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The joy of clean clothes

Lunchtime onboard the "Mar Mostro." PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG ©Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
Lunchtime onboard the "Mar Mostro." PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG ©Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race

As if the constant stress of navigating through one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes while trying to win a boat race wasn’t enough, the crew of PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG have another problem on their hands – they all stink.

"Heat below and above decks has left us all pretty manky. Ok, that is the understatement of the century. We stink" 

PUMA skipper Ken Read


In his latest blog from the helm of PUMA’s Volvo Open 70 Mar Mostro, skipper Ken Read sheds light on the aromas building up down below – and the joy of a new change of clothes.

I have to tell you about a revelation I just had – I just changed my clothes. Wait, wait! Don't go to the next blog just yet. Hear me out.  

As you all know by now it is pretty well documented that we leave the dock with quite a limited amount of personal gear. This leg is probably even more to that point, mainly because we all anticipated such a hot leg. Sure enough, we didn't need much. The leg has not disappointed.    

Heat below and above decks has left us all pretty manky. Ok, that is the understatement of the century. We stink. But you know what, we all stink together. The biggest mistake you can make is really clean up and put on deodorant and get all pretty because then you smell how bad everyone else smells and how bad below is, and that is the worst. So if we all stink together then life is much more bearable.

I'm off my point. My point is that with such limited clothing options, actually changing clothes and the timing of changes is a really big deal. Sure, I have rinsed my sweat soaked shirt out a dozen times over the last few days and pretty much had myself convinced that it still wasn't that bad. Until I really studied the gray shirt with the big cat on the front and noticed that it wasn't really grey anymore. It was a beige-ish grey brown colour and stiff as a board. Essentially, if I put it down long enough it could probably walk away. Really bad. And, it turns out quite uncomfortable, although you don't really realize that until you put on a clean one. The open pores in these breathable shirts weren't exactly open anymore. A serious problem in modern day active wear.  

The shorts and under shorts were also standing on their own. Literally. I had to physically bend the shorts when I took them off to sleep to keep them from standing on their own two legs. Great shorts, I might add. A new design sailing shorts that we did with PUMA for this race and they are fantastic. Very little smell after such a long time and they also have a waterproof butt on them. Anyway, the shorts were gross.  

So I made the call. This evening was the time to make the big move. Today was the day to change my clothes. Wholesale change I decided. Why do one and not the other? It would be like having a party on top and a funeral on the bottom. Didn't make sense.

And what a move this was. Eureka! An amazing experience. A bit of a fresh water rinse with about two hands full of fresh water and voilà! New clothes are a bit baggier than when I used them last, but what a feeling. Like a layer of slime taken away. Even without a shower, it was still like I had stepped into a totally new world. Slime free, for the most part. Not so stiff, looking good I might add. The clothing choice was an easy one. Another gray PUMA breathable tee and a pair of new PUMA board shorts, which are fantastic by the way (small plug).  

So, today is a day that I will remember for a long time. You know, it’s the little things in life. The word is spreading around the boat that a clothing change can change your life and I think most are buying into it. Which is a good thing.  

One thing is for sure. No matter how bad it gets on board, we are living in a bed of spring flowers compared to the small Indonesian fishing boat we just passed to leeward of. A mix of month-old curry, fish, and body odour is not pretty, even on the high seas. Made us all feel a bit better about our situation.

Kenny


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