Sunday, October 4, 2015

Eight Bells: Joe Woods, English Sailor Extraordinaire

Joe Woods sailing his J/70 RED- winning Dartmouth Regatta with straight 1sts!(Devon, England)- The Royal Torbay Yacht Club in Devon, England, is mourning the unexpected loss of one of its staunchest and most generous members. Joe Woods, who was also one of the club’s most successful international sailors, died after on Friday 18th September after a very brief illness.

Joe will be remembered by the international sailing community for his string of successful campaigns in his various boats called “RED”.  Most recently, Joe had been sailing a J/70 one-design for two years at Key West Race Week, Bacardi Sailing Week and Charleston Race Week during the winter time.  In the summers he sailed his J/70 in the UK and Europe. In this photo- he won Dartmouth Week with straight 1sts!

Joe started his sailing career in International Cadets back in the sixties at Royal Torbay Yacht Club, going on to be one of the great ambassadors for the club and the bay as a sailing venue. Successful in business, he was always happy to use his wealth to help and encourage local youngsters to achieve their goals.

His favourite regatta was Key West Race Week, which he has contested fourteen times since 1999, frequently finishing on the podium, and winning his class in 2012 and 2015. He was also a top competitor on the European circuit, and as usual keen to try something new, finishing third in the first J/70 European championships.

The core of team “Red” was always Corinthian sailors from the Torbay area, though the list of top British Olympic sailors who joined him as tactician included Paul Goodison and Chris Draper. Draper, who is now with the Japanese SoftBank America’s Cup team said, “People like him are such an incredibly rare breed, so successful yet so very humble. He was such a lovely guy and awesome person to spend time and sail with.”