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The all-new KB1 Racer range is the product of 10 years of evolution

The new KB1 Keel Boat Racer range has more than 10 years of product development behind it. In that time our experts have refined the KB1 Racer into what it is today through continuous engagement with the best competitive sailors to completely understand and respond to their requirements on the racecourse. In its latest version we are delivering the most streamlined and resilient racing system that we have ever produced.

During the development process we’ve been working with many top names in the racing community, including those in our own Gill Race Team. While other brands may value a fashion-first approach, we view our garments as items of high-performance technical equipment just like any other. So it was important we perfected even the smallest details by speaking to the people who put the KB1 Racer kit through its paces.

Main picture: Fully kitted out with the latest KB1 Racer suits during the TP52 Super Series.

Above: the latest KB1 Racer Jacket in Graphite and KB1 Racer Trousers with new shoulder adjustment and a tactician pocket to accept course notes and GPS devices.

At the heart of the development of KB1 Racer is mobility. To meet the rigorous demands of top-level keelboat racing this sophisticated garment system needs to be lightweight and keep the elements firmly on the outside, while ensuring those who wear it remain dry and comfortable on the inside. The result is that our new KB1 Racer is engineered to move in harmony with the movements of your body; it is a garment system that allows sailors to manoeuvre quickly and easily around the boat using the minimum of effort.

Details that matter
The KB1 Racer range uses our 4 Dot, three-layer waterproof and breathable fabric with fully taped seams for a 100 per cent waterproof seal. We investigated over 20 entirely new technical materials before identifying a fabric that was five per cent lighter per square metre than its predecessor – but that did not compromise on protection. There is simply no better lightweight fabric at doing the job we wanted it to do, to our exacting standards – we tested the new fabric endlessly and rigorously in-house until we were absolutely confident with both its performance and its durability.

Our design experts engineered dozens of other refinements. Take the KB1 Racer Jacket and Smock, which were streamlined for fast-paced manoeuvres. We made numerous fine adjustments to the sizes, ensuring they were based around a more athletic fit. The PU cuffs were simplified and now offer a superior low-bulk seal.

A new adjustable hi-vis hood makes for easier and faster access while improving the fit around the head itself and providing a snug seal with a brushed lining that did not impede vision. But because the hood on a KB1 Racer garment would typically spend the bulk of its time stowed away, we engineered a new, improved collar that ensures a more comfortable fit around the neck and face. The closures for the storage pockets were upgraded to YKK AquaGuard water-resistant zips. In addition to providing a longer back hem for added protection, we also designed the front hem to be raised slightly, which reduces bulk when hiking.

The KB1 Racer Trousers show more radical development. Our in-house experts added in a key new feature that impressed the sailors we worked with: a see-through tacticians’ pocket. Course notes are still often scrawled on the side of the hull or on scraps of paper, so to aid sailors we developed this pocket to enable quick, easy reference. The tacticians’ pocket also doubles up as storage for touchscreen GPS devices.

To accommodate a range of different body heights, we designed a unique shoulder adjustment combined with a SuperStretch backpanel mesh on the rear of the shoulder, which makes the garment easier to put on. Other new features we engineered included a D-ring attachment for marine tools or kill-cord leash, adding retractable ankle adjustors to help fit around boots or trainers, and an internal fly for added onboard convenience.

With the reinforcement fabrics in particular, we tested them to destruction using 320-grit paper. Although our new reinforcement protection on the KB1 Racer is lighter than ever, it still provides 40 per cent more resistance to abrasion than the previous version.

All these detailed developments mean that the KB1 Racer range is our most lightweight, flexible and ergonomic garment system yet, designed for racing at the highest level.

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