Jack Smith and 2016 Olympic Games sailor Ashley Stoddart.
Jack Smith and 2016 Olympic Games sailor Ashley Stoddart. Dewi Smith.

Young Jack takes on the big boys in Sabot national titles

THIRD-generation sailor Jack Smith has been selected for the South Queensland team contesting the Sabot class national championship in Hobart from December 27.

The Sunshine Coast Grammar School junior sailor has spent the past three years preparing for his first national championship under the watchful eye of coach Rob Lea from the Academy of Sailing.

"Sailing has been in the family so I thought I should go try it out,” Jack said.

"I am going really well (with sailing) at the moment.

"Robbie has been saying that I have been improving every lesson.”

He has taken so well to sailing that he is happy to declare in front of his father Michael: "I like sailing more than school.”

Jack said he used his new-found sailing skills during school.

"It's taught me that sailors have good awareness and problem-solving skills,” he said.

"I have also learnt how the tide and wind work.”

He will be racing his single-handed, 8-foot boat, named Crackerjack, in the open senior division of one of Australia's biggest junior sailing regattas.

Jack will be up against eager young sailors from around Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.

Joining him in the South Queensland team will be about eight other Coast sailors - most of them coming from the AOS training squad.

"It gets hard when you are doing big regattas like youth week and the nationals because I am only 12 years old and I am racing against guys that are older than me who have a bit more experience,” a wise Jack said.

"I am just trying to keep improving all the time so I do really well in the nationals and represent South Queensland really well.”

Jack is nervous and excited about the forthcoming event which will be the last one for him in this class as he physically grows out of the Sabot.

In the new year, he will move into the fast 29er skiff class, which is the precursor to the Olympic 49er class.

The articulate young man has a firm long-term goal in mind.

"My number-one goal is to be an Olympian for Australia,” he said.

But for now he is focused on using the next few weeks before the championship to train four times a week before his parents Michael and Dewi join him on the long trip to Tasmania.

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