Powerboating:Smith’s title hopes fade

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He finished 19th out of 30 boats in a series that has been reduced from three races to two after the result of the first, on Thursday – when Smith finished 14th – was declared null and void following a protest over starting procedures.

And, with just one race to go on tomorrow, Smith has written off his chances of victory.

Conditions for yesterday’s 54-nautical mile race were smooth – which suited the catamarans but not the monohulls, which included Smith’s Condor Ferries boat.

‘It was horrible for us.

It was a terrible day out,’ said the Jersey racer from Jesolo, on the Adriatic coast of Italy.

‘The boat didn’t perform and we had gearbox problems.

It was very fast and we had no chance at all – it just wasn’t our conditions.

A monohull can never beat a cat in conditions like that.’ And he conceded: ‘We’re too far down the field to do anything now.’ Ironically the forecast for the second and final race on Sunday is for rough conditions, which would be ideal for Smith’s craft.

‘They’re all saying that it’s going to blow up and we’re just keeping our fingers crossed,’ he said.

‘But it’s too late to make any real difference for us.’ Smith and navigator Sarah Donohue’s race was also blighted by a blown seal on their gearbox – the second time it has happened after a similar problem in the void race.

‘It took 2 or 3 mph off our speed,’ he said.

‘The same seal blew on our first gearbox yesterday.

It’s a very stange water here and there’s a lot of flotsam about.

Other people have had the same problem as us.’ The Italians took the first three places with Antonio Bianchi in his boat Castle in pole position.

Defending champion Thomas Wrenkler of Sweden turned his boat over and his navigator wife was taken to hospital with a broken limb.’

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