Foul weather

Protective foul-weather gear from Zhik provides facial protection for sailors and water-sports instructors.

10 June 2020


When Zhik’s design team created their Hydrovision® Adaptive Hood and detachable visor as part of their Isotak X Offshore range for the Dongfeng Race Team, which won the last Volvo Ocean Race, no-one could have predicted how this radical innovation in yachting garment design would be adopted by sailors.

With sailing schools, charter organisations, instructors and coaches around the globe all looking at adapting how they work as lockdown restrictions begin to ease, finding facial protection and PPE to use afloat is an increasingly important part of that new equation.

Originally designed to give facial protection from extreme ocean spray, the Hydrovison Adaptive Hood features a removable rigid face visor. Anti-fogging and made from clear, rigid plastic, the visor gives 110-degree vision and comes fitted to the Isotak X Offshore Jacket and Smock. When combined with the high-cut, ergonomically-shaped face shield, the sailor is completely protected from spray, wind and unwelcome moisture droplets.


The entire hood can be unzipped from the smock and interchanged with other headwear.

As well as the Isotak Smock, the Hydrovision Adaptive Hood and visor is available as an accessory and zips onto Zhik’s Aroshell Smock. This light, highly versatile top is optimised for breathability and high activity afloat. Fully taped, with adjustable ReziSeal neck and wrist seals for a comfortable watertight seal, the smock is designed with reduced seams to keep weight down and aid manoeuvrability.

The option to add the Adaptive Hood and visor means one garment can offer a wide range of protection across a variety of conditions. For this reason, it’s been selected by Alex Thomson for use in the Vendée Globe Race 2020.

Another accessory in the protective headwear range is the zip-on Superwarm Balaclava. Simply unzipping the Hydrovision Hood and switching in this 3-millimetre neoprene balaclava gives full facial protection.

The protective nose cover and perforated mouth allow unrestricted breathing, while the hood and peak of the balaclava can be folded back to be worn as a neck buff in milder conditions. With waterproof, glued and blind-stitched seams, it gives excellent insulation in cold conditions as well as providing facial protection from the elements.

Also suitable for on-water personal protection is the versatile new Zhik Neck Gaitor. A textured knit is used to increase airflow around the mouth and nose and the pleated hem construction provides an optimal fit when pulled up around the face.

This quick-drying, breathable, stretch, seamless tube is chafe-free. It keeps water, sun and wind away and can be worn around the neck or over the mouth and nose when further protection is necessary.

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