Please select your home edition
Edition
Bavaria Cruiser 34 728x90

An evening with Tom Slingsby and Nathan Outteridge – Part I

by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World Team on 23 Jan 2011
Tom Slingsby and Nathan Outteridge (r) Australian Sailing Team
Two Australian sailors are starring at the 2011 Audi Victoria Week, Tom Slingsby and Nathan Outteridge. Outteridge, after winning the Audi King of Docklands SB3 event is now leading the SB3 series. ISAF sailor of the year Slingsby is calling tactics on today's IRC Division A double winner Hooligan. Today we publish the first part of a three part interview series with them both.

At the 2010 Heaven Can Wait Charity event two young Australian sailors, Tom Slingsby and Nathan Outteridge, were special guests at the Welcome Dinner held at the RMYC Toronto on Lake Macquarie.

They were interviewed by Rob Kothe, Sail-World.com Publisher and member of the Heaven Can Wait event organising committee. Here is part one of that interview ( there will be two more published over the next week).

Rob: Nathan and Tom welcome to the fifth annual Heaven Can Wait event. Tomorrow you are both sailing Moths in the 29 nautical mile Heaven Can Wait One Lap Dash – and we thank you very much for your support of this event.

Lets go back a little …

Tom Slingsby is currently one the six nominees for the ISAF Sailor of The Year. (since awarded to Tom) It has been a great season - with three World Cup Regattas, three wins, one Laser World Championship win, which now makes three for you, one World Championship win on Etchells – a pretty purple patch - and Nathan Outteridge has a 49er Worlds and a second, a Moth Europeans title and obviously is keen to get another Moth title here on Lake Macquarie early next year. (he did)

Can we go back about 20-odd years? When I was little I played on bicycles after school, not at all what you guys did ….

Tom Slingsby:’ For me I sailed. My Dad and Mum got me into sailing, my twin sisters also sailed as well so I just followed in their footsteps, but primarily I was always a tennis player.

‘I grew up playing tennis. I trained five or six days a week. That was always my goal and I used to sail once a week, every Saturday at the club racing.

‘I remember my first sailing season as I didn’t enjoy it too much – my sister used to pay me 20 cents per race just to stay on the boat. I was also going through a swimming phase, I used to love to try to swim to shore after a race for 20 cents and I then I got a packet of footy cards after each week, so I was pretty happy.

‘I went through all the junior sailing stages. I did okay but I never actually got close to Nathan and there was another guy Joe Turner, both were the leading lights in the Sabot Class in their junior years. They were always well ahead of me but at about 15-16 I quit tennis and I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to do.

‘The thing that made me want to sail was sitting on the rocks at the Olympics - I went down every day for two weeks to watch the sailing. I used to sit on Bradley’s Head for five or six hours and just watch the sailors come right in, tacking close to the rocks and I remember watching Robert Scheidt and Ben Ainslie sailing for the Laser Gold Medal and I remember that was the sign that was what I really wanted to do.

‘From that day forward I have dedicated everything to Olympic Sailing, I have done everything I can from then on.


‘I remember when I was playing tennis and doing sailing once a week - the last year I was doing that I finished 61st at the Laser Nationals and then once I quit tennis. I had all this time on my hands – I didn’t really want to do school work. I went out training every afternoon in the Laser and after three months of doing that I finished first at the Nationals the year after. For me it was sailing, through my tennis I had a good work ethic in sport I think, and that set me up well and I have been on the Lasers full-time for 14-years now - a long time.

Nathan:’So I was only good at one thing - sailing. From a young age, I started sailing from about three, I would sail with my Grandfather and my uncles (who are here tonight).

‘They always claimed that they taught me everything I knew and I won’t let them think anything else.
‘I moved into Sabots sailing out of Wangi Sailing Club and I sailed Sabots for eight years which meant I started at five and I think I finished at 13.

‘Like as Tom said, I used to be out there as much as I could.

‘Tom was a bit of a fat kid sailing two-up and before he got the chance to sail one-up he moved onto the Lasers, so I haven’t really gotten the chance to race against him since then.

‘Anyway I sort of moved through the junior classes, then the 29ers came out so I did a bit of 29er sailing and got introduced to the Youth Program.

‘I went through 29ers and 420s and did really well and was able to get selected to go to three Youth Worlds.

‘From there I moved into the 470 class and Victor (Kovelenko) is the head-coach. I learned a lot from him and my passion was always to sail skiffs so I got to watch ‘Nico’ (Chris Nicholson) every time he was out sailing on the lake, I would watch him on TV, I would watch the videos and I would watch the videos again. I still have 35 videos sitting at home, you can watch them but you can’t really see what is happening because I have watched them so much they are worn out.


‘From then I have been in the 49er. I campaigned for the last Olympics and as you all saw, I got relatively close to a medal. I have been campaigning ever since then.

‘One thing that I find is that I like to sail various different types of boats - the 49er is the main thing for me but I like to do some Moth sailing.

‘I have been getting involved in doing some yacht sailing.

‘I only got back this morning from San Francisco where I was doing the Melges 32 Worlds.

‘We ended up ninth - we didn’t have a great one. I was on the boat that won last year so it was quite disappointing for us, perhaps it was my influence on the boat that we didn’t do so well. They were pretty nice to me about it. I think one of the good things about sailing is you can pick whatever type of boat it is you want to sail. You can do ocean racing, you can do match racing, you can do skiffs, moths, lasers, Olympic stuff, whatever.

‘As long as you are out there enjoying doing it, then you are always going to do well and I guess that is one of the things that Tom and I find - that we just love sailing. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as there is competition involved and the boat is fine and there are good mates around .. I think we will always be doing it.

Rob: But Nathan the path wasn’t quite that smooth was it? Something happened in January 2005. Tell us about that.

Nathan: ‘I’d made the transition from Youth to Olympic level but I had a car accident, basically at the start of 2005 in January.

‘I was driving from a regatta that had just finished on Lake Macquarie, the Laser Nationals, I was heading down to Sail-Melbourne to sail a 49er and driving to Melbourne by myself, we had a bunch of us travelling together but I was the only one in the car at the time.

‘It was about mid-day to1:00 in the afternoon - I fell asleep while I was driving. The car ran off the road straight into a tree. I think I was doing about 70km, I can’t be sure. I was just exiting a town speeding up to the 100 zone, Holbrook the town with the big submarine, sort of in the middle of nowhere.

‘Anyway I woke up to some paramedics cutting the door off the car, I didn’t really know what was going on, I could just see the windshield was smashed in and I was a bit close to the steering wheel. I looked around and had a few cuts on my feet and my knees and thought I was fine.

‘When they tried to get me out I could feel a bit of pain in my back, they put me straight on a spinal-board and I went to Albury Hospital. About 20 x-rays later they saw that there was something wrong with my back, they didn’t really tell me or I didn’t really listen to what they said but they said ‘look we have to get you back to Sydney’. I flew back to Sydney about 1:00 that night, arrived to another bunch of x-rays and found out I had a shattered disc in my lumbar-spine, L3 was completely shattered.

‘Anyway cutting a long story short, I spent the next week in the hospital fully drugged up waiting to get operated on. I had a nine hour operation where they basically rebuilt my spine, then I spent another two weeks trying to get to the stage where I would be able to walk again.

‘I had to wear a back brace, which went from shoulders to hips.

‘My body was basically shutting down, it wasn’t processing any food so I wasn’t allowed to eat for 12-days and I lost about 15-kilos. Eventually my body started working again and I started walking. I left the hospital about five weeks later. I started the long recovery from being able to walk, to being able to rebuild all the muscles and eventually being able to sail again - about nine months later.

‘I guess the whole reason why I think I recovered so well was, for one, I just wanted to get back to sailing and two, the only way to do that was to listen to all the doctors and physicians. I had a really good support network from my family and friends and many people came to visit me when I was in Sydney Hospital. I guess within about a year I was back competing and the following year I went to Europe, competed and made selection in the Australian Sailing Team.

‘It was a difficult year but it has definitely made me a tougher person. I am just trying to make the most of what I’ve got.

Rob: So I guess you believe what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?

Nathan Absolutely!!

In Part II to follow we will learn about how Tom found more things to do than homework .

Jeanneau Sunfast 660x82Sail Port Stephens 2017 660x82X-Yachts AUS X4 - 660 - 1

Related Articles

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Suck it up, sunshine!
The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour, another two million watching on TV, and the constant buzz and whir of media helicopters overhead. 88 boats, from Australia, USA, UK, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Japan, Korea, China, oh and New Zealand, had lined up on three start lines.
Posted on 31 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - More merriment on the airwaves
Here are more examples of merriment on the airwaves between the boats and Hobart Race Control So on December 29, 2016, after the River Derwent had let just three boats home (Perpetual Loyal, Giacomo and Scallywag, all inside the old race record, she went to sleep for a lot of the day. This made it frustrating for the sailors, some of whom saw the lighter side. So after seeing some of those in Dark & Stormy, here are more examples of merriment on the airwaves between the boats and HRC
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
Sydney Hobart Race-Dark and stormy, well because it is Dark and Stormy
Proving that there is a lighter side to the frustrations that is a race to Hobart Well it is now dark and the rain 'storms' have passed, but proving that there is a lighter side to the frustrations that is a race to Hobart, the custom Murray 37, Dark & Stormy had a wonderful exchange on the radio. Quite possibly it was co-owner and Navigator Terry Courts on the VHF in the super-frank exchange with Hobart Race Control at around 1928hrs on 29/12/16.
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - Wicked
ather and Son outfit, Wicked, are Matt and Mark Welsh from Melbourne. Matt is at home on the couch after knee surgery Father and Son outfit, Wicked, are Matt and Mark Welsh from Melbourne. Matt is at home on the couch after knee surgery, but Mark is out on the water, approaching Hobart. From on board he said, 'Amazing race. Barely any windward work. Just does not get better than this. Bit of gear damage cost us early, and we had to sail a little conservatively.'
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - Accepting the Challenge
When you buy a boat like the late Lou Abrahma's Sydney 38, Challenge, you're almost obliged to keep taking her South When you buy a boat like the late Lou Abrahma's Sydney 38, Challenge, you're almost obliged to keep taking her South at Christmas time. Luckily this has not been a problem for Chris Mrakas and his new crew, which includes Bruce Reidy
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race – 67 out of 70
It's a pretty awesome score in anybody’s language. When it is the number of hours you spend under kite It's a pretty awesome score in anybody’s language. When it is the number of hours you spend under kite in the 72nd Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race so far, then it is more than A+++. Anto Sweetapple from on board the Jones 40, Quetzalcoatl, reports in from at sea for us.
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart 2016 - The 60 Hour report card
60 hours into the 72nd Rolex Sydney Hobart race. 16 boats finished,five boats retired and 67 boats at sea. The state of play 60 hours into the 72nd running of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. At 0100hrs Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time this morning, 16 boats had finished the 2016 race. Five boats had retired, and 67 boats were still on the water.
Posted on 28 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race – the second step for CQS and 2017
It was a frustrating end to a frustrating race for the newest supermaxi in the 2016 Rolex Sydney to Hobart race It was a frustrating end to a frustrating race for the newest supermaxi to compete in the 2016 Rolex Sydney to Hobart race. It was just her second ever race, with her first, the White Island Race in New Zealand, producing a line honours win. While Ludde Ingvall’s radical new 98-footer CQS had a very slow passage across an almost windless Storm Bay and River Derwent.
Posted on 28 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race – Derwent sleeping it off?
We spoke about how anyone with an interest in ensuring Perpetual Loyal got Line Honours, also a new record in the race In the article Right-turn-means-record-in-mortal-danger, we spoke about how anyone with an interest in ensuring Perpetual Loyal got Line Honours and also a new record in the race should go down and pour a rum into the River Derwent from Constitution Dock. Looks like they did. However, they may have poured the entire barrel in, because now the River is sleeping it off.
Posted on 27 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race – Race record smashed
On Day Three (just) of the 72nd Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race Perpetual Loyal smashed the race record On Day Three (just) of the 72nd Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, in the strongest downwind conditions in recent times, certainly as good as the 1999 iteration of the blue water classic, Anthony Bell’s supermaxi, Perpetual Loyal, the former Speedboat and then Rambler 100, smashed the race record for the famous 628-nautical mile event.
Posted on 27 Dec 2016