Piers – Dedicated Yachtsman
The first thing that struck me on meeting 19 year old Piers Hugh Smith was his absolute enthusiasm for his sport. Piers’ family home is in Church Lane, Peppard although he is now mostly based in Southampton.
He attended Radley College, where he first took up sailing at the age of 13. He began by sailing the school’s dinghies three times a week on a nearby reservoir and started racing a year later. He bought his first boat from the school and later went on to own a two man boat bought for him by a sponsor. He is now a member of the British Under-24 Squad of the Keelboat Academy. In 2013 Piers took part in a 3,800 mile transatlantic passage, which took 23 days, and last year in a 700 mile race around Ireland, as well as other races both short-handed. He also crewed on larger boats.
Recently Piers went to Australia to take part in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race but sadly they had to retire on Day One as a crew member was ill. However, Piers was able to fly to Tasmania and sail back to Sydney. Fitness is really important and Piers goes to the gym four days a week. He explained to me that good preparation is very important as is complete co-operation between team members. It is necessary to be trained in marine first aid as sometimes a boat will be a long way from any help.
Piers intends to go to university because he appreciates, as with all professional sport, there is no guarantee of a career. His ultimate goal would be to compete in the Volvo Ocean Race or the Vendée Globe (the round-the-world solo race), but those ambitions will probably have to wait until he has spent years off-shore racing, and developed a wider range of experience and skills.