'Cutting-edge technology' aids British Sailing's Paris preparation

By Paul Martin

Sailing attire has come a long way since Keith Musto won Olympic silver in a jumper knitted by his wife in 1964.

Sixty years ago, Musto and crew Tony Morgan were deemed to be at a disadvantage in the Flying Dutchman dinghy class due to the pair being considered lightweight.

To counter this, they doused their clothes in water to make them heavier and more competitive – in Musto’s words, “to give you even more power going upwind”.

It may have worked in 1964, Musto and Morgan claiming Britain’s only sailing medal at the Games, but the former knew it was not a long-term solution.

Keith Musto and Tony Morgan won Olympic silver at the 1964 Games.
Keith Musto and Tony Morgan won Olympic silver at the 1964 Games.

Inspired by his own experiences, he set out to revolutionise sailing gear and received an OBE in 2014 for his work in establishing Musto Clothing, who have worked with the British Sailing Team since 2009.

Britain’s Marseille-bound Olympians have benefited from the company’s cutting-edge technology in the build-up to the Games, as they bid to add to the medal haul that makes Team GB the most successful sailing nation in history.

The Flexlite Cooling range has recently been added to the British Sailing team’s collection and a sweetener more commonly found in chewing gum is among its secret weapons.

Xylitol, a sugar alcohol, has been added to the nylon fabric to increase the cooling effect of the garments, while gussets under each arm with mesh ventilation and flatlock seams add to the breathability and comfort.

John Gimson and Anna Burnet are no strangers to embracing technology to aid their sailing pursuits and set a world record last September by completing the fastest-ever voyage from Belfast Ballyholme to Port Patrick in a state-of-the-art electric vessel.

The climate conscious pair are equally ambitious when it comes to clothing and have worked closely with Musto over the years.

“Working with Musto to develop specific kit for the NACRA 17 over the last few years has been great,” said Burnet.

“Musto has always taken interest and care with our feedback and allowed us to fully focus on sailing.”

The duo, set to marry after Paris 2024, are looking to upgrade the silver medal they won at Tokyo 2020 this summer and tuned up by claiming silver at May’s Nacra 17 World Championships.

“We’re going to the Olympics to try and win a gold medal," Gimson said.

"But I’m sure if we both feel we’ve put in the best performance we can, we’ll be happy with what we come away with.”

Micky Beckett is another who will be crossing the Channel as part of the British sailing squad as he prepares for an Olympic debut in the ILCA 7 class.

He will arrive in good form following a recent victory at the Princess Sofia Regatta but is keeping his feet on the ground.

“There is still plenty of work to do and managing form is probably the most important thing of any athlete’s job,” he said.

“There is no point being the best in the world unless you are the best in the world when it counts.

“I need to manage my fitness and make sure I take some rest when I need it and slowly build into the summer and try to keep everything under control to pace myself.”

Beckett has also benefited from wearing Musto’s innovative kit in recent years and the 29-year-old added: "Musto has been a pioneer in technical sailing clothing since its Olympic roots back in 1964 and 60 years on, it’s still at the top of its game.”

Full product information on the Flexlite Cooling Range can be found here.