The Helly Hansen sailsafe race 170 Auto is a product of development for race teams, and was one of the flattest lifejackets to wear.

Product Overview


  • Hammar auto activation, fast to inflate


  • thigh straps might not be for everyone


Helly Hansen Sailsafe Race 170 Auto lifejacket – reviewed

Helly Hansen Sailsafe Race 170 Auto lifejacket

Helly Hansen Sailsafe Race 170 Auto best lifejackets

Hammar inflation comes as standard and is reflected in the RRP

Work has gone into the harness of this lifejacket with aluminium rather than steel buckles to keep the weight down.

Crotch straps have been developed into thigh straps with a pocket in the back of the lifejacket to tuck them away.

There is good padding around much of the harness.

In use

Hammar inflation and an inspection window make checking and maintaining the lifejacket simple.

The jacket sits flat against the body but includes space to add in an MOB beacon or PLB.

The thigh straps are slightly more complex to fit.

Helly Hansen Sailsafe Race 170 Auto thigh straps

Thigh straps were an attractive alternative to the usual crotch strap

They need to be snug so they don’t slip down and limit movement.

A double thickness of webbing at the main front buckle made threading the smaller part through a bit tricky.

The side adjustment buckles were easy to use.

But, we found these had a tendency to slip in the water, affecting the freeboard height.

In the water

The lifejacket was the fastest to inflate on test, and came middle of the field on the other measures.

The chest strap slipped during the freeboard test on Ali.

Helly Hansen Sailsafe Race 170 Auto test

The lifejacket was quick to inflate, but didn’t achieve a very high freeboard

This meant she floated lower in the water than the jacket is intended to achieve.

The hood is well-made with a supporting arch and good ventilation at the sides and front, and well-located reflective strips.

The bladder is a reasonably conventional, symmetrical design with no protection against wave funnelling.

Helly Hansen Sailsafe Race 170 Auto lifejacket


RRP: £290
Firing mechanism:
Gas canister:
Metal box
Harness release?

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