The Parking-Lot Detective

One of the most useful things about traveling to the J/22 North Americans, says SW's Michael Lovett, was seeing some of the tricks other racers used when packing up their boats.

Sailing World

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Skipper Bill Porter and bowman Joe Lauver sail Conundrum out to the racing area on Day 2 of the 2010 J/22 North American Championship.Michael Lovett

For many competitors, the final day of the 2010 J/22 North American Championship was a disappointment. A lack of wind prevented racing—though it didn't prevent the RC from towing the 51-boat fleet several miles out into Lake Erie, where we spent the next few hours bobbing around in a wavy, though windless, sea.

When the committee abandoned racing at 1:30 p.m., the real race began: the race to pack up and go home. Aboard Bill Porter's Conundrum, we were lucky enough to pick up the first tow, which put us near the front of the line for the hoist.

As we made a hasty haul-out, anxious to get on the road to Rhode Island, I couldn't help but gawk at the ways other teams made the breakdown process easier on themselves. Some boats were all but de-rigged by the time they hit the hoist. Some trailers came equipped with built-in ladders and storage boxes. Some teams ran their tie-downs right through their mast supports, saving themselves a step. I saw people using custom rudder bags, while others didn't bother.

For our team, making our first trip to a major J/22 event, there were a lot of hints to gather. And you could tell which teams traveled the most; they were the ones driving off into the sunset while we were making our third attempt at properly seating the keel.

Congratulations to Greg Fisher, who won the J/22 North Americans for the third time in the last ten years. For more about the regatta, check out SW's Finish Line forum. And don't miss these exciting photos by Tim Wilkes.