Smith is holding his own in rough seas

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  • Going for gold: Thomas Evans, right, takes part in the RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup on the Great Sound as SoftBank Team Japan pass in the background, narrowly avoiding Santiago Pacheco, of Uruguay, and Amparo Stupenengo Pefaur, of Argentina (Photograph by Tom Clarke)

    Going for gold: Thomas Evans, right, takes part in the RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup on the Great Sound as SoftBank Team Japan pass in the background, narrowly avoiding Santiago Pacheco, of Uruguay, and Amparo Stupenengo Pefaur, of Argentina (Photograph by Tom Clarke)


Azhai Smith remained perched atop the local leaderboard after yet another trying day on the water during day two of the RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup in the Great Sound yesterday.

The 12-year-old sailor put in another good shift in challenging winds exceeding 20-knots and choppy seas to keep ahead of the chasing pack in the local fleet.

Smith has managed to hold his own competing against some of the world’s elite sailors at this level and after two days of fleet racing in the single handed Optimist dinghy sits in eighth overall.

Not bad for a sailor who only took to the sport two years ago.

“It’s great [to be the top Bermudian in the field.],” Smith said. “My dad, he really loves boats, so he kind of wanted me to get into sailing. I wasn’t quite sure about it at first, but I love it now.”

As for yesterday’s showing, Smith added: “It was blowing really hard out there.

“It was pretty windy, which I’m okay at handling, but not the best.”

The youngster’s day did not go without incident, which fortunately had no bearing on the leaderboard.

“I capsized twice,” Smith said. “But luckily it wasn’t during the races, just once after a race and once before.”

Dominating the overall fleet for the second straight day was Mia Nicolosi of St Thomas.

The 13-year-old female sailor posted two firsts, a third and a fourth to remain on top of the pecking order.

Like the rest of the fleet, Nicolosi had to cope with the heavy winds, conditions that put her at a disadvantage given her size.

“The heavy winds are really tiring,” she said. “I almost capsized twice.

“Not proud of it, but on the fourth race I was winning and then I almost capsized, so I took on a lot of water. But I still finished third. “There’s always room to do better.”

River Andrews, who is sailing in Bermuda’s waters for the first time, was among those suffering the worst from the chilly, windy conditions.

“I expected it to be really warm here since it’s a tropical island,” the 14-year-old Antiguan said.

“I think I do better in heavy wind than in light wind. But I did better in the third and fourth race because it wasn’t as heavy and I warmed up a bit.”

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Published Oct 28, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 28, 2016 at 12:52 am)

Smith is holding his own in rough seas

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