Starting Gun – The Etchells Worlds and a Conversation with Jud Smith
We caught up with Jud Smith of Marblehead, Mass. at Doyle Sailmakers this past week, as he gets ready for the upcoming Etchells Worlds in Newport, R.I. starting on June 21-28. Smith is a Rolex Yachtsmen of the Year and former Etchells Worlds champion who just so happens to be building many of the sails for the event. He will be racing with his long time team of Peter Duncan and Tom Blackwell. As both sailmaker to other competitors and a competitor himself, we asked Jud to take a moment to give us an overview of the upcoming event – and the state of Etchells’ sailing overall.
Q. What is different about this upcoming event in Newport, R.I.?
A. The World’s in Newport is going to be a big draw. Canada is close, and it is off-season for the Australians. The World’s has become the premier event for Australians and we have John Bertrand here along with many other teams. In 1998, the Etchells Worlds was held in Marblehead, and it was the last time we had 100 -boat strong Etchells Worlds. We are figuring we will have 95 boats on the line for this one. Newport is unique and to have an Etchells Worlds on the east coast is rare. We don’t get the Worlds in the US that often and it will be awhile before we have one nearby again (next year’s event is in Hong Kong).
Q. With such an international fleet descending on Newport, R.I.; will this be the first time some of these competitors will race against each other?
A. Many of these teams have competed in the Jaguar Series in Miami and that is what we last did as a team before we began pre-worlds races for this event. Most of the major American boats were at the Jaguar series, as well as European and Canadian teams. Many of us have met each other on the race course before this.
[“The Jag”, as it has come to be known, is a four regatta series, spread out over four weekends between December and March, and brings together many of the best Etchells sailors in the world.]
Q. How important are these winter series like the Jaguar Series to the Etchells fleet?
A. The Jaguar Series has really helped the Etchells fleet and it has been a very popular format. It is more common now that you have to go where the sailing is – and a lot of competitors find it in Miami. The sport has evolved and whereas the summers are short and it is not always easy to get people involved in weekend racing – the competition stretches out over the year. It is so much more migratory.
Q. Will this Etchells Worlds feature a heavier contingent of professional -level sailors or will it include fleet racers from the region as well.
A. What is different about the Etchells is that many of the owners are not pro-sailors but they do have pro teams. The talent pool is incredible so what has changed is that the boats are loaded with talent. It is not like the old days where you could fill in with individuals from the host club. That being said, it is hard for the club sailor to be competitive amidst this caliber of competition. However, for the club racer, they can come and get to sail against the very best in the world and talk and mingle after the racing.
Q. What else is unique about this talented Etchells fleet?
A. Today, the Etchells is not so much a summer racing class but a traveling class. Etchells fleets are not gone, they are just not exactly where they used to be and more competitors take time over the course of a year, and not just weekends in a short summer season, to compete. The Etchells is one of the few keelboat classes that is still vibrant and does enable older sailors to compete. And, as it has evolved into a fleet that is deep with sailing talent, the more mature sailors tend to be the ones that have the resources and the time to race.
Q. As the sailmaker to the sailors, do you think you have any advantage over the other professionals in the fleet?
A. When you are the sailmaker for the event, the process for the customers started a long time ago. The Doyle team boats have been training on weekends in Newport. As a sailmaker, we live and breath this every day. Any advantage I could have had is probably negated by the amount of time I have put into working with our many customers and helping make sure they are up to speed. As much as sailmaking has evolved into being more automated and as such precise, there is still a lot of craftsmanship that our team has put into our sails – its been an exciting but exhausting few weeks leading up to the regatta.
Success for Doyle-powered Hugo Boss and Neutrogena who have just taken first and second place in the IMOCA 60 New York – Barcelona Race. The four competing teams – Hugo Boss, Neutrogena, Safran and Gaes – departed New York on 1 June to undertake the 3,700 mile course to Barcelona. Conditions were challenging and racing was close and competitive with leader Safran being forced to retire after skipper Marc Guillemot was injured.
Hugo Boss has recently received a full new set of Stratis ICE sails, designed by Richard Bouzaid. With Alex Thomson away on paternity leave, Hugo Boss was co-skippered by Pepe Ribes and Ryan Breymaier, who completed their race in a time of 14 days 2 hours 44 minutes and 30 seconds. “The whole race was great, mostly excellent conditions for sure across the Atlantic, you can’t really say champagne sailing when you have to wear your waterproofs but it was as close as perfect for most of the way. The toughest time was the last 3 days, I always find the lighter airs the toughest,” said Breymaier. “There was never a dull moment for sure, a very intense race so it feels great to win. Until the Med the first 3 boats were incredibly close,” said Ribes
Neutrogena, skippered by Guillermo Altadill with Jose Munoz, gave them a close run, eventually finishing in second place with a time of 14 days 6 hours 55 mins 17 seconds. “I have had very close finished with short crews in IMOCA 60 in short legs, but in a 3,700 mile long leg being so close until the finish… that’s a first,” said Altadill.
“This was a great result for both teams as they prepare for the Barcelona World race at the end of the year,” said Richard Bouzaid, Head of Design at Doyle Sails NZ.
Q. To get an edge on the competition, what should competitors, navigators, or tacticians be doing now to get prepared for the race in mid-June?
For all competitors, right now you should be reviewing the weather from past races and watching the Gulf Stream and surrounding eddies. Begin to get a feel for what to expect in terms of weather and determine how the Gulf Stream is setting up and moving. Don’t wait until two days before the race to do this. The Gulf Stream and accompanying meanders and eddies play a key role in the race so you need to know where all the key elements will be when you get there, not just at the start.
Q. As well as watching the Gulf Stream, how important are weather patterns and forecasts and why?
My first Newport Bermuda Race was 38 years ago and we relied on celestial navigation, and much of the weather was predicted by the navigator’s arthritis. The prevailing strategy was what emerged from past races. It was basically thought that you head 180 degrees until you get into the Gulf Stream, and then head for Bermuda. Along with everything else, weather forecasting has gotten a lot more accurate but you still cannot trust the forecast 100 percent.
On Shockwave we are preparing with the goal of winning it. So, currently, we are doing a study on weather data over the decades and we are basing our analysis on a number of factors. The reason the weather predictions are so important is that we will decide on our sail inventory from our analysis. If we choose wrongly, or if I advise wrongly, that does not give me a warm, fuzzy feeling. These decisions of what sails to bring and what sails to leave behind are a huge factor in preparing for the race and can determine a great deal. We need to submit our rating by May 22 so most key decisions must be made by then. We will make our macro inventory decisions then but exactly which sails come and go will be decided the day of the race. Despite all the technology we have, you never win the Newport Bermuda Race if you don’t make some big guesses and that is all part of what it takes to win the race.
Q. Are there some factors that many competitors could take greater notice of as they consider their competitive strategy?
Yes, and it is about sail inventory. Read the ORR rules again or talk to your local sailmaker. The rules have a clear effect on the sail inventory because with ORR rules you are rated with the spinnaker factored into your rating whether you choose to use one or not. You are rated based upon the minimum ORR area whether your actual spinnaker is that size or not. If your spinnaker is larger than the ORR area your rating goes up, but not vice versa. Some teams will have a spinnaker on the boat that may be well under what you are rated for. Similarly, you are charged for a minimum jib area and a cruising boat with a non-overlapping genoa is likely to be under that for jib area. It is very easy to miss these details and you should take time right now to figure out your sail inventory to your best advantage.
Q. What are some common pitfalls for competitors?
You want to make sure you establish your watch system immediately and stick to it from the start. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to get into a rhythm and stay rested. People tend to want to stay engaged or participating in the decisions even when they are off watch -but it is better to preserve your energy. You will need it. Another pitfall is that you don’t rest on your laurels after you pass through the Gulf Stream. As a rule the sea state is calmer but people are tired and it is very easy to stop thinking strategically. There remain a lot of tricky currents and decisions made in the final 200 miles of the race where it can be won or lost.
Q. What else have you learned about the Bermuda Race?
The more I learn about the race and the more I know, the less confident I have become about winning it. The Newport Bermuda Race is one of the most challenging races of all time. You have the Gulf Stream, with hot and cold air meeting each other. It is an oceanographic and meteorological laboratory and we are the RATS! It is really, really tricky. It is always interesting, challenging, and rewarding to take part in.
- See more at: http://bermudarace.com/robbie-doyle-bermuda-race-strategy-sail-selection-crew-care/
– Written by Laurie Fullerton
The new version of the e33 made quite an impression on those following in her wake at this past weekend’s Figawi Race. The e33LM, a revolutionary hybrid wood/glass hull, was loaded off the truck at Hyannis Marine, her crew (Robbie Doyle, Drew Lyman, the owner Nick Lazares and his son, Nick) jumped on, tuned the rigging, did a couple of tacks and sets then headed to the start line. “Even though the boat is designed and built primarily for day sailing, it was great for Flash to win its inaugural race beating more than 100 boats in a very demanding race,” said Doyle. “Great shake down to insure smooth enjoyable sailing in the future.”
Read the following Q&A for more details on the new e33LM:
Q. How did you get a brand new boat and model ready to sail a 25 mile race in 25 knots of wind with so little prep time?
A. Key is that the boat is extremely simple. It has just three sails – a square top main, self-tacking jib, and an asymmetrical spinnaker. Also, this is e33 hull #27 so it’s a known entity that has had been a continuous evolution since inception.
Q. You mentioned that the e33 is constantly evolving. What’s new and different with this boat?
A. This hull structure is certainly the biggest leap forward yet. Nick Lazares was looking for an easy boat to sail with family and friends. He has a larger boat but finds with his busy life style it takes too long to get sailing and then to put things away at the end of the day. He wanted a boat he could easily handle himself so he could invite non-sailors along and they would be comfortable.
He and his son came for a test sail on a traditional e33 and were sold on the concept. But he had some special requests:
1. A shoal draft for sailing around Cape Cod.
a. The e33LM has an optional shoal draft keel configuration that reduces the depth from 5’9” to 4’9”.
2. Could handling be made even easier with a self-tacking jib?
a. This is also an option for the e33LM. We were concerned that it might hurt performance however as explained in the discussion below on hull construction because the boat came out lighter and roach was added to the jib, no detection can be seen in sailing performance as indicated in her Figawi Race victory where she excelled upwind as well
3. The owner wanted the feel of wooden boat below deck.
a. This was all doable but I cautioned him that adding the wood he wanted could add a good amount of weight and with the shoal draft keel already a bit heavier we could be limiting the boat’s very special all around sailing performance.
b. Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding stepped in, led by Cabot Lyman who had a concept to build a strong hull that was a wood-glass hybrid. Lyman-Morse’s boat building team led by Lance Buchanan teamed up with Tyler Doyle of Doyle CFD to use the latest in Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to analyze the strengths of various wood and glass combinations. After a number of combinations were examined, Western Red Cedar for the hull interior and 5/32” of Eglass for the hull exterior were selected. The fiberglass IGU interior was replaced with various woods that were all cut on Lyman Morse’s new C&C router for easy replication.
c. The result is a hull that is 16% lighter than the glass-foam-glass laminate as well as a boat that requires no additional wood trim for looks. This photo was taken below on the e33LM just after the finish of the Figawi Race with the cushions in the forepeak still wet from the spinnaker take down!
Q. What other features separate this daysailer from the others?
A. A square top main. Grand prix racers love this configuration because it is the most efficient mainsail geometry there is. It is popular among catamaran sailors, too, as it is not only efficient but depowers automatically because the top naturally twists open with wind gusts. I had an e33 for more than four years and despite having sailed it in up to 35 knots of wind, we never reefed. In fact, in this race the one boat that was in front of us at the leeward mark lost its lead while they struggled to get a reef in. It was blowing 22 to 25 knots at that time with 5 to 6 foot seas and with a crew of 4 we were very comfortable sailing to windward. There was a 50-footer not far behind us going pretty well but when we tacked with our self-tacking jib we left them behind as they struggled to sheet in their large genoa.
Q. Why don’t all boats have square top mains?
A. The primary reason is that most cruising boats have permanent backstays that interfere with a large roach. Racing boats have running backstays that are released and taken up on every tack and jibe. The e33 does not need a back stay as the shrouds and spreaders are swept back sufficiently to support the headstay without a back stay. Catamarans are set up with this configuration as well.
Q. What’s next for the boat?
A. Primarily the e33LM FLASH will be used for its intended purpose – comfortable daysailing where Nick and his friends can enjoy the high fidelity sound system, hot and cold running water and large wide open cockpit designed for relaxing.
For more information contact: Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding 207-354-6904 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Superyachts from around the world were on hand for what turned out to be perfect conditions at the 2014 St. Barths Bucket Regatta, spanning three days from March 28-30. Doyle Sailmakers’ staff were sailing on many of the boats at the event. Doyle Sailmakers’ founder and president Robbie Doyle was on-board the 125’ S&S designed Axia, Chris McMaster and Justin Ferris from Doyle New Zealand were onboard the new 164’ Dubois Ohana, Quinny Houry from Doyle Palma was on the 148’ Perini Clan VIII, John Baxter from Doyle Chicago was on-board the Holland 112’ Blue Too and Matt Bridge from Doyle New Zealand was on the 122’ Dubois Moonbird.
The conditions for the week were near perfect with 15-22 kts. Fresh off her win in the BVI’s, Moonbird placed second in the Mademoiselles Class, sporting a full set of new performance focused Doyle Stratis ICE sails. She was followed in third by Blue Too, who in addition to her third place finish, also took home the Alloy Trophy for the best performance by an Alloy yacht. The 31m Dubois Sarafin finished in fourth place flying a new Doyle Stratis jib.
In the Grand Dames Class, the 50m Perini Navi ketch Silencio won the last race in her class to put her into third in her division. Silencio was using a brand new Doyle A2 spinnaker for the regatta, measuring in at nearly 13,000 square feet and featuring a massive Lion inlay. She finished 1 point clear of the new 40m Perini Navi Performance sloop State of Grace who was powered by a full inventory of Doyle sails.
Congratulations to all of the winners and looking forward to the 2015 St Barths Bucket.
To view the final results, click here.
The 2014 superyacht racing season started on a strong note, with Moonbird winning Class C at the 2014 Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous. Moonbird, built by Fitzroy Yachts and designed by Ed Dubois, is a 123′ sloop that was recently fitted with a new mast and Stratis ICE sails. Matt Bridge from Doyle Sails New Zealand was sailing with the team on Moonbird. Second place was the Oyster 100 Sarafin, and third was Tempus Fugit, a new 90′ sloop from Arkin Pruva Yachts – both of which carry Doyle sails.
In class A, the 164′ sloop Ohana placed third and Leopard by Robertissima was fifth with full Doyle inventories. Chris McMaster and Justin Ferris from Doyle Sails New Zealand were sailing onboard Ohana.
The next event will be the St. Barths Bucket, with racing starting on Friday the 28th. Moonbird, Sarafin and Ohana will be joined by other Doyle powered boats, including Axia, Blue Too, State of Grace and Zenji.
For complete regatta results, please visit here. All photos courtesy Boat International Media.
Perfect conditions 10-15kts and warm and sunny weather provided a great weekend of sailing in San Diego for the annual NOOD Regatta.
Mark Stratton and his Crew on the Beneteau-40.7 Laguno won all 6 races in the 40.7 class to take the win. Laguno used a complete set of Doyle Stratis ICE sails for the event including a New ICE Mainsail and ICE LM #1. All of the sails were made by Doyle Chicago, with John Baxter onboard to celebrate his birthday on Sunday with the clean sweep.
Bill Purdy and his Whirlwind Team made the trip to San Diego from the east coast. Bill chartered a Beneteau 36.7 and brought his Doyle sails out for the event. Bill used a brand New Doyle Stratis #1 made by Mark Ploch in at Doyle City Island. Bill also won every race in the event in the 9 boat Beneteau 36.7 Division.
Congratulations to both teams who sailed a fantastic regatta.