I’m a big fan of waterproof ‘smock’-type oilskins: they remove the notoriously leaky zip from the equation and are thus often lighter and less bulky – and significantly more waterproof.
I’ve worn the Elite Racer smock and salopettes almost every weekend for the past year, while racing and cruising, and taking in six Channel crossings – two in torrential rain.
Designed ‘to withstand the worst conditions imaginable’ and promised to be 30% lighter than the best-in-class predecessors, these oilskins have certainly withstood a lot of wear and tear this year, from kneeling on the newly non-slip foredeck while changing sails to clambering in and out of the tender, and sitting in rain and waves.
One immediate thing that jumps out is the light weight of the oilskins. They are by far the lightest oilskins I’ve ever owned – and thus the least constrictive to wear.
The salopettes are high, coming up to the armpits with ‘waistcoat’-type arms. The hood is particularly good, with windows either side of the front of the hood which greatly aid visibility, even in pouring rain.
After 18 months of hard use, they are showing no signs of giving up.
They come with a fairly hefty price tag, but the quality is clear to see. In addition to being comfortable and hard-wearing, lightweight and unrestrictive, with TPU transparent windows in the hood for wider peripheral vision, other features include a fast-draining centre stow pocket, a neoprene hem band and a throat tab for a customised fit and to keep water out.
Available in sizes S-XXL, the Elite Racer Smock is priced at £475, while the Elite Racer Salopettes are priced at £360.
Lightweight, hard-wearing and waterproof. Highly recommended.