Tom Slingsby has multiple roles on the Oracle Team USA team which will defend the America’s Cup in June.
As the sailing team manager, he worked with Grant Simmer, the general manager, and Jimmy Spithill, the skipper, to assemble the sailing team charged with winning a third consecutive America’s Cup.
As a tactician, his role on board the race boat is to feed information to Spithill and ensure the boat is always placed in the best spot on the racecourse, with regard to the wind, waves and opposition.
And as a helmsman, Slingsby says his job is to “kick Jimmy’s @#$” in an effort to push the skipper to new heights.
“My job is to push Jimmy as hard as I can,” Slingsby said. “Maybe it’s a redhead thing, or maybe I’m just a competitive person, but every day I’m out there against him I want to beat him.”
When the team sails with one boat, Slingsby is alongside Spithill as the tactician. During two-boat training, Slingsby takes the helm of the second boat and serves as a sparring partner.
“Jimmy will steer in the America’s Cup but I’m basically his training partner,” Slingsby said.
“I’m there to push him and beat him, and do what I can so that he improves as much as he can.”
As an Olympic champion, Slingsby’s sailing credentials are outstanding. And he and Spithill worked together to win the last America’s Cup for Oracle Team USA as a dynamic strategist and skipper duo.
“It’s great to be sailing with these guys,” Slingsby said. “No one argues, which is surprising in a team this big that everyone gets along so well. But all day, every day, we’re having fun and I think we’re doing an amazing job and we’re enjoying doing it, so we’re very fortunate.”
Slingsby grew up sailing and playing tennis at a competitive level. He admits tennis was his favourite sport at the time, and he debated where to focus his attention.
After a few months of training in the Laser Class turned into a first-place performance at Australian Nationals as a teenager, he decided to spend more time on the water.
Now with eight world titles, an Olympic gold medal, ISAF World Sailor of the Year honours and an America’s Cup win, all before the age of 30, it would seem he made the right choice.