Gear on

As one of Dubarry’s most famous range of sailing boots, the Crosshaven is uniquely designed to for sailors to wear in the best and worst of conditions.

Written by Ian Douglas
Photography by Dara Herlihy

02 August 2019


In the interests of bringing you the best analysis of sailing gear, we at Sails have decided to put the stuff through real world scenarios.

After all there’s nothing worse when that brand-new set of wet weather gear or boots prove inadequate after the first wave of your night watch slaps you out of your reverie.

In the first instalment of Gear On, Ian Douglas pulled on a pair of Dubarry Crosshaven sea boots, which were immediately subjected to pummelling.

Getting a last-minute call to help with a mid-winter run from Melbourne to Sydney I did a mental check of the offshore gear in my cupboard and thought ‘Bloody hell – no boots!’

After 12 years of flawless service and post the 2018 Rolex Sydney Hobart, my well-travelled Dubarry Fastnet boots were retired and I dreaded the thought of a midwinter traverse of Bass Strait without decent footwear.

So, a couple of phone calls on the morning of the delivery and I set off with a new pair of Dubarry Crosshaven Goretex® Sailing Boots.


A decent pair of sailing boots are without doubt, one of the most underrated but valuable pieces of kit in your offshore wardrobe.  Warm, comfortable and dry feet are a rarity on a race yacht but, as I discovered, the Dubarry Crosshaven boot delivers this and more.

Upon leaving Port Melbourne we were seeing 30 knots across the deck and building, grey skies and scudding rain, so it was straight into the offshore gear before crossing the Rip.

The first thing you notice when pulling on Crosshaven boots is the quality of the build – they were the boot of choice of seven of the teams in the last Volvo Ocean Race and it shows.

Dubarry have minimised the seams, (a common boot failure point), and incorporated high quality soft leather and Cordura for longevity and weight savings.

The insulated layers keep your feet toasty, (no need to thick socks), and the Goretex® layer bonded to the leather outer ensures the boots remain waterproof and as breathable as any boots I’ve worn.

Well placed finger pulls assist getting the boots on and the Cordura gaiter over your gear keeps the water on the outside – a feature repeatedly tested as the wind built to 40 + knots and the Bass Strait seas were sluicing across the deck with monotonous regularity.

Extremely welcome among the impressive technical features of the Crosshaven boot was the comfort factor.  Spending a couple of hours standing behind the wheel in dark, wet hard reaching conditions quickly tests limits of foot fatigue as weight doesn’t tend to be evenly distributed on both feet.  Straight out of the box, these boots fitted like old friends and the soft leather upper will ensure they stay that way.

Just as important was grip –  the NonSlip- NonMarking™ rubber injection moulded outsole kept a firm hold on the deck, while the reinforced toe and heel parts (Dubarry calls this their ‘D-Chassis’ system) gave plenty of support, protection and control.

The signature Dubarry reflective double bands on the gaiter are an important safety feature, and as a bonus make finding your boots in the a dark cabin a breeze.

The Dubarry Crosshaven boot is not the cheapest around, but as  Warren Buffet says “Price is what you pay, value is what you get” and these boots are without doubt the best value on the market.

RRP AU$759.95

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