Gill Short Finger Championship Gloves 7240
Sailing is pretty much always perceived as a kick-back sport—one that takes little effort and no endurance. You know, the kind of sport that requires loafers, a yacht-club membership, and a girlfriend named Buffy. What they don’t tell you about sailing is the sometimes superhuman dexterity and agility it takes to jump around barefoot on a 44-foot boat in 15-knot winds while you’re tacking within feet of another vessel and heeled over on a 45-degree angle. Winch handles go flying, the boom threatens to behead you, and anything that isn’t locked down is lost.
Gill Short Finger Championship Gloves 7240Gill Short Finger Championship Gloves 7240
That’s where you could lose a finger, slice your hand wide open on a stay, or have a rope tear free from your grip and burn red stripes across your palms.
“Do you have gloves?” one of the crew asked me over the phone before I left for Antigua Sailing Week in the Caribbean. “You’re going to need gloves.”
That’s where the Gill’s Short Finger Championship Gloves 7240 came in. They performed, well, like champs. For the majority of Antigua Sailing Week, I was tailing the line for the jib or grinding one of the port or starboard winches to bring it in. Sure, when you’re cruising along on one track, there’s not much to worry about, but when you have to move, you have to move fast. It’s a matter of jumping off the rail of the boat, grabbing lifelines and halyards, sliding over the center cockpit, snagging a winch handle, and grinding while you’re standing on a 45-degree angle, looking three feet to the right as the sea swirls by. Then you’re securing the line on the winch, hand over hand, while the sails fill with wind. And while you’re doing this, you’re trying not to lose your fingers in the process. Unless the crew knows what it’s doing, your finger, wrist, or even leg can come off—or you could get sent flying into the water.
My feet, needless to say, got countless bruises, scrapes, and gashes—affectionately referred to as boat bites. My hands, on the other hand, were bruise-free—that’s probably why most of our crew had a pair of these gloves. They’re also used by the U.S. Olympic sailing team, maybe because they have Kevlar reinforcements on the fingers and palms to insure against rope burn. Good enough for me. One problem, though: My hands now look like I’m wearing Mickey Mouse’s white gloves. Well, I’d rather have my fingers, I guess. $26.95, www.gillna.com