The classic sailing brands every yacht owner should know
by Hebe Hatton
Whether you’re planning to embrace the adrenalin of competitive racing and enter a superyacht regatta or you just want to look the part as you cruise around the Mediterranean, the kit you own can make all the difference. From high-tech performance apparel for braving the elements to chic leisurewear for relaxing on deck, these are the classic sailing brands that every yacht owner should know (and own).
With 50 years experience creating cutting-edge performance gear, few brands are more synonymous with sailing than Musto. With emphasis on practicality and innovation combined with quality crafting, Musto apparel is made for adventure with style.
The history: In 1964 the brand’s founder Keith Musto competed in the Tokyo Olympics as part of the British sailing squad. It was during the relentless training for the competition that he realised their uniform of Guernsey sweaters and flannel trousers wasn’t cutting it and set out to create a line of revolutionary technical sailing apparel.
To further develop its advanced materials, Musto teamed up with W. L. Gore to create a tough yet breathable waterproof fabric that could endure the brutal conditions of ocean sailing. Together the brands produced an extra-durable Gore-Tex membrane. Twenty years later the material is still at the core of Musto’s renowned HPX range.
For fair weather: Corsica BR1 Jacket, £160, musto.com
For stormy seas: MPX Gore-Tex Pro Offshore Jacket, £550, musto.com
Henri Lloyd’s sailing collection lies at the heart of the brand. Its connection with the sea began when co-founder Henri Strzelecki designed the first sailing jacket with a Velcro fastener. Since then the brand has continued to blend heritage with modern style to create lines that are both practical and sophisticated.
The history: Founded in 1963 in the British city of Manchester, Henri Lloyd quickly found favour with the sailing community for its pioneering use of new technologies and man-made materials.
Just three years after its launch early circumnavigation adventurers such as Sir Francis Chichester, Sir Robin Knox-Johnson and Sir Ranulph Fiennes began to choose Henri Lloyd’s high-tech gear. This tradition continues today both on and off the water with Henri Lloyd being the choice of four-time Olympic gold medallist and America’s Cup competitor Sir Ben Ainslie.
For fair weather: Rio Jacket, £89.95, force4.co.uk
For stormy seas: Freedom Suit bundle, £349.95, force4.co.uk
Famed for its iconic sailing footwear, Dubarry takes inspiration from Galway’s boating heritage with the tough elements of the brand’s homeland echoed in the durability of its products.
The history: In 1937 the Dubarry co-operative company was established to provide employment in the small town of Ballinasloe on the west coast of Ireland. Thanks to their comfort, water resistance and unbeatable grip, the brand soon became known for its signature sailing footwear.
Now a globally recognised brand, Dubarry’s heritage still continues to influence its future. Through combining traditional design with high-tech materials each product is meticulously designed to give the best performance.
For fair weather: Marco x LT Deck Shoe, £149, dubarryboots.com
For stormy seas: Fastnet Sailing Boot, £199, dubarryboots.com
The history: Founded in 1935 by avid sailor Paul Sperry, the ambitious quest to create the perfect sailing shoe began when Sperry slipped and fell overboard while out on the water off Long Island. Sperry spent months in his workshop in New Haven trying to perfect his non-slip sole when eventually inspiration came from an unlikely source - his dog. He patented a design that carved indentations into the soles of his shoes to replicate the grooves in his dog’s paws thus providing traction on the slippery surfaces of the deck.
After the launch of the first shoe, every single member of the Cruising Club of America wrote to Sperry requesting a pair of his innovative Top-Siders. Ever since Sperry has been the go-to brand for boating footwear and a key component in casual sailing style.
For fair weather: Authentic Original 2-eye boat shoe, $94.95, sperry.com
For stormy seas: Cold Bay Duck Boot, $119.95, sperry.com
The original pioneer of the three-layer concept, Helly Hansen has a history of product innovation that blends Scandinavian design signatures with inspiration drawn from the practicalities of living in some of the harshest environments on earth.
The history: After years battling tough conditions on the Norwegian Sea, captain Helly Juell Hansen began to produce his own oilskin jackets, trousers and sou’wester hats. Each piece was made from a course linen soaked in linseed to make it weather proof.
From these humble beginnings on the fjords of Scandinavia in 1877, Helly Hansen has grown to become a leading global sailing brand. Offering the optimal combination of performance, protection and style, its progressive designs continue to protect and enable professional sailors around the world.
For fair weather: HP Hellytech Shorts, £120, hellyhansen.com
For stormy seas: Aegir Ocean Jacket, £850, hellyhansen.com