This is Gill’s top-of-the-line sailing glove. It has the same Dura-Grip reinforcement as its predecessor, but the coverage is expanded, going well down on the palm and up and over the fingertips, as well as a reinforcing band around the top of the thumb opening, which should lengthen the life of the glove. The only downside is that there is a little less feel at the fingertips—probably not a big issue unless you are trying to do fine tactile activities. Not a deal-breaker, as it’s pretty easy to just take the gloves off, if necessary. Rather than sewing the grip material flat onto the glove, as it was before, it is now integrated into sides of each finger, proving a more seamless transition that should be less prone to lifting over time. The other primary materials in the glove are as before—a proprietary leather-like material in color and texture called Proton-Ultra XD on the palm side and four-way stretch nylon across the back. The glove has been shortened at the wrist, improving watch access, and the Velcro wrist strap has been enlarged and now fastens on the outside of the wrist instead of on the inside, as was the case with the previous model. The larger size makes it easier to attach and the location minimizes the possibility of snagging. Both big plusses. We checked out a size large and it was a fairly snug large, so if you’re close to the top end of your size range, you might opt for the next size up, unless you prefer a really snug fit.
The Championship model is a step down from the Pro in price, but shares many of the same quality and design features with its more expensive sibling—seamless Dura-Grip on the palm and up over the fingertips, the same four-way stretch fabric across the back, a shortened length for watch access and the wrist closure enlarged and moved to the outside of the wrist. The primary difference is in the use of the stretch nylon in areas where the Pro glove uses the more rugged Proton-Ultra XD. Think leather gloves versus fabric. Still, the Championship has reinforcement where you need it most, and it should perform comparably with the Pro. Tactile use at the fingertips is slightly better than the Pro, perhaps because the Dura-Grip is wrapped over thinner stretch material, whereas the Pro wraps over the thicker leather-like material. Again, not a deal-breaker. The Championship Glove runs a little on the small side, although not quite as much as the Pro, perhaps because there is more stretch material here, which gives a little more.
Here’s a cold-weather glove that, while you could use it in other positions on the boat, is really is designed for what its name suggests. A Thinsulate PrimaLoft lining keeps hands warm during long stints at the wheel or tiller, something any driver will appreciate during the spring and fall or on the occasional chilly summer night watch. And when damp, it still provides warmth. The soft shell is waterproof and breathable, with a gauntlet-style cuff that can be worn over or under foul weather gear. The glove is secured with a Velcro closure on the outside of the wrist where it’s least likely to snag, and a stretchy drawstring around the cuff reduces water ingress. For improved touch-screen capability, there’s a suede-like material at the tip of the forefinger, eliminating the need to remove the gloves when changing instrument modes. Like the other Gill products, the Helmsman incorporates the brand’s rugged Dura-Grip on the palm and up and over the fingertips and thumb for when the helm might be called on to trim sails or grind. Sizing seems true, as the large proved a comfortable fit.