Gill: New Sailing Gear 2015

Some of the most innovative pieces of sailing gear we tested this year are from Gill. Their stylish new Coastal Racer Jacket and i2 Base Layer top our list.

gill women's coastal racer jacket

Gill’s new Coastal Racer Jacket is as stylish as it is functional, photo: Gill

Gill set out to design a regatta jacket that had all the features of a coastal jacket, yet the ease of movement racing demands and they have succeeded in spades.

sea mathew helming lending club maxi trimaran

Testing the jacket at at speeds in excess of 25 knots, photo: Kara Hugglestone/Sail Couture

It’s important to note that although designed for racers, the Coastal Racer a great for all around sailing too. We’ve put it through the paces in local regattas, cruising the Cali Coast and even while flying along on the ultra fast 105′ Maxi Trimaran Lending Club 2 (article on that coming soon!). It’s quickly become our go to jacket.

The Coastal Racer is especially well thought out, cut shorter in front so racers can make fast movements, longer in back for warmth and protection, soft fleece neck and pockets in a waterproof, windproof and breathable shell made of their signature 3Dot fabric.

gill coaster racer jacket features

The many features of the Gill Coastal Racer Jacket, photo: Gill

The many other features include: a roll away, fully adjustable fluorescent hood that fits the head without impeding vision, low collar with a brushed finish provides protection against chafing and keeps the wind and water out, full length YKK Aquaguard front zip and waterproof internal storm guard, hand warmer pockets protected by YKK water resistant zipper, adjustable cuffs lined with a soft PU material for a low bulk seal, high visibility Reflexite reflectives and an adjustable shock cord hem for an optimized fit.

gill coastal racer jackets

The Coastal Racer is available in blue/graphite and graphite/silver, photo: Gill

gill coastal racer jacket, men's and women's styles

There are subtle differences between the men’s and women’s Coastal Racer Jacket, photo: Gill

I’m a fan of the bold color block design and particularly of how well it’s executed. Available in blue/graphite or graphite/silver combinations, Gill has cleverly positioned the colors to accentuate the right places on a woman. The graphite is cut in slightly on the sides to echo the curvature of the body and it’s also used on the drainage facility on the backside in the blue version. It even works when flipped for the graphite/silver option.

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The Gill Coastal Racer Jacket in action, photo: Gill

details of the gill coastal racer jacket

The Coastal Racer boasts many clever little details, photo: Kara Hugglestone/Sail Couture

Stylistically, in many ways it’s the little details that make this jacket, the strategically placed reflectors and the clever dual velcro strips are functional aspects that notch up the style. I also like how the men’s and women’s styles are similar but not exactly the same. Subtle differences in the color blocking are a nice touch.

gill women's i2 base layer

The new Gill i2 Baselayer is innovative, it’s made using activated carbon derived from bamboo, photo: Gill

gill i2 men's base layer with zipper

The men’s Gill i2 Baselayer with zipper, photo: Gill

Gill has exciting news under the jacket too. The new i2 Baselayer is very innovative, it’s made using activated carbon derived from bamboo. The activated bamboo charcoal is both naturally and permanently anti-bacterial and moisture wicking, which is an important combination, especially for off shore racers with limited clothing allowances and sailors who train daily and really maximize use of their gear.

I like that Gill is taking a natural approach, other techniques involve chemicals that cause the moisture to wick. Gill says that their base layer won’t loose it’s wickability, while other chemically treated ones loose their attributes over time as they are washed. It offers 50+ UV protection too.

close-up of gill's i2 base layer fabric

A close-up of Gill’s i2 Baselayer fabric, photo: Kara Hugglestone/Sail Couture

The fabric has a really nice texture and is comfortable against the skin. It’s kept us cool, dry and comfortable on chilly San Francisco days and dry while working up a sweat on the bow, so the i2 lives up to promises both cooling layer and for thermal installation.

We really like the natural aspect and the graphite/silver color combination is nice too. Again, Gill really tuned up the design this year, even reducing the number of strategically placed flat locked seams for additional comfort. 

gill race team charlie mckee

Gill Race Team member Charlie McKee on a foiling moth, photo: Gill

gill coed collegiate dinghy

The Gill Coed Collegiate Dinghy Championships, part of the Gill ICSA college sponsorship, photo: Gill

gill race team budget marine bvi

Gill Race Team Budget Marine at the Gill sponsored BVI Regatta, photo: Gill

A final note is how supportive Gill is of the sport of sailing, especially at the collegiate level.

We enjoyed testing out this Gill gear, particularly the Coastal Racer Jacket. While we expected a great sailing jacket, what we didn’t necessarily expect was how stylish it would be. There were many compliments on and off the water, especially for Mathew whose graphite jacket made for a cute casual jacket too. It’s exciting to see the venerable Gill brand, which has always been known for excellent sailing gear has upped the ante in the style department this year.


Kara Hugglestone is Founder and Editor of Sail Couture. She is also a San Francisco-based branding professional, sailor and traveler. When time permits, she indulges in her passion for things classic: cars, movies, wine and fashion. You can follow her on Instagram at @gallerykara.

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