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Field Evaluation of HW1 Offshore Sailing Suit - Norrie Forster, Delivery Skipper and RYA Yachtmaster Instructor

18th Dec, 2013

“In summary, I would now without hesitation consider the Hudson Wight sailing suit (HW1) as my first choice; indeed I feel strong enough about the significant increase in effectiveness that I find myself regularly evangelising about this new brand and its future in the sailing marketplace”. 
Norrie Forster (Delivery Skipper and RYA Yachtmaster Instructor)

This report reflects the accurate findings from Norrie Forster, RYA Yachtmaster Instructor and commercial sailor, on the performance and effectiveness of the Hudson Wight offshore sailing suit under a range of sailing conditions.

The return passage from The Southampton Boat Show venue on Southampton water to Kip Marina in the the Clyde provided me with a variety of conditions to give the suit a fair run for its money….  The passage time was a speedy 5 1/2 days, covering just over 840 miles, routing to get best use of wind and tide.  Our ports of call included Isle of Wight, Falmouth, Howth and finally our final destination of Kip on the Clyde Estuary. 

Yacht:  owned by Scotboats, Hanse 355 with self tacking rig, fully MCA coded

Crew of 3, Skipper: Norrie Forster, RYA Yachtmaster Instructor

Barry & Steve, crew of low to moderate experience.

Weather range: F1 – F7

Sea states, Slight – Rough

Sailing for over 80% of passage.

Suit performance:

Ease of donning/removal – The suit is remarkably straightforward to fit, even with multiple layers.  The finish on the inside enable it to slip on even over fairly bulky layers with ease.

Waterproof effectiveness – I used the suit in extremes of sailing weather from flat calm to gusts nearing 40knots at one juncture.  Having been drenched in "green water’ from waves to an incredibly heavy conventional downpour/thunderstorm on approaches to Falmouth for an hour, I can without any hesitation say the Hudson Wight suit performed faultlessly.  In terms of driving rain, a small amount was blown on the side of my hood, however I am sure this was simply because I had not taken time to best secure the toggles/elastics on the hood.

Perspiration retention – most impressively, I have had no occasion where I have noted ANY dampness on my inner layers or the suit as a result of perspiration.  this is significant since I have always noted and come to expect some amounts of perspiration, especially after a passage where there has been a lot of beating to wind or, sail/sheet management throughout rough weather sailing.

Wearability/robustness – usually by the time I have worn a sailing suit for 3 months, there are noticeable signs of routine marks etc.  Whilst I do look after my sailing kit, this is inevitable.  This suit has almost no marks on it, even after falling foul of seagull gratuities and a couple of falls.  There are no significant wear marks on the knees or seat or the leggings.

Comfort/Sizing – I am a medium build 165cm tall, I therefore, against advice chose a small suit.  I normally select medium.  I have found this to be a very comfortable fit, not appreciating too loose a fit.  I would suggest that Hudson Wight may wish to consider offering long, regular and short options if they wish to secure the niche of sailors who buy their brand based on fit…. one reason why I originally chose Musto and my wife chose Gill sailing suits with their different but subtle fitting cuts.

Safety features – The reflective flashes could do with being a little bigger or better positioned.  The dayglo coloured hood however is ideal, though standard on most suits now.

Design considerations

Plastic tangs – to tie lanyard items onto in pockets – this would allow tying knife land ways to the suit to prevent dropping over or keys in pockets

Bib behind dungarees/leggings zip – no sailing suit has been ideal in this area. The Hudson Wight suit also needs the leggings dropped for men to stand and use the toilet.  I also have to be careful that the zip on the bib doesn’t snag the water guard flap/bib

Anti drip skip/peak – it would be nice to be able to mould the peak of the hood to direct water away from dripping over one’s face; some designs offer this by means of a mouldable wire or such that allows skip shape to be altered/turned up etc directing heavy rain away around sides. 

Others perceptions

Things to combat – change takes time with many sailors, more mature ones especially. New kids on the block will in time impact upon their securities and long time preferences, younger generations will prefer to look to mooted best brands, more daring colour flashing etc… Might be worth considering pastel ladies colours and some additional colours or go faster stripes as well as more play on the technological benefits of your materials.

Brand name – can’t teach you to suck eggs here…. As above, time and money or the club route will be needed to break into the market.  However I am definitely seeing the brand appearing now….

Lightweight feel – you guys need to play on the lightweight advantages of this suit… It is nowhere near as cumbersome a feeling wearing a Hudson Wight suit as it is with some of the main market leaders…. however, care is required since some may see this as ‘lightweight’ equals less effective…….it doesn’t.

In summary, I would now without hesitation consider the Hudson Wight sailing suit (HW1) as my first choice; indeed I feel strong enough about the significant increase in effectiveness that I find myself regularly evangelising about this new brand and its future in the sailing marketplace.  

From Hudson Wight:

We are very grateful to Norrie for his evaluation and we have already taken his design suggestions and have incorporated them in our specifications for future production.

Our mission is to create the best set of “Foulies” in the market and sell them at the lowest possible price. We can only do that with feedback like this and we hope all customers who have comments will email us at

We are so keen to encourage feedback that we promise to give a free updated product, with their improvements included, to all customers that send us new suggestions and comments that lead to improvements.