Selley and Smith set record
David Selley and Matthew Smith broke a 26-year-old A Class record on their way to class and line honours in the Rubis Around the Island Power Boat Race yesterday.
The pair were in the first group to start at Ferry Reach and, despite the rough conditions, they remained consistent to reach the last turn back still in the lead, finishing in a record time of 55min 11sec.
They broke the previous A Class record of 55:46, set in 1992 by Andrew DaCosta and co-pilot Chris Smith, the older brother of Matthew Smith.
“I’m sure we’ll argue about that later tonight,” joked Matthew of matching his brother’s feat in his own boat.
Selley added: “It’s a record, but give respect to Andrew DaCosta, who did it with a 70 [horsepower engine] and we’re running a 115. He did it on a flat, calm day and we’ve actually got more horsepower than he had. I didn’t even think a lick about a record today; it was pretty bad conditions. We were so close to cancelling. Then they lifted the small craft warning and so we said, ‘Let’s go race and drive to the conditions’.”
Smith said: “We were on South Shore, outside the reef line and the swells were definitely a lot bigger. Even the North Shore was hard to read. The only smooth ride was just before we hit the pylons and inside Hamilton Harbour. It was sloppy.”
The strategy of the pair, according to Selley, was “drive to the conditions, keep the nose down, but up enough so that you don’t nosedive.”
He added: “The jack actually broke down on South Shore and Shaki [Easton] drove a hell of a race, made us work. He went past us on the inside and we got him back by Cooper’s Island.
“After that we were able to hold our marks and pull away from him. We never saw anybody else; we were pretty much gone from the get-go. All we’re thinking is the bigger boats catching us.”
Smith said he spent a lot of time looking over his shoulder, expecting one of the more powerful boats to catch them before they returned to Ferry Reach.
“I wanted to see where everybody was,” the co-pilot said. “The only time we actually even saw the other boat was when they caught us by Pink Beach. When we got him back by Cooper’s Island, that was the last time we saw him.”
Said Selley of his co-pilot: “He owns the boat and put me in the position to win the race. I just wanted to make it back in one piece.”
Easton and co-pilot Shane Madeiros, also in A Class, finished second on a day when there were some mishaps in the tough conditions.
“The conditions today would usually be perfect for me, but hats off to David and Matthew, I got it wrong today,” Easton said.
“I just couldn’t hold it in the rough, the boat was all over the place. Shane did an excellent job, his first time going with me. This is the first time I’ve been happy coming second, because this was a ‘hook’.
“I had to work, we chased them down on South Shore, passed them and we battled for a little while and then he left me. I had nothing for them after that, but I gave it my all to catch them.
“North Shore was rough, Castle Roads was rough, but it was a good tactical race. You had to think about it. They went outside, I went inside and that’s how I caught them. It was calmer inside and I was watching them jump the swells.
“I’m still a novice compared to David. I’ve been racing since 2010, but this is a new boat for me.”
There were a couple of setbacks on the course, including a competitor being ejected out of an S Class boat driven by Keith Bridges and co-pilot Aaron Sims, with one of them taken to hospital. The boat was returned to Ferry Reach.
Seventeen boats started in four classes, with 11 finishing the race.
“The race conditions were really good, it was a bit choppy but it is offshore racing and they should know to ride to the conditions,” Chris Roque, the race director, said. “We did have a couple of slight mishaps, mainly due to pleasure boat wake, which I’m hearing caused one of the larger boats to lose a co-pilot overboard. It happened in the harbour, somewhere between Pearl Island and Dockyard. He was in hospital getting checked out and I don’t have any more information at this point.
“On a great note, we’ve got an A [Class] boat first across the line, breaking a record going back more than 20 years. We had a couple of breakdowns, but otherwise it was a great race day.”
Shawn Butterfield and co-pilot Alex Gibbs, of D Class, were back at Ferry Reach quite early after they suffered engine problems off Bailey’s Bay.
“By the time we got out of the pylons, the chop was really heavy and we were just trying to keep it together,” Butterfield said.
“The next thing we knew we went up and I had no control. The boat went up on the side and all the mounts on the engine broke, though the engine kept going.”
Butterfield was trying to get his boat out of the water at Ferry Reach when Selley and Smith crossed the line for the win.
“I was looking for my class win today, but unfortunately it didn’t happen,” Butterfield said. “I saw my mate David Selley just come in first.”