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Veteran sailor Smith aims for gold at Pan Am games

Veteran Bermuda sailor Malcolm Smith is hoping for a case of third time lucky when he competes at the Pan Am Games in Mexico next month.

The 52-year-old will be striving to capture that elusive gold medal in Puerto Vallarta where the sailing event will be held having won silvers at the 1999 and 2003 Pan Am Games.

Smith, who is competing in the Sunfish Class, will be accompanied by his long-time coach Chuck Millican and believes a podium position is well within his grasp.

“I'm hoping I'll be able to come out with a good finish, hopefully a medal,” said Smith, who won the Sunfish World Championships in 1994, '98 and '03.

“Sailing is the kind of sport where you need a little bit of luck and the rest is up to you.”

At the 2007 Games in Rio four years ago, Dame Fortune wasn't smiling sweetly upon Smith, who finished a disappointing sixth.

But the Spanish Point Boat Club sailor is confident of a better finish this time around having enjoyed an encouraging season competing at top regattas around the world.

He claimed the final Games qualifying berth with a 15th place finish at the Sunfish World Championships in Curaçao, where he also claimed the Masters Division (over 40) title,” said Smith, who will be Bermuda sole sailor at the Games.

“I've had some reasonable results this season; I won the Masters Division at the Mid-Winters and came fifth at the North American Championships.

“I know the guys I'll be competing against as I've already sailed against them, and I've been working hard throughout the year to get to as many regattas as I can.

“I don't know too much about the weather conditions in Guadalajara but sometimes it's best not to go on predictable stuff; you go on what's there when you get there.”

Smith will up against competitors from 12 other countries but believed when sailing in the Sunfish he can more than hold his own with the world's top sailors.

“The Sunfish will be a strong class at the Games but I've been sailing Sunfish for more than 40 years and to be honest it comes pretty easy to me,” said Smith, who sailed at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta in the Laser Class.

“I don't know why I'm the only Bermuda sailor going. Maybe it's the financial part of it or maybe there are less people competing in the Pan Am Classes which are more regional boats rather than Olympic classes.”

Thousands of athletes from 42 countries, including 275 from the United States, will compete in 36 sports during the Games, the world's second-largest sporting event after the Olympics.

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Published September 29, 2011 at 10:30 am (Updated September 29, 2011 at 10:30 am)

Veteran sailor Smith aims for gold at Pan Am games

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