Sailing in winter can be a magical experience, providing you have the right clothing. That’s just as true whether you’re fighting the elements, or enjoying a beautifully sunny day in a spell of fine weather.
Decent sailing gloves are an essential part of being both comfortable and safe when afloat in the winter months. Wet hands get cold very quickly, so it’s particularly important that winter sailing gloves are well waterproofed.
One exception is neoprene gloves, as these are better than other materials at retaining heat when wet. They are therefore ideal for dinghy sailing and other activities where it may be impossible to keep hands dry.
Most sailors who are regularly afloat in the off-season have multiple pairs of winter sailing gloves that are optimised for different uses.
One pair needs to be gloves for basic deck work and sail handling. These need to allow your fingers to move freely and not be so thick that you lose sense of touch. However, there’s a limit to how much insulation this type of glove can offer.
For serious winter sailing a second pair of properly warm gloves that will keep your hands warm when sitting on watch, or when helming for extended periods, is therefore a good investment.
9 of the best winter sailing gloves
Musto Performance Winter Glove
These short-cuff technical gloves are made from a combination of neoprene, plus 4% Spandex for stretch, and durable Clarino PU fabric palms.
The latter offers the comfort of leather, but with technical properties that are more appropriate for winter sailing gloves.
Pre-curved fingers increase dexterity, there’s a pull-on tab to make it easier to put the glove on and the neoprene cuff can be adjusted to give an optimal fit.
This is a popular choice for active winter watersports, including kitesurfing, as well as sailing larger yachts.
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Zhik Super Warm
A full finger glove for watersports enthusiasts whose hands get wet for extended periods.
The base fabric is a very stretchy 3mm water repellent neoprene, constructed in a contoured shape that gives good freedom of movement.
An additional heavy-duty studded polyurethane layer on the palms and fingers provides extra grip.
There’s also a thin fast drying fleece inner face bonded to the neoprene. Sizing can be on the small side, so if in doubt it may be worth ordering one size larger.
Rooster All Weather Neoprene Glove
These full-fingered winter sailing gloves are aimed to meet the needs of competitive dinghy sailors on the very coldest of training days.
They benefit from a pre-shaped cut and construction that provides the dexterity needed to race small boats at a very high level.
A high grip material sourced from Japan is used on the palms and fingers, while abrasion resistant Amara is employed in high wear areas.
The result is a combination of comfort, grip, durability and longevity.
Sealskinz Waterproof Cold Weather Glove with Fusion Control
This is the ultimate in Sealskinz’s range of waterproof gloves.
The Fusion Control designation refers to the bonding of the merino wool inner liner and goatskin/softshell outer layer to a central hydrophilic membrane.
This creates a very waterproof fabric that retains excellent breathability.
It also eliminates movement between the layers and reduces bulk, while still allowing for stretch.
This results in a very warm, but close fitting, glove with excellent dexterity and freedom of movement.
They also offer excellent grip and are touchscreen compatible.
Lomo Winter Sailing Gloves
This Glasgow-based watersports, cycling and outdoor specialist sells direct to consumers at very competitive prices.
These are neoprene gloves with a reinforced Amara material used to reinforce an extended area around the palm.
Kevlar stitching provides both excellent longevity and resistance to chafe.
The result is gloves that combine warmth with comfort and enough flexibility to handle shackles, tie knots and carry out other ropework.
Decathlon fingerless mittens
Mittens are much better than gloves when it’s really cold. However, they lack the dexterity of gloves.
These fingerless mittens are therefore an excellent compromise, as the end of the garment can be slid off, leaving a more conventional pair of fingerless gloves for tying knots or undoing shackles.
They are not intended as a marine-specific product, so may not be fully waterproof. However, it’s easy to see that they could be very useful for sailing a keelboat or yacht on a sunny, but crisp and cold, winter’s day.
Sealskinz waterproof all weather insulated glove
These lightweight insulated gloves are made of 100 per cent waterproof material to keep hands dry, and therefore warmer, for longer.
The goatskin leather palm gives added protection and a natural feel, while fingers are pre-curved for comfort.
An added benefit is that the thumbs and forefingers are compatible with touchscreens.
The outer polyester fabric is breathable, with neoprene and elastane added for warmth and stretch. The inner lining is 100 per cent polyester.
Magic Marine Element Glove
These use a patented lamination process to bond a waterproof, breathable membrane to the external synthetic leather shell.
This seals stitching and any other potential water entry point, creating a dry glove. A brushed 140 gram Thinsulate inner lining provides a high level of insulation.
A pre-curved shape helps to reduce the bulk and aid movement. Wrists are elasticated and also have a Velcro closure strap.
Long cuffs will tuck neatly inside the sleeve of a foul weather jacket to prevent water running into the gloves.
Gill Helmsman Gloves
Gill recently revamped its gloves line with a comprehensive range for all types of sailing.
The gauntlet style, insulated and waterproof Helmsman Glove promises the luxury of warmth in challenging conditions.
Dura-grip, a flexible but grippy and heavily reinforced material, is used for the palms. This reinforcement extends up the fingers and thumbs and is sufficiently tough for occasional rope handling if necessary.
However, the gloves are not intended for intensive rope handling sessions.
An insulating inner layer of fabric provides a high level of warmth and retains thermal properties even when wet.
These are an ideal choice for anyone who might be relatively inactive for long periods while on deck, but who doesn’t want to wear mittens.
Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Head to Amazon’s dedicated sailing page for more marine products.
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Source: Yachting World