If you don’t wear a SailFast wristband, you probably sail with someone who does. These ubiquitous blue bracelets are a great way to show your support for SailFast, the apparel company that donates 10 percent of profits to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, but they won’t do a whole lot for your boatspeed.
Starting this year, however, SailFast may actually help you sail fast. In addition to the usual assortment of cotton T-shirts, stickers, and wristbands, the company’s 2008 line includes several products designed with on-the-water performance in mind. There are Nalgene water bottles ($12.95) to keep you hydrated, Coolmax baseball caps ($22) to keep your head from melting, and technical T-shirts to protect you from the sun’s rays and your own foul stench.
While competing in the 2008 Vanguard 15 Nationals in Larchmont, N.Y., over the weekend, I tested SailFast’s short-sleeve Code Flag Tech T ($32). Although a lack of wind cancelled the racing (we’ll try again in a few weeks (more on that in a future issue of Sailing World)), Long Island Sound in June proved the perfect venue for evaluating the shirt’s performance characteristics. The cut of the Tech T is just right–not Tony Little tight, but form-fitting enough for the shirt to be worn as a base layer. Furthermore, the flexible, TempraDry material does not restrict movement when executing some of the more gymnastic V15 maneuvers. On Saturday, as we bobbed around waiting for wind under a throbbing sun, the garment earned its UPF 50+ rating. I have the farmer’s tan to prove it. And despite all the sweating I did, the shirt stayed dry to the touch. That evening, I rinsed the Tech T in cold water; by Sunday morning, it was dry and odor-free, ready for another day combatting the summer heat.