ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca – Australian Tom Burton spent most of the last year as the top ranked Laser sailor in the world. He had been Tom Slingsby’s training partner leading into the London 2012 Olympics and it seemed that much of Slingsby’s Gold Medal speed rubbed off on the younger Tom.
Burton has currently slipped to World ranked number two behind Croatian Tonci Stipanovic, but not for long if the young Aussie has his way.
‘We have a big Australian contingent here in Palma. We have got seven guys here so it is pretty good even just training. It is nice to be able to go by ourselves and still have a decent group and still a reasonable size. But we like to test ourselves against the Europeans.
‘And of course the guy we have to get round at the moment is Robert Scheidt, who has won nine Laser World titles in his early years and Croatian Tonci Stipanovic, who is currently ranked World number one ahead of me. Tonci is getting much more consistent, he won in Miami, Scheidt, who was second there, has the titles and amazing experience and is obviously the most dangerous. Then there Nick Thompson, who was third in Miami ahead of me.
‘There a lot of good guys here. Just looking down the entry list there are heaps of guys that can win races.
‘But I am keen to climb back to top. This season I will be spending more time in the Laser and just be enjoying it and just be keen to go sailing every day which is where I am at the moment.
‘Last year I had a few detours with the Youth America’s Cup and other things so just spending more time in the Laser is building my consistency.
‘Naturally with my body and body weight it suits me better in the light but being from Australia probably helps me more in the breeze because the Europeans are better in the light. I think we have a bit more advantage in the breeze.
‘I think this week I would like it to be windy. It doesn’t really matter. I think the best thing for me is if we get a bit of everything and that will set me up really well.
‘I think if the whole Australian squad sails well this week then we could all be going really well. Matt Wearn’s going really well, he is sixth in the world. Ash Brunning, currently seventh, and Ryan Palk, 16th, are going well too and the younger guys as well. I think they could be winning races as well. Most races I think there will be an Aussie near the front of the fleet anyway.’