Smith holds off Foggo to triumph in thriller
Malcolm Smith held off a charging Heath Foggo to clinch a maiden Edward Cross Long Distance Comet Race title in one of the most dramatic finishes in recent memory.
The multiple world sun fish champion and crew Damien Payne crossed the finish line in the Great Sound in their one-design Comet dinghy a mere six seconds ahead of Foggo and crew Stevie Dickinson.
Siblings Rudy and George Bailey crossed a further ten seconds back in third.
“This win really feels special and I got to give it to Heath and Stevie because at the end they came in really fast underneath us and it was a really close race for the three boats,“ said Smith, who won the offshore race in 2hr 19min and 21sec.
Smith led the fleet on the beat out of St George’s Harbour and reach to Fort St Catherine, but was passed by Foggo near the Oil Docks.
The lead swapped hands again when Bailey surged in front approaching Crawl Hill.
However, the race took another twist when Smith sailed into the some good pressure and regained the lead near Hogfish Beacon, leaving Bailey and Foggo in his wake the rest of the way to the downwind finish.
“Once we got clear air out in front all we had to do was concentrate on sailing the waves and staying in the pressure and find the finish line, which we managed to do,” Smith said.
“Heath came up from leeward with a lot of speed on the run but we also had good speed and picked the right end of the finish line and we’re just happy to win the race.
“Damien did an awesome job and that helped. We were just constantly making changes to the boat to keep the speed up. Whether it was the mast, vang or whatever we just always tried to keep the trim right.”
Foggo and Dickinson also passed the Bailey siblings on the home stretch to get within striking distance of the leaders but ultimately fell short as their gamble to sail above the rhumb line backfired.
“The position we put ourselves in we felt that Malcolm and Bailey had to come out to us on a different angle which would have been a lot slower,” Foggo said. “But apparently the wind filled in from the land so they got the puff first and were able to keep the boat going.
“Even though we closed the gap a good bit going to the finish line we just ran out of real estate.
“But all in all it was a great race and congratulations to Malcolm.”
Rudy Bailey, a multiple winner of the race, said: “I am happy with third. We pushed the boat and pushed ourselves as hard as we could so the old guy still has a little something left in the tank.”