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Smith puts title on the line

Malcolm Smith and crew Damien Payne will put their Long Distance Comet Race title on the line on Monday.

The pair came from behind in last year’s offshore race to secure their first title after pipping Heath Foggo and crew Stevie Dickinson by six seconds in one of the most dramatic finishes in recent memory.

“Last year’s race was probably one of the best in a very long time,” Smith said. “I didn’t lead the race the whole way but making some adjustments may have made that tiny bit at the end.”

Smith and Payne are among a formidable fleet boasting last year’s runner up Foggo and multiple winners Rudy Bailey, Gladwin Lambert and Stevie Dickinson who is back at the helm of his own boat this time around.

“You can’t let the cat out of the bag too much so we’ll be there and just give it a go,” Smith, the multiple world sunfish champion, added. “I’m going to go out there and do what I can and if it goes my way then it goes my way. It’s that kind of race sometimes, especially when it starts getting light and the breeze can fill in from anywhere, so we are just going to have to wait on the day.

“The forecast right now is constantly changing so we are going to have to wait until the day.”

The Long Distance Comet Race, hosted by the West End Sail Boat Club, is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year and is traditionally regarded as the most prestigious race in the class.

Dickinson, who represents the East End Mini Yacht Club, has won the annual race a record 20 times. This year’s race will start from West End Sailboat Club at 11am and travel down North Shore, ending in St George’s Harbour at East End Mini Yacht Club.