Casey Smith.
Casey Smith.

Smith ready to push the limits

HE IS not adverse to nude sailing and, unsurprisingly, has a larrikin sense of humour.

In the world of ocean racing, where colourful characters are as common as sunscreen lotion and lip balm, Casey Smith still manages to stand out.

The Mooloolaba Yacht Club member and respected professional sailor is set to push himself to the limit again when he embarks on his second around-the-world Volvo Ocean Race next Saturday.

Smith has once again signed with the Puma team for one of sailing's toughest challenges.

The 39,000 nautical mile torture test starts from Alicante, Spain, with an in-port race before the commencement of the first leg to Cape Town, South Africa, on November 5.

With Smith on board, Puma finished second in the 2008-09 race.

A 33-year-old bowman who learned to sail off the Sunshine Coast, Smith is based in Newport, in the US state of Rhode Island, and known for his outstanding boat management skills and focus.

There is also the matter of him strapping on a harness sans his clothes.

"I've tried to tone it (the nudity) down a bit," he joked. "I've limited myself to only a few random nudity episodes a month so far."

Smith was a star performer during the 2008-09 event, formally known as the Whitbread Round the World Race. He won the Seamanship Award on the seventh leg for climbing over the side of the hull to repair a rudder in the middle of the transatlantic crossing.

He sailed on Puma's original il mostro 70-foot monohull in that race, but this time around he will be on a 14-tonne Mar Mostro, or the Monster of the Sea, along with 10 other crew.

In 2008-09, the team finished the event in nine months.

"What's cool about these boats is you will stay above 30 knots of boat speed for extended times," Smith said.

Following the first 6500 nautical mile leg from Spain to South Africa, the fleet will race to Abu Dhabi, China, New Zealand, Brazil, the US, Portugal and France before finishing in Ireland.

"History has shown us that the first boat to Cape Town usually goes on to win the race overall," Smith said.

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