Five of us clamored aboard and into the cockpit to join Eric Macklin, Dufour’s U.S. representative. Though there was plenty of room to move about, I immediately found a seat under the generously sized dodger and let the judges go about their business. First off, they killed the engine and rolled out two-thirds of the genoa, set on a Facnor furler. Next, BOTY judge Beth Leonard went to work and used the single-line reefing system to put the first tuck in the main, set on a Z-Spar rig with double swept-back spreaders, so the sail plan would match the blustery conditions. With the 445 sailing closehauled, boat speed in knots hovered in the high 7s and low 8s as the wind wavered in the high teens. Bearing off to a reach, the speedo crept into the mid-8-knot range and remained there as we cut smoothly through the waves. Later, at the helm, I found that the Lewmar steering and twin wheels provided ample feedback and fingertip control of the boat.