The classic sailing brands every yacht owner should know | Boat International
The classic sailing brands every yacht owner should know
2019-10-24By Kelly Sullivan

Whether it's competitive sailing you're into or relaxing on board your superyacht as your cruise the Mediterranean, these are the best brands to ensure you fit right in on the choppy seas or at the superyacht regatta. From high-tech performance apparel for braving the elements to chic leisurewear for relaxing on deck, you'll look and feel the part in these brands.


Musto was founded by British Olympian Keith Musto. Image courtesy of Musto.

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,

For stormy seas: MPX Gore-Tex Pro Offshore Jacket, £550,

Henri Lloyd

Robin Knox-Johnson wearing Henri Lloyd. Image courtesy of Henri Lloyd.

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: Breeze Jacket, £84,

For stormy seas: Freedom Suit bundle, £349.95,


Dubarry is inspired by Galway's boating heritage. Image courtesy of Dubarry.

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: Fastnet Sailing Boot, £199,

For stormy seas: Crosshaven Sailing Boot, £379,

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Sperry is credited with creating the original boat shoe. Image courtesy of Sperry.

From creating the world’s first boat shoe to becoming a modern nautical icon, Sperry is renowned for the durability, comfort and timeless style of its designs.

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, £85,

For stormy seas: Cold Bay Duck Boot, £109,

Helly Hansen

Helly Hansen kits out the Sodebo sailing team. Image courtesy of Helly Hansen

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 Racing Midlayer Jacket, £160,

For stormy seas: Aegir Ocean Jacket, £800,


This Australian apparel brand has become a household name for sailors and Olympians globally. Pushing the boundaries on design and evolving their technical clothing, Zhik caters for all weather conditions both in functionality and style.

The history: Founded in 2003, Zhik’s range of wetsuits and dinghy gear completely changed the design approach for performance clothing and have been rapidly adopted by sailors across the globe.

Since then Zhik has developed their own specialist proprietary and trademarked fabrics including Isotak® a breathable, waterproof offshore fabric that is four times more durable that equivalent fabrics, the lighter Aroshell® breathable fabric and Superwarm®, a four-way stretch, extremely warm and thin neoprene fabric. In 2019 Zhik launched a range of ECO wetsuits, made from entirely natural plant-based fabrics and recycled plastic bottles.

For fair weather: Z-Cru Jacket, £119.95,

For stormy seas: Isotak 2 Jacket, £499.95,

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