Whitley, 14 December 2014: TENACIOUS, brave, intelligent and highly skilled: these were the four words used to describe the winner of the Land Rover Above and Beyond Award in Sydney, Australia, after three days of thrilling racing in the heart of Sydney Harbour. Oman Air’s Tom Slingsby (AUS) was awarded the trophy for showcasing the greatest tactical performance and improvement seen this year on a debut appearance at the Extreme Sailing Series.
Series Main Partner, Land Rover presents the award to teams or individuals in recognition of those who have demonstrated the finest examples of skill, sportsmanship and strength of mind at each of the Extreme Sailing Series Acts in the true spirit of Land Rover’s Above and Beyond ethos.
Slingsby, an Olympic Gold Medallist and five times Laser World Champion, was presented with the Land Rover Above and Beyond Award by Global Brand Ambassador, Hannah White, who explained the decision by the committee.
“The global stadium racing circuit is renowned in the world of professional sailing for being one of the toughest events to win. With such huge talent on the racecourse it’s easy to languish at the bottom of the pack, but Tom went up against the very best and in the space of three days, watched them, learned from them, battled with them, and beat many of them at their own game. Finishing in last position at the end of day one of racing, Tom and his team from Oman Air quietly clawed their way up the leaderboard, impressing everyone and leaving some of the biggest names in sailing in his wake, finishing the final Act of the 2014 just one place off the podium. We can only speculate on where he might have finished if there had been another day of racing. Tom’s tenacity and intelligent racing has impressed everyone and we hope he’ll be back next year.”
Committee Member and America’s Cup sailor, Dave ‘Freddie’ Carr was just as complimentary about the choice of winner. “We all know Tom is a World Class sailor, you don’t win the America’s Cup, or win an Olympic Gold medal by not being at the very top of your discipline. But he has come into Act 8 where every single Extreme 40 team is competing in style – they have been at it since February when the 2014 Series began in Singapore. So to come in to the final Act, on a boat he has never sailed before, with a new team and to finish fourth is incredible.
“Tom was last after the first day, and last by a long way, he was 10 points off the bottom. To see that learning process, to get better during the regatta and keep improving and analysing your performance is impressive. It is quite easy when you are at the bottom of the fleet, to stay at the bottom of the fleet and to lose your momentum; there is nowhere to hide on these stadium racecourses. But to watch a debutante sail through the fleet like that is brave and highly skilled. Tom, without a doubt, deserves the final Above & Beyond Award of the year,” Carr concluded.
Slingsby was presented with the award in the shadow of the Sydney Opera House. “To receive this award is a real honour,” said Slingsby. “It was a great effort by the team onboard Oman Air and I had a great team with me this week; they really helped me around the track. Sailing here in Sydney harbour with spectators everywhere and fans cheering your name, and now this award. What a great way to finish off the event!”