Monday, November 20, 2006

Teacher to Montreal Sailors teaches the fleet at Etchells Worlds

This is a very tenuous connection to Montreal sailing, but what the heck, it's our off-season. The St. Lawrence Valley Yacht Racing Association's regatta calendar included the Etchells World Championship in Australia this year. Well it may have been more for amusement it seems. In any case, no Montreal sailors are attending the event. I have found a connection though!

American, Jud Smith, elite sailor, and Etchells North American champ came to the Pointe Claire Yacht Club some time back to give the local fleet an inservice on tuning their rigs. By all accounts, it was a valued event. Now Jud has teamed up with Canadian Dirk Kneulman, and two others to compete at the World Championship. It appears the Montreal fleet picked a good mentor, because Smith et al are incredibly hot at the top of the board after three races. They have taken two firsts and second place so far.

In the today's third race of eight, Smith overtook Briton Andy Beadsworth on the final beat to take the gun with 37 seconds to spare. The famous winds called the Freemantle Doctor assured plenty of whitecaps or as Kiwi born PRO Denis Thompson said "There were plenty of sheep in the paddock." The race committee had a rough time today, needing 4 efforts to get a clean start away.

Beadsworth led Smith till the last leg which was shortened from 3 to 1.6 miles to recognize a large naval vessel steaming north. Beadsworth led Smith by 3 boatlengths on the last beat, but got muddled in traffic going down, while Smith found a clear lane to victory.

After the race Smith recalling the race, and the critical tactical moment, said "We sailed with our light medium jib and we think that helped us to the first mark. We stayed close all through the race to Andy Beadsworth. Then, at the final bottom mark, we switched gates with them. We faked left and went right, and he was committed to the left. I got snuckered just the same way by Dennis, and then last year by Hank Lammens and lost both times as you have to sail through the fleet to cover and that costs."

Andy Beadsworth's take on the move: "At the bottom mark against Jud, we made our own decision; went to the wrong mark, had a less than perfect drop and then had gas all the way up to the finish."