Gloves can make the dif­fer­ence be­tween a good day on the wa­ter or a cold, and even pain­ful sail­ing trip. The YM team tested 12 pairs to find the best

Yachting Monthly - - CONTENTS - Words Katy Stick­land Pic­tures Gra­ham Snook

Sum­mer sail­ing gloves. We test 12 pairs to find out which ones of­fer the best grip, pro­tec­tion and com­fort

et’s face it, un­less you have leather-like hands, there will al­ways be times we wish we had gloves, whether it was for ex­tra grip, pro­tec­tion, warmth or all three. Han­dling ropes ev­ery day makes hands tougher but many of us only sail oc­ca­sion­ally, and whether rac­ing or cruis­ing, by the end of a day pulling sheets and hal­yards, we feel it on our palms and fin­gers and have usu­ally hit a knuckle or two as well. Sum­mer sail­ing gloves of­fer pro­tec­tion and grip, with­out the bulk of in­su­lated or water­proof win­ter gloves.

Gloves need to pro­tect and grip but they also need to be flex­i­ble to al­low your hands and fin­gers to per­form in­tri­cate tasks like ty­ing knots and us­ing on-board elec­tron­ics. We tested 12 pairs of sum­mer sail­ing gloves from seven brands: Musto, Gill, Zhik, Henri Lloyd, Helly Hansen, Gul and Tri­bord. The prices ranged from £6.50 to nearly £50. De­sign and style dif­fered wildly, with a choice of long fin­gers or short fin­gers and vary­ing wrist cov­er­age, pad­ding and ma­te­ri­als, from Neo­prene and la­tex to leather and mesh. Nearly all of them have pre-curved fin­ger con­struc­tion de­signed to give greater dex­ter­ity and com­fort.

We were look­ing for a good solid all-round per­former with good grip, flex­i­bil­ity, dex­ter­ity and pro­tec­tion. Fit is also key – they do have to fit like a glove – and while the test team’s hands come in dif­fer­ent sizes, you have to find the ones that fit you, re­mem­ber­ing that gloves do mould to your hand with time.


It is hard to mea­sure grip. As we’ve dis­cov­ered in pre­vi­ous glove tests, it is nearly im­pos­si­ble to repli­cate the ex­act squeeze of a hand many times to give a fair test. In­stead, we went back to a tried-and-tested method – mea­sur­ing the co­ef­fi­cient of fric­tion for each glove to give a good in­di­ca­tion of grip. To do this, we se­cured each right­hand glove to a glass hatch, then laid a 1.4kg slate with a spring bal­ance at­tached on top. We then pulled it un­til it over­came fric­tion and started to slide.

Dex­ter­ity was the other cri­te­ria we tested by wear­ing each pair and car­ry­ing out six timed tasks, com­par­ing the re­sult with the time the tasks took with bare hands. The tasks were: di­alling Ch16 and press­ing the trans­mit (PTT) but­ton; ty­ing a bow­line; un­lock­ing a touch­screen mo­bile phone; putting a watch on and tak­ing it off; open­ing and clos­ing a D shackle; zip­ping up a jacket. We also com­pared the de­tails of each glove, its qual­ity and ma­te­ri­als.

A heavy slate, pulled steadily over the gloves with dig­i­tal bag­gage scales, gave a pre­cise in­di­ca­tion of the co­ef­fi­cient of fric­tion and grip

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