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Yachting World New Gear Review - June 2014

5th May, 2014

Choosing your foul weather gear is a delicate balancing act. Ultimately the decision will depend on your budget and sailing plans, but most of us will be forced into a compromise. Spending nearly four-figure sums – the price of a durable ocean or even a top offshore set of foulies today – seems ludicrous for the majority. So, is it better to stick with a premier brand but drop down to coastal/inshore level, possibly forsaking a proven Gore-tex membrane, or go for as high a spec as you can afford with a less expensive manufacturer? 

Hudson Wight was launched to address this issue. Based on the Isle of Wight, the new company produce one range of kit to appeal to most cold water sailors, inshore or offshore. One set of foulies for use no matter how far offshore you are headed sounds appealing. But then so does gear that costs around half the price of leading brands – Hudson Wight save money by only selling their products direct from their website or through affiliated sailing clubs. 

The garments are designed in the UK and manufactured in the Far East. We tried the HW1 foulies pictured, attracted by their high specification and good design. They feature the sort of three-layer lamination construction usually reserved for top-end offshore/ocean suits, using a performance fabric designed for Hudson Wight called OceanVent. That’s impressive for the price.

They look smart and have high vis’ styling. The construction quality seems durable and they feel light when worn, with a tactile, soft finish. Among the number of features are large fleece-lined hand warmer pockets and waterproof zipped pockets. The jacket seems quite wide in fit, but it has waist-adjusters and the trousers extend right up to chest level for good protection. I had some minor issues with the limited retro reflection and a trouser zip being too high, but Hudson Wight assure me these snags have been addressed already. 

For now, the Hudson Wight range is limited to these HW1s, a day jacket, a gilet and accessories. A smock version for dinghy sailors will be introduced in early summer. 

Reviewed by Yachting World Test Editor, Toby Hodges – June 2014