Horton Sets Sail

At Sperry, water’s our thing. In it, on it, near it — the calming, gloriousness of the ocean invigorates us. (You get it, right? The ocean. Nothing beats it.)

 

So when we heard about an Australian swimmer who dreams of competing on the water after winning an Olympic gold medal in it, we were excited.

 

Mack Horton’s only 20 years old, but he’s already got a gold medal tucked under his belt (or, under his swimming cap) from the 2016 Olympic Games. Now, he’s dreaming of the day when he’ll take off his goggles (temporarily) and accomplish another dream: competing in the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

 

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This above-the-surface challenge is close to Mack’s heart. “It’s always been on my wish list,” he told us. He loves sailing; in fact, you’ll often find him out on his dad’s 50-footer on Port Phillip Bay, Victoria.

 

So, in December, before the annual race was set to begin, we sent Mack out onto Sydney Harbour to experience what it’s like on a real Sydney-to-Hobart yacht: the newly-revamped Super Maxi CQS.

 

“It was amazing,” Mack explained. “I got a tour of the boat and was able to see the ins and outs which was great. They didn’t really push it today because they’re still testing, but it was just good to get out on the water.”

 

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Mack Horton with Sunrise’s Mark Beretta and CQS skipper Ludde Ingvall. 


 

Clear blue skies, sparkling blue water and a day on an eye-poppingly spectacular yacht were only half the gifts we presented to Mack — we also gave him a pair of brand new Sperry 7 SEAS.

 

“They’re awesome,” he said of the new shoes. “The way they dry so quickly if they get wet is great, and they’re comfortable as.”

 

And (the gifts just kept on coming) we introduced Mack to Jimmy Spithill, famous Australian skipper and youngest skipper to ever win the America’s Cup.

 

 

Sperry Rolex Sydney to Hobart 2016 21/12/2016 ph. Andrea Francolini

Mack Horton and Jimmy Spithill.


 

Jimmy chatted with Mack about the importance of training and teamwork in regards to racing in the Sydney to Hobart — as well as the unpredictable behaviour of the sea itself. “That’s the coolest thing about Sydney to Hobart,” Jimmy said. “You just never know what will be thrown at you from mother nature.”

 

Jimmy is also a Sperry ambassador who helped to design the new 7 SEAS boat shoe.

 

“It’s great to be able to develop the tools that you’re going to use on the battlefield,” he said in reference to the shoe’s cutting-edge design. “Sperry aren’t afraid of evolution and using technology. The gear we wear today is fundamental — not just in terms of safety, but also performance. The guys aren’t stationary on the boat; they run side-to-side and go from decking to netting that’s wet. It’s probably one of the toughest environments. If you can get a shoe that works well, you’ve got one hell of an advantage.”

 

And he added, “Not only that, it’s got to look good, too!”

 

Apart from looking good, the 7 SEAS boat shoe has several standout features:

 

 

Total traction. As well as Sperry’s trademark Razor-Cut Wave Siping™ outsole with non-marking rubber, the shoe has a ‘podded’ base (technically termed ‘Terrain Traction Pods’) that marries up with a yacht’s netting, maximising its advanced non-slip capabilities.

 

 

Sperry Rolex Sydney to Hobart 2016 21/12/2016 ph. Andrea Francolini

 

Fierce fit. Sperry’s signature Tru-Moc Construction is teamed with a 360° Lacing System™. Together, they provide a superior fit that cradles the foot, and advanced underfoot cushioning for outstanding comfort.

 

Intense vent. Hydrophobic mesh uppers, HydroX technology and Omni Vents enable the 7 SEAS to dry incredibly fast so your feet stay cool and comfortable for longer.

 

When it comes to the high-action sport of sailing, there simply isn’t a more technologically advanced shoe. And when it comes to racing, there simply isn’t a race as exciting as the Sydney to Hobart, which is widely considered to be one of the world’s most difficult yacht races.

 

According to Mack, 2024 might be the year we see him fulfil his dream of participating in the Sydney to Hobart. “After Tokyo,” he told us. Then he added, “I haven’t spent 24 hours on a boat yet in heavy seas and seasick… but I like to think I could handle it!”

 

Good luck, Mack. We believe in you, fellow ocean-dreamer! (Make sure you keep your 7 SEAS tightly strapped.)

 

The Sperry 7 SEAS will officially launch in Australia in March 2017, and will be available at www.sperry.com.au as well as through Australian Sperry retailers. 

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