Andrew Dudgeon, Henri Lloyd Technical Product Manager, looks at choosing the best attire for your sailing needs and the future technology of marine apparel.
Selecting the correct clothing can make a huge difference to a sailor’s comfort and performance, which in turn is vital for the wearer’s confidence, safety and agility whilst on board and overall enjoyment when on the water.
When selecting footwear the key areas to focus on are those that affect comfort, performance and safety for sailors via the use of the latest materials and innovative designs combined with quality and detailed construction.
Safety via grip – You need to be able to move about the deck safely and securely without fear of slipping on wet surfaces. Grip is provided via the design and constructive materials of the outsole, which needs to push excess water out from underneath your foot thus allowing friction with the deck surface and therefore grip.
Innovative design – the structural components of marine footwear are selected for their low moisture absorption, fast drying and/or fast draining qualities. Sailing boots are designed especially to prevent water from entering the foot area via fully taped seams and waterproof leather, whilst high performance deck trainers are designed with lightness, quick drying and super low water absorbency in mind.
When selecting your sailing apparel it is important to look for a product that provides function and design features for the correct end use and within your price range.
The cruising sailor normally has a features wish list that includes comfort, ladies fit options, durability, ease of pocket access, safety features and fresh colour palettes.
The racing sailor, meanwhile, will be looking for a product that is light weight, ergonomic, aerodynamic, extremely breathable, offers stretch and complete freedom of movement whilst also offering a team look.
The development of fabrics has come on in incredible strides over recent years. The restrictive and heavy oilskins of old have now been superseded by lightweight, ergonomic and extremely comfortable garments.
The progression of marine technical clothing going forward will be through the further development of performance enhancing fabrics, stretch fabrics, intelligent insulation and pioneering design features. These developments will reflect the need for performance clothing that mirrors the increasing popularity of more high performance sailing boats.
With so many sports becoming more accessible, the consumer is constantly looking for products that are multi-functional and can be worn for both every day use and as sporting attire for a variety of sporting activities.