I have owned red socks for as long as I can remember, but it was Sir Peter Blake who made red socks lucky and fashionable.
It was 1995 and New Zealand was in the grip of America’s Cup fever. I didn’t know my aft from my grinder. Black Magic had won the Louis Vuitton Cup and the right to challenge Team Dennis Connor off the coast of San Diego.
Journalists soon noticed that every time Sir Peter Blake wore his red socks, Black Magic won a race. Soon almost every one in New Zealand was wearing red socks and Black Magic made history, winning the America’s Cup 5-0. I remember hearing Peter Montgomery shouting, ”The America’s Cup is now New Zealand’s Cup!”.
In 2000, I donned my new red socks and as summer turned to autumn, I knew the difference between a spinnaker and a gennaker and Peter Montgomery exclaimed “The America’s Cup is still New Zealand’s Cup!”
In 1997, Blake became the Cousteau Society’s head of expeditions and spent more time bringing marine conservation issues to our notice. Sadly, on 5 December 2001, pirates shot and killed Blake while he was on an environmental trip in South America.
His enthusiasm and love for the environment and his dedication to young people lives on in the Sir Peter Blake Trust and Red Socks Day. On Friday 29th June, I’ll be wearing my lucky socks; what about you?