic, and relatively skinny (contrary to what watching the Sopranos might suggest) Italian sailors. As a result, some might need to size up to get the fit they need. At 6'1" and pretty thin, the size large fits me great. The side cinches allow me to slim it down to fit and the sleeves are a great length. By contrast, my Henri Lloyd spray top is also a large, but it's definitely a lot wider in the body to the point of being too baggy for me.

I've done a lot of Laser sailing in it this spring, and it's worked great. It's definitely super breathable - I wore it in pretty tough conditions in Fishing Bay, VA where it was windy and chilly enough on the water that I wanted to wear the top but was working hard and sweating a lot by the top mark. I never felt overheated or clammy all day and was really glad I had this top with me.

Overall, I recommend the SLAM BOR Top, and it is definitely my favorite spray top in our lineup. It fits me great, and I really like the full stretch all around as compared to the Musto where the stretch is just in the shoulders. I haven't had it long enough to see how it compares durability-wise with the Musto, which has proven to be excellent in that regard by many on our staff who have one, but that is the only unanswered question for me.

Definitely check it out if you're in the market for a new spray top and are willing to pay a bit more to get the ultimate in performance. Whether you're dinghy sailing, trimming on a Melges, or doing bow on a J/120 the Slam BOR Spray Top top will serve you well.


2 comments:

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  2. Had to go find an action photo of James in the spray top from FBYC the other weekend.

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