Shadow Shorts by Henri-Lloyd

Water resistance and breathability in a sailing short? You bet. "Gear Up" from our October 30, 2007, /SW eNewsletter/



My search for the perfect sailing short continues. But, in discovering the latest offering from Henri-Lloyd, I’m certainly moving in the right direction. The Shadow Short is one of the additions to H-L’s line of sailing apparel that came through the team’s partnership with BMW Oracle Racing. In contrast to its disappointing performance in the 2007 Louis Vuitton Cup, the BMW Oracle Racing team was second to none when it came to sailing attire. They always looked sharp.Unlike most other sailing shorts on the market, the Shadow Short is made from a coated waterproof nylon. In the past, attempts at making a short from this sort of a fabric have met with mixed results. In fact, I have a pair of shorts that Henri-Lloyd made a few years back from their TP2000 fabric. The concept was great–shorts that kept your bum dry when you sat on a wet rail–but the execution left something lacking. I think it was due to a fabric problem. Making the cloth waterproof seriously compromised its breathability. So on a warm day, your body would more than compensate for whatever outside moisture wasn’t passing through the short. I believe the technical term for this sort of situation is “makin’ gravy.”But with the Shadow shorts, I found that the fabric, Henri-Lloyd’s proprietary TP2 Alpha, was, as advertised, quite breathable. Not only did it keep the spray from soaking my underwear, it also kept me quite cool. In fact, the shorts were actually more comfortable on a warm day than those I normally wear sailing, which are made from an untreated nylon or cotton. The Shadow shorts are stiffer than a traditional short, but I didn’t mind this. One thing that bothers me about some sailing shorts is they’re too soft and can get all twisted or bunched while sailing. On the flip side, the Shadow shorts do hang a little awkwardly and at one point I was tempted to turn to one of my teammates and ask, “Do these shorts make my butt look big?” Thankfully, I resisted the urge.The Shadow Short comes in four colors (blue, red, black, and grey) and retails for $100, which is on the high end for shorts. But because they dry quickly and are very stain-resistant, I think you’ll get more use out of them then a traditional pair. And you can leave the gravy making for


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