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Just how hard can it be?

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 19 Jan 23:30 GMT
2019 SailGP Marseille Grand Final © Lloyd Images for SailGP

You've won multiple World Championships, and not just in the one class mind you. Try a very impressive three styles of boat. You even have the ultimate colour of Olympic bling in the trophy cabinet. You have won a thing called the America's Cup, and a handful of guys from that now sail with you in the newest event going around. Oh yeah, and you won that inaugural event last year in a thrilling finish against a fellow countryman.

All of that makes you Tom Slingsby. Ahead of SailGP's spectacular show returning once more to Sydney, Slingsby said, "For the end of January and the early parts of February I will just be sailing my Moth out on the Harbour reacquainting with the racetrack. It is the closest speed you can sail to the F50. That will be my training. Had all my fun in the other classes (and secured a Moth World and Etchells Australian Championship in the process) now it is back into the F50 and try and defend our title."

Now here's the interesting point. Originally, the plan was to allow the teams five years to secure their financial success. That subsequently got reduced to three. Now it would seem two is the number. "We have been told that unless we get some partners on board and some sponsorship dollars in, that we are going to be vulnerable," said Slingsby.

"There will be a time when a team wants to buy in, and they are going to be offered a team that does not have backing. We, Team AUS, definitely need help in that arena. Spain very swiftly secured the Chinese spot when it was made available. Both Denmark and Spain have come into Sail GP pretty well funded, with partners on board already. We have been told that by the end of this season we need to have made some inroads into this crucial area, in order to secure our future."

All of which made me ponder how amazing it was that the reigning champion not only has to fight on the water, but also in the boardroom. You could say that corporate Australia has not been that interested since 1987, and perhaps it followed One Australia down in 1995. Yet perhaps it does not have to be a global brand. Sodebo have staunchly supported French assaults on maritime pursuits, and they are simply a frozen pizza brand (amongst other things).

Equally, corporations may be conglomerates, and therefore not have a single, identifiable global brand. Take Newscorp as an example. Until recently they had a studio that owned one of the most identifiable characters in the world - Bart Simpson. Little wonder he was emblazoned on the kites, and of course Disney used the whole thing to highlight the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie. New times deserve new thinking, so if there is somebody out there who just had the light bulb go on, then please make contact with Tom's team.

Australian Sailing Royalty

Good friend Ian Humphries was the Deputy Chair at the recent Optimist Australian Championship staged out of the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria in Williamstown. He sent me this very interesting note shortly thereafter, "On the last day of racing I witnessed a very big deal. An 11-year-old lad pulled a perfect race out of the bag to leapfrog the leaders and win the title. Behind him, he had sailors up to four years older than him from Ireland, France and the USA, all ranked in the world top ten. I will suggest he is on the same path as Jake Lilley and Matt Wearne. His name will make every Australian sailor we know smile and nod knowingly. Keep an eye out for Joel Beashel."

Indeed, and no pressure either... Last year as a ten year old, Joel won the 11 Years Division in the same class, finishing in 24th place overall, so that is certainly one magnificent progression. What is just as significant, is that he immediately transferred out of the pram bow, went down to the McCrae Yacht Club at the other end of Port Phillip in Melbourne, grabbed Logan Radford, climbed onto their Flying Ant, and won that Australian title as well. With a six-point buffer no less. The pair went back-to-back in the Flying Ant, having secured the same title at Lake Illawarra last January in another brilliant display including seven bullets.

Please take a bow guys.

Adam and Lanee Beashel (nee Butler, who is a four-time Olympian in the windsurfer) can be very proud, something his uncle, Colin, is as well. Apart from Adam himself, other former winners of the Flying Ant include Will Ryan and Kyle Langford. Adam has previously said about Joel, "The questions he asks me after an event blow me away. He'll ask about something 95 per cent of the other kids won't have noticed. His awareness is amazing."

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John Curnow
Editor, Sail-World AUS

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