Paddy Hutchings


Paddy Hutchings, the British Offshore Sailor and the face of our Dinghy range takes some time out from his busy schedule preparing for the Mini Transat this year, to answer some questions for the Gill team.

How did you get into sailing? And when did you decide it was something you really wanted to pursue?

I started off sailing with a local charity when I was 10 years old. They were a great group of people and were so enthusiastic about introducing young people into sailing and encouraging them to continue in the sport. They were passionate about every part of the sport from offshore to dinghy sailing and this gave me a great taste of all the different disciplines. I think I sailed just about everyday most summers! Although I decided I wanted to chase sailing at a young age it didn’t become a possibility until I went on a family holiday to Alicante, the home of the Ocean Race, where my parents persuaded me not to go to university and follow my dream of sailing.

What is it that you enjoy about double handed racing? And how excited are you about the prospect of the mixed double handed class at the Olympics?

Double handed racing allows you to compete to the absolute max, physically pushing yourself as far as possible. When sailing double handed, you control every factor onboard the boat and it is down to you and one other to perform your absolute best, in comparison to a fully crewed boat with many more people sharing these jobs, in which you are still important but only a small cog within the workings. Working together on the boat is also great, especially when you achieve your goals, and the satisfaction of this is second to none!

I am also really excited about the new double handed class in the Olympics, as it gives a platform to showcase our discipline of sailing towards a wider audience and hopefully get more people interested in the sport. Personally, it gives prospects of the Olympics in the future, which I thought would not be possible when I chose to pursue offshore sailing. It also gives a better pathway to get into short-handed sailing as it breaks down barriers to help get into the sport.

Paddy Hutchings in the Gill ZenTherm Suit.

You have recently got a Moth – what do you like about sailing the Moth (compared to other types of boats) and how much do you see the foiling movement as the future of sailing?

Recently I got a Mach 2 moth and have been sailing around the Plymouth sound, trying to get to grips with the new type of sailing. It can be hard in winter but luckily I have the Gill kit to keep me warm while I learn the ropes. I’ve loved learning something completely new and thinking about the fundamentals of sailing differently, even if it means swimming every time I go sailing (Hopefully not for too much longer though!!). The reason why I bought the moth is that I see the future of sailing, especially in performance classes, in foiling. I’ve already seen this in a lot of sailing I have done, with foiling Imoca 60’s and Figaro 3’s. I think the moth, although different to the offshore boats, some of the skills are fundamental and transferable. It will be interesting to see where offshore classes like the Imoca’s and Ultimes go in terms of foiling, the safety with it and also the speed advantages, but for sure, I think it will help define the future of our sport and is definitely here to stay.

What would we find in your kit bag?

In my kit bag for dinghy racing, I have recently been using the Gill ZenTherm skiff suit and top. This is both warm and flexible to sail in. I have also been using the Gill Pursuit Jacket before and after I sail, which is perfect for keeping me motivated on colder days.

For offshore my kit bag is a bit more interesting. A must is my Gill x Armadillo merino wool base layer, which is again amazing for keeping me warm and wicking away moisture from my body. Some more essentials include Sudocream which is has a lot of uses during sailing and headphones for music, as I have many playlists while sailing. The Gill Kynance sunglasses and the technical marine sunhat also means I am prepared for every weather.

Gear from Paddy's kit

You are the face of Gills new dinghy collection. Which item out of the new collection were you most impressed with?

Overall, I am really impressed with the quality and comfort of the neoprene products. The first time I wore them was on the shoot before the range was released, we spent 8 hours on the water every day for multiple days and never once did I feel uncomfortable, which I have struggled with before with other brands. Gill has really tried to think about what the sailor needs and create a great collection for a wide variety of sailors. Specifically, I have loved my Zentherm skiff suit, as I see it as a versatile bit of kit that has kept me both warm and comfortable. A new bit of kit that I love is the Eco Pro Rash Vest which is made from recycled PET bottles, which shows Gills environmental awareness and consideration for turning plastic waste into clothes.

What piece of advice would you give to anyone thinking of taking up sailing?

I would tell people who are thinking about sailing to appreciate and harness every opportunity that comes their way. Sailing has offered me, and many other people experiences that I could never have dreamt of, from travelling to amazing places and meeting people who enrich my life with their knowledge and stories about sailing. It has ignited a passion and I feel grateful to have that in my life as it gives me something to focus on and dreams to strive for. People considering it should go for it, there’s not one day where I regret it!

Good luck to Paddy and his 2021 challenges!