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Tiller Always Brings Judson Back To Sailing In Westport

Nic Judson Nic Judson
Nic Judson Photo Credit: Contributed
Nic Judson Nic Judson
Nic Judson Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTPORT, Conn. — The winds have taken Pound Ridge, N.Y., resident Nic Judson to many places, but the tiller always brings him back to sailing.

A move took Judson away from the Nantucket sailing scene, but then he just happened to run into Westport resident John Kantor.

Kantor, a well-known sailor and founder of Longshore Sailing School, was looking for someone to help run his well-known sailing programs in Westport and Greenwich.

The two hit it off, and Kantor brought Judson on board as program director.

“The sailing thing just popped back up for me,” Judson told the Daily Voice on Friday as he was on the way to Greenwich Community Sailing. “It’s a true love for me.”

Judson picked up sailing in Nantucket, where he spent his summers in childhood.

“I was probably on a boat from age 3 on,” he said. “Somebody at some point handed me a tiller.”

He then crewed for his father and raced with his mother — both sailors. When he was 12, Judson became a sailing instructor.

After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Judson worked in a sail loft, where he learned to stitch sails.

He continued his sailing career as executive director of Nantucket Community Sailing for 12 years. 

Although Judson makes it clear that the Longshore programs are a sailing school and not a summer camp, he said his classes are tailored to different sailing abilities and learning styles.

“My focus on community sailing is not on racing [but] sharing experience with other people,” Judson said. “If there were kids interested in racing, I wanted to make sure they had that opportunity.”

A natural racer, he was a US Sailing Team gold medalist in the 2003 Pan American Games.

Sailing has come full circle for Judson.

He and his buddies needed an extra person to sail during a race a few years ago. Judson's mom was in her 70s and had mixed feelings about racing.

But after some cajoling, she agreed. And Judson, his mom and his teammates performed well.

“That day we had one of the best days we ever had,” he said of that day. “When I think back at that experience, it was so much rewarding in so many more respects than winning a gold medal.”

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