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Sail World NZ Lone Wolf

Extreme Sailing Series -Sydney Land Rover recognises talent

by Land Rover Sailing on 14 Dec 2014
Tom Slingsby's Oman Air in action in Sydney Harbour on the final of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series™. Lloyd Images
Extreme Sailing Series 2014 Act Eight – Whitley - Tenacious, brave, intelligent and highly skilled: these were the four words used to describe the winner of the Land Rover Above and Beyond Award in Sydney, Australia, after three days of thrilling racing in the heart of Sydney Harbour. Oman Air’s Tom Slingsby (AUS) was awarded the trophy for showcasing the greatest tactical performance and improvement seen this year on a debut appearance at the Extreme Sailing Series™.

Series Main Partner, Land Rover presents the Award to teams or individuals in recognition of those who have demonstrated the finest examples of skill, sportsmanship and strength of mind at each of the Extreme Sailing Series Acts in the true spirit of Land Rover’s Above and Beyond ethos.


Slingsby, an Olympic Gold Medallist and five times Laser World Champion, was presented with the Land Rover Above and Beyond Award by Global Brand Ambassador, Hannah White, who explained the decision by the committee.


'The global stadium racing circuit is renowned in the world of professional sailing for being one of the toughest events to win. With such huge talent on the racecourse it’s easy to languish at the bottom of the pack, but Tom went up against the very best and in the space of three days, watched them, learned from them, battled with them, and beat many of them at their own game. Finishing in last position at the end of day one of racing, Tom and his team from Oman Air quietly clawed their way up the leaderboard, impressing everyone and leaving some of the biggest names in sailing in his wake, finishing the final Act of the 2014 just one place off the podium. We can only speculate on where he might have finished if there had been another day of racing. Tom’s tenacity and intelligent racing has impressed everyone and we hope he’ll be back next year.'

Committee Member and America’s Cup sailor, Dave ‘Freddie’ Carr was just as complimentary about the choice of winner. 'We all know Tom is a World Class sailor, you don’t win the America’s Cup, or win an Olympic Gold medal by not being at the very top of your discipline. But he has come into Act 8 where every single Extreme 40 team is competing in style - they have been at it since February when the 2014 Series began in Singapore. So to come in to the final Act, on a boat he has never sailed before, with a new team and to finish fourth is incredible.

'Tom was last after the first day, and last by a long way, he was 10 points off the bottom. To see that learning process, to get better during the regatta and keep improving and analysing your performance is impressive. It is quite easy when you are at the bottom of the fleet, to stay at the bottom of the fleet and to lose your momentum; there is nowhere to hide on these stadium racecourses. But to watch a debutante sail through the fleet like that is brave and highly skilled. Tom, without a doubt, deserves the final Above & Beyond Award of the year,' Carr concluded.

Slingsby was presented with the Award in the shadow of the Sydney Opera House. 'To receive this award is a real honour,' said Slingsby. 'It was a great effort by the team onboard Oman Air and I had a great team with me this week; they really helped me around the track. Sailing here in Sydney harbour with spectators everywhere and fans cheering your name, and now this award. What a great way to finish off the event!'


Mark Cameron, Jaguar Land Rover Global Brand Experience Director commented, 'The Extreme Sailing Series has exceeded expectations and the finale here in Sydney has been show stopper. The skills of the professional sailors have thrilled spectators around the world racing in the stadium format and it is a fitting close here in Sydney Harbour in such style. Congratulations to Morgan Larson in their hard fought Series victory and also Tom Slingsby for a truly outstanding performance in front of his home crowd. The 2015 season starts in just six weeks in Singapore and we look forward to another year of partnership with the Extreme Sailing Series™.'

The final Act of the year was won by Swiss team Alinghi, skippered by Morgan Larson (USA), which also put the red and black team at the top of the overall 2014 Series podium.

Previous winners of the Land Rover Above and Beyond Award

Qingdao: Oman Air Shore Team in recognition of their dedication and expertise in boat-building and boat-preparation following a major crash in the first race of the first day in Qingdao, China.

St Petersburg: Double Olympic Gold Medallist Sarah Ayton in recognition of her engagement with the grassroots sailing community.

Istanbul: Groupama sailing team for their persistence, commitment and tactical performance on the water.

Cardiff: - For camaraderie ‘unique to the sport of sailing’ presented to Sir Ben Ainslie's BAR Team and Oman Sail's Shore crew for demonstrating spectacular sportsmanship helping rival team Emirates Team New Zealand continue racing following serious rudder damage.

Nice: For the ‘greatest sporting call-up’, presented to Suleiman Al Manji, from The Wave, Muscat who stepped onboard arch rival Emirates Team New Zealand to replace a sick crew member.

Above and Beyond Committee

Hannah White, Land Rover Global Brand Ambassador (Chair)
Dave Carr, America’s Cup sailor and former winner of the Extreme Sailing Series™
Phil Lawrence, Extreme Sailing Series™ Race Director
Andy Tourell, Extreme Sailing Series™ Event Event website

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