Oi Polloi

The Henri Lloyd x Nigel Cabourn Sailing Jacket Extravaganza

Published: Thu Jan 30 2020

Henri Lloyd, those fabled masters of the seven seas, and Nigel Cabourn, the English outerwear maestro, have worked in cahoots to create a small armada of sailing jackets, ideal for both land and sea.

This stuff will be available at 00:01 (GMT) on Saturday the 1st of February, but for those who enjoy reading words whilst looking at pictures of swanky yacht-friendly attire, here’s a brief brain offload about these fine jackets…

Hunting… hiking… booting a football dead hard… all serious activities require serious clothing — stuff made to do the job at hand. Sailing is no different, and over the last hundred years all manner of functional details have been devised to make the task of bozzing about in a boat a little less dodgy.

Oi Polloi’s affinity for Henri Lloyd jackets is well documented, so without trying to repeat ourselves too much, it’s worth noting that back in the days when hefty PVC waterproofs were the only option for staying dry at sea, Henri Strzelecki and Angus Lloyd were the first to push the use of nylon (a British-made variant called Bri-Nylon, to be exact) as a lighter, more manouverable alternative.

They also solved the problem of zips rusting in the salty sea air by swapping metal for… yep, you guessed it, more nylon, and pioneered the use of velcro on sailing gear. Velcro might sound pretty pedestrian in the sci-fi reality of 2020, but this simple detail did away with countless hours of frozen finger faffing with awkward buttons.

These new jackets designed by Nigel Cabourn, a man who has spent the last 40 years hunting out curious, utilitarian features, crank up the ‘nifty detail stakes’ even further. And thanks to their classic stylings, you don’t have to be Sir Francis Chichester (maybe look him up) to appreciate ‘em.

The Deck Long Jacket is indeed a long jacket with an even longer list of notable nick-nacks. The pockets have little eyelets in the corners so they don’t fill with water (particularly useful in the North West of England), there’s a see-through compartment on the front, presumably for maps and stuff, and yep… that’s a big red whistle attached to the front. It also comes in white… which is a nice nod to the visible nature of classic nautical gear.

Then there’s the Spray Jacket—a masterful slice of Bri-Nylon, complete with that oft-forgotten sailing jacket detail… the detachable backpack. Long-time lurkers might remember that many years ago we used to stock an old sailing brand called Mighty Mac whose jackets featured a similar bit of handy stowage, but nearly a decade later we’re still not entirely sure of the original reason behind this design.

That said, we can only imagine that having a bag firmly affixed to your jacket is pretty useful when it’s the middle of the night, you’re somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, you’re dangling halfway up a mast carrying out crucial repairs and you suddenly crave the nutritional boost that only a packet of Dairylea Dunkers can give. 

And for those who like their sailing jackets on the slightly more subtle side, there’s the Sea Jacket. This one hasn’t had the Cabourn design treatment, but with that peaked hood and those hearty pockets, it’s still a cracking slice of useful, functional garb perfect for wearing whilst tying overly-complicated knots, peering forcefully into the horizon and generally doing whatever it is that sailors do.

So that’s the jackets sorted then. Anyone know if Aldi sell catamarans?