Slingsby breaks duck in record fashion

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  • Racing clear: Slingsby and the team on Perpetual LOYAL were so quick he only had to spend one night on the boat

    Racing clear: Slingsby and the team on Perpetual LOYAL were so quick he only had to spend one night on the boat

For someone who doesn’t like offshore racing very much, Tom Slingsby, the Oracle Team USA tactician and sailing team manager, has a strange way of showing it.

For the past several Christmas breaks, Slingsby has raced in one of the offshore classics — the Sydney to Hobart Race — which starts from Sydney Harbour, Australia on Boxing Day every December.

This year, as co-skipper/tactician on board Perpetual LOYAL, Slingsby was part of the crew who smashed the previous race record by nearly five hours, winning the race in a shockingly quick time of 1 day 13hr 31min.

Slingsby had told the New York Times earlier this month that he wasn’t too keen on offshore racing, preferring to sleep in his own bed each night, as he does in Bermuda with the Oracle Team USA America’s Cup campaign.

“I actually don’t enjoy ocean racing,” he said. “I’ve been pretty open about that. It’s just not my cup of tea. A lot of people love it. I just prefer the in-shore-course-get-your-races-done-and-sleep-in-your-own-bed type of programme.”

And perhaps you couldn’t blame him. Previous Hobart races had not always gone well. While his first effort, in 2013, resulted in a second place, he did not finish the race in 2014 or 2015, his team forced to retire with damage to the boat.

“The last two years, we haven’t gotten through the first night,” he said. “I think it’s just a bit of hard luck, but for sure it’s really important to all of us that we get there this year and have a good race.”

And that’s just what happened this year as it all came together. A favourable forecast meant a record run was a possibility and Slingsby, along with Perpetual LOYAL owner and co-skipper Anthony Bell, guided the 100-footer to an early lead off the starting line.

Midway through the race their fierce rivals on Wild Oats retired with damage, and the path was clear for both the win and the astonishing record.

Slingsby, Bell and crew kept pushing and now a new race record stands that should be difficult to beat.

And with the race finished in a day and a half, Slingsby only had to miss sleeping on shore for one night!

With each race, Perpetual LOYAL raises money for the Humpty Dumpty Foundation, a charity that donates medical equipment for children, and Slingsby donates his race fee to the cause.

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Published Dec 31, 2016 at 10:00 am (Updated Dec 31, 2016 at 8:35 am)

Slingsby breaks duck in record fashion

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