Smith enters Whitbread

SAILING
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The Independent Online
Lawrie Smith yesterday threw his hat back into the ring for the Whitbread Round the World Race, announcing his intention to compete again in 1997/8, though he has yet to find a sponsor, writes Stuart Alexander.

Earlier this year Smith, at 39 Britain's leading sailor, both inshore and offshore, also endorsed a new round the world race being organised by the Swiss Whitbread veteran, Pierre Fehlmann. The race is due to start in September next year in identical, 80-ft water-ballasted yachts, whose large size appeals to Smith.

With only 15 months to find about £3.5m and put the campaign together, though, Smith has opted for the longer-established Whitbread, which is sailed in 64-ft water-ballasted yachts, each of which is individually designed.

"With proper funding and a decent length of time for preparation we shall mount a serious challenge for the Whitbread," Smith said. "The Whitbread is the event to win. I have come close to winning it before [he was second in Intrum Justitia last time] and I believe my team has the necessary skill and experience to come first next time."

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