Sailing gloves are among the most important pieces of clothing you should carry with you when you are on a boat. They serve two major purposes: Protection from injuries, for example through running lines that you have to pull manually, and protection from cold, which could make your grip unreliable and affect the flexibility of your fingers.
The traditional material for sailing gloves is leather. High-quality leather gloves are still available from a number of manufacturers, although these days they are rather luxury items than practical ones. Leather gloves will be yours if you are into lifestyle yachting, sport sailors will rather go for modern, synthetic materials.
The best and most commonly used material to make sailing gloves today is Amara Leather. In fact, it is not leather at all but a synthetic material that mimics the touch of leather. It is a very soft material and yet very durable. It can easily handle long exposures to ropes as well as to saltwater. However, try to rinse them in freshwater once you are done with sailing, since repeated moistening and drying from saltwater does harm the material to some degree.
Gloves protect you from cold and injuries
Choosing the right sailing gloves is important, so take some time and try different models. Products and prices vary, keep this in mind and once you have made your choice, write down model and size and check online whether you might find a bargain of these gloves somewhere in the web.
The first thing you should ask yourself is – as with many pieces of sailing gear – what kind of sailing you are doing. If you do calm daysailing with your kids, you won’t need professional gloves. In fact, you might want to look into the non-specialist sectors and get yourself cycling or other outdoor and sports gloves for less money.
However, if you sail in a more competitive fashion, you should look into reinforced gloves of quality manufacturers – even if they might be considerably more expensive, on the long run (or sail), the investment will pay back. Depending on the temperatures in which you sail, you will have to decide on whether you want short-finger or long-finger gloves. In terms of protection versus flexibility, they mark a trade-off: short-finger gloves allow you to work on the rigging more easily, whereas long-finger gloves might constrain you a bit – however, they will also provide better protection from blisters or injuries.
For arctic and winter sailing, you can either go for special winter-gloves only, or you combine “normal” gloves with a second pair of well-insulated thermo-gloves that are wide enough to wear them over your other pair.