Tom Slingsby after winning the 2012 Laser World Championship
Tom Slingsby takes a step towards sailing greatness with fifth Laser world title
Released: Friday, 11 May 2012
Australian sailor Tom Slingsby has won the 2012 Audi Laser World Championship with a race to spare in Boltenhagen, Germany.
The 2012 title was Slingsby’s fifth in six years as he cements his position at the top of the Laser class in the final run up to the London 2012 Olympic Games.
“This could be my last Laser World Championship and it’s great to finish it so well,” said Slingsby. “I sailed my best this week in conditions that I traditionally haven’t done well in, so to win it like this feels really good. This is my fifth Laser world title but it’s my first in light conditions which is really satisfying.”
“Hopefully this win sends the message that I’m definitely no light wind pushover,” he said. “Heading into the Games I know that I still need to improve and that I still have work to do. The rest of the fleet is going to be trying to topple me so I’ve got to be on my game and keep pushing.”
Slingsby went into the final day with a 20-point lead over Croatia’s Tonci Stipanovic knowing that a strong opening race would be enough to seal the title.
“I knew that I had to beat Tonci and have a few boats in between us to wrap it up, I went out and did that and was able to sit out the final race,” said Slingsby. “I rounded somewhere between 15th and 20th and had a good first downwind to get back to seventh or eighth at the bottom.
“I was fifth by the top mark and then pulled a few boats back on the downwind to get up to second,” he said. “I saved my best till last today, this morning’s race was easily my best of the regatta and it was when it counted.”
While Slingsby was all smiles after his win his regatta nearly came to a grinding halt after injuring his ankle on Wednesday evening.
“Last night after racing I rolled my ankle. It was pretty sore overnight so we went off to the hospital this morning to get it x-rayed,” he said.
“Luckily there was no fracture so I got it heavily strapped and got back in time for racing, getting out to the course with about 35 minutes to spare,” he said. “Things were a bit tight for a while there but everything came together in the end.
“Now it’s time for some rest and recuperation, get the ankle sorted out and do some training in Italy before heading to Weymouth for the final regatta there before the Games,” he said.
Slingsby led the event from start to finish, winning five of the 14 races and finishing in the top 10 in another six.
“I’ve been saying for a while now that if I sail well I know I can win, whether it’s a World Cup event, a World Championship or an Olympics,” said Slingsby. “I know that if I’m sailing well I’m the only person that can beat me. I’ve managed to beat all comers in the last few years.
“Heading into the Games everything’s on track and I’m preparing the best I can,” he said. “Winning here is a great build up for London, I wouldn’t want to be in any other position at this stage.”
Fellow Australian Tom Burton had his best ever result at a Laser World Championship, finishing the week fifth overall.
Burton was in the mix all week, picking up eight top 10 finishes from the 14 races and showing good speed off the line in the light, shifty conditions.
His 11th and sixth on the final day moved him up to fifth overall, just 11 points off the podium.
“My performance was solid this week,” said Burton. “I read over my notes from the worlds last year and made a point on trying to fix some major errors that I made then.
“I was up there all week and was sitting in third on two occasions but had two very bad days and against this fleet having even one bad day will knock you out of contention to win the title,” he said. “Although it was a very tough series and even with two really bad days I was able to get up to fifth and am very happy with that result.”
Ashley Brunning finished the event in 13th position, sailing well as he continues to return from a back injury sustained last year.
Ryan Palk was 30th, ahead of James Burman in 46th and Matthew Wearn in 53rd.
Jared West was 30th in the silver fleet, with Ki-Raphael Sulkowski and Klade Hauschildt 27th and 51st respectively in the bronze fleet.
The nine Australian sailors were supported in Germany by Australian Sailing Team Laser class head coach Michael Blackburn.
Slingsby one good day away from fifth Laser world title
Released: Thursday, May 10, 2012
Australian Tom Slingsby has is a step closer to winning a fifth world title following two consistent races on the penultimate day of the 2012 Audi Laser World Championships in Boltenhagen, Germany.
The Australian had his lead cut almost in half the day before but bounced back well on Wednesday, finishing with a third and a 10 to open up a 20 point gap over Tonci Stipanovic of Croatia with two races remaining.
With two races left to finish off the 2012 World Championship the Australian world number one knows that there is plenty of work still to do.
“Firstly I just need to go out and have a good first race,” said Slingsby. “Then if that goes well I can keep a eye on Tonci for the second race.
“If we were racing in a normal venue offshore I would say it would be hard for me to lose,” he said. “However where we are racing, with the shifts off the land and pressure differences, 20 points is nothing in my eyes, it’s still all on for tomorrow.”
The shifty conditions again tested even the best with the seven sailors directly behind Slingsby all finishing at least one race in the 20s.
“Today was a good day with a third and a 10th,” said Slingsby. “Race one I had a good first beat rounding seventh and pulling up to third. In race two I was lucky to have a really good comeback, I rounded 36th and was able to get some good shifts and pull back to 10th, so a good day.
“It was a day where things weren’t always going to go right for you and it just depended on how much you were able to pull back I think,” he said. “I was lucky I saved one of my best comebacks for today and hopefully it will be important at the end.”
If Slingsby comes out on top on Thursday it will be a fifth Laser World Championship, and a third straight, for the 27 year old, the perfect build up for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
“To win a fifth world title would be great,” said Slingsby. “More importantly for me is this could very well be my last Laser worlds. I’ve raced at 11 World Championships and personally I would love to finish with a win.
“But at the moment I’m just thinking about having a good race one tomorrow morning,” he said.
Fellow Australian Tom Burton went into the day third overall but had two tough races, with a 50th and a 30th in the tricky conditions.
The results saw Burton slip from third to sixth but with two races remaining is still only 15 points off the podium,
Ashley Brunning had a better day on the water moving him up to 13th overall and within 12 points of the top 10.
Brunning opened the day with a second before finishing race two in 24th.
Queenslander Ryan Palk is 37th, ahead of James Burman in 45th. Matthew Wearn is the sixth Australian racing in the gold fleet and is currently 53rd.
In the silver fleet Jared West is currently 33rd, while Ki-Raphael Sulkowski is 32nd in the bronze fleet and Klade Hauschildt is 50th.
Aussie Toms sit first and third at Laser World Championships
Australian sailors Tom Slingsby and Tom Burton sit first and third respectively after five days of racing at the 2012 Audi Laser World Championships in Boltenhagen, Germany.
On Tuesday the 168 competitors split into gold, silver and bronze fleets with it being the first time that the leading sailors have had the chance to face off against each other at this World Championships.
Slingsby took a 20 point lead into the first two final races and had mixed results with a win and a 23rd, with his lead over second placed Tonci Stipanovic of Croatia cut to 12 points. Fellow Australian Tom Burton finished with a second and a sixth to shoot up from his overnight 11th to end the day third overall, eight points behind Stipanovic.
“Today wasn’t such a great with a first and a 23rd,” said Slingsby. “Both races were extremely shifty with 10-12 knot pressure differences, in my view it was borderline raceable, just because boats could be 50 metres apart and have a wind difference of 10 knots.
“In race one I had a bad start and went up the center of the course, got a good shift at the end and rounded 11th,” he said. “On the first downwind I got a bit lucky and had a nice gust which I took up to third and was able to pass the next two boats to win.
“In the final race of the day I had a great start at the pin end, went a bit left and tacked and crossed the fleet,” said Slingsby. “I played it too conservative and got passed by boats from both sides. Throughout the race I moved up and down 20 positions at each mark and eventually finished 23rd, ended up with more points than I would have liked on day one of finals.”
While Slingsby still has the overall lead he can’t afford another high score from the final four races as he can only drop one result from the finals series.
“I have a lead on the scoreboard but not in reality, I can’t afford any bad results from here on,” said Slingsby. “The way I look at it, I scored 24 points today and the Croatian scored four, so my lead is gone. I just have to go out tomorrow and have some low scores.”
Tom Burton raced up the ladder on the first day of gold fleet racing with his second and sixth moving him forward eight positions.
“The first day of gold fleet was very tricky,” said Burton. “The forecast was for stronger breeze but the wind was still off the land and the breeze had some stronger moments, but was very patchy and would go from five to 15 knots in seconds and then would be gone in a matter of minutes, making it very hard to have a consistent day.
“Both races for me were pretty good, I had some really nice starts and was able to get on the shifts straight away but I also think everyone at the front of the fleet needed some luck so it was good to finish with a second and a sixth.
Following four days of qualifying the competition stepped up a level for the first two gold fleet races.
“The gold fleet today looked a lot tougher,” said Burton. “Starts were key to be out the front with more room, looking back on the reaches and every boat was nose to tail, it didn’t look like a nice place to be and made it much tougher to make any gains.
“At the end of today I’m feeling pretty good, although I had a good day in qualifying and followed it up with a shocker the next day, so I’m very aware of what can happen tomorrow,” he said. “Although at the moment things are looking pretty good.”
Ashley Brunning is currently 16th overall after a 32nd and a 22nd with Ryan Palk five places further back in 21st following a 38th and a 33rd.
James Burman is 47th with Matthew Wearn 56th in his first appearance in the gold fleet of a Laser World Championship.
In the silver fleet Jared West had a 34th and a ninth to be 24th overall while Ki-Raphael Sulkowski is 38th in the bronze fleet, ahead of Kade Hauschildt in 55th.
Two days of racing remain at the 2012 Audi Laser World Championships with the champion to be crowned on Thursday 10 May.
Aussie leads the way as Laser World Championship enters finals series
Released: Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Qualifying has come to an end at the 2012 Laser World Championship with Australia’s Tom Slingsby to take a 20-point lead into the finals series, beginning on Tuesday.
After the opening eight races Slingsby sits on 18 points, 20 clear of Austria’s Andreas Geritzer, and Tonci Stipanovic of Croatia is a further two behind, with three other Australians joining him in the top 15.
Light winds greeted the crews again on Monday with the three fleets completing two races to finish off the qualifying series. Slingsby opened the day with a second before his first result outside the top eight, a 28th.
The scoring system for the 2012 Laser World Championships has the sailors dropping their worst result from the qualifying series, meaning that Slingsby’s 28th will not harm his chances at a fourth straight world title.
“For the final day of qualifying I had a good race and a bad race,” said Slingsby. “In the first race I started well, lead for the first lap before being passed up the second beat and eventually finishing second.
“In race two I had a bad start and never found any clear air the whole race,” he said. “I had forgotten how tough it is battling away in the 30's and really don’t want to be back there again. I finished the race in 28th but luckily was able to drop that race.”
The 168 sailors will now split into gold, silver and bronze fleets with six finals races to decide the 2012 Laser World Championship.
“Points wise it’s looking good so far,” said Slingsby. “The way I’m looking at it is that there is a new regatta starting tomorrow in gold fleet, six races, one drop.
“I’ve got a nice lead now but that could be gone with one bad day in gold fleet so there is plenty still to play for,” he said. “It’s like a completely different race in gold fleet. You pay for every mistake and any speed edge is gone. I’ve done a lot of racing in different classes and in my view nothing compares to racing in gold fleet at a Laser World Championships.”
Three other Australians join Slingsby in the top 15 after four days of racing with a further two qualifying for gold fleet.
Tom Burton bounced back from a tough day three to finish with a second and a 10th to hold down his 11th overall.
The points are very close for the second half of the top 10 with Burton just nine away from fifth place.
One position behind Burton is fellow Australian Ashley Brunning who jumped from 18th to 11th following two good results.
Brunning was 10th in Monday’s first race and third in the final qualifying race to be nine points behind Burton.
Joining Slingsby, Burton and Brunning in the top 15 is Queenslander Ryan Palk who is 15th overall.
Palk had his best day of the event so far with a 13th and an eighth moving him up from his overnight 19th.
Also set to race in gold fleet is James Burman, who is currently 39th, and Matthew Wearn, who is 55th, with his second place in the final qualifying race securing his spot for the finals.
Jared West currently sits in 92nd, ahead of Ki-Raphael Sulkowski in 152nd and Klade Hauschildt in 163rd.
Slingsby extends his lead at Laser World Championships
Released: Monday, 7 May 2012
Australian sailor Tom Slingsby has extended his lead at the top of the ladder at the 2012 Laser World Championships following another two races in light, shifty, conditions.
The conditions shook up the leader board on day three of racing in Boltenhagen, Germany, but one thing remained constant, Australia’s four-time World Champion continues to lead the way.
Slingsby went into Sunday’s two races holding a three point lead, with first and eighth place finishes allowing him to extend this to eight points by the end of the day, with Sweden’s Rasmus Myrgren moving into second overall.
“Today was another good day of racing for me and once again we had five to six knots of breeze and it was very shifty,” said Slingsby. “In the first race of the day I had a bad start but took a risk on the left side and it paid off and I managed to round the top mark third.
“From there I was able to get to the lead and win comfortably,” he said. “In race two I had a really nice start but got caught a bit out of position and lost a bit of ground.
“I was coming into the top mark about 10th when I was fouled by another boat, he admitted the error and did a 720 degree turn but I lost about eight or nine positions in the process,” said Slingsby. “From there it was just about trying to catch as many people as possible which I managed to do well to finish up eighth. So it was a good day, I’m sailing well and looking forward to hitting the water again tomorrow.”
Slingsby has been the most consistent sailor in the opening six races with the world number one picking up four wins, a fourth and an eighth with many of those around him already carrying big scores.
“I can’t really see the other fleets but if their racing was anything like ours it was easy to have a big score,” said Slingsby. “This is all still qualifying so once we hit finals it will make it very tough to be consistent.
“I’m just taking each race as it comes and not looking too far ahead,” he said.
Fellow Australian Tom Burton went into the day third overall but a 22nd and a 23rd saw him slip down the ladder.
Burton now sits 11th overall and is in the middle of a tight group of competitors, with the Sydney based sailor just four points off seventh position.
Ashley Brunning and Ryan Palk are 18th and 19th respectively with just a point separating the two.
Brunning finished with a 24th and a fourth on Sunday with Palk crossing the line in 13th and 10th.
James Burman is 45th, ahead of Matthew Wearn in 55th, with Wearn beginning the day with his best result so far this regatta, a fifth, before finishing 24th in race two.
Jared West is 86th after also picking up a fifth, his coming in race two, with Ki-Raphael Sulkowski in 145th and Klade Hauschildt in 159th.
Slingsby leads the pack in light conditions at Laser World Championships
Released: Sunday, May 6, 2012
Tom Slingsby continues to lead the way at the top of the ladder at the 2012 Laser World Championships following day two of racing.
The four-time World Champion finished Saturday’s two races with a first and a fourth and has been joined in the top three by fellow Australian Tom Burton.
Slingsby currently sits on three points, with Burton tied with second placed Tonci Stipanovic three points further behind as light conditions continued to challenge the sailors in Germany.
“Day two was another good day for me with a one and a four,” said Slingsby. “We had more light, shifty, winds again and I’m just trying to not have a big score.
“In race one I had a good start and rounded sixth and by the end of the first lap I had the lead and held off fellow Aussie Tom Burton to win,” he said. “In race two I rounded sixth again, I sailed well to catch up to the leaders but unfortunately for me there were three very good guys ahead who never gave me a chance to overtake so I settled for a fourth.”
Slingsby said that sailing consistently would be key to having success at the 2012 Laser World Championships in Boltenhagen, northern Germany.
“If it stays this light and shifty there will be some big scores, it’s inevitable I think,” said Slingsby. “I know I’ll have a few bad ones but I have to make sure I can get back to a good score. In the light winds with the shifts like here, you need to be smart and also have a bit of luck.
“I’m enjoying sailing in different conditions, last week in Hyeres it was windy, this week it’s light, it’s great practice for the Games,” he said.
The London 2012 Olympic Games are just around the corner for Slingsby and the 27-year-old sees this event as being important for building momentum into the main event.
“It’s all about confidence,” he said. “I want to go into the Games with no weaknesses, light wind, strong wind, it doesn’t matter. I feel very confident in the light wind and strong wind so from here it’s about an all round improvement.”
Fellow Australian Sailing Team member Tom Burton started the day sixth overall and sailed consistently well in both of the day’s races with a pair of seconds moving him up the leader board.
The Sydney-based sailor finished ninth at last year’s Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships and in 2012 has consistently been at the front of the Laser fleet, finishing third recently in Spain and sixth in France.
Burton has shown to be strong in a range of conditions with light winds prevalent at the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Spain in April before the breeze picked right up last week in France.
Ashley Brunning sits just six points outside the top 10 in 14th overall, following a seventh and a 39th on Saturday.
Just behind him is Ryan Palk in 18th overall with the Queenslander finishing sixth in race one and 19th in race two.
James Burman has moved up to 34th, having his best race of the regatta so far on Saturday afternoon with a second, with Matthew Wearn having a better day two, a 12th and a 14th, to be 87th.
Jared West is 124th, ahead of Ki-Raphael Sulkowski in 133rd and Klade Hauschildt in 142nd.
Slingsby starts title defence in style
Released: Saturday, May 5, 2012
Tom Slingsby’s World Championship title defence is off to an ideal start, with the Australian ending day one of the 2012 Laser World Championship with a perfect scorecard.
Slingsby, a four-time world title winner, claimed both races on the opening day to sit two points clear at the top of the ladder at the 2012 Laser World Championships in Boltenhagen, Germany.
“We had a light offshore breeze which made it a very tricky day but it was a good day for me, I sailed well to win both races,” said Slingsby. “In race one I started well, rounded fourth and went on to win.
“Then in race two I had a bad start and wasn’t doing great,” he said. “Coming into the top mark I got a good right hand shift off the shore and was able to round second and catch the leader.
“I sailed well but I also had a bit of luck which was very handy,” said Slingsby. “It was one of those days where I was lucky a few things went my way.”
After a week of training in strong conditions in northern Germany the 168 entrants were faced with lighter breeze on day one of racing, between five and nine knots for the majority of the day.
“It was very different to training today,” said Slingsby. “I made sure I was first on the water and did a good hour of practice before the first race. In hindsight that really helped me change back to light wind mode.
“Overall it was a really good day, I’m off to a good start but there are 12 more races to go,” he said. “Plenty left in this one.”
At the end of day one Slingsby is joined in the top 10 by two Australian team mates with Tom Burton sixth overall and Ashley Brunning 10th.
“Tom and Ash have really stepped things up,” said Slingsby. “The Aussies are strong in all conditions so I think we will have a good event here.”
Burton, who has started his 2012 campaign with good results at the ISAF Sailing World Cup rounds in Spain and France, began the regatta with a 13th before finishing up the order with a second in race two to leave him sixth overall.
Literally nothing separates positions six through to 10 with the five sailors all tied on 15 points.
Ashley Brunning sits in 10th on a count back after beginning his 2012 Laser World Championships with a ninth and a sixth.
Ryan Palk is the next best placed Australian in 18th overall with the Queenslander crossing the line in fourth and 18th in Friday’s two races.
James Burman is 62nd, ahead of Ki-Raphael Sulkowski in 129th, Matthew Wearn in 138th, Jared West in 156th and Klade Hauschildt in 165th.
Racing continues in Germany on Saturday with the 2012 Laser World Champion to be crowned on Thursday 10 May.
Tom Slingsby racing for Laser World Championship title number five in Germany
Released: Thursday, 3 May, 2012
Australian sailor Tom Slingsby will be out to defend his World Championship title when racing gets underway at the 2012 Laser World Championships in Boltenhagen, Germany, on Friday.
Slingsby won the Laser title at the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships last December and will be keen to make it five World Championships in six years as he continues his preparations for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The current world number one said that he’s looking forward to the challenge of heading into the event having won the last two World Championship titles.
“I don’t mind being the defending champion, I’m used to a lot of pressure before big events,” said Slingsby. “No one puts more pressure on me than I do on myself so if I can reach my expectations, I’ll have no problems reaching others.”
The event is the final Laser World Championship before the London 2012 Olympic Games with it providing the last chance for a number of countries to qualify for the Games, with Slingsby securing Australia’s position with his win last year in Perth.
“It would be a great confidence boost leading into London but I’m not holding onto that,” said Slingsby. “I know it would be great to win here but I’m going into the Olympics confident no matter what.”
The 27-year-old was at the front of the fleet at last week’s ISAF Sailing World Cup round in Hyeres, France, before breaking his mast while leading the medal race to slip from first to fifth overall.
“I sailed very well in Hyeres last week,” he said. “I felt I was in tune with the wind and the boat and actually surprised myself with how consistent I was. I’m coming here to Germany confident with how I’m sailing and that’s the important thing.”
Slingsby will be joined in the fleet by eight other Australians, including fellow Australian Sailing Team members Tom Burton and Ashley Brunning.
Burton has had a strong start to the year with a Bronze medal at the ISAF Sailing World Cup round in Spain and then a sixth place finish in Hyeres last week.
“My preparations going into the worlds have been pretty good,” said Burton. “I had some other sailing experiences at the beginning of the year with the Etchells World Championships which really helped a lot heading into the last big regattas including Palma where I came third and Hyeres where I came sixth, both were above my expectations heading into the year.
“The ultimate goal for the worlds is to improve on my last year’s result, a ninth, but with everyone battling for Olympics selections and with the lead up to the Olympics this worlds is bound to be very tough and anything in the top 10 would again be a very respectable result,” he said. “I had my first sail in Boltenhagen the other day with it being pretty windy, although the long range forecast for the regatta seems to be lighter.
“I’m hoping for a whole range of conditions which will hopefully mix up the results a bit,” he said. “I think if we get a bit of everything hopefully I will be there or about come the last day.”
Also representing Australia in Germany will be Australian Sailing Squad members Jared West, Matthew Wearn and Ryan Palk. In Hyeres West finished the week 18th overall, West Australian sailor Wearn was 22nd, including five top 10 finishes, and Palk was 53rd in a mixed week where he finished in the top five in four races, winning one, but also had two DNFs and found himself in the jury room seeking redress in another race.
Among the other Australians competing at the 2012 Laser World Championships are James Burman, Klade Hauschildt and Ki-Raphael Sulkowski.
The nine Australians will be supported by Australian Sailing Team Laser coach Michael Blackburn, himself a former Laser World Champion, and Bronze Medal winner at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
Racing begins on Friday 4 May and continues until Thursday 10 May.
Tom Slingsby crosses the line to win his fifth World Championship title
Tom Slingsby on day six of the 2012 Laser World Championships in Germany
Slingsby on the start line in Germany
Tom Slingsby on the water in Germany
Tom Slingsby warming up before racing on day three of the 2012 Laser World Championships
Tom Slingsby racing at the 2012 Laser World Championships
Tom Slingsby crossing the line in Germany
Tom Slingsby on day one of racing at the 2012 Laser World Championships
Tom Slingsby during the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships