Evans picking Slingsby’s brains
Rockal Evans is training alongside world-renowned sailor Tom Slingsby as he continues his bid to qualify for the Olympic Games in Toyko in 2020.
Evans, who is based in Sydney, Australia, is relishing the chance to pick the brains of Slingsby, an America’s Cup winner, Olympic gold medal-winner and five-times world champion.
Slingsby was also the tactician and sailing team manager for Oracle Team USA during their unsuccessful defence of the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda.
“We train together in the gym in the morning and then on the water after lunch for an average of three hours, and it’s great,” Evans said.
“Just chatting to him about different techniques before and after sailing is priceless.
“He started sailing the Finn just before I moved to Australia, so he’s learning also but learning super-fast. He asks me just as many questions as I ask him.”
Evans and Slingsby were already familiar with each other from the Australian’s time in Bermuda for the America’s Cup.
“It’s great having Rocky over to train with us,” said Slingsby, who won gold in the men’s Laser class at the London 2012 Olympics. “We have a great group and have been getting out on the water often. Hopefully, our group will do nicely in Sail Melbourne [an Olympic regatta from November 29 to December 3].”
The small group of sailors the pair are training alongside also includes Canadian Kyle Martin, who finished second at the 2015 Finn North American Championships in San Diego.
“I train with a good group of guys to push me harder and I have made improvements all round,” Evans said.
Slingsby is enjoying the change of pace since switching to the Finn from the high-performance foiling catamarans he raced at the America’s Cup.
“I love getting back into slower more tactical sailing,” Slingsby said. “I love the fast stuff also, but this is a nice change.”
Evans, whose late grandfather, Howard Lee, competed for Bermuda in the Finn at the Montreal Games in 1976, is vying for one of three available Olympic spots from the North and South American region.
He has a world ranking of 65 in the Finn after capturing a maiden regatta victory at Finn Toilet Bowl Regatta in New York and finishing second at the Cork Olympic Classes Regatta in Kingston, Ontario, last year.
The former Comet class national champion faces a busy schedule next year, competing at several Olympic qualifiers in Europe over four months, starting from April.
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