First lets define what makes good sailing shorts.
1. Good fit. ( This is a major issue for most sailing shorts)
2. Pockets- they need to be of useful sizes and easy to open with gloved hands
3. Belt loops - I at least like to mini carabeener my multitool via a long line to a belt loop so I do not drop it overboard
4. Reinforced or padded and reinforced rear end.
5. Fast drying
6. Long enough to protect the back of your thighs when on the rail without being so long as to be ugly.
7. Movement you need to be able to have full movement for climbing around on the boat without the shorts pulling against your legs
8. Durable- Non skid can do a number on your clothes and given the amount of sailing I do has ruined several pairs of shorts. Sailing shorts are not cheap and for these prices should hold up.
I have been searching for the best pair for years. I've tried on or owned almost all of the major contenders from Camet, Underarmour, Gil, Zhik, Atlantis,Henry Loyd ect.
Finally I found a pair I actually love. Musto Evolution Performance Women's Shorts
So how do they do on the criteria we established above
1. Fit- Seems to be true to size. Waist to hip area is comfortable(which is rare usually sailing shorts either have a really tiny waist and huge hip area or no assumption of hips at all) and I wear the same size I do in most normal shorts.
2.Nice deep pockets. The big thigh pocket I wish was on the right leg not the left but that is just me. It is plenty of space for your cell and money at the after party or during the race I often put the gloves in that pocket before the race. The thigh pocket is really two pockets the velcro one on top and the zipper one underneath. I mainly use the velcro one. It is nice for a roll of tape or a pair of gloves which getting things rigged up on the way to the race course. The hip pockets are also good I use the one on the right for my multitool and they are deep enough for that and that is a rare thing. After races it is big enough to hold a beer can.
3. They smartly put the belt loops right at the top of the pockets so carabeenering stuff with an idiot line( a bit of light line connecting a tool to a carabeener so that you do not drop overboard like an idiot) to your belt loops and putting it in the pockets works great.
4. These shorts do not have padding or the option for padding but that is ok. They do have a reinforced rear end which is nice and great protection against abrasion of nonskid. The texture also helps prevent slipping on boats with insufficient non skid when on the rail. A comment from one of my guy friends was that the placement and grey color of the reinforced rear tends to emphasize attractive rear ends of female sailors due to the curve. I am not sure if this is true or my friend is just a typical horny sailor.
5. Well last night I was wearing these and got splashed with bay water and soaked at one point on the rail and they were entirely dry by the end of the next leg. So they pass that. Not sweat wicking but they do dry fast.
6.I'm 5'10'' with lot of that extra height being legs so sometimes shorts are too short on me. These fall about five inches above my knee cap. This is long enough that they protect my thighs on the rail and help prevent those obnoxious rail line bruises.
7. They have a nice oval in the crotch gusset and such so I can fully do the splits or get one leg entirely up and the other entirely down without issue. Total full range of movement in them without pulling on the crotch or back of legs. Perfect in this criteria.
8.Durable. Since I bought these I have done probably 20 races in them things from ocean races Annapolis to Newport to Wednesday and Thursday night races on boats from 22- 80 feet and they still look brand new after washing. No rips, tears, pilling, or worn down spots. Rare are the shorts that can withstand all that with no damage.
9.Style/Price- They are totally attractive enough to wear to the post race party but not so cute that you would wear them out in a non sailing crowd. At $110 they are in the range but at the high end of the range for price of women's tech sailing shorts.
Overall I think these shorts are a 9 out of 10. They are the best female racing shorts I have found go get yourself a pair.
What would I change?
They only come in Black or Stone. ( I own black) but my ideal color would be a dark tan. Stone is too light and shows dirt black is too dark and gets warm.
I would put the thigh pocket on the right side not the left.
If they could get the price below 100 that would be much better.
Note: I am not affiliated in any way with Musto or any sailing gear manufacture. I just wear their stuff. I am also not affiliated in any way with APS which is where the link goes to buy these shorts. I just know they stock them. Neither company knows I exist and this review is unbiased in that regard.