Highly decorated Australian sailor Tom Slingsby is tipping Black Jack to potentially break the recent Wild Oats XI-Comanche duopoly of line honours in the Sydney to Hobart.
Serial winner Slingsby was a key member of the Perpetual Loyal crew that took line honours in 2016.
Decorated sailor Tom Slingsby, right, thinks Black Jack could contend for line honours in this year’s Sydney to Hobart.Credit:SailGP
That was the only time in the past seven years a boat other than Wild Oats XI or Comanche got to Hobart first.
Black Jack took line honours in 2009 as Alfa Romeo and was second last year.
"The battle between Comanche and Wild Oats is always a great one but the really interesting thing for me is Black Jack has had some modifications and from what I can see its performing better," Slingsby said.
"I've seen it out on the harbour and I've seen some video of it sailing offshore, I think that they will be a real contender this year.
"It's kind of been a little bit of a two-horse race with Black Jack and InfoTrack and Scallywag on the outside, this year I see Black Jack really jumping into that race."
Slingsby won the 2012 Olympic Laser gold medal, nine world titles across different classes, has been part of two triumphant America's Cup campaigns and was male world sailor of the year in 2010.
But it seems to him the public's benchmark of sailing success is the Sydney to Hobart.
"I came back [from overseas] and anyone in Australia they would hear I'm a sailor and the only thing they would say is 'have you won the Sydney to Hobart?'" Slingsby said.
"At that point I hadn't and they didn't really think I was a very good sailor, so in Australia it's a big deal and a really good test for people.
"I don't really enjoy the offshore sailing but for me that was nice to tick off that area to show that I can do it."
Slingsby has enjoyed a fantastic year, even by his own lofty standards.
He skippered Australia to victory in the inaugural SailGP series and last week won the world Moth championship in Perth.
He finished second in both the Etchells and RC44 world championships.
"One of my best years for sure," Slingsby said.
His 2020 schedule will centre around defending the SailGP and Moth titles, with the former starting in Sydney in the last week of February.
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