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 10 Oct 2013
 

Laser Class – Australia's strength a Slingsby legacy

Tom Slingsby (AUS) competing in the Men's One Person Dinghy (Laser) event in The London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition.  Craig Heydon
These days he might be better known as the America's Cup Oracle Team USA Oracle strategist, who worked so well with newbie tactician Ben Ainslie to guide them to an incredible victory in San Francisco.

But the long term legacy left on the Australian sailing scene by Australia`s six time Laser World Champion and Olympic Gold Medallist Tom Slingsby has been a dramatic strengthening in Australia's presence in the Laser class, ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics.


Australia's Tom Burton has been ranked number one on the ISAF World Rankings for the last year and behind him Ryan Palk is third ranked, Matt Wearn number five and Ashley Brunning number six.

Tom Slingsby during the medal race at the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition  Carlo Borlenghi/FIV - copyright

The 2013 Laser World Championship in Oman is looming. A top ten ranking is a funding landmark for many Rio aspirants.

We caught up today with Ashley Brunning, at the French Olympic Regatta in La Rochelle France, before the first race of an important regatta.

Ashley Brunning - Lasers - AUS - Day 1 - La Semaine Olympique Fran├žaise de Voile 2013  Sail-World.com ©

‘I have been in Europe for seven and a half months now. It has been a very long season, but time on the water has been a key factor for me. I am drawing to a close here before going home to Australia, which of course I am extremely happy about.

‘So I will have a short break before the very important Laser Worlds coming up in a month, in Oman, so this is the last regatta we can do in preparation for the world championships. It has been a good season so far.

Ashley Brunning on day one of the Laser European Championship  Michael Blackburn

‘I finished tenth at the Euros which has been the last big regatta I did. Just got to keep working at it and hopefully I can repeat that result but a little better at the worlds.

‘I have been trying to do a lot of regattas this year and it is the year after the Olympics so it is a good time to do as much experience sailing as you possibly can.

Stalheim, Jesper in action during the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami 2013  Walter Cooper ©

‘The competition here in La Rochelle is very good. The favourite is probably Jesper Stalheim from Sweden, who is second ranked in the world behind Tom, (he and I have been training a lot together in recent times). Jean Baptiste Bernaz is here, he is currently fourth. Phillip Buhl, the German and European Champion for example, Nick Heiner who was second at Sail for Gold in Weymouth. Nick Thompson is coming back strongly with a fourth at the Europeans.

‘The quality at this regatta is very high and for us all it's a perfect lead into the worlds.'

We will follow Ash's progress over the coming days with interest. We talked to Tom Burton, Ryan Palk and Matt Wearns earlier in the season.

With Michael 'Blackers' Blackburn guiding them as he did Tom Slingsby before them, Australia is currently the strongest Laser sailing nation.

Now with the next America's Cup in 2015 or 2017, will the date be fixed into 2017 so that Slingsby has time and energy for a tilt at Rio 2016 in the Finn class?

Today we also talked to Britisher Giles Scott, who many consider might have been the best Finn class sailor of the last eight years, determine to grab the Gold Medal that twice went before to his nemesis Ben Ainslie.

But that is a story for tomorrow.


Rob Kothe & the Sail-World Team



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Fun times at inaugural Weta New South Wales Championship
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Mini Transat 2013,
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RC Laser Nationals - Scott Mitchell Takes Gold
Cliff Bromiley,
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Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Three teams due into Rio today
Clipper Ventures,
At the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, Switzerland, Mission Performance and Invest Africa are all due into Rio today for as well-earned rest after 31 days at sea.... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race: One year out from race start
Volvo Ocean Race,
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Argo Group Gold Cup - Battle of Britain peps up
Alpari World Match Racing Tour,
Two British crews hold the highest scores after day one of racing in Bermuda at the Argo Group Gold Cup, the penultimate event on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, in what race pundits believe could turn into a clash of the Anglo-Saxon match racing titans.... [more]
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Discover Sailing Day – everyone welcome
Di Pearson,
As we continue to celebrate Australian sailors and their success at the 2012 Olympic Games, and more recently those in instrumental positions aboard the winning America's Cup boat, summer has arrived in Australia, and with it, the sailing season.... [more]
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Andrew Simpson Gold Cup Benefit
Talbot Wilson,
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Anna Parker / Chuck Lantz,
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Anna Parker / Chuck Lantz,
Melges 24 World Championship images by San Francisco Sail-World photographer Chuck Lantz.... [more]
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Laser Radial World Championship - Victory for Tina Mihelic
Laser International,
The Laser Radial Women's World Championship 2013 in South China came to a close yesterday with two light-wind races. Tina Mihelic CRO managed to protect her overall lead with the race ranks seven and three against the final attacks of her immediate opponent Tuula Tenkanen FIN finishing one and two.... [more]
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Mini Transat - Focus moves to final preparations
Solene Rennuit,
Just five days before departure in the Mini Transat, the pontoons of Port Rhu are relatively quiet. Obviously, the 84 Ministes are, for the most part, focusing on their final preparations. For volunteers working on the preparation of the event, it is also a moment to pause before the culmination of the fortnight of activities in Douarnenez on Sunday October 13.... [more]
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Etchells Queensland States - XY team takes title after a tight battle
John Warlow, Brisbane Etchells,
Matt Chew and his Gen XY team took out the Etchells Class Queensland State Championship title after a tight battle... [more]
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Sail Sandy Regatta to take place at Sandringham YC
Chris Furey,
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Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - PSP Logistics celebrate victory
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At the Clipper 13-14 Round the World Yacht Race, last night saw the skipper and crew of PSP Logistics celebrate their first victory at the event at Marina de Gloria... [more]
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Melges 24 World Championship - Action shots by Chuck Lantz (Part 1)
Anna Parker / Chuck Lantz,
Enjoy the first of a two gallery series of photos by San Francisco Sail-World photographer Chuck Lantz from the Melges 24 World Championship.... [more]
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RHKYC Media,
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Sports Boat Queensland Title goes interstate
Darren Spence,
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Argo Group Gold Cup - Practice day images from Bermuda
Dan Towers,
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Three Peaks Race responds to challenge
Terry Travers,
The organising committee of the annual Three Peaks Race, a unique short-handed sailing and endurance running event held in Tasmania each Easter for the last 25 years, has announced the 2014 race will be deferred by a year, with the next race to be held in 2015.... [more]
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NSW Youth Championships - Over 270 youth sailors enjoying
Andrew Hawkins,
The annual Yachting NSW Youth Championships is one of the most popular regattas on the sailing calendar and the 2013 edition sees over 270 young sailors competing at Georges River 16ft Sailing Club... [more]
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Hamilton Island Audi Race Week 2014 Accommodation Options
Kristie Kaighin,
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Melges 24 Worlds - Images and Video from the final day
John Navas,
John Navas was again on the water for the final day of the Melges 24 Worlds, being organised by the San Francisco Yacht Club. Here's his view of the day in still and video images.... [more]
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Sail-World.com rockets to new record
Brendan Maxwell,
We're pleased to be able to announce that Sail-World.com broke existing readership records in September, with visits to the site topping a massive 1.2 million for the month. This is almost double the previous record of 650,000 set in September 2012, off the back of the Weymouth Olympics.... [more]
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