Taking the Show on the Road

Published on September 21st, 2015

Forty-three teams representing six nations (Canada, Cayman Islands, France, Germany, Netherlands, USA) traveled to Travemunde, Germany for the J/22 World Championship. The winning skipper, American Chris Doyle, shares in the class newsletter the nuances of competing internationally…

Have you ever participated in a major Championship outside of North America?
I did the J/24 Worlds in Ireland in 1990 crewing for my brother Kevin. Other than that, I have competed only in North America.

What are some of those little nuances that differ between events back home versus Europe?
Hmmm. It seemed much harder to find hardware and stuff to work on the boat. We brought a lot of stuff with us, but I am not sure what I would have done if, for instance, I needed a new high-tech jib halyard for the boat. Ditto for things like wet-or-dry sandpaper. Even with the internet, it seemed hard to find stuff.

Of course, when most of the country doesn’t speak English, that makes it a little more difficult too. Most of the on-the-water stuff is comparable to what we do in North America, except that they don’t do anything on the VHF. If you’re over early, you’ll find out at the end of the race. Most importantly, you don’t have your boat. This is not a little nuance; this is huge. We were fortunate to get a good charter boat, but even then I would have been much more comfortable in my own boat.

As our program was strapped for time, it was very helpful to have Sue (wife) and Katie (daughter) take care of food, beverages, planning our time off-of-the-water, etc., so our team of Phillip Wehrheim, Christopher Stessing and I could concentrate on prepping the boat and sailing.

What advice would you give to others who want to travel internationally to compete?
You should do at least one of these in your lifetime. Put a team of good friends together and just do it.

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