Sailor's Delight

A North Shore yachtsman defends his world title, while giving his foes a hand.

You might call it the ultimate in sportsmanship. When Marblehead’s Jud Smith shows up this month on the Isle of Wight, off the southern coast of England, to defend his Etchells World Championship title, the yachtsman will do what he always does at a regatta: get his 30-foot vessel ready to race, then scope out the competition. That’s when Smith the sailor becomes Smith the salesman. You see, when he’s not racing, Smith is a sail maker for Salem-based Doyle Sailmakers, a renowned outfitter that just so happens to power the boats of many of his opponents.

For such a fierce competitor, Smith is generous with tips for his rivals on getting the most out of their gear. It’s like Tiger Woods making golf clubs for Phil Mickelson—but he says he doesn’t mind: “If I get beat by my own sails,” he laughs, “it’s not so bad.”

That hasn’t occurred very often. Last year’s world title in Australia earned the six-time North American champion the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year award—along with a pretty sweet watch.