#sailorofthemonth – Successes in the first two races of the current Volvo Ocean global contest have placed Justin Slattery in an unassailable position for our Sailor of the Month for November. Completely absorbed in his fifth world race which is itself a record for an Irish sailor (and he won in 2005-06 with ABN Amro), Slattery has had the satisfaction of seeing his Abu Dhabi team justify his feeling that on the previous circuit three years ago, they were hampered by a slow boat when the fleet was made up of different individual boats from a number of designers and builders, even if constructed within closely-limited parameters.
For the 2014-2015 contest, they are of course racing the one-design Volvo Ocean 65s, created by Farr Yacht Design. Although Abu Dhabi - skippered by Ian Walker - was not necessarily always in the lead on the first leg from Alicante to Cape Town, she was ahead when it mattered at the finish. And with the entire fleet of one designs racing within the same closely defined area of water for the Cape Town inshore event, she showed the quality and depth of her style with another win. In the thick of it all, Justin Slattery was in his usual key roles in a multi-functional position (he can be bowman, trimmer or helmsman) to fulfill expectations that have resulted in him being very much the man to go to when putting together a sailing team – his days of knocking on doors in the hope of securing a crew place are happily long gone.
Born in Cork with a boyhood in Wexford, Justin Slattery (40) is another Irish sailor who took his first proper steps afloat with Eddie English on Cork Harbour. For those keen to follow in his career path, his basic advice is to keep going for it, and do just as many offshore races as you can manage to get invited on, both to develop general experience, and to test whether or not you have the hundred per cent dedication needed. It is also important to develop specialisation in one particular skill in gear, equipment or sails which will give you a personal USP when crews are being assembled.