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be like alex

Big Pimpin'

Whether buying technical clothing for outdoor sports, hiking or sailing, people often choose garments that are a higher specification than required for the conditions they will actually get used in. Clearly, if you are all weather sailing or crossing major oceans you need to be fully prepared.

Zhik have engineered some exceptional developments in ocean foul weather kit, such as for the Dongfeng Race Team, winners of the last Volvo Ocean Race racing on board the VO65’s that produced firehose levels of spray in the cockpit.

Mixing it up

However, not all boats are that wet, and with modern comms and forecasting, the majority of coastal leisure sailors are far less likely to be caught out in stormy conditions. People are increasingly doing a mix of boating – some cruising, an occasional race, jumping on a SUP or driving the safety boat. This is blurring the traditional categories in sailing clothing categories, which were strictly ‘inshore’, ‘coastal’ or ‘offshore’.

Recognizing this trend, Zhik’s design team are redefining the design of their inshore/coastal ranges to be increasingly adaptable across a wider range of conditions.

Coastal gear for the Southern Oceans?

Although sadly he was not in the final gripping stages of the recent Vendee Globe Race, when Alex Thomson Racing originally contacted Zhik about the campaign, it was evident Alex required a change of pace from typical ocean level gear choices. His amazing new IMOCA 60 HUGO BOSS, with the enclosed cockpit, means he uses his kit differently and thus needs clothing to be dynamic and adaptable to handle very different environments.

Alex specified a preference for extremely breathable, lighter weight gear, to wear day in and day out, across a wide range of temperature and humidity differences. Weight, breathability and enduring comfort were critical factors. Yet the garments had to provide full waterproof protection for when he needed to go up on deck in the extremes of the Southern Ocean, as well as be comfortable in the more temperate zones.

Alex used the very light, highly breathable and versatile INS300 Smock and Salopettes. When weather and sea conditions became more extreme, by simply zipping on Zhik’s innovative Adaptable Ocean Hood and collar the Smock transforms into a fully protective offshore sailing top.

INS300 for round-the-cans & offshore

Designed for professionals and round-the-cans racers, its lightweight, highly breathable, durable fabric is rated two-times more “waterproof durable” than other leading brands of ePTFE ocean fabrics. With soft, comfortable neck and wrist seals, a large, quick-venting neck gusset to get it on and off easily, the design allows unrestricted agility when moving around on board.

By selecting the INS300 Smock, it was felt to be the perfect solution for Alex to just have one non-bulky, highly breathable, comfortable garment onboard, to cross this wide range of conditions and requirements. The award winning, optional zip-on/zip-off detachable hood and collar with it’s integrated face visor makes the smock a highly versatile garment in any sailor’s kit bag.

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