Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sailing Shoe Review: Zhik ZKG Shoe

Logan from Storefront Customer Service takes a look at the Zhik ZKG Shoe

The ZKG is a truly “amphibious” shoe by Zhik.  Purpose built for sailing, the aerated-neoprene wears comfortably both wet and dry.  Neoprene construction also means the shoe hugs to your foot without being laced up. 

Any sailor from Optis to keelboats will enjoy a pair of ZKGs.  They combine the classic look of “Chuck Taylors” with new-age materials to keep you blister free on a wet ride. So kids at camp that go between swimming and sailing or big boat hikers who hate how crashing waves leave their sneakers soggy, look no further. 

The shoe offers superior traction due to the gummy rubber sole and aggressive tread pattern. The non-rigid bottom also helps contour to the deck or un-level surfaces.  Gum doesn't stick to this shoe, this shoe sticks to gum!

From personally sailing in a pair, I think that it wears and flexes just like a dinghy boot, minus the extra material and height.  My normal street shoe is a size 10.5, so without socks, a size 10 fits comfortably and gives a little for wide feet.  The ZKG is reasonable priced and comes in a variety of colors.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Glove Review: Gill Pro Gloves

Drew from Customer Service takes a look at the Gill Pro Gloves

The Gill Pro Gloves are designed for the serious sailor. If you are constantly handling lines these are the gloves for you. Let’s take a look at some of the features.

The gloves themselves are made from a durable material called Proton – Ultra. Gill went to a great deal to design this material to provide long lasting durability. 

This material will provide protection from loaded sheets in breeze, and will be a valuable tool for people who are constantly handling those loaded lines.

The wrist closure has a neoprene cuff with a Velcro strap. It allows for a comfortable feeling on the wrist while having some stretch for ease of movement.  The Velcro has good grip, and will stay shut all day long.

If you are looking for added protection for your hands the finger length is generous to give protection without having the feeling of full fingered gloves.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a new pair of gloves, the Gill Pro Gloves are a great option. If you are a spinnaker trimmer like me, these gloves will give that added protection for big eases, grip while trimming and long lasting durability. If you tend to burn through your gloves, look for these as a replacement which will provide you a great return on your investment lasting multiple sailing seasons.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Trapeze Harness Review - Ronstan Sailing Harness

John from Customer Service talks about the Ronstan Sailing Harness.

This harness is great for any type of trapezing on dinghies or sportboats.  Ronstan took the time to think out the details, making this harness a great pick.  Let me take you through them.

The leg straps are neoprene lined which is nice if the straps end up next to skin.   Also, the other three attachment point buckles are protected by neoprene sheathes.  This is great for preventing snags on line and shrouds.  

The two side attachment points that take a lot of the load are very reinforced with a patch and extra webbing to spread out the load.  This pretty much prevents point loading and will let the trap last longer.  

The spreader bar has welded strap attachment points and a welded “hook in” hook.  It also has neoprene coverings which look cool as well as make it nicer on gear or skin if you’re shirtless.  It’s probably nicer to grab if you’re in really cold weather too. 

What’s cool about the shoulder straps is they are soft and mesh lined.   This really helps prevent excess wear on gear or skin.  It also creates a little ventilation.

Moving down into the inside of the harness, we see a “back pillow”.  This is great for extra support.  The nice thing about it is it is adjustable.  It’s got a range of about eight inches up and down and about five inches side to side before it won’t engage the Velcro.   This big range of movement is good for sailors who have specific back needs.

Below that is a large, abrasion resistant pad.  It is essentially a semi-circle about 16” in diameter with a 7” “kind of” radius.  This is excellent for countering abrasion from all of the aggressive non-skid you find on rails, tanks and floors of most trapeze boats.

Overall, I think this is a really well built harness and a great deal.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tech Shirt Review - Henri Lloyd Fast Dri Silver Shirt

Katie from Customer Service takes a look at the Henri Lloyd Fast Dri Silver Shirt.  
The Fast-Dri Silver Technical Shirt From Henri Lloyd is a high-quality yet simple all-around technical shirt.  Designed with the active racing sailor in mind, it can be worn for many types of sailing from club racing around buoys to cruising on a sunny day to having a Dark-n-Stormy on the dock. Bonus: it makes great team gear!

This shirt has a lot of features for a technical shirt – more than any other shirt in its price range and probably more than any other on the market. It wicks moisture, offers UV protection, stretches well, and dries quickly. On top of all of that, Henri Lloyd has incorporated Silver Ion anti-microbial technology to help prevent odor by neutralizing bacteria. This is a unique offering, and you really can’t argue with a shirt that doesn't smell terrible.
  To me, the best thing about this shirt is its feature packed but still so lightweight; it’s simple, it’s smooth, and it looks good. For all of its capabilities, this shirt seems like it could have been developed in a NASA laboratory, but it doesn't really look like a space suit.

   The women’s only comes in a short-sleeve version, which is an issue for me because I prefer to sail in long sleeves. The men’s version does come in a long sleeve.  The women’s sizing probably runs a little short and wide, but I can move freely in this shirt and it looks good. I’d say I’m an average xs and this one is a little short, if anything. Fortunately, there is a longer hemline on the back. The men’s sizing runs pretty accurate, and the sleeves are long enough, which is definitely a great feature.

This is a great all-around technical shirt that offers a lot for its price. You can’t go wrong with the Henri Lloyd Fast-Dri Silver.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

PFD Review: The Astral YTV

Katie takes a look at the lightweight life jacket, the YTV by Astral 

“Simple by design” the YTV by Astral is a PFD made for life on the water. With a comfortable, lightweight construction, it’s great for dinghy sailors or buoy racers who like to wear a PFD.

Made with just what you need and nothing you don’t, it has two easy to use side straps, two small shoulder straps for an easy over the head design and two small pockets on either side.

One thing that sets it apart from other life jackets is the integrated waist belt. Typically found underneath the foam, on the YTV is integrated into the floatation with a mesh/fleecy material covering it. This doesn’t add any additional length to the vest and makes it more comfortable.

After trying on just about every Coast Guard Approved vest we have in the store, I found it was noticeably lighter than all other options. If you are looking for a lot of storage the YTV might not be for you.

The two side pockets aren’t going to fit much more than a whistle, chapstick and a small granola bar. If you’re not into putting everything you possibly can into a life jacket pocket this shouldn’t be an issue.

Overall it’s a great PFD for anyone looking for Coast Guard Approved floatation without the bulk.

 Editor Note: Although Coast Guard approved, it is approved as a Type V because of its pullover design.