It is said that ‘Clothes maketh the man’.
Now I have absolutely no idea what that means but I guess it has something to do with first impressions being based on how one is dressed. This would appear to be somewhat of a misnomer given that many very undesirable people in history have been quite sharp dressers. Take for example the leader of the French revolution Maximilien Robespierre. He was famous for his extravagant outfits and always looked immaculate when attending one of the 40 000 beheadings he ordered. Both Idi Amin and Saddam Hussein rocked a good suit and accessorised with some sensational medals and military paraphernalia. And neither of them you would have invited to a dinner party. (Mind you if the conversation turned to genocide they could certainly animate the discussion). Adolf Hitler and his entire inner circle always wore immaculately tailored uniforms and it didn’t end well for any of them. Even Kevin Rudd with his passion for white shirts and blue ties always looked smart. No one could have suspected from his neatly turned out appearance that he could be so mean to his staff. (Yes I know I am being a bit harsh on Kev by lumping him in with Hitler and Saddam, but I said something nice about him in a previous newsletter and I am still getting flamed for it.) If you are reading this Kev, don’t let it distract you from your mission to save the world. My point is that appearances can be deceiving.
The catalyst for my musings about dress sense is the forthcoming Brisbane to Keppel race, with the start now less than 10 days away. I have been considering whether to deck the crew out in crew shirts. Personally I find everyone wearing the same shirt to be a little naff. I mean if you showed up at a party and 7 of your closest mates were all wearing the same shirt as you, you would probably get straight back in the car and go home and change. The very nature of crew uniforms has changed dramatically over the 35 years I have been involved in the sport. It used to be just a polo shirt (white or for the very Avant guard, navy blue) with the boat’s name and sail number, name of the race and the year embroidered on it. For flasher boats with bigger budgets it stretched to a screen printed t-shirt with a line drawing of the yacht and its sail plan. But how things have changed! Like all sports, science and the need to accessorise have changed the clothing we sail in. These days it is all about wick away, fast drying, breathable fabrics. I think it just looks like rayon. Collars are gone, replaced by stretchy crewnecks like the Bronco’s jerseys. And grey is the new black. Yep every boat now has grey crew shirts. Why? Not only is grey hot to wear in the sun – if you fall overboard you will disappear from sight quicker than Rolf Harris’s blue card. And now every crew looks the same. When you go into a yacht club at the end of a race these days the crowd look like they all work in a tractor factory in the old Soviet Union. The whole idea I thought was to stand out from the crowd and add a little ‘Esprit De Corps’. And although the outfits are not all the same light black colour this crowd is a far cry from fifty shades of grey! Back in 1984 we were preparing for the very first Hamilton Island Race week and we decided to buck the t-shirt trend and go for a Hawaiian shirt look for our tropical tour. We also had parrots made and pinned to our shoulder. We were young then.
There wasn’t much choice in floral shirts back in the day and the one we chose was sort of brown and green with palm trees on it. I pulled it out for a look the other day and it looks like the kind of thing that those odd old people you see sitting on park benches talking to themselves wear. At least I have one suitable outfit for when my time comes.
Over the years we have continued the loud crew shirt tradition at Southern Cross and I have included a selection of our best (or worst) for your enjoyment.
And speaking of the Brisbane to Keppel Yacht race (did I mention we won last year?) No?
We have had a last minute cancellation and so have one place left. The package includes a weekend training (this coming weekend) and the great race itself starting on Thursday the 31st July. So be a part of history as we once again head for a podium finish. And I can promise you, you won’t have to wear a grey shirt. Call or email us for details.
Places also available for the Keppel to Brisbane offshore trip departing Rosslyn Bay on Tuesday the 5th August. This trip is ideal for those wanting their first offshore experience or for completing qualifying passages for the yachtmaster exam.
That’s all for this edition, until next time dress well!