Tom Slingsby: from Laser to World Sailor of the Year

Tom Slingsby: from Laser to World Sailor of the Year

Dec 14, 2021

Tom Slingsby has recently been named 2021 Rolex World Sailor of the Year celebrating his achievements over the past two years. This is his second time on the top of the sailing world, as he also won the title in 2019. How did he end up here?

“I’m not sure why I am so competitive, but I always have been. Whether it’s playing table tennis, cards or Olympic sailing I just have to win.” 


The rise of an obsession

Tom Slingsby’s father was a competitive sailor, so from a young age Tom has been surrounded by boats. However, he was not particularly fond of regattas and was not a good junior sailor. This made him focus on tenis instead. 

However, when the Olympic Games docked in Sydney in 2000, he was completely obsessed with sailing after seeing all the action that developed in the port. The passion of these athletes made him pursue his career in sailing and completely dedicate his training in Laser.

“I am really fighting for every spot, even if I am back in the pack tomorrow, I’ll be fighting for every point come the end of the regatta.” 


From zero to hero

After six years of thorough training he won in 2007 his first Laser dinghy World Championships, and was ranked number 1 on the Laser dinghy class in the upcoming 2008 Summer Olympic Games but ended in 22nd spot overall. 

Since then, he won the 2010 Laser dinghy World Championships again, a title he defended for three years in a row. By 2012, he already had five world titles in Laser and the Etchells Class, and it was in the 2012 Olympic Games in London where he won the Men’s Laser Gold Medal. 

All these achievements in 2012 grant him the Athlete of the Year Award from the Australian Institute of Sport, receiving the Medal of the Order of Australia. 


His journey in the America’s Cup

After his success in the 2012 Summer Olympics he joined ORACLE TEAM USA as strategist and was part of one of the greatest comebacks in history of sport by winning the 34th America’s Cup in 2013. 

He re-signed with Oracle to defend the title as tactician and team director. In the meantime, he won the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race of 2016 and in 2019 he won his first world title in the Moth class, where he dominated all races except one. 

You will find interesting: Relive the best moments of the past editions of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race