Which Jacket is the right Sailing Jacket for me?

Written by: federico Da Sie

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Time to read 8 min

How do I choose the right Sailing Jacket?

Saiiling Jackets on Sigma 33 boom
Picture taken after sailing from Gijon to A Corunna ( 141 nm ) on my Sigma 33 ood “Shila”.

Choosing the right sailing jacket is an important decision that requires some thought and research. With so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming trying to determine which jacket has the right combination of features and performance for your needs. The goal of this article is to walk through the key criteria to consider when selecting a sailing jacket.

The most important factors to evaluate are weather protection, comfort, visibility, storage, materials, and special features. Certain sailing conditions demand high-performance waterproofing and breathability, while others require more focus on flexibility, quick-drying, and ventilation. You’ll also want optimal visibility for safety, plenty of pockets and storage options, purpose-built fabrics that can withstand the marine environment, and details like hoods, cuffs, and hi-tech closures tailored to sailing.

By learning about these key criteria and understanding your own sailing needs and environment, you’ll be equipped to choose the ideal sailing jacket that offers the right blend of protection, comfort, and performance out on the water. This article will provide a helpful guide through the decision-making process.

What are the sailing jackets features?

Weather Protection


When choosing a sailing jacket, weather protection should be a top priority. After all, the main purpose of a sailing jacket is to keep you warm, dry, and protected from the elements while out on the water. Here are some key factors to consider regarding weather protection:

Wind Resistance

A sailing jacket needs to be windproof and block strong gusts of wind. Look for jackets made of tightly woven nylon or polyester, or with a windproof membrane. The jacket should seal out drafts around the neck, wrists, and waist. Some jackets have adjustable velcro closures to help block wind.

Waterproofing

The jacket must be waterproof and keep you dry in rainstorms or sea spray. Look for jackets rated as "watertight" and made from waterproof fabrics like Gore-Tex. Sealed seams are also important to prevent moisture from seeping in. The jacket should have a durable water-repellent coating and a high hydrostatic rating (10,000 mm or more).

Breathability

While waterproof, the jacket still needs breathable fabric that allows sweat and body heat to escape. This prevents overheating and a buildup of condensation inside. Look for jackets with venting features like underarm zippers, breathable membranes like Gore-Tex, and moisture-wicking fabric linings. This provides ventilation while maintaining water protection.

 

Comfort



Comfort is a key factor when choosing the right sailing jacket. You'll want a jacket that allows flexibility and mobility while sailing. Look for the following comfort features:

 

Fit and mobility


  • The jacket should not restrict your range of motion. Ensure the cut and fit allows you to move freely and perform all necessary tasks while sailing.
  • Articulated elbows and pre-curved sleeves allow greater ease of movement.
  • Consider a jacket with a longer back hem for coverage when bending over.
  • Jackets tailored for women take into account the female form for better fit.

Lightweight


  • Look for lightweight Sailing Jackets, breathable fabrics like nylon or polyester that won't weigh you down.
  • Laminates and coatings add weather protection without adding bulk.
  • Don't sacrifice durability for the sake of lightweight - the jacket still needs to withstand the marine environment.

Ventilation


  • Venting features like zippered underarm vents, mesh panels, and zip/snap closures allow airflow to prevent overheating.
  • Some jackets have ventilation options you can open or close as needed for temperature control.
  • Partial or full mesh linings further increase breathability and moisture transfer.

A comfortable sailing jacket allows you to focus on enjoying your time on the water rather than fussing with your gear. Key factors like range of motion, lightweight feel, and ventilation will provide sailing comfort.

 

Visibility


When sailing, it's crucial that other boats can see you, especially in overcast or foggy conditions. Choosing a sailing jacket with bright colors and reflective details will help maximize your visibility on the water.

Bright colors like yellow, orange, or red are ideal for sailing jackets. These hues will stand out against the water and make you more visible to other boats. Reflective strips are another important visibility feature to look for. Reflective tape or piping on the shoulders, sleeves, and back will reflect light and illuminate you from all angles. Some jackets also have reflective prints or logos for increased visibility.

Selecting a jacket with multiple bright colors and reflective details is the best way to optimize your visibility and safety. Most sailing jackets from reputable brands will offer color choices and reflective features. Look for the brightest colors available and reflective accents on the front, back and sleeves when choosing your next sailing jacket. The improved visibility could prevent accidents and save lives in hazardous sailing conditions.

Storage

 

When choosing a sailing jacket, storage is an important consideration. You'll want plenty of pockets and attachment points to keep frequently used items within reach.

 

Pockets


Look for a sailing jacket with multiple pockets, both externally and internally. Hand warmer pockets are essential for keeping your fingers from freezing. Chest and arm pockets allow you quick access to small items you need while sailing, like sunglasses, gloves, snacks, phone, wallet, keys, etc. Some jackets also have internal drop-in pockets which are handy for keeping documents or maps protected from the elements. The number, type and placement of pockets varies, so think about your needs and sailing habits.


Attachment points allow you to clip on gear and keep it secured to your person while sailing. D-rings and toggles on the chest, shoulders or waist are useful for attaching tools, a knife, a strobe light, a radio, and more. This keeps frequently used sailing items handy but out of the way. Some jackets feature loops on the cuffs or collar to attach gloves or other small items. Reflective bands or patches can also attach to D-rings or toggles for visibility. Consider how you'll use attachment points when sailing to determine what configuration works best.

The ideal sailing jacket has sufficient storage via pockets and attachment points to keep all your essentials organized and close at hand while on the water. Prioritize the storage features that align with your needs and sailing style.

 

Materials


When choosing a sailing jacket, some of the most common and best materials to look for include:

 

Neoprene


  • Pros: Neoprene is stretchy, flexible, and very insulating. It blocks wind and water extremely well while allowing flexibility and range of motion. Neoprene is also quick-drying.

  • Cons: Neoprene can be heavy, bulky, and get quite hot, making it less breathable than other options. It also requires specific care to prevent damage.

Nylon

  • Pros: Nylon sailing jackets are lightweight, low-bulk, breathable, and quick-drying. Nylon is abrasion-resistant and provides decent weather protection.

  • Cons: Nylon does not offer as much insulation or stretch as neoprene. It is prone to becoming saturated with water in very wet conditions.

 

Gore-Tex


  • Pros: Gore-Tex provides excellent waterproofing while remaining highly breathable. It keeps wind and water out while allowing sweat and heat to escape. Gore-Tex jackets can be packed down small.

  • Cons: Gore-Tex jackets tend to be more expensive. Over time, the Gore-Tex membrane can degrade with dirt, oils, and wear.

     

Polyester Fleece


  • Pros: Polyester fleece is lightweight, breathable, quick-drying, and provides excellent insulation. It resists absorbing water and dries fast when wet.

  • Cons: Polyester fleece lacks wind and water resistance on its own and needs to be paired with an outer shell. It absorbs odours and requires washing.

Considering the pros and cons of each material will help identify the right one for your specific sailing needs and preferences. Try on different options to get a feel for comfort, range of motion, and weather protection.

 

 

Essential features to consider when you choose a sailing jacket

Hoods


Hoods help protect your head from wind, rain, and spray. Consider if you want a fixed hood or one you can roll away. Fixed hoods stay up and offer better protection, while stowaway hoods allow more breathability and flexibility when the hood isn't needed. Look for big hoods that fit over helmets.

Sail Racing Ocean Jacket hood

Collars


Collar styles affect weather protection and comfort. Tall collars seal in warmth and block wind and water. Shorter collars allow more air flow and cooling. Some jackets have adjustable or removable storm collars. Figure out your ideal collar height and closure.

Sail Racing jacket collar detail

crew,Inshore, offshore .....

When it comes to sailing jackets designed for different environments, the terms "crew jacket," "inshore jacket," and "offshore jacket" are often used. While they may sound similar, each type of jacket serves a specific purpose and is tailored to meet the unique demands of its intended environment.

A crew jacket typically refers to a jacket worn by individuals working on boats or ships. These sailing jackets are designed to be durable, water-resistant, and provide protection against wind and cold temperatures. They often feature multiple pockets for storing tools or personal items, reflective elements for increased visibility, and may have additional safety features such as flotation devices.

On the other hand, an inshore jacket is specifically designed for activities that take place closer to the shore or in calmer waters. These jackets prioritize comfort and mobility while still providing protection from wind and light rain. Inshore sailing jackets are typically made from lightweight materials that offer breathability and flexibility.

Lastly, offshore sailing jackets are specifically engineered for more extreme conditions encountered further out at sea. These jackets are built to withstand harsh weather conditions such as heavy rain, strong winds, and rough seas. They often feature advanced waterproofing technologies, reinforced seams, adjustable hoods and cuffs for added protection against the elements.

Understanding the differences between crew, inshore, and offshore jackets helps choose appropriate outerwear based on specific needs and environments.. Whether you're working on a boat close to shore or venturing into more challenging offshore conditions, having the right type of sailing jacket can make all the difference in ensuring comfort, safety, and performance

Lets see some of the different sailing jackets through the Sail Racing Catalogue

Day sailing 

the Sail Racing Spray Jacket in Carbon represent the perfect team jacket.  Fully taped with 20 000 WP/20 000 MVP which makes the jacket waterproof, windproof and highly breathable. Water-resistant YKK Aquaguard zippers at centre front. Collar with brushed tricot inside. Chest pocket and two hand pockets. Inner cuff in lycra fabric. Adjustable sleeve end with velcro closure and drawstring at bottom hem. Reinforcement inside sleeve

Sail Racing Spray jacket

High performance Sailing Jacket

 

A high-performance sailing jacket is a must-have for any serious sailor, and Sail Racing offers a range of top-quality options to choose from.( reference jacket on picture) Whether you're racing or cruising, their jackets are designed to provide unbeatable weather protection, comfort, and style.

Sail Racing Reference jacket

Offshore Racing and cruising

The Sail Racing Reference Pro Offshore jacket ( ladies' model on the picture )  features an innovative 3-layer Gore-Tex® fabric with tricot backers that is engineered to be completely windproof and waterproof while still remaining breathable, keeping you dry and comfortable even in the harshest racing conditions. Strategically placed stretch panels allow for unrestricted mobility. 

Sail Racing Women

Orca Ocean Open Parka

The Sail Racing Orca Ocean Parka is the new Ocean jacket with no compromises. Simply the best materials, features and innovative design all in one product.

Constructed with 3-layer Gore-Tex PRO fabric, it's engineered for maximum durability, breathability, and weather protection. An abrasion-resistant nylon exterior shields you from wind and rain, while the breathable membrane wicks away sweat to keep you cool and comfortable

Sail Racing Orca Oceean Parka

Discover all the Sail Racing Men's and Women's Jackets on our website. Find your new sailing jacket at Sailing Point to be perfectly protected in any sailing occasion.

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