Skip to main content

West Marine Trysail Jacket and Bibs

For years West Marine has been offering its own line of branded foul-weather gear, and its Trysail jacket and bibs serve as an excellent example of what to look for in bluewater cruising gear.
  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

For years West Marine has been offering its own line of branded foul-weather gear, and its Trysail jacket and bibs serve as an excellent example of what to look for in bluewater cruising gear.

When thinking about bluewater gear, it’s important to remember that there’s no running for shelter, so it has to be tough enough to stand up to all kinds of weather. It’s equally important to remember that it is going to be put through much greater use than most gear is designed for. A single stormy passage, for example, will subject a set of bluewater jacket and bibs to more use than their coastal counterparts will experience in a year.

In the case of West Marine’s Trysail jacket and bibs, these twin challenges are addressed through a combination of materials, overall design and careful attention to detailing.

Materials: Both the jacket and bibs are made of a high-quality three-layer fabric, in which a breathable, microporous waterproof middle layer is sandwiched between a coated nylon outer layer and a soft inner layer, which both protects the waterproofing layer and makes for a comfortable layer against your skin.

Three-layer fabrics, though expensive, offer a number of advantages over their two-layer counterparts, in which a loose inner layer serves to protect the waterproofing layer, as opposed to a laminated inner lining.

First and foremost, they are lighter and more breathable, since a separate inner layer adds weight and makes it harder for perspiration to escape through the microporous membrane. Three-layer garments are also easier to put on and take off, and dry faster in the event they become damp: all-in-all a much better fabric for making foul weather gear.

Overall cut: The Trysail jacket features a long three-quarter-length hip cut—as opposed to the shorter waist-length cuts used on some performance tops—in the interest of keeping the water out. The bibs cut nice and high over the chest and back, and under the arms for the same reason. High-cut bibs also help protect your torso when you shed your jacket as the weather moderates but remains dirty.

A nice, high fleece-lined collar with a face flap protects the face and neck, and there are no less than four pockets on the front of the jacket. These include a pair of lower cargo pockets for stowing bits of gear, and a pair of lined upper pockets that do double-duty as hand warmers. The bibs include a thigh pocket and a pair of upper pockets that double as hand warmers as well.

Details: At first glance, the detailing on the Trysail jacket and bibs may appear similar to that found on coastal gear. However, it is better built, better designed and more robust, which can make all the difference in the world when you’re in rough weather off soundings.

The jacket cuffs, for example, have an excellent double seal, with an Velcro-adjustable elastic inner cuff to keep the water out. The zipper is also well protected by a “double storm flap,” and there is not only a drawstring in the waist for a snug fit, but a drawstring in the bottom hem as well.

All seams are carefully taped, with the tape is carefully overlapped to ensure there is no leakage at the joints—an important consideration.

The bibs include a substantial gusset backing up their front zipper and a pair of suspenders that are robustly built and adjusted using a buckle/Velcro combination that is far superior to the suspenders on most coastal bibs. Slippery suspenders that fall off the shoulders onto the arms have been the bane of many a sailor over the years, but they won’t be a problem with the Trysail.

The bibs are protected on the seat and knees with extensive 500 denier Cordura ® wear patches. There are also wear patches on the cuffs and Velcro closures, two areas that are subject to a good deal of wear offshore.

Finally, there is the Trysail jacket’s Optivision hood, a true work of art that will keep you dry and cozy in just about anything. Like the rest of the jacket, the hood is made of three-layer fabric with full taped seams, and a very nice fleece layer added where it contacts the forehead and side of the face to reduce abrasion.

Best of all, the hood includes multiple adjustments that allow it to fit snugly around your head, as opposed to having it continually flop down over your eyes every time you want to look over your shoulder or up at the rig. It’s the kind of thing that will almost have you hoping for a good blow just so you can enjoy how well it works.

For more on the Trysail jacket, click here. For more on the bibs, click here.

Related

m5702_RACE-AREA-6

Barcelona Venue Shaping Up

The decision to host the next America’s Cup in Barcelona ruffled the feathers of some fans, but the Defender is happy with how the venue is shaping up. The process of allocating team bases, spectator zones and the race village is underway. “I cannot speak highly enough of the ...read more

ELAN-GT6---273

Boat Review: Elan GT6

Elan’s first sporty “Grand Turismo” yacht, the 43ft GT5, launched in 2017, and was actually a bit of a mash-up. It combined an existing go-fast hull from Elan’s sexy E5 racer with a new deck and interior optimized for cruising comfort, and a somewhat detuned rig to create a ...read more

OVI-Gyre-22_KH_Crew-clean-deck-and-catch-nets_260622-11

Ocean Voyages Institute Recovers Nearly 100 tons of Plastic Waste

After 45 days at sea, the sailing cargo ship KWAI has docked in San Francisco with 96 tons of recovered plastic, including ghost nets and derelict fishing gear from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Ocean Voyages Institute, a non-profit organization based in Sausalito, CA, uses ...read more

01-LEAD-ARC-Multi_JMitchell-JM5_2883

Multihulls and the 2021 ARC

The days of multihulls being the weirdos of the sea are gone. Nothing illustrated this better than the 2021 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), which departed Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (in Spain’s Canary Islands) in November and wrapped up in December on the island of St. Lucia ...read more

01-LEAD-12364-Sunbeam_401-GSP

Bowsprits: Why They Make Sense

There is, of course, nothing new about bowsprits—sailing ships have been using them for centuries. That said, these days they are more popular than ever on cruising boats, thanks to advances in sails, sailhandling technology and boat design in general. With today’s furlers, an ...read more

01-LEAD-DJI_0009_logo

Multihull Review: Nautitech 44 Open

For years, Nautitech Catamarans has been doing things differently from other production cat builders, and it seems to be paying off. When the French company launched its Open series in 2013, it shrunk the saloon and dedicated more space to the cockpit where most catamaran living ...read more

GMR_ISLA_0415-1

New Boats: Roaring 40s

From “cockloons” to “SmartRooms” and innovative nav stations, today’s multihull builders are fine-tuning the layouts of their mid-sized cruisers in increasingly interesting ways. Not only that but as the cruising multihull market continues to mature, the new features are not just ...read more

Hall-2048x

13 Sailors Inducted to the National Sailing Hall of Fame

The National Sailing Hall of Fame (NSHOF) announced its 12th class of inductees. Among them are many remarkable people who’ve made contributions to the world of sailing through education, innovation and advocacy. Per NSHOF’s rules, nominees must be American citizens, 55 years of ...read more