You probably know the Aquafleece®
as the first on the market with a PU coated fleece, designed to make sailing in the spray line more comfortable. We know it at Rooster as our Classic Aquafleece®
Some might say never bettered. I have to say that its simple design has lasted the test of time. It was copied by many in the marine industry, mostly in substandard fabric, but its the product that helped launch Rooster internationally.
When Rooster brought out the Pro Aquafleece®
they had introduced a heavier weight fleece, taped seams and waist and wrist closures which took the Aquafleece® into a an almost dry top experience. This has become the industry standard of late, and is also a best seller.
In spring 2015 Rooster introduced more colours to the Aquafleece range and a new design, "the Pro Lite Aquafleece®
". Let's review the strengths and weaknesses of the more established Classic Aquafleece® and Pro Aquafleece® whilst considering how the new Pro Lite Aqualfece® fits into the range.
Let's consider each garment under various genres of sailor then test and compare each products' merits:
If we assume that recreational sailors are not inspired by 5 degrees and rain, so they might be driven more by warmth and gentle breezes then the Classic Aquafleece® fits. The 'classic' can be wrapped up very small to take along on a sunny day - and brought out to cure the wind chill on a sea breeze afternoon. We can also assume that recreational sailors might not be pushing their hiking to the max in the spray line so the lack of waist and wrist closure is not as important.
Hiking Performance Sailor:
This breed are driven by small gains in performance in warm or cold conditions. Extra weight is often poo poooed so to the minimum weight of clothing to do the job of warmth and wind chill protection is required. Sadly the Classic Aquafleece® although is a nice lightweight product, leaves gaping holes at the waist for the spray to shoot up your back, sometimes called flushing. However, there are remedies to this if the sailor opts to tuck it inside his hiking shorts or long john then flushing from the bottom is completely prevented. This operation will require some re dressing when you have decided to don your Aquafleece® at the moment it has become inclement.
The Pro Aquafleece®'s wrist and waist closures prevent flushing and perhaps also gives the hiking sailor the extra tension around the waist to help core stability as a weight belt would. The bodies natural reaction to tension in the waist area is to tension core muscles which help aid hiking. The Pro is however, suited to the colder conditions as its heavyweight fleece and taped flat locked seams are as watertight as it is possible to be. When worn in temperatures of 25 degrees it does reduce wind chill to nil - but also tends to be a bit steamy.
In hotter climates, sailors still suffer from windchill, but the Pro is perhaps too heavy and over engineered to be an ideal choice for those working to their maximum in the spray line.
The Pro Lite, new to Rooster in the spring of 2015, offers the flushing security at the waist and wrist of the Pro and yet its lighter fabric and seam construction make it an ideal partner in warmer conditions. The seam construction is quite cleaver, the overlook seam joining is near watertight in the heaviest spray so works excellently as a windchill layer when the sailor is trying to minimize the amount and weight of clothing worn.
The last thing a trapeze sailor wants is bulk around their middle which adds irritation to their trapeze harness. First hand experience shows that the Classic is highly effective tucked into the harness, there is perhaps little rational to look to upgrade to the Pro Lite or Pro to reduce flushing, but only perhaps to increase the thermal protection offered by the heavier weight and taped seams Pro Aquafleece® version.
From first hand experience of all three garments, I will be selecting the Pro Lite for this season except for the most inclement conditions when I will be in the warmer Pro. But then I am not a trapeze sailor nor could I call myself a recreational sailor.