by Craig Heydon
America’s Cup World Series fourth regatta is being held in Naples, Italy from 11th to 15th April 2012 off the waterfront of via Caracciolo.
Racing at the America’s Cup World Series Naples 2012
They can usually be found in separate classes campaigning for Olympic Gold but this week two of Australia’s leading sailors have been going head to head in the sport’s newest series.
Australian Sailing Team members Nathan Outteridge and Tom Slingsby are a part of the America’s Cup World Series currently taking place, onboard a fleet of exciting 45-foot catamarans.
Outteridge, a triple World Champion in the 49er class, is the new skipper for Team Korea while Slingsby, four-time Laser World Champion, is tactician alongside former Australian Olympian Darren Bundock on Oracle Racing.
Racing in the America’s Cup World Series is close and fast, testing the world’s top sailors including the Australian pair who will also compete at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
'The AC 45 is a very cool boat to sail, so big and powerful and so different to what I normally sail,' said Outteridge. 'I’m really enjoying being out on the water and racing against the best in the world, hoping that the skills I have learnt in the 49er will help me when it comes to racing here in Naples.'
Slingsby is also enjoying racing in the series, having first competed in the last round in San Diego last November.
'The 45 is amazing to sail,' said Slingsby. 'Obviously they are a fast, exciting, boat but it’s interesting how it seems that communication is what wins races. The crew of five really has to work as one just to get these boats around the track, coming from the Laser it’s a big change and I’m loving it.'
After day four racing in Naples was cancelled due to unsafe conditions, Outteridge and his crew are ahead of Slingsby, sitting fourth in the fleet racing standings while Slingsby is seventh. Though in the match racing element of the event the positions are reversed with Slingsby and Oracle to race in the semifinals on Saturday while Outteridge has already bowed out.
'It will be another great chance to race against Tommy, however we are in different positions on the boats as he is the tactician on Oracle Bundock but still I'm sure you will see some close battles between us on the race course,' said Outteridge.
Slingsby is also enjoying racing on the same course as his fellow Australian Sailing Team member.
'I know I love racing with, or against, Nathan and I’m sure he is the same,' said Slingsby. 'I’m sure he’ll do great here, but hopefully great is still one place behind us!'
Following the America’s Cup World Series there will be no rest for the pair as they jump straight back into the Olympic class boats for the next round of the ISAF Sailing World Cup.
From Naples Outteridge and Jensen will make the short trip to Hyeres, France, to continue their quest for Olympic Gold with the event from April 22 to 27 an important buildup for this August’s London 2012 Olympic Games.
For more on the America’s Cup World Series visit the event website.
Australian Sailing Team website