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Sydney to Hobart

Thursday, December 19, 2013

SYDNEY - He conquered the 2012 Olympics, was recently crowned World Sailor of the Year, and earlier this month won his 18th straight regatta.

Now Mathew Belcher is eyeing his maiden Sydney to Hobart.

The London Games 470 class gold medallist said the famed yacht race was a challenge he's keen to tick off his bucket list - it was just a matter of when. "It's something I'd definitely like to do," Belcher told AAP on Wednesday.

"Obviously not this year, but maybe next. We'll just see how it fits in with our programs.

"It's a totally different area of our type of sailing. The challenge of actually going from Sydney to Hobart and what that represents, the training, the dynamics of that part of our sport is interesting."

"But, you know, I like to come home at night."

Belcher's fellow World Sailor of the Year and Olympic gold medallist Tom Slingsby is competing in his first Sydney to Hobart on Boxing Day aboard line honours contender Perpetual Loyal.

His current crewmate Will Ryan - with whom he's won 10 consecutive regattas, including last week's Sail Melbourne World Cup - has already sailed the bluewater classic, aged 18 in 2006.

While Belcher and Ryan have their sights firmly set on the 2016 Rio Olympics, the sailing duo also has an eye on another iconic event - the America's Cup.

Belcher's name has been thrown up as a possible senior option for Australia's newly-formed team to challenge the 35th edition of the race - likely to be held in 2017.

And the 31-year-old said both he and Ryan were interested in joining the campaign.

"I've really enjoyed Olympic sailing but I'd like to get involved in the America's Cup - whether that opportunity is now or not, I guess time will tell," he said.

"It's a fantastic opportunity for sailors in Australia to be able to represent our country in the America's Cup.

"We've got the sailing talent, we've obviously got the resources now, and we've got the knowledge to be able to pull a team together and have a serious chance of winning."