Sailing clothing stays onshore as Vendee gets underway

As the Vendee Globe solo around the world race gets underway it is a chance for not just the sail-makers and the electronics equipment brands to highlight their products, but the manufacturers of high-performance sailing clothing - or so you would have thought. But, some notable trends in the marketing of sailing apparel seem to make the Vendee Globe less important than it might once have been, like a focus on high-street fashion rather than technical clothing.

Brands like Musto and Henri Lloyd have communication strategies that marginalise the sailing aspect of their business in favour of a focus on high-street fashion which is evident when you visit the home-page of their websites.

Musto’s featured stories at the time of writing were; a new store in London, another recycling of ‘black is back’ for men, a new store in a giant mall, a generic ‘don’t get wet’ sailing call to action and a panel about shooting.

Henri Lloyd have put all their eggs in the Ben Ainslie basket, but the world’s greatest Olympic sailor, who this week picked up the ‘Sailor of the year’ prize comes after a big pic of an ‘urban whaler’ model, an ‘end of season’ sale on sailing products and a couple of undifferentiated types who might as well be wearing GAP.

Gill on the other hand do have their Vendee Globe sailors on the home-page, as does SLAM – which uses video to associate the brand with the race. Marinepool features other sponsorships like Oman Sail on their homepage, but you have to dig down into the news to get information about their partnership with Kito de Pavant.

Okay, so all these brands have 3 months or so to leverage the great content that a race like the Vendee Globe provides, but its seems a little odd that more wouldn’t be made of the 500,000 plus visitors to the race-village where the only brands visible are Hugo Boss and ‘Aigle’ (Musto say they have a stand – we haven’t found it yet.)

Full article here at

The seventh edition of the 28,050 miles Vendée Globe solo non-stop around the world race starts tomorrow, Saturday at 13:02 hrs French time, 12:02 hrs UTC.