December 27, 2013

Choosing the best Sailing Glove - Part 1

I am sure there has been a time when you have reacted to a cleat or clutch slipping and grabbed a line without thinking.  Rope burn - it happens.  Unfortunately, if you have the wrong gloves, this can still occur.
The simple act of protecting your hands while sailing has no simple solution, so the team at Whitecaps Marine Outfitters has put together a set of tools to help you select the right glove every time.
Gloves can take a beating, especially if you are an active racer and are in a trim-position.  The idea of spending $30 or $40 on a pair of gloves that will be in the trash at the end of a regatta can seem a huge waste.  The alternate however can be worse - blisters, cramping hands, rope burn, dropped gear and a host of other pitfalls.

Medium Size Gloves (LtoR): Ronstan Sticky Race Gloves, Slam Vela, Harken Reflex Performance,
Henri Lloyd Stealth Pro, Gill Pro, Gill Deckhand

Glove selection depends a lot of what you do on a boat, how often you sail, what type of lines you use onboard and the size boat you sail on.  This is before appreciating thermal needs.  Some things you should consider when selecting a glove:
A firm fit that doesn’t allow free movement of material against your skin causing blisters – similar to good fitting shoes.  A particular consideration for women as most gloves are cut with a male-fit bias.
Line size and type
Gripping a ¼” line is quite different to a 1” line just as an easy-grip sheet line as compared to a slippery Spectra line or similar changes grip requirements.
Gripping Style
Often position dependent.  Hauling a halyard uses a different grip style to headsail trim for example.  Also trimming a spinnaker can have a different wear pattern to main-trim.
Slip vs Grip
A question of easing (slip) a line through your palm under high speed and / or pressure repeatedly drives a different need to someone at the mast hoisting a kite.
Size of Boat
Line dimension, multi-role positions and resistance force.  Bigger sails means more pressure and it is harder to grip a line for an extended period of time.
Helm or winch grinding
Different requirements to line-work and highly dependent on size of boat or type of helm and grip material.
The need of nimble fingertips may be the difference between full finger or ¾ finger gloves.  Using instruments, charts, race instructions, bottle opener etc.
Wet performance
Does the glove perform as capably when wet as when dry.

There are a lot of sailing gloves on the market.  Each brand approaches the task slightly differently which is why it is important to know what you need from a glove.  You will notice a difference once you select the right one – it fits like a glove!

You can find our full range of gloves at

As always – we have FREE SHIPPING on ALL orders in the USA and don’t forget to take advantage of our Free Merchandise loyalty program.

Ship to shore – We’ve got you covered

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