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What Floats Your Boat?

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Some people are sailing yacht people, others are motor yacht people, but rarely is someone both. In fact a (mostly) friendly rivalry runs through the water between these two worlds. Each has perceptions about the other; perceptions based in both myth and reality.

Uniform is one of the cited differences.  Are motor yachts simply too concerned with glitz and glam to choose crew clothing that enables them to work effectively? And do sailors sacrifice style in their search for functionally superior outfits?

Crew clothing is being used more and more as a tool to capture the essence of a boat and portray its image.  With very different stereotypes being given to sailboats and motoryachts, you would expect vastly different uniforms.  Is this true? 

sailing red jacketThere are some distinct differences between the two types of yachts. Their movement underway is different, their spaces- both interior and exterior- are different, and some of the duties of the crew members are different. Therefore, there are different core uniform requirements.

The foremost considerations of most sailing yachts when choosing uniform are the technical aspects. Exterior wear needs to be functionally suitable for the rigorous requirements of sailing.

There is a long checklist that needs to be completed before the buyer is willing to commit to a product. There is very often a strong preference for certain brands, even amongst the few that have already proven themselves in the competitive sailing industry.

trousers reallyWhen questioning both sides about what they consider to be the most important aspects of uniform, a surprising difference was the importance that sailing yachts placed on their logos. For a style of yacht rumored only to be interested in the functional aspect of their outfits, they generally tend to be even more concerned with the appearance of their logos than their motor yacht brethren. There tends to be a greater amount of time spent on design and placement and a greater desire for them to stand out.

No one disputes the importance that sailing yachts place on having technically superior products, but that’s not to say they’re not also concerned with aesthetics. While their approach to uniform is different to that of motor yachts, their concern for how the crew look while doing their job is exactly the same. So it seems that sailboats sacrificing style for function is a myth.

three quarter trousersPerhaps even more surprisingly, the most personalized product range that Dolphin Wear’s Special Production team has worked on is for a sailing yacht. The project, which is still underway, embodies the ultimate in stylish functionality. The clothes are not only technically suitable for the demands of an active sailor but they are unique in their tastefully trendy appearance. This certainly proves that you don’t need to sacrifice style for functionality, and sailing yachts are in a position to take advantage of having the best of both worlds.

So, if sailboats are equally concerned with the technical and the aesthetic, how about motor yachts?  Can they be accused of focusing on appearances and ignoring functional considerations?

When it comes to motor yachts, no one is really disputing their preoccupation with glamour.  However, once again, one needs to consider the different requirements of the job at hand.

shortsMotor yachts generally have more storage space and can thus afford to have more uniform options and changes on hand. Their crew doesn’t need to be braving the elements in the same way as sailboat crew, and while underway the conditions for the exterior crew are less severe. So clearly the requirements in being ideally kitted-out are directed less towards technical aspects.


Even so, motor yachts are becoming increasingly concerned with purchasing products that are functionally superior. Products exist that make doing the job easier and more comfortable. Uniform suppliers are pushing the boundaries more and more to produce extremely functional products that are also very stylish. So while motor yachts’ technical requirements may be less than those of their sailing comrades, the aesthetic and fit considerations is never done at the expensive of functionality.

aaaaStereotypes will continue to exist and there will continue to be some truth and fabrications within them. Ultimately some rivalry is good, as it encourages development and variety. What can be said is that neither side is sacrificing their professional requirements. As for what floats your boat more, power or sail? That’s just personal preference.

                                                                     deck shoes

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Dolphin Wear started out as a small, family-run business in 1989, providing quality products and services to yachts all over the world, helping them to create a functional and stylish uniform unique to their yacht specifications. Dolphin Wear is based in Antibes and Palma, with partnerships in Golfe Juan and Netherlands.

For more information please visit our website or call us directly on: +33 (0)4 93 34 03 08

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