Posts Tagged ‘Jud Smith’
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.
Congratulations to Senet Bischoff and his team of Benjamin Kinney and Clay Bischoff, for winning the 2014 Jaguar Mid-Winters, the fourth and final regatta of the 2014 Jaguar Series. KGB had top six finishes in all but two of the seven races sailed over the three days in Biscayne Bay, Miami, FL. The most impressive part of this victory is the team was comprised of all Corinthian sailors competing against many of the top professional teams worldwide.
“In the past, Ben and I treated this as a social endeavor,” admitted Bischoff. “We always sailed with a bunch of friends, and had a great time, but we never had a consistent third crew. This year we added my brother Clay, a two time team race world champion and former college sailor of the year, and it’s been huge.”
“We are an all Corinthian (amateur) team so we don’t come in early to practice. We did buy a new set of Doyle sails from Jud Smith, and that has been a big help. Jud is very open and honest in helping us get better. We can send him a photo of our sails and he will respond immediately with tuning advice.”
The Mid-Winters concluded the 2014 Jaguar Series and a second congratulations is in order for Peter Duncan and his team, Jud Smith and Tom Blackwell, for winning the 2014 Jaguar Cup after finishing 4th at the Mid-Winters this past weekend! Both teams utilized the new Doyle APG Main, NLM-5 Jib and VMG Spinnaker.
“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. Hosted by Biscayne Bay Yacht Club and Etchells Fleet 20, the series consistently draws fifty or more boats to the good weather and great competition on Biscayne Bay. Teams from USA, Canada, Bermuda, Great Britain, Ireland, Switzerland and Ukraine are preparing for the World Championships to be held in Newport, RI this June.
To learn more about Doyle’s Etchells’ Sails, please visit here.
To see full regatta results, please visit here.
To read the full regatta re-cap, please visit here.
Jud Smith, sailing with his wife Cindy, daughter Darby and Rick Myers, won the first event of the J/70 Winter Series, held January 11-12 at the Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa, Florida. In the competitive 39 boat fleet, Smith finished in the top ten in all 5 races, and won two of three races on the first day. Also using Doyle’s latest J/70 sails were Mike Dressel who finished fifth, and Mark Ploch in seventh.
Saturday was the windier day of the two, with the breeze beginning at 12 knots and building to 20 by the end of the day. With the breeze out of the south, waves increased to 1-3 feet. Smith was confident in his upwind boatspeed, pointing out that he was first to the first windward mark in all three races on Saturday, with some downwind boat handling issues holding him back in race 2.
The event was an excellent warm up for Key West Race Week, which starts later this month and will have over 60 boats on the line.
Doyle One Design has been working on refining its J/70 sail designs for over a year now, and having done extensive modeling, testing and regattas, feels confident that its sails are the best on the race course – and results like this only reinforce that belief.
Doyle’s Tuning Guide and Tuning Matrix have been updated, and can be found here.
Congratulations to Peter Duncan, and his crew Tom Blackwell and Jud Smith, for winning the 2013 Louis Piana cup, the first event of the 2014 Jaguar Cup. Held in Miami, Florida December 7-8, the regatta featured five races with 64 of the world’s top Etchells sailors - no fewer than five previous Etchells world champions were amongst the sixty-four boats on the starting line.
Peter Duncan was using Doyle’s latest AP Mainsail, NLM Jib and the AP Radial Runner and the Bi-Radial Runner. Also in the top ten, using Doyle Sails, were Ted Hardenbergh in 6th, Shannon Bush in 8th and Flip Wehrhem in 10th.
“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. Hosted by Biscayne Bay Yacht Club and Etchells Fleet 20, the series consistently draws forty or more boats to the good weather, great competition and even better camaraderie.
The first race on Saturday, with East-southeast winds of about six to eight knots, saw lots of shuffling between the favorites and the rest of the fleet. Eight of the eventual top twenty sailed their throwout.
Peter Duncan commented, “We pressed a little too hard on the start and were over early. From that point we did well just to get back to the front half of the fleet.” In the second race, a few boats once again pushed the middle of the line, and were called over early, though all of the leaders started clean. By now the winds were a fairly consistent eight knots, still from the east-southeast. This race also saw a wire to wire winner with Peter Duncan taking his first of what would be three guns over the weekend. He was closely followed by Jim Cunningham. Tom Carruthers rounded out the top three, fresh off his recent win in San Diego.
Sunday brought a bit more wind to the bay with speeds above ten knots. Race four got under way at 1100, with a 1.6mile first beat at a 115 degree bearing. Peter Duncan was first to the weather mark, a lead he would not relinquish for the remainder of the race. Jim Cunningham, sailing with Jeff Madrigali, Mark Ivy and Bryn Bachman took their third straight second place finish, in what had now become a two boat regatta.
In the last race it all came down to Cunningham and Duncan. With a ten as a throwout, to win the Piana Cup, Cunningham simply needed to beat Duncan, or have Duncan finish lower than fifth. However, some technical issues undid Cunningham’s team. “We didn’t get a good start in the last race,” said Madrigali. “We probably should have started near him (Duncan), but we were a little out of whack. But all in all we sailed well. We never dropped boats, and always finished in the best position we were in in any given race. We’re happy.”
When asked about that fifth and deciding race, Peter Duncan said, “We noticed a bit of a right shift while practicing before the race. We decided to go that way, and it was still there. We pretty much stayed right all weekend, except for the last two legs on Sunday when the left paid better.”
Commenting Jud Smith, “We tried to stay in the top five all weekend. We screwed up the first race, but recovered in the next two. The right had good pressure all weekend except as it died at the end of the day, and then the left paid.”
To learn more about Doyle’s Etchells’ Sails, please visit here.
To see full regatta results, please visit here.
Charleston Race Week has quickly become one of the largest Regattas in the US, held annually in mid-April. This year Doyle was well represented, winning both the Viper 640 and Ultimate 20 Classes, and taking a close second in the hotly competitive J/70 Class. The One Design fleets got in eight races over two days before racing was called off prior to start time on Sunday due to high winds. Vipers had 33 boats and J/70 had the largest fleet of 55 boats.
For the second regatta in a row, Brad Boston and his team of Lee Shuckerow & Eric Vigrass sailed Jackpot to a win. The win was impressive considering the regatta featured some serious breeze on Friday. With a 33-boat fleet, the teams worst race was a 5, giving them a close win in a very competitive event. This is now the 4th year in a row that Doyle powered boats have won Charleston Race Week.
In the Ultimate 20 fleet, both BJ Jones and Brad Lawson utilized full Doyle Inventories to take first and second in the class. Doyle began producing Ultimate 20 sails in 2006 and has been successful ever since. Doyle-powered boats have won the U20 class at Charleston Race Week for three years in a row now, in addition to numerous North American and Regional championships.
Friday featured puffy and fresh 10-25 + knot south winds which made for some challenging races. Much of the time the upper level winds were mixing down to the surface with big puffs and full planing conditions. Upwind required heavy air tuning and trim techniques in the big blasts. On Course 2 the left side generally paid off on the windward legs especially near the windward mark. Downwind was more about finding the pressure lanes to stay planing. Getting consistent good starts and having the speed to hold a lane to the favored left side was what paid off. Boats that got flushed to the right off after the start missed the port tack lefties on second half of the beat and the leaders would then get away on the runs.
Saturday featured lighter 7- 15 knots N – NE winds and some big velocity and wind shifts throughout the day. The currents although always a factor were not as critical a play as the shifts and velocity. Although the right pressure would fill in on a few beats on course 2 there was some good lefty pressure on the top of the beat on most legs. Because of the incoming tide the fleet spent a lot of the beat on port tack and once again it paid to be fast and high on the boats nearby and win the one on one battles. The wind lightened gradually during the day which required easing the rig between races.
Jud Smith , Doyle One Design Manager , sailed Peter Duncan’s , J/70 “Relative Obscurity” with team Tom Blackwell, Greg Marie and Quinn Ziatyk to a consistent 2nd place overall with all but one top 4 finish. Tim Healy and his team won the regatta by 2 points. Henry Filter and his team on Wild Thing was 3rd overall.
Peter Vessella and his team placed 9th overall sailing their first regatta with Doyle One Design sails. Michael Glover, with Collin Kirby, Reese Wilkins and Robby Wilkins, sailing their first J/70 regatta on “Lucy”, were the third Corinthian finishers.
Many of the same teams will be racing at Annapolis NOOD in early May.
We have updated the tuning guide and some other notes on the J/70 which can be found here.
Below is a video of Jud Smith and crew leading the fleet around the leeward mark – quite a good feeling in a 55-boat fleet!
This years Bacardi Miami Sailing Week featured some of the top international talent competing in a number of the most exciting One Design Classes. At the end of the Regatta, Doyle One Design customers came away with wins in the Star and Viper Classes, and secured a second place finish in the new J/70 class after a unfortunate start to the regatta.
Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih got off to a rough start with an OCS in race one but, after five days of racing, were able to rebound with wins in the last two races to take home the Bacardi Cup. The regatta saw a wide range of conditions forcing teams to constantly adjust, making the win that much more satisfying against some of the Star class’ top competitors. “Winning the Cup again means a lot to me; it’s really great because winning any big Star regatta is not easy at all! I am very happy to have had Brian with me. He is a great crew and wanted to have his name on the Tito Bacardi trophy. The Bacardi Cup is a great event and now, with the addition of all the other classes, it’s even more satisfying.”
The regatta was also the debut of Doyle’s latest Star mainsail design, a new bi-radial cut which until now has not been proven in the Star class. After months of development, the new layout shows improved shape-holding through a wide range of conditions, in addition to being easily tuned. Jud Smith, head of Doyle One Design explains that “we moved to just two sections in the sail, each made up of radial panels. There are a number of benefits that we have realized – the radial bottom section helps handle the transition from the deepest parts of the sail into the clew smoothly while at the same time the radial gores in the clew help support the mast down low giving it a more even mast bend. Along the leech, the two radial sections essentially act as a catenary and evenly distribute the leech load.” The result is a very smooth, tunable sail that can perform in a wide variety of conditions.
In the competitive Viper Class, Brad Boston, Eric Vigrass and Shannon Bush sailing as Team Jackpot were able to win the regatta by winning 3 of the last 4 races, giving them a solid victory in a hotly contested class. Despite trailing early in the regatta, the strong finish helped them jump past some other past champions in the class. The sails he utilized were the standard Doyle sails that have proven durable and easy to trim for a number of years now.
The J70 fleet of 20 boats got in 9 races over 3 bright sunny days on Biscayne Bay for Bacardi Miami Race Week March 7-9. After just one shortened light air race the first day, the breeze filled in for the last two days, blowing 6-15 knots to get in 8 races. Eight of the twenty boats did not make the time limit in the first race when the wind shut off which was an unfortunate starting point for many of the contenders. Saturday featured a NW to NE wind that gradually built to 10 -12 knots as it shifted to the right. Sunday the NE breeze shifted right again during the morning race 7 before settling in from the E-NE with some puffs that featured one planing leg.
Going into the final day of racing both Brian Keane and Will Welles had a commanding lead over the pack and appeared unreachable. There was still a group of 4 boats with a realistic shot at a podium finish. The race committee hailed that they were going to attempt to sail three races that day. Doyle customers Peter Duncan, Mark Ploch and Amy Neill started strong on the final day, rounding the first mark 1, 2 and 3. Brian Keane just beat out Ploch to win and Duncan got third after being caught on the persistent shift on the run. Wells caught back up to 8th but that still gave Keene a big cushion going into the last two races.
Off the line on Race 8 the usual suspects were in the front row but Wells was OCS and had to go back. Duncan and Neill were 1,2 at the first mark again and Duncan held onto win Race 8 with Keane second allowing him to clinch the regatta win. Welles was unable to get back in contention and sailed his throw-out. Going into the final race Duncan was only one point behind Wells with four boats within 5 points of second. So 2nd – 5th overall came down to the last race.
At the start of race 9, the wind shifted left and the fleet tacked onto port on a big lefty. Wells rounded 6th with Duncan in 7th. The fleet planed off on starboard for the first half of the run which allowed Duncan to get inside of Wells and jibe to windward. Duncan covered Wells on the second beat and run to the finish to clinch second place on a tie breaker.
Amy Neill sailing “Nightmare” from Chicago with Rich Sterns , John Baxter and Zach Mason had two 6th place finishes on the last day to clinch a 13th overall. This was Amy’s first time ever steering or skippering any boat in any regatta. Amy used the same Doyle One Design sails as Duncan and Ploch and showed some of the greatest upwind speed straight out of the blocks.
Congratulations all around on a competitive regatta!
Sailing in a wide variety of conditions, Peter Duncan and his crew Tom Blackwell and Jud Smith won the Etchells Mid-Winter Regatta in commanding fashion, besting their closest competitor by 20 point and only finishing outside the top 10 once in the 60-boat fleet. The regatta was the largest of this winter’s Jaguar Series, with everyone bringing their A-Game for the final event. The win pushed them up to 4th overall in the Jaguar Cup, where they joined Doyle customers Shannon Bush and Senet Bischoff in the top five overall.
The regatta was light on Friday, very breezy on Saturday, and then Sunda featured a range of conditions, forcing everyone to adjust gears throughout the regatta. The team utilized Doyle’s AP Main the entire regatta, and the latest NLM (Light-Medium) Jib on Friday, while the DCH proved its worth in Saturday’s big breeze as well as on Sunday. Downwind, the team was able to use the AP Radial Runner in most of the races, and broke out the VMG Cross Cut spinnaker in the lightest legs.
“We were fortunate to have all of our practice pay off,” explained Jud Smith. “Our team has been training in two different boats – the J/70 and the Etchells in preparation for Etchells Worlds in Italy in June as well as a full circuit in the J/70. With our divided focus, being able to jump back into the boat and excel feels great. Our latest sails are easier to adjust than ever, and changing to the inboard jib lead has greatly improved our pointing ability – essential in the big-fleet starts.”
2013 Etchells Mid-Winter Regatta