Skip to main content
Original Issue

This season's sailing gear is stylish, colorful and, best of all, practical

It is not uncommon for a yacht cruising offshore to encounter sudden squalls, blistering sun and then the damp chill of late afternoon at sea all in a day's sail. As a result, the serious yachtsman selects his clothing as carefully as his boating equipment, and much of this spring's new sailing gear reflects this practical concern for quality as well as a sense of style.

Mighty-Mac, the Gloucester company behind the boom in burgee jackets, now makes a variety of casual deck coats, hooded parkas and trim warmup jackets in traditional navy wool broadcloth that should appeal to yachtsmen everywhere. Inspired, no doubt, by the preference of Gloucester fishermen for heavy wool shirts and sweaters that shake off the salt and spray of ocean sailing, the new Mighty-Mac jackets are treated for water repellency and are just the right thing for chilly late afternoon cruising.

The Snug-Cove parka (above), worn with traditional white ducks, makes any sailor look and feel at home anywhere from Newport, R.I. to Newport Beach, Calif. This model ($40) has an attached hood and large patch pockets, and it buttons up the front. The trousers ($11) are made by Gordon-Ford in durable combed-cotton Jibcloth.

The Sperry Top-Sider elk moccasins in the drawing are tough enough to satisfy the most demanding requirements of blue-water sailing (elk hide is the material that is wrapped around lifelines to prevent them from wearing through under strain). This shoe ($18.95) has the standard Top-Sider antiskid sole and the comfortable fit of a loafer. Unlike the canvas models, the elk moccasins can be easily resoled.

The Fulton Supply Company, Inc. at 23 Fulton Street, New York City carries a heavy turtleneck sweater especially for commercial fishermen and offshore yachting customers. This sweater (below) is made of navy-blue worsted wool that is tightly woven and double thick at the wrists and neck. It costs $12.95 and should last a minimum of six years, says Fulton. The Arctic Institute of North America, which outfits U.S. expeditions with cold-weather clothing, regularly buys 50 of these sweaters at a time for the crews of ships bound for polar regions.

Fulton's dusty, cluttered store, just a few steps from the wharves of the Fulton Fish Market, imports the highly popular and traditional English sailing hat. The one below is made of lightweight cotton and has a green underbrim to reduce the glare of the ocean sun. It costs $1.59.

Bennett Sportswear had nautical charts of Long Island Sound printed on lightweight vinyl, then turned out colorful parkas and dinghy shorts in this fabric. The shorts (above) are $13.95 in blue, orange or yellow and could conceivably help a sailor navigate by the seat of his pants. The parka, with a terry cloth-lined hood, is $21.95.

In the heavy seas offshore, the deep-water sailor needs slicker-type protection from weather, and one of the most popular today is the foul-weather gear by Canor Plarex. Imported from Norway, the suits are made of yellow polyvinyl plastic bonded to Egyptian cotton. The parka (above right) is available in a pullover or jacket model. The complete suit, for men and women, is $23.95.

White Stag, now the largest maker of boating clothes for women, has designed its new Hatch Cover parka (right) in lightweight cotton to serve as a bathing-suit cover-up against the strong sun and windy days of summer sailing. The Hatch Cover ($13) is hooded, patch-pocketed, and is just the right length for use over a swimsuit.

For the practical girl at sea, Sports, Ltd. has designed a jacket that turns into a duffel bag at the flip of a sleeve. You simply pull sleeves inside out, flip the collar over and then zip it to form the duffel bag. Made of water-repellent cotton poplin, it is white with contrasting stripes of yellow and blue at the bottom. It costs $15.