by Christina Pandapas
As a teenager growing up in Northern Ireland, sailing kept Stuart Boyd and his brother out of trouble. A tall order in the days when trouble was easy to come by in a region engaged in escalating violence. Stuart was one of the first in Ireland to sail Lasers, although claims to have never been “hard core,” and went on to race on the sailing team at University of Edinburgh.
In the 80s, Stuart and his wife Juliana followed the longworn path from Ireland to Boston. He found competitive racing on J boats, first on J22s in Marblehead, then J24s in Scituate and out of the Jubilee Yacht Club when they settled on the North Shore. Stuart admits to having also crewed on some big boats, but the appeal was limited because he said, “It seemed the bigger the boat, the worse the yelling.” When Stuart felt the pull to own his own boat, he thought about the Js, but said he “realized nobody has the right to inflict that kind of torture on the crew members.” In the end, it was the Rhodes that made the biggest impact on him: literally. “I was familiar with the Rhodes 19 ever since our J22 got rammed hard by one during Marblehead Race Week,” said Stuart.
While researching the boat, the class, local fleets and where he might find his own Rhodes, his neighbor, Marblehead High School Sailing Coach Nick Burke, introduced Stuart to Shan McAdoo and Charlie Pendleton both of whom gave him a heaping dose of information and enthusiasm. Sealing the deal was the fact that Chris Small’s shop is just down the road from the Boyd’s Hamilton home.
Hull 1643 made it to Chris’s from Brunswick, Maine for some TLC, which Stuart and Chris quickly discovered was long overdue. According to Stuart, “When Chris replaced the ribs, he found a small shrub growing there.” Pruning completed, 1643 hit the water with team Boyd this season and just completed the East Coasts. Stuart named the boat Daft Eddy after an 18th century smuggler who plied his illegal liquor in the region surrounding Stuart’s boyhood home. It’s also the name of a local bar frequented by Stuart and his dad, a serious offshore racer who was absent most summer weekends pursuing his passion. “I remember him telling me, “Son, don’t make a career out of sailing like I did.? That advice, mountain biking, and getting a late start to our family drew me from sailing for quite a few years.” Mountain biking (Stuart owns seven bikes), a travel-heavy job as a business director at Analog Devices, and daughters Katie, age 14, and Miranda, age 8, keep Stuart focused on the effort it takes for life to be balanced. He hopes to get Katie out racing one of these days because she loves being on the boat. So far, Miranda is leaning toward the bike, and that’s what balance is all about.