Peters holds off challenge from Smith

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Reigning champion Russell Peters started the 1996 season as he finished the 1995, beating a hapless Lawrie Smith, in the opening regatta for the Ultra 30s at Southsea yesterday, writes Stuart Alexander.

It had been neck and neck between the two over the first six races of the three days, but in the seventh, with Peters holding a one-point lead, Smith first ran into spectator traffic at the start of the seventh and then, with Peters leading all the way, suffered gear damage to the pin holding on the rudder of his yacht, Frontera, and retired from the final race. Peters went on to score another win and he now carries six points into the second regatta at Dundee at the end of the month.

Peters, in DBS, and Smith are closely matched, neither being lower than second in any race until the last. Even when Peters made an awful start in the first race of the day, he was able to work his way back up to second, passing former world champion Nigel Buckley, 1988 Olympian Roger Yeoman, gold medallist Mike McIntyre and, in a match-race finale, Eddie Warden Owen.