When it comes to choosing the best women's sailing jacket, there are many options to consider. Sue Pelling takes a look at coastal options also suitable for use ashore
When it comes to selecting the best women’s sailing jacket, the first thing you will want to do is to weigh up the sort of sailing you are likely to be involved in. Women’s sailing jackets can vary greatly in terms depending on planned usage so it’s really important to invest in one that is fit for purpose.
This guide features what are commonly known as coastal jackets, which generally means they are suitable for just that – coastal sailing as opposed to offshore sailing where conditions are more likely to be extreme. Keeping dry, and therefore as warm as possible, are key when sailing, so a good women’s sailing jacket is vital.
Those involved with regular cruising or racing will know only too well that what could start out as a clement day’s sail round the coast can easily turn into a battle against the elements that will have you reaching for more appropriate clothing.
While a coastal jacket, particularly those with built in hoods, will keep the rain and spray off to a certain degree, if you are likely to sail regularly for longer periods in open water, long-term it is well worth considering investing in both the coastal and offshore options.
One of the many good things about a coastal jacket is that thanks to its lighter construction, it can double up as a casual jacket for onshore use. However you decide to use the coastal jacket though, it’s important to make sure it fits well.
Thankfully, with so many technical sailing clothing companies now recognising the importance of designing sailing apparel specifically for the female form, no longer do women have to make do with the ‘one size-fits-all’.
A women’s sailing jacket is generally designed without unnecessary bulk, so when trying one on make sure there is enough room for one or two layers underneath, even if it means going up a size from your normal fitting. The elegant shape will still be apparent but you will find it more comfortable when wearing multiple layers.
Remember there is no getting away from the fact that it’s inevitable you’ll get wet through spray or rain at some point, so choose a jacket that’s waterproof. It should also have taped seams and ideally should be constructed of breathable fabric. I would also recommend choosing a jacket with a foldaway hood, a high collar, and adjustable cuffs to help keep water ingress at bay.
If you’re looking for a full set of sailing clothes, make sure you read our guide to the best women’s sailing trousers.
7 of the best women’s sailing jackets available right now
Gill OS3 Women’s Coastal Jacket
Gill’s OS3 collection is one of the British brand’s best selling range and the women’s Coastal Jacket, that has been updated this year, not only has all the essential technical features but it is also particularly stylish.
The jacket features two layers of fabric and is mesh-lined with fully taped seams that Gill say makes it waterproof, windproof, highly breathable and light weight. All these features combine to make it a great women’s coastal sailing jacket.
You’ll also find the adjustable cuffs with PU inner seals, fleeced lined, high cut thermal collar, and fold-away hood will keep you snug and warm when it gets wet and windy.
Like most technical sailing clothing brands, Gill put safety first and has included subtle, yet effective, hi-vis trim in key areas of the jacket including the hood.
Gill has also designed the side entry pockets with Velcro closures, and which are deep enough for essentials such as gloves.
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Helly Hansen W Salt Coastal Jacket
Trusted by outdoor professionals and enthusiasts throughout the world, Helly-Hansen is definitely a brand to consider when choosing a coastal sailing jacket.
The latest W Salt Coastal Jacket, launched in early 2021 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first Norwegian crew that raced the Whitbread Round the World Race (now The Ocean Race), has been designed with style and performance in mind.
Those averse to branding however, may find the Helly Hansen logo all the way down the front a font too large!
Constructed with 2-layer ‘Helly Tech’ Performance fabric, Helly says the jacket is sturdy and durable while remaining lightweight and offering full protection from water and wind. It has double cuffs, a total of six pockets, a hi-vis packable hood, SOLAS-approved reflectives, and a high fleece-lined collar that offers plenty of protection from the elements.
Overall, this is a really stylish, lightweight performance jacket that will serve you well. It is also available in a particularly attractive Caribbean blue as well as classic red.
Musto BR2 Coastal Jacket
Musto has really gone to town with the design and development of the Women’s BR2 Coastal Jacket, making it a stylish, yet practical addition to your sailing wardrobe.
Knowing a thing or two about heavy weather technology, Musto has produced the jacket using 3-layer fabric (same as 2 layer but with an additional durable scrim layer bonded to the membrane).
Like most coastal-style jackets, it has a mesh lining making it light enough for layering up underneath. Musto says its waterproof and breathable to meet Musto’s BR2 standard (10K/10K water column rating), which makes it a good piece of kit for prolonged torrential downpours.
A high-grade double storm flap over the zip, and double cuffs with adjustable outer cuffs should help stem the water flow, while the fluorescent hood and fleece lined hand warmer pockets are ideal for keeping your hands warm when the weather takes a turn for the worse.
Decathlon Waterproof Windproof Sailing Jacket 300
If budget is a major factor when choosing women’s sailing jacket, you can always rely on Decathlon to fit the reasonably priced bracket. In fact, Decathlon’s Tribord range of sailing kit in general not only offers exceptional value for money but also delivers on performance.
Like all its performance sailing kit, Decathlon’s Sailing Jacket 300 has been produced in collaboration with sailors and designers to create exactly the sort of stylish, functional jacket required for coastal sailing.
According to Decathlon, it is waterproof, windproof and breathable, and special features include a high fleece-lined collar, protective flaps and adjustable hem and cuffs to ensure a snug fit and to help stem water ingress.
This jacket also features a fully adjustable hood that can be zipped away in the collar. All plastic zips on this jacket are injection treated that Decathlon say helps stop salt oxidation.
All in all, this is an excellent value for money, functional-looking jacket.
Rooster Passage 3-layer jacket
Although not specifically designed for women, the Rooster Passage 3-layer unisex jacket is tailored sufficiently enough for a close fit to look good on women. It has a scooped back in the hip area to provide extra protection from wash when sitting on deck.
Constructed from 3-layer technical fabric with high quality Hipster Tape on the fully taped seams, and all the features you would expect from a quality coastal jacket, this is definitely one to consider.
There are also plenty of well-positioned deep pockets including useful chest pockets that have water repellent zips and plastic key loops inside. There is a reflective stow away hood with structured peak, fleece lined hand warmer pockets, and adjustable cuffs/hem.
Zhik Women’s Platinum INS200 Jacket
Zhik has come up trumps with the INS200 Platinum jacket because it really is a good-looking, streamlined design that has all the features suitable for not only performance sailing but also for use as a lightweight jacket on shore.
This jacket is part of Zhik’s new INS200 range that features 3-layer, waterproof Vecta Fabric Technology, and has all the features required for high activity coastal and inshore sailing.
Zhik tell us the Vectra fabric is lightweight, waterproof with a breathable membrane suitable for moderate levels of activity and higher levels of waterproof durability than the industry average.
Inside, all seams are taped with further reinforcement on critical seam junctions. And the smooth hood design is fully adjustable for a customised fit and has a neat internal gusset made from Spandex. According to Zhik, this keeps the hood in contact with your forehead, preventing water ingress and wind and makes the hood move with your head.
Pelle P W Tactic Jacket
If you are searching for a chic looking, quality coastal jacket, the Pelle P Women’s Tactic Race jacket should be at the top of your list. Inspired by Pelle Petterson’s lifestyle and achievements as an Olympic athlete and yacht designer, this Swedish company never fails to design elegant yet extremely functional clothing.
The Women’s Tactic Race Jacket is, according to Pelle P, waterproof, windproof and highly breathable and incorporates Pelle P’s ‘Hi:Res 20T2L’ stretch membrane. It has taped seams and a fixed hood, which is adjusted with drawstrings. To ensure maximum mobility, it has articulated sleeves with Cordura reinforced elbows, and the cuffs are manufactured using elastic PU with Velcro fastening for a close fit to, importantly, keep water out.
The subtle yet effective Pelle P logo is placed in strategic areas to ensure the jacket is extra visible in low light including a reflective P logo at top of the fluorescent hood.