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.
Publish date:
Social count:
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.

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.


Landing Page Lead

The Volvo Returns to the Southern Ocean

Since the Volvo Ocean Race’s inception, the Southern Ocean has made it what it is. And no part of the race says “Southern Ocean” like Leg 7 from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajaí, Brazil. The 7,600-mile leg, which starts this Sunday, is not only the longest of the event, but far ...read more


SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comTeak deck paradise  I had a call recently from the man who replaced the deck on my Mason 44 five years ago. He was worried about the way people are wrecking their teak decks trying to get the green off. ...read more


Gear: ATN Multi Awning

THROW SOME SHADEAmong the many virtues of cruising cats is the large expanse of netting between their bows, which is the ideal place to hang out with a cold one after a hard day’s sailing and let the breeze blow your worries away. Only trouble is it can get a bit hot up there ...read more


How to Sail the Med

“After spending so many years sailing the Caribbean, I was frankly astounded at how much more I enjoy the Mediterranean,” says Scott Farquharson of charter brokers Proteus Yacht Charters. “The culture, the history, the food, the weather, friendly people, crystal-clear water—there ...read more


Know-How: Rigging Emergency Rudders

We were 1,100 miles from the nearest land when we received a text message on our Iridium GO: “Rudder gone. Water in bilge. Worried pumps can’t keep up. Please call!”We had been in contact with the owners of Rosinante, a 38ft Island Packet, since they had first announced over the ...read more


Experience: Hard Aground

This is a story of how mistakes are made and judgment is dulled to the point of catastrophe. It is also about how prudent planning, good equipment and a bit of luck can bring you back from the brink.We departed Norfolk, Virginia, on December 15 bound for Jacksonville, Florida, ...read more


Vestas Discusses Fatal Collision, Recovery

Vestas 11th Hour Racing co-captains Mark Towill and Charlie Enright discuss the collision near the end of Leg 4 as well as the efforts the team has made to get back into racing trimJust over a month after 11th Hour Racing’s fatal collision with a commercial fishing vessel shortly ...read more