Slingsby looks to add Syd­ney to Ho­bart race to his ca­reer re­sume

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Aus­tralian sailor Tom Slingsby has won the Amer­ica’s Cup and an Olympic gold medal. Still miss­ing from his ca­reer re­sume is a line honors’ vic­tory in the Syd­ney to Ho­bart race.

Slingsby will be the mas­ter tac­ti­cian aboard su­per maxi Per­pet­ual Loyal when it leaves Syd­ney to­day along with 88 other yachts in the an­nual 628-nautical mile race to Aus­tralia’s is­land state of Tas­ma­nia. The owner and skip­per of Per­pet­ual Loyal is An­thony Bell, who has made it a pri­or­ity to raise money for hos­pi­tal equip­ment for sick chil­dren. An­other pri­or­ity will be to fin­ish the race af­ter a few years where weather con­di­tions forced the yacht to re­tire.

“To win the Ho­bart you’ve got to get to Ho­bart, and we’re very fo­cused on our lean­ings around that,” Bell told The Week­end Aus­tralian news­pa­per. Slingsby, who won a Laser gold medal at the 2012 Lon­don Olympics, has been part of the fund-rais­ing ef­fort for sick kids. “We’ve formed a re­ally tight friend­ship and great mate­ship,” Bell said. “Tommy’s prob­a­bly one of the best sailors in the world and re­fuses to take a cent out of Loyal. He con­verts his stuff into kids’ med­i­cal equip­ment and that is a good state­ment about him as a bloke.”

Slingsby is also fo­cused on fin­ish­ing and win­ning. “I’ve won an Olympic gold medal, I’ve won the Amer­ica’s Cup, the two big­gest things in sail­ing,” he said. “But I re­turn back to Aus­tralia and I still get the ques­tion, ‘Have you won the Syd­ney to Ho­bart?’”

Slingsby is now based in Bermuda as he pre­pares to de­fend the Amer­ica’s Cup ti­tle he won as strate­gist with Or­a­cle Team USA in 2013.

Skip­pers in this year’s Syd­ney to Ho­bart were told to ex­pect fa­vor­able con­di­tions over the open­ing day of sail­ing: A fast start on Syd­ney Har­bour in a brisk north-east­erly, and that the breeze will strengthen through­out the af­ter­noon as the boats run down the New South Wales state coast.

That trans­lates to spin­naker sail­ing in 20 to 25 knots, al­low­ing the su­per-maxis to pull away from the rest of the fleet and po­ten­tially chal­lenge the race record. Ear­lier in the week, vet­eran Span­ish sailor Juan Vila, nav­i­ga­tor aboard race record holder Wild Oats XI, said the win­ner could fin­ish in around 38 or 39 hours. That would have Wild Oats XI across the line at Con­sti­tu­tion Dock in Ho­bart in about 1 day, 14 or 15 hours, well in­side Wild Oats’ record of 1 day, 18 hours, 23 min­utes, 12 sec­onds in 2012.

There are 12 in­ter­na­tional yachts, in­clud­ing skip­per Jonas Gran­der on Swedish en­try Mata­dor, Richard Stain on Bri­tain’s Sam­skara, Kwanymin Rho aboard Sonic from South Korea and Joseph Mele, skip­per of the US en­try Triple Lindy. Last year, Amer­i­can yacht Co­manche won the storm-wracked race in 2 days, 8 hours, 58 min­utes, 30 sec­onds. It was the first Amer­i­can win­ner since 1998 and the first for­eign win­ner since Swe­den’s Assa Abloy in 2001. — AP

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