Jud Smith: The state of Etchells sailing

Published on June 25th, 2014

Rolex Yachtsmen of the Year and former Etchells Worlds champion Jud Smith of Marblehead, Mass. is racing at the 2014 Etchells Worlds with his long time team of Peter Duncan and Tom Blackwell. Here he comments about…

…the Etchells Worlds:
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.

…the Etchells Class:
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.

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