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Gear test: Gill sailing gloves

I find that certain products labeled as “task specific” can be misleading, often to the detriment of sales. Although never having used Gill gloves for their intended purpose of “all-season dinghy sailing/inshore racing,” I can tell you that its Championship and Deckhand gloves are worth a having on board.

Gill was started in the United Kingdom more than 25 years ago and has been producing sailing-oriented products since that time. Its Championship gloves are available in either long- or short-finger versions and are advertised as tough enough for extended use. They incorporate a seamless wraparound Kevlar reinforcement on the fingers, providing reinforcement to the working area without affecting dexterity. The palm is covered with grip-enhancing “Proton,” reinforced with Kevlar overlocked stitching, according to Gill. Its Deckhand gloves, also available in long- or short-finger configurations, feature Arama reinforcement on the fingers to combat common tear areas.

Cut and sewn to provide a contour fit, both models are comfortable to wear for extended periods. A feature shared by both the Championship and Deckhand gloves is the inside wrist closure, where the Velcro strap is on the inside of your wrist rather than the outside, eliminating the all too common interference of the layered material with watch bezels and controls, and having the strap catch on unwanted items.

I have been using both styles of gloves over several months for a wide variety of tasks, such as anchor rode and dock line handling, grip enhancement and general protection wherever needed — both on board and ashore. The gloves are holding up well and remain comfortable, even after numerous dunkings in salt water followed by immediate use. Although not waterproof, the Gill gloves provide some insulating properties and retain their grip when wet. The gloves breathe well, mostly eliminating sweat buildup and the after effects. Although many on-deck tasks don’t require the use of gloves, I have found myself donning the full finger versions without hesitation and appreciate the enhanced grip they provide.

The only problem I found on one glove was stitching that didn’t fully catch the Kevlar finger material where it joined the upper fabric. After carefully examining my other samples, in addition to examining Gill gloves at my local chandlery, that one instance was the only manufacturing defect that surfaced.

The Championship gloves have a suggested retail price of $27.95, the Deckhand gloves $19.95. My preference is the Championship, with the Proton-reinforced palm and Kevlar finger wrap.

Gill North America, Buford, Ga. Phone: (770) 945-0564.