Rhonda and I live on a yacht, and we therefore must be rich. At least, that’s what I believe companies that market marine products must think. The simplest little thing that you could pick up for a few bucks at the auto parts store or RV supercenter will cost two to five times as much if you buy the “marine” version. Many times it’s the same exact item, just in different packaging.
I consider it a big score and major success when we can find an alternative to a “marine” grade item that’s just as good, at significantly less cost. Today I want to share one such find with you. It’s my substitute for extremely overpriced sailing gloves.
I really hate rope burns. So I always wear a pair of sailing gloves when we’re out on the water. I prefer the ¾ length with the open fingertips , which protect my palms and fingers while trimming lines, but still let me feel and pick up small things. The West Marine brand is about $25 a pair. I usually prefer the ones from Gill, because they seem a bit sturdier and use a bit more leather for chaff resistance. They’re more like $35 a pair. I usually chew through about two pair a year. Or rather, the lines chew through them. Particularly along the outside of my right index finger. After a few months, the fabric in this area will deteriorate and split, leaving my entire finger exposed. After two or three good rope burns, I throw that pair away and don the next (I usually have at least one spare pair in reserve).
Now when you consider that there’s no practical way to grip a line with your hand without it running across the outside of your index finger, it’s not rocket science to realize that putting a piece of leather in this area would make the gloves last a lot longer. (And I happen to know a thing or two about rocket science, having written a book on the subject, which you might have noticed promoted here on the site.) But they don’t. I’m going to assume it’s because it lets them sell you more gloves.
So one day we’re wandering the aisles at Home Depot trying to find some water filters for our Rainman water maker, and I spot a pair of work gloves from a company called Grease Monkey. Those look just like sailing gloves, I thought to myself. Examining them, I noticed that they had the ¾ length fingers that I like, thick rubber pads on the palms, and a nice big piece of imitation leather up the entire length of the index fingers(!). So imagine my delight when I saw the price. They were only $9.99! At that price it was worth a try, so I bought a pair as an experiment.
I’ve worn them for several months now, and they’re holding up just fine, at least as well as the pricier sailing gloves I was buying, maybe even better. Why are they so much cheaper? Well, there’s that whole “you own a sailboat, so you must be rich” thing. The Grease Monkey gloves are made for auto mechanics, and as a group, they’re probably much more price sensitive than your typical yachtista. Or maybe artificial leather is just that much cheaper than the fine Corinthian leather that I guess they must be using to make real yachting gloves.
I realize we’re not talking about a major savings here. It’s not going to pay for your next bottom job. But hey, 25 bucks is 25 bucks. Personally, I’d rather invest that money in the contents of the liquor locker than in a pair of throwaway gloves.
Try a pair. I think you’ll like them!