Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Gill Neoprene Winter Gloves

Winter gloves are a game of trade-offs. Unfortunately, there is no true silver bullet. Historically either the gloves are warm but too thick and/or not grippy enough or they’re plenty dexterous but too thin and not warm enough for frostbiting. The gloves that do everything well tend to be really expensive

The Gill Winter Neoprene Gloves fall towards the warm end of the spectrum, but they also address some of the typical concerns. At 3mm they’re thicker, albeit warmer, than any other neoprene gloves we offer. To protect the neoprene and add grip the palm and fingers it has an added PU (polyurethane) Dex coating in a printed pattern.

They’re neoprene so they’re designed to fit snug and work best in wet conditions. These are not water-proof, they’re only water-resistant and work like a wetsuit. For those of you who have never owned a wetsuit before the idea is to capture water inside the suit and warm it with your body heat. This makes these gloves particularly good in wet conditions, but won't work as well in dry conditions making them excel at wet dinghy sailing, but as as great for dry, cold big boat sailing. 

The other consideration is the wrist seal. The wrist seal is pretty long so you can conveniently overlap it with a drysuit or spray top cuff.  They’re design to trap water inside the gloves so the wrist seal (and the rest of the glove for that matter) is fairly snug, bordering on tight so they’re also somewhat challenging to take on and off. Typically this isn't an issue for most people because they just put them on at the beginning of the day and leave them on until they’re done sailing at the end of the day.  

On the whole the Gill Neoprene Winter Gloves are some really nice gloves, and excel when you expect to get wet and cold.  For some more reading you might look back at our in depth, side-by-side comparison of frostbite gloves from a few seasons ago found here.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dry Suit Review: Neil Pryde Curve Drysuit

The Curve Dry Suit by Neil Pryde is designed for cold weather sailing.  Specializing in dinghy racing or small boat frostbiting, Neil Pryde took the time to add in extra features you won’t find on other drysuits.

A high fleece collar will be very nice on especially windy and rainy or snowy days, with Velcro in the front and a pull cord in the back for maximum adjustment.  On warmer days it can be easily folded down.

Next is the upgrade in the zipper system.  Pre-curved, it makes it more comfortable than a straight zipper and won't get in the way.  The waterproof zipper is brass but is protected by a plastic zipper which will help prevent zipper wear and tear and also protect against accidental snagging.

Finally, the closures; the ankle and wrist seals are protected with heavy duty Velcro adjustable enclosures.  It also features booties which are warmer and more comfortable than latex rubber used on a lot of suits due to the fabric of the suit continuing on to the feet.
It does run slightly long and has a bit of an athletic cut but the built in suspenders will compensate for this if you are small in the suit or still growing. 

The price is right with the other mid-range suits, making the added features stand out even more.   It would be a top choice if I didn't already own a drysuit!    

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Crugear Decoration Review: Vinyl Heat Transfer

Here’s a secret high-speed sailing tip from Katie Burns: Boats go faster when the whole crew is wearing matching outfits.* It’s true!** 

When your program is looking at customized sailing team gear, it’s important to know what works best for your technical apparel.  For your foulies and spray gear, Vinyl Heat Transfer is going to be your best bet. 

Since these items are waterproof/water-resistant and block other elements like wind and chill, you’re looking for a decoration process that won’t interfere with their capabilities as outerwear.

Vinyl is heat-applied in such a way that it doesn't take away from the performance of your gear. Staying dry is the key reason you want this gear in the first place, and we definitely want to maintain that function.

Vinyl is also a great option for custom gear because it looks great! It looks professional, neat, and smooth – it really catches the eye. If you want your logo on a waterproof jacket, you want to use the vinyl process. 

Another quality to point out is that vinyl is long-lasting. It’s durable and will last as long as the garment does. You’re not going to tear it or peel it off over time - it’s stuck better than glue on the garment and going nowhere … well, nowhere but the race course and maybe even a win because you and your crew look so awesome.

Essentially, if you want customized waterproof team gear, you’re looking for heat-applied vinyl from Crügear. It’s our best offering for outerwear, and your team will look great!

Looking for inspiration? A sneak peak at some of the work we've done can be found here

*Matching outfits will probably not actually make you faster.

**It’s not true.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Spinlock DeckVest 5D Pro Sensor

Whether you are sailing offshore, or around the coast, one of the most important items in your kit is going to be your life jacket. Not only does it act as protection when the weather pipes up, but it is also serves as peace of mind for you, and your loved ones on the shore.

The Spinlock Deckvest 5D Pro Sensor was developed just for these needs in order to provide an inflatable life jacket for offshore sailing with a ton of built in features.

In its normal function, it is designed to be lightweight and ergonomic to provide ease of movement. With three points of adjustment it fits close to the body while not being bulky.

It comes with thigh straps, which allows the jacket to sit in the proper position at all times. It has a stretch pocket on one of the sides that is large enough for storage of a strobe or another personal safety device. On the inside of the vest, there is a pocket for the attached emergency line cutter.

With a built in high tensile soft loop for the safety harness, you can be assured that you will stay on the boat while tethered in.

There is also a window to make sure the activation unit is still functional.

The Pro sensor is activated through contact with water. A paper element dissolves to release the mechanism that punctures the gas cylinder inflating the bladder of the life jacket.

Although water activated, the unit is designed to keep rain water or waves from setting off the gas by only allowing water to enter the sensor from the bottom of the unit. However, if you are not looking for an automatic inflation, this jacket can also be converted to manual.

The bladder is a high visible yellow to increase safety and your chances of being seen while in the water. There is a spray hood attached, which is folded down over top the head to keep water off the face which secures around the bottom of each side of the bladder.

Once inflated, the pylon light also automatically deploys increasing visibility for not only the person in the water, but also acting as a strobe for rescue crews. Lastly, there is a whistle attached to the bladder providing another signaling device.

While it  may not be the cheapest inflatable in the category, the amount of built in safety features, and harness, it certainly is worth the extra price. So if you’re an offshore or coastal sailor looking for a jacket with every feature one could want,  I would highly recommend the Deckvest 5D Pro Sensor bySpinlock.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Musto MPX Race Salopettes Review

Some of the most popular foul weather bottoms we sell, the Musto MPX Race Salopettes are also a perennial staff favorite, so it’s no surprise we’re so eager to talk them up. Developed for inshore and offshore sailors who need Gore-Tex fabric technology without the weight and bulk. This is a high performance garment built for performance.

The cut is designed to be slim and form fitting with all the excess bulk removed, but they’re also flexible and easy to move around in. Largely for this reason we put it into the ‘buoy racing’ category; because of how athletic sailing around the buoys can be, but the garment is durable enough to handle almost everything you can throw at it. You could use this from inshore to coastal sailing without much issue. 

Looking at the garment itself the first feature that probably stands out to you are the wide shoulders. I personally prefer salopettes; the wide shoulder straps and high cut hold the garment close to your body so don’t have to worry about the shoulder straps falling off underneath your jacket or smock.

The only potential problem you might have with the salopettes is that if they don’t fit you well vertically (if you’re especially tall or short for your stature) then you can’t adjust them like you could a pair of bibs.

To make up for this lack of adjustment in the shoulders, Musto has also included straps around your kidneys so you can snug the garment around your waist. That way you carry less of the garment weight on your shoulders so it is easier to move around in. It also has the added benefit of reducing overall bulk around your torso so you’re not hung up on excess material.

To cut down on the bulk they have a simple, but durable water resistant zipper and gusset instead of a big overlapping gusset and Velcro flaps. There is also a large pocket on the thigh with attachment tab and a multi tool pocket on your waist. To protect the garment from non-skid and normal wear and tear Musto has reinforced the knee and butt with Cordura, a material known for abrasion resistance.

The most important feature is the material it is made out of: Gore-Tex. Anyone can make a waterproof garment but the challenge is making it breathable, flexible and durable and that is what you get out of Gore-Tex.

As far as fit is concerned I’d say they fit pretty true to size. At 5’9, 160 lbs I wear a medium which is pretty standard across the board with most every manufacturer

They’re among the most expensive salopettes we sell, but they’re worth it. You’ll get the Gore-Tex guarantee and will have many years of reliable use out of this garment. In conclusion if you’re the kind of person who expects the most out of their gear, then the MPX Salopettes are for you. Hands down these are some of the best sailing foul weather bottoms made … period.