There’s no way to discuss Ice Bear Sailing Powder without some mention of the sweaty groin, so if that grosses you out, you’d better stop reading and click here.
Look, I don’t get any pleasure out of perspiring undercarriages, either, so I’ll try to make this brief. Sailboat racing, a high-energy activity conducted in hot, humid conditions where showering is not always an option, presents the perfect conditions for “makin’ gravy,” as one of my colleagues likes to put it. For years, sailors have combatted this uncomfortable condition through generous application of Gold Bond body powder. Some folks prefer the classic blend in the gold bottle; others appreciate the zing that the mentolated variety delivers betwixt the wickets. Either way, use of the product among the racing set has become so widespread, when SW‘s Stuart Streuli interviewed comedian Stephen Colbert in advance of the Charleston-Bermuda Race, he felt obliged to warn the self-proclaimed “Greatest Sailor in the World” about the dangers of the Gold Bond handshake.
Gold Bond may be the norm, but Ice Bear is the ultimate. Veteran racer Matt Ciesicki founded the company in 2010 when he hit upon a formula that worked better than anything he’d used before. “We’re in business because we couldn’t find the products that we felt were the best for protecting our bodies,” he says. “We searched all over the planet to find the best ingredients, developed, and then tested our formulations.”
The 100-percent organic body powder includes corn starch, arrowroot powder, and baking soda for absorption, white Kaolin clay for texture, and zinc oxide for lubricity. I’ve put the powder to the test over the last few months of sailing, and when my sample runs out, I’ll buy another bottle. The Kaolin clay imparts a smooth—almost slick—chafe-resistant texture, and the powder seems to require less reapplication than Gold Bond. Of course, less reapplication means less opportunites to give the Gold Bond handshake. Which in my case, is probably for the best, since I’m often the new guy aboard, and that’s no way to ingratiate yourself with your fellow crewmembers.