Australia's new America's Cup challenge has just weeks to put key personnel in place if it is to beat foreign challenges to Australia's best sailing talent, according to Olympic gold medallist Tom Slingsby.
Slingsby, 29, is one of those most in demand after serving as the strategist on the winning Oracle Team USA boat in San Francisco last month, and revealed that a number of challengers had already beaten a path to his door on the NSW central coast since that victory.
He has also had discussions with Sandy Oatley who, with his father, billionaire winemaker Bob Oatley, is heading the Australian challenge.
He impressed on the Oatleys the need for speed in setting up their challenge, even though the actual competition is unlikely to be held until 2017.
'They have to act really fast,' Slingsby said. 'After the cup, there's a sort of transfer window. Less than a week after the cup I had a few teams approach me and I have been in talks with a lot of them.'
Slingsby, known as the 'wind whisperer' for his ability to read the breeze, is still contracted to Oracle for another month and said he would select the team which he felt had the best chance of winning the cup.
'I want to be part of a team that can win the cup,' he said. 'It's great that Australia's back in the race and full credit to the Oatleys for making that happen. I expect to be part of an Australian team in the America's Cup, but whether it is this one or 10 years down the track, I don't know yet.
'It would be great to represent my country but I have to make a smart decision for my career and at the moment I am with the Defender so I am already in the final.'
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by The Australian
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12:56 PM Tue 22 Oct 2013GMT
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2016-2017 America's Cup
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