Tom Slingsby: So far, so good
Published on December 13th, 2023
Tom Slingsby, 2023 World Sailor of the Year and helmsman on the America’s Cup challenger American Magic, provides Tip&Shaft with an update:
What was the general debrief across these first two Preliminary regattas?
As a team we have shown we have the skills to win the event and we have also shown that we are a bit of an inexperienced team as well. We have had the highs and lows, winning in Vilanova and having a poor showing in Jeddah.
I look at that as a good thing as this is the first time we have ever really raced with each other and we are up against the likes of Ben Ainslie who has sailed with the same group of guys for six or seven years, Team New Zealand have sailed together for over ten years. And so, for us, just say we had won in Jeddah, you would not get that feeling of how the team is going to react after bad days.
So, we have now experienced a bit of a range of emotions as a team. And I think we learn from that, as hard as that feels right now.
Can you in any way fast track that experience?
We have spoken a lot about that, the team culture, the atmosphere, the sailing with each other and the racing with each other. I don’t think it is that simple.
Being good friends, doing social things together and knowing each other and trusting each other is a huge thing. But it really takes time. But, yes, we are talking about ways we can fast track that process because now the reality is that the next time we race, with something on the line, is in the America’s Cup Round Robins.
As the boat has a helm on each side, it cannot be easy – practically and mentally – to share the control of the boat.
It is not easy. It is one thing only controlling the boat half the time, but the way these boats are set up, you only have 50 percent of your vision. If I was to be controlling the boat the whole time, I would still not be able to see all I need to see. You have to get used to in these boats. You cannot steer all the time and see what you need to see.
You would love to cross over and steer on the other tack but it is not the way these boats are raced. For me it is a communication part when it is my wheel and when it is Goody’s (Paul Goodison) wheel and how we paint the picture when we are coming to the intersection with a boat.
I need to tack at exactly the right point. If I put the board down a second too late, they are going to get an overlap underneath us. If I go one second too early, they will live on our hip. Things like that…. how we paint that picture and get really accurate is something we really need to work on.
Where do you see NYYC American Magic overall at this point in the cycle?
Generally, I think we are in a good place. We have started well. We have been training up a little bit of an inexperienced sailing team and the guys are improving. We have done our relocation to Barcelona and have hit all our timelines and deadlines accurately. We are on track for the future.
As a whole I think we have a lot of room to improve, whether that is our sailing skills and our communication and how that works, or how we race the boat. But with systems and things like that, there is a lot of work going on every day to make big improvements.
We are on that journey, and I think as a whole we are pretty happy, we have done everything that we feel we could have to this point and for sure now we are just going to have to see if we have a fast enough boat when it hits the water. That will be a defining moment.
Following the publication of the AC37 Protocol and AC75 Class Rule on November 17, 2021, the AC75 Class Rule and AC Technical Regulations were finalized on March 17, 2022. The entry period opened December 1, 2021 and runs until July 31, 2022, but late entries for the 37th America’s Cup may be accepted until May 31, 2023. The Defender was to announce the Match Venue on September 17, 2021 but postponed the venue reveal, confirming it would be Barcelona on March 30, 2022. The 37th America’s Cup begins October 12, 2024.
Teams to challenge defender Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL):
• INEOS Britannia (GBR)
• Alinghi Red Bull Racing (SUI)
• Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team (ITA)
• NYYC American Magic (USA)
• Orient Express Racing Team (FRA)
2023-24 Preliminary Regattas
September 14-17, 2023 (AC40): Vilanova i la Geltrú, Spain
November 30-December 2 (AC40): Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
August 2024 (AC75): Barcelona, Spain
2024 America’s Cup
August 29-October 7: Challenger Selection Series
October 12 – ?: 37th Match (Best of 13)
Additionally, 12 teams will compete in the 2024 Youth & Women’s America’s Cup.