Portsmouth, R.I. (November 2, 2010 ) – The third time was a charm for brothers Jody Lutz (Brick, N.J.) and Jay Lutz (Houston, Texas), who along with crew Derek Gauger (Ann Arbor, Mich.) won the Pan Am Games Trials in the Lightning Class. Both have won North American championships –Jody in 1991, Jay in 1982 – and Jay has a World title from 1983. Hosted by the Davis Island Yacht Club, in Tampa Fla., from Oct. 25-27, the regatta determined the U.S. Lightning class representative to the 2011 Pan Am Games in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. US SAILING talked to skipper Jody Lutz about the regatta and what it means to represent the USA at the 2011 Pan Am Games.
US SAILING: Congratulations on winning this regatta. Why was this event important to you?
Jody Lutz: It’s always a thrill to be able to represent our country in a major event and this one takes specific importance as you are not only representing the country but also the Lightning Class. The Lightning Class and the people of the Class have been very good to us and we are lucky to have the Class represented in the Pan Am Games. We’ve been second twice in the trials and it’s always been a goal to win the trials.
US SAILING: What were your strengths in this regatta?
Jody Lutz: Well, like any major event, you only do as well as the Team you have assembled. Having Jay and Derek aboard was key to having a good regatta. Jay’s very good tactically and Derek handles the boat mechanics and wind finding. Having these two allows me to concentrate on driving fast, and we were pretty fast this event. At the majority of first windward mark roundings we either leading or right in the hunt.
US SAILING: Any lessons learned that you’ll take to the Pan Am Games?
Jody Lutz: Yes, don’t drink the water in Mexico! Seriously, I think that the Games are a totaling different regatta since the number of boats at the Games is much less than the trials. We are going to have to learn how to manage a small fleet and I’ll especially lean on past Lightning Class Pan Am reps for help. Knowing the generosity of the Class that will be easy to come by!
US SAILING: How much competitive sailing do you do in a typical season?
Jody Lutz: Well, if you count all the regattas I take my kids to during a year a lot! Unfortunately the last year my actual sailing time was limited, but we did the Worlds (5th) and the North Americans (8th) in the last year. Having sailed Lightning for the better part of the past 30 years helps in getting back up to speed quickly. As mentioned before, having a top team is critical.
US SAILING: What other Lightning notable achievements do you and/or your crew count?
Jody Lutz: Both Jay and I are past North American Champion Champions in the Class with Jay also winning the Worlds (he got lucky!). Derek, besides sailing with us on and off for the past 10 years, has won many regional events and is highly sought-after crew on the circuit.
US SAILING: Anything else you want people to know?
Jody Lutz: It’s important for people to realize that the depth of talent in the Lightning Class is huge. It just so happened that it was our time at the trials. There were six or seven boats at the trials that could have won the regatta. If the regatta started again today I have no doubt the results could be different. You need a bit of luck in a winner take all regatta and we definitely picked a good couple of days to put it all together. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, I am much younger than my brother Jay!
US SAILING: What will you look forward to at the 2011 Pan Am Games?
Jody Lutz: It has not really sunk in yet, but from what I can tell you have to enjoy the whole experience of the Games and not just the sailing event. Having a chance to represent the country and enjoy the nationalistic pride of being part of the Team is something I look forward to. It can’t be lost that the reason to go to the Pan Am Games is to win the gold medal.