Clive Palmer or Gina Rinehart needs to pony up and put an America’s Cup syndicate together or something. Why? Because we don’t have an entrant to the 37th America’s Cup, and so some of our best sailors have signed with an American crew.
That’s right: Australian sailor (and world sailor of the year) Tom Slingsby has signed with American Magic for Barcelona 2024. Slingsby, who is a former America’s Cup winner, has signed for American Magic in what has been described as a “major coup.”
Slingsby is considered one of the most talented helmsmen and tacticians in the world, having won Olympic Gold in the Laser class, the 2013 America’s Cup (with Oracle Team USA), multiple World Championships, and back-to-back victories in SailGP (with Australia).
American Magic now looks like a really strong team, comprising of such big names as Terry Hutchinson (an eleven-time world champion in the Corel 45, J/24, TP 52, Farr 40 and IMS classes, and a winning tactician of the Louis Vuitton Cup), British Olympian Paul Goodison and Tom Burnham (who has sailed on three America’s Cup teams and is the current coach for Australia’s SailGP team).
Slingsby holds a United States passport, enabling him to qualify under the strict nationality rules of the prestigious competition.
Slingsby led the Australian team to commanding wins in the first two seasons of SailGP, which was sailed in foiling catamarans.
His comfort in foiling catamarans, combined with American Magic’s retention of Paul Goodison, gives this America’s Cup team the option of “twin helming” for Barcelona 2024 (if they go for that design).
American Magic team principal Hap Fauth has said of the signing: “Having Tom and Paul Goodison, both Olympic gold medalists and world champions, driving our AC75 gives us a great competitive position.”
“They are fierce competitors who win at the highest level of sailing. Combine this with the world-class team we are building, and I am thrilled with our prospects.”
Slingsby has said: “I’m extremely excited to return to the America’s Cup arena. The AC75s are remarkable craft, and I look forward to doing whatever I can to help our team in their quest to bring the trophy back to the United States and the New York Yacht Club. We’ve got world-class talent on board the boat and backing us on the shore, I’m proud and excited to be a part of it.”
Slingsby has also spoken out against the passport rules.
He told Yachting World last year: “If they’ve only got four entries in the America’s Cup, that means if you’re not part of one of those four countries, you can’t compete. And I just think that’s not fair.”
“If you’re from anywhere in the world – Australia, Brazil, Uruguay, anywhere – and you’re an unbelievable sailor, you should have the opportunity to compete in the America’s Cup. If you’re from France or Austria and you’re one of the top sailors in the world you should get that chance.”
Stuff reports that Slingsby will “continue with his Australian SailGP program and look to join American Magic in Pensacola, Florida for their summer training.”
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