Only One Jud (Smith)

When the February issue of Seahorse Magazine with my profile of Jud Smith showed up only an hour after he was named 2018 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, I probably should’ve bought a lottery ticket. Can you say synchronicity? 

Jud Smith (red hat) won the 2018 J/70 Worlds in his home town. Photo courtesy Tim Wilkes

Four Decades of Perspective

As the article’s lead paragraph puts it, “Smith may be the English language’s most common surname, but in the keelboat phonebook there’s only one Jud.” I knew his name long before I first pestered him with rig tuning questions in 2002, and I’ve been cheering on his victories ever since. Last fall, I got to spend a few hours sitting in his “corner office” (a desk pushed out of the way of Doyle one design’s cutting table), listening to his perspective; what’s changed, and what hasn’t, over four decades of high level sailing. The result was this feature.

Rolex #2

Jud’s first Rolex dates back to 2006, the year he finally won the Etchells Worlds. The 2018 award was for winning the J/70 Worlds in his home town (on a boat called AFRICA, short for “Another Frickin’ Race Boat I Can’t Afford”). He also won the 2017 J/70 Worlds—as a 60 year old bow guy. Sailing keeps him young, he says; ” I get to go out and sail with a bunch of 30-year-olds. It’s just like being 30 again!”

Jud Smith champion J70 worlds Seahorse February 2019
Jud (right) also won the 2017 J/70 Worlds as the bow guy for Peter Duncan’s team.

Read the Article

Seahorse has given me permission to share Champion with my readers, but the only way to read Rod Davis’ thoughts on Objective>Gameplan>Execution is to subscribe. I appreciate the printed version enough to wait for its arrival toward the end of each month; if you’re not that patient, I’d recommend the (cheaper) digital subscription.

As for the one and only Jud, I can’t wait to see what he accomplishes in 2019. 

Got a Jud story? Share it in the comments below, or send me an email. Thanks for reading!

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4 Replies to “Only One Jud (Smith)”

  1. If you go all the way back to 1982 when a youthful Gary Jobson beat Paul Elvstrom, Buddy Melges, Lowell North, Dennis Conner, Tom Blackaller, Dave Ullman and a bunch of other Olympic medalists and world champions at the Yacht Racing & Cruising Hall of Fame regatta sailed in Etchells in Newport, RI, guess which 20-something was trimming his sails?

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