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Sailors so close to Pan Am place

Three Bermuda sailors have narrowly missed out on qualifying the Island for this year's Pan American Games.

Malcolm Smith, David Frith and teenager Mackenzie Cooper came within a place of securing a spot at the Sunfish National Midwinter Championship in Florida last week.

The trio finished fourth out of 49 entries, just six points shy of the top three which would have given Bermuda a place at the Games in Mexico.

Sailing his first Sunfish regatta, Cooper found himself in contention after day one, sandwiched in ninth place between three time former world champion, Bahamian Donnie Martinborough and current sunfish world champion, Jonathan Martinetti from Ecuador.

Cooper took advantage of the mostly light winds to improve over the next two days, finishing fifth overall with three finishes in the top five, and getting Bermuda agonisingly close to Pan-Am entry.

Former world champion Smith had a difficult first day carding an OCS, 29 and an 18. The last two days saw improvement with Smith in the top 15 each race but it was not enough to get him further up the leaderboard than 13 overall.

Frith had a difficult first day as well with two OCS's in the first two races and he ended the regatta in 44.

The regatta was won by 17 year-old Puerto Rican Fernado Monllor who visited Bermuda as a competitor in the RenRe Jr. Gold Cup in 2008. In second place was USA's Connor Blouin followed by David Hernandez from Guatemala and Columbian Antonio Rojas in fourth.

Cooper and Smith are planning to attend the 2011 Sunfish World Championships in Curacao in June where the final two Pan-Am Games spots will be awarded.

As a warm-up to the championships, Smith and Frith entered the Sunfish International Masters regatta, and Smith was in fine form and won the championship with an impressive series consisting of seven first place finishes and a third. Frith finished 24 in the 42 boat fleet.

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Published March 21, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated March 21, 2011 at 9:33 am)

Sailors so close to Pan Am place

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