I have known Justin Slattery and followed his career for many years as he rose to become one of the top international sailing stars, the winner now of two Volvo Ocean Races in the toughest position on a racing boat, that of Bowman.
Justin is a very pleasant, courteous, friendly and quiet man, who can take justifiable pride in what he has achieved, but whose international reputation as a top sportsman, a top athlete, would not be as well-known in Ireland as the names of unpronounceable English soccer players and that, in my belief, is an indication of the failure of sports coverage in the general national media to give sailing and its Irish stars their rightful place..
In sailing, his name is at the top internationally and he does not forget his Irish background. He is back in Cork for a rest after an exceptionally busy racing period. It is the first time he has taken a break since the end of the Volvo Race in Gothenburg in June, the second time he won it, this time aboard Abu Dhabi. He was sailing again with British Skipper Ian Walker, with whom he had also sailed aboard the Irish entry, Green Dragon, in the 2008/2009 Volvo Race.
Abu Dhabi at speed in the Volvo Race Photo:Matt Knighton
In my interview with him, he discusses that project and the need to have sufficient backing and support in a Volvo campaign.
“You are up against the best in the world in the Volvo Race, with the best resources. If you arrive on the start line under-resourced or with a boat that’s off the pace, then you are on the back foot right away and that is a pretty painful way to go around the world.”
A clear, definitive assessment there from a sailor who has huge international respect and experience and who also won the 2005-2006 Volvo Race aboard ABN AMRO ONE.
“I have managed to tick a lot of boxes over the last few years, but it seems that those boxes are ever-increasing. There are various types of racing I would like to do, boats I would like to race. There is never a dull moment and I am looking forward to the future,” he told me as we discussed his sailing career and his plans for the future in the interview for this Podcast.
Now aged 41 Justin lives in the UK sailing centre of the Hamble and was back in Cork for a rest and relaxation with his wife and daughter, before again entering the racing circuit next year when the Caribbean season starts.
Justin Slattery at the Volvo Race Awards Ceremony in Gothenburg
CLICK the podcast at the top of this blog to listen to the interview.
One of my prized sailing possessions is a cap which Justin gave me after he won his first Volvo Race and which he had worn aboard AN AMRO ONE.. There is a story to it. When my boat was broken into and damaged on its mooring at Crosshaven a few years ago, that hat was amongst the items stolen. An alert Garda detective spotted a man wearing it in Cobh and, with sailing knowledge, questioned him as to where he got it. That led to an outcome where quite a bit of stolen boating equipment was found, including some of mine and Justin’s hat, which was returned to me and which I still use, as the photo shows!
The hat that survived thieves