The story of the knight and his lucky red socks

Published: 12th May 2015

The story of the knight and his lucky red socks

Some superstitious sportsmen and women feel they have no chance of achieving glory without lucky items but only one nation has relied on a pair of lucky socks to achieve success - New Zealand.

Kiwis like nothing better than to beat the world in rugby and sailing and one of New Zealand's most famous sons achieved considerable glory on the waves with a pair of lucky red socks.

Sir Peter Blake was the head of Team New Zealand when it won the America's Cup for the first time in 1995.

Given him by his wife Lady Pippa Blake as a present, Sir Peter wore the red socks on the first day of the event as the NZL 32 vessel Black Magic won the first race.

He wore them again and it was just a family thing at first, Lady Pippa says. However, soon people cottoned on to it as Black Magic won all the races and the lucky socks became famous. The New Zealand team won the event 5-0.

The socks became a potent symbol of support for the New Zealand team in the event in future years and helped it bring in as much as $500,000 in funds.

Sir Russell Coutts, the skipper of NZL 32 in 1995, said the red sock craze allowed people to be more emotionally connected to the team.

Sadly Sir Peter died in 2001 when he was shot by pirates while on an environmental exploration trip in Brazil.

But during the last America's Cup in 2013, red socks were on show once more during Emirates Team New Zealand's challenge.

Lady Pippa says people still leave red socks on his headstones some 20 years after she gave them to her husband.

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