by Andrew Dowley


The latest news, product reviews, promotions and sailing articles from Sailing Chandlery.


Product Review: Zhik 360 Boots

by Andrew Dowley
Zhik 360 sailing boots

Zhik 360 boots are a popular choice for sailors who are constantly hiking, especially in single handers such as a Laser.

The hiking boot design is available in the 360 boot and 560 boot model, the 360 is 4mm thick and the 560 is 2mm thick. Both have a panel on the top of the foot area with a tooth system which locks into the underneath of the toe strap to give you better grip and a better connection with the boat.

Top 5 Zhik Sailing Products as voted by us

by Andrew Dowley
Zhik ZKGs

Top 5 Zhik Sailing Products

We've been stocking Zhik sailing clothing and products for quite some time now and get brilliant feedback from our customers on the diverse range and quality of their products.

We thought it would be worth highlighting our 5 favourite products and explaining a little about them.

#1 - Zhik T2 Trapeze Harness

The Zhik Trapeze Harness has comfort, flexibility and is extremly hard wearing.

We've had ours for nearly 8 years now and it's still going strong after some seriously hard Tornado catamaran sailing.

The thing we love most is the velcro adjusters on each side of the waist, with this system it's very strong and allows you to adjust to the mm. With the use of velcro it also means you have no straps flapping around and getting in the way while sailing.

Zhik Superwarm Winter Sailing Clothing

by Andrew Dowley
Zhik Superwarm

Zhik Superwarm Excellent Winter Sailing Clothing

Last weekend was the first time I've duted off the Superwarm to go sailing this year, I had my Zhik Superwarm Skiff suit on during bank holiday Monday sailing as the temperature had dropped, it was windy and there was plenty of spray across the River.

Earlier in the year Zhik introduced their new Superwarm ranges and we were excited to be one of the first retailers in the World to showcase the sailing wetsuits and tops at the RYA Dinghy Show.

The release was a big change for the popular Zhik Superwarm and Zhik Microfleece wetsuit ranges with the introduction of an X and V version splitting the target market down the middle.

Sailing Rules of Thumb: Rule #2 The Start

by Andrew Dowley
George Cousins sailing his Laser sailing boat

Sailing Rules of Thumb: Rule #2 The Start

The goal of a good start is to be at the favoured end, fully up to speed when the gun goes with a clear lane off the start allowing options to tack off.

Get a transit. The longer the start line the more important transits become. If possible get 3 transits. The first is sighting from the committee boat to the pin when you are on the line. The second is a 'safe transit' taken when you are approximately 2 boat lengths back from the line. If possibly get a back-transit, sighting from the Pin end back to the committee boat.

Race Report: Sam Blaker at the RS Aero Worlds 2018

by Andrew Dowley
Sam Blaker - RS Aero 5 World Championships 2018

Last week I competed in the RS Aero World Championships as part of the RS games down in Weymouth. The Championships consisted of 5 days of racing which was very tiring due to the heavy winds and big waves.

Overall I am very pleased with my performance in the Aero as I finished in 22nd position out of 61 boats which was way above my target going into the event. 

The weather, particularly on the last 3 days brought severe winds of above 30 knots which was a physical and mental challenging. The waves were big which meant it was excellent downwind sailing.

This was my first time in the RS Aero 5 so I am incredibly pleased with my result and my performance in the tricky, windy conditions.

I would like to take this time to thank my Sponsors Sailing Chandlery for all the support they have given me throughout the year with fantastic ropes and blocks etc and also to Gill for the fantastic clothing which kept me warm throughout the event.

Laser Sailing - How to get started

by Andrew Dowley
Laser Sailing - How to get started

Laser Sailing - How to get started

So, you're looking into Laser Sailing but maybe you're not sure how to get started with buying a Laser and keeping it sailing. Well you've come to the right place, as an authorised Laser Performance boat and parts dealer we can help.

First of all, it's important to say the Laser is a great boat, first introduced at the 1971 New York Boat Show it's gone from strength to strength with it being the choice of Olympic sailing for both men and women and with over 200,000 being built to date. In the UK there is a very active class association with events up and down the country with hundreds of boats attending the larger events.

Laser Sailing Boat Key Facts

  • Year of design - 1969
  • No of sailors - 1
  • Draft - 0.787m
  • Hull weight - 58.97kg
  • LOA - 4.2m
  • LWL - 3.81m
  • Beam - 1.39m
  • Rig types - Standard (full rig), Radial and 4.7

Sailing Rules of Thumb: Rule #1 Pre-Race Routine

by Andrew Dowley
Sailing Rules of Thumb 1 - George Cousins

Sailing Rules of Thumb: Rule #1 Pre-Race Routine

Strategies to improve your fleet racing by George Cousins, Sailing Chandlery sponsored sailor who has recently finished in 12th place at the Laser Nationals and in 3rd place at the RS Aero 9 World Championships.

Develop a pre-race routine and stick to it. The top sailors will launch early, getting a feel for the conditions, tune up and begin their routine.

A sample routine will resemble:

  • Compass work: There is no excuse for not having a new generation of digital compass. Use your sail out to the course to familiarise yourself with the conditions. Take a compass reading at both the bottom and top of the course and begin tracking the shifts. Is there a wind bend? How frequently is the wind shifting? How frequent are the gusts? Use your compass to establish line bias also.
  • Tuning: Sail upwind to get a feel for the conditions. Does one tack feel more powered up than the other? If so why? Consider doing a split tack with another boat to establish which side is favoured. Never sail more than 4 minutes upwind away from the start line incase the warning signal is made.

Will Martin - my transition from the Optimist to 420s

by Andrew Dowley
Will Smith - Transition from Optimist into 420

Transitioning from the Optimist to 420

Will Martin now sails a 420 with Jamie Cook and is one of our sponsored sailors. He shares details of his transition from the Optimist into the 420. Learn what to expect and what you'll need.

It’s blowing 15 knots, I’m at my first 420 event at the French nationals just rounding the windward mark. We’re plaining on the reach, I’m flat out on the wire and putting trust in that my helm has more control than I do right now and can steer us through the course. Focused on not losing control of the spinnaker and keeping the boat driving through the swell whilst trying not to get swung around the mast. We are rapidly approaching the gybe mark, desperately remembering the practised rituals, and wondering how I ended up here.

Crewing a 420 is a complete contrast to the light wind oppie events I have been attending over the year. Three months ago I was fully committed to sailing optimists, training weekly and competing every weekend but struggling as I slowly grew out of the class. I had already had to adapt moving on to fuller sails with stiffer spars and foils to attempt to survive in the light winds, always praying for wind. After a tough light year I decided to transition forward into the youth classes. I had tested multiple boats but the tactical side of the 420 appealed to me most. I had also seen older generations in the club succeed in the class and had heard about the variety of training provided.

Product Review: Velocitek Prism Electronic Digital Compass with Deck Bracket

by Andrew Dowley
Velocitek Prism Compass and Deck Bracket on a Laser

At the 2018 Laser Nationals we supplied and fitted a Velocitek Prism compass and deck bracket to the Laser of Arthur Farley. We also took along a TackTick electronic compass to show Arthur so he was clear on the features of both items and how they could help improve his sailing.

He's very kindly supplied the below product review. Arthur Farley is the 2018 UK Laser Radial Under 16 National champion and had recently returned from a tour of Europe sailing his Laser.

Arthur Farley - Laser Sailor with Velocitek Prism and Deck Bracket

Velocitek Prism Review

Having used globe compasseses for a while I have watched with interest as the new digital race legal compasses have been released. Finding them fairly complicated and with lots of things on them as a Laser sailor I did not feel I needed.

Race Report: National 18 Championships - 80th Anniversary

by Andrew Dowley
Trevor Chanter - National 18 Sailing

Trevor Chanter reports on his recent National 18 sailing on the River Blackwater.

The 18 English Championships was hosted at Blackwater SC over the first weekend in July. Having never sailed on the East Coast before it looked to present some interesting challenges with a narrow launch area into the tide, a relatively long sail to the race area off Osea island, varying levels of mud and it was breezy on the Saturday.

The sail out to the race area was fairly uneventful despite some strong gusts coming down the estuary. The 18s are split between the new and old designs and at the English Championships we were all sailing together despite the significant performance difference. This made starting interesting but once on the beat we were able to sail our own course, for nearly 20 minutes to the windward mark. Three races done and it was time to head back against the ebb tide. As usual we dropped the main within easy drift of the clubhouse, or so I thought. The wind dropped at the same time so we were heading backwards into the returning Optimist fleet until a light gust pushed into the shore. Sunday saw a little drop in the wind with another 3 races completed and the mainsail stayed up for the return. We were 1st Ultimate.

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