Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Testing out the Gill UV Tec Shorts at Key West Race Week

What a week for racing!  Conditions couldn’t have been better for my first Key West Race Week with temperatures in the mid-70s and winds around 15kts each day.  

I spent my week aboard the GP42 Stray Dog in the competitive HPR class – although the results weren’t quite what we hoped, we still had some great racing… and some great team gear!

I was given the chance to check out the Gill Women's UV Tec Shorts that were sporting our logo all week, and overall they are a great pair of shorts.  With not a whole lot out there on Women's Sailing Shorts, here’s a chance to check out the full scoop, complete with a video of the shorts in action! 

The Good

The Fit:
Finding a nice, well-fitting pair of women's sailing shorts isn't any easy task.   Name a description of clothing you don’t want to find… a pair of women sailing short has it.  But these were a nice surprise.  The waist fit just right - tight enough to stay put but loose enough to not restrict.  The length was exactly what I’m looking for, falling about an inch or two above the knee.  They even had a bit of stretch to them that made them comfortable even when hiking.   No matter what activity I was doing, they worked.  

The Look:
Overall they have a nice look. Certainly functional enough to take you to the tent party with a clean, simple design.  We had the silver gray color which worked, although the darker colors might have hid the dirt a bit better.  To add a little flair, Gill added contrasting red stitches to the reinforcement points on the belt loops and made the inside of the shorts a different color making them a bit more stylish than similar shorts.

The Feel:
The nylon fabric was soft against your skin, with a very lightweight feel that made them perfect for the warmer temperatures of Key West.  There was no additional fabric on the seat, which made them feel a lot lighter and more flexible than those with a reinforced seat (I have mixed thoughts about this point – see The Bad for more).  The fabric dried quickly and didn’t seem to hold moisture, always a plus in any sailing short.

The Features:
With a minimalist design it had just enough features to make them practical without adding the bulk of pockets everywhere.   It had two standard pockets – nothing fancy but large enough that if you wanted to pack them full you could.  

A zippered pocket on the lower thigh allowed for storage of items if you wanted to have them close by – a roll of tape and a knife certainly would have fit.  Complete with an easy to maneuver pull cord, it was easy, simple and a great addition.


The Bad

My one concern about the shorts themselves is that the soft nylon material wouldn't hold up against tough non-skid over time.   There was no abrasion resistant seat – the whole short had the same fabric.  After a couple of days of use the seat seemed to fair pretty well but I’m not overly confident that it would continue to hold up with hard use.   

The only other bad thing I can find is the actual sizing.  The shorts only go down to a woman’s 6.   They fit pretty true to size, which means anyone smaller is out of luck.    

Overall:

The shorts are a great addition to my sailing kit.  Testing them out in the warm conditions of Key West definitely put them up against the situation they were designed to excel in – and they did just that.  A nice look, great feel and good fit has made them a definite favorite for me.  I think I’ll have to pick up the graphite pair before the season starts here in Annapolis. 


Editor’s Note: Although this only a women's shorts review, there were also many on the boat that tried out the Men's UV Tec Shorts and were equally happy with theirs.  Fit and feel were also found to be great.  They come in a varied range of colors for the men or silver gray and graphite for the ladies.  


Want to see the shorts in action?  The team of Stray Dog sports them in Dr. Andy Engh’s video highlights of the week.  Complete with near misses and flaming desserts!