The Columbia rendezvous at Newport Beach is history, but no one will soon forget the good times, great people, and beautiful boats. Over 60 people attended and nine boats (353 ft) were present.
Jackie and I had to the good fortune to be able to stay with Doug and Ginny Ward on their Columbia 45 Compadre and sail with them from their slip in Long Beach to the rendezvous and back again.
The venue, Newport Harbor Nautical Museum, was perfect. The museum is housed in a stern wheel riverboat and has a restaurant and lots of interesting exhibits. The model boat collection includes a half-hull of a Columbia 50. Best of all there was lots of dock space so it was easy to visit each of the boats.
And speaking of the boats, they ranged from Columbia 50s down to a Columbia 26 MkII. Vince Valdes even borrowed the first Columbia 30 Sport Sailor and brought it to the rendezvous.
The boats present were:
Terry Hanna, Columbia 50 Seaductress
Robert & Phyllis Morrison, Columbia 50 La Otra Mujer
Roger Fitzwilson, Columbia 50 Windstorm
Doug & Ginny Ward, Columbia 45 Compadre
Herb & Kitty Worsham, Columbia 43 Gusto
Eric Bureau, Columbia 30 Diastole
Vince Valdes, Columbia 30 Sport Sailor
John & Diana Atkinson, Columbia 8.7 Fui
Ken & Cheryl Cox, Columbia 26 MkII Phantom
Some of the owners had a bit of a sail to join us, but of special note are Eric Bureau and his crew, and Ken and Cheryl Cox. Eric trailered his Columbia 30 from Phoenix for the event and clearly had the best VMG. It was great to see them sailing in Newport Harbor as we cruised through on Compadre on our way to and from the event.
Ken and Cheryl Cox may have had the smallest boat at the gathering, but I think they had the longest passage. They had recently taken possession of their 26 Mk II in San Pedro and were moving it about 80 miles to Oceanside, Ca. The rendezvous was one of their stopovers on the trip.
We spent the day putting faces to those names we see on the email lists, which is clearly the most fun of the event. It's a double treat when you are doing it on the person's boat.
The evening included dinner in a room on the top deck of the museum/riverboat where we could look out over Newport harbor and get an eagle's eye view of an impressive row of Columbias. After dinner Doug started out by passing out the many door prizes that had been donated by a wide range of companies.
We then moved to the entertainment. There were three guest speakers on the agenda. Gordon West opened the program with an informative and entertaining talk on electronics. Vince Valdes followed him with a short presentation on the Columbia 30 Sport Sailor and Dick Valdes followed him with stories about Columbia yachts. Some stories were informative, some were funny, all were entertaining.
There were a few minutes left before we ran out of time on the room, so Doug asked new Columbia 22 owner Nancy Cooper to talk to us. Here story of going to an auction with her sister to help her find a dink and leaving with a boat and her subsequent adventures in parts procurment was fun to hear.
We gave the room back to the museum and some of the die-hards joined us on the boats to finish out the evening.
Sunday morning brought more visiting on the dock and the boats, but eventually we all had to cast off lines and head for home.
A special thankyou goes to Glen Draper and his Sea Scouts who spent the day covering the sign in table and working as dock hands getting the boats landed and secured.
Another special thanks to Randell Briggs and his assistant who spent the day videoing the event.
Of course we can't forget to thank Dick and Vince Valdes for supporting the event in so many ways.
The big thankyou, however, goes to Doug and Ginny Ward. Jackie and I would like to thank them personally. We had a wonderful time and much of it was because Doug and Ginny were such gracious hosts. We felt completely at home staying with them on Compadre. Getting in two days of sailing was the icing on the cake. We would also like to thank them on behalf of all Columbia owners for putting this event together. I've been to plenty of Columbia gatherings, but none of them require anywhere near the level of effort that goes into this event. We are very lucky to have Doug and Ginny do this for us.
Eric Bureau and his Columbia 30Diastole
Diastole from the bow.
Vince Valdes arrives with the new Columbia 30 Sport Sailor
Dick Valdes looks at Robert and Phyllis Morrison's Columbia 50 La Otra Mujer
Randell Briggs interviews Dick Valdes. Doug Ward looks on.
Randell Briggs interviews Dick Valdes in front of Compadre.
Herb and Kitty Worsham arrive on their Columbia 43 MkII Gusto!
Roger Fitzwilson prepares to dock his Columbia 50 Windstorm.
Doug Ward entertains the crowd. (from left Vince Valdes, Justin Wallin, Dick Valdes. Glenn Draper far right)
Diastole (left) and John and Diana Atkinson's Columbia 8.7 Fui (right).
Ken and Cheryl Cox arrive on their Columbia 26 MkII Phantom.
Randell interviews Ken Cox in front of his Columbia 26 MkII Phantom.
Vince Valdes tries to sell Christine and Kryztoff a dinghy to take back to their Columbia 45 Dream Maker.
Terry Hanna's custom Columbia 50 Seaductress (left) and Doug and Ginny Ward's Columbia 45 Compadre (right)
Compadre (aft), Windstorm (left), and La Otra Mujer (right).
Dinner. Haf digs in.
Randell Briggs, Columbia 45 Zunavida gets it all on film.
More dinner. Vince Valdes standing.
Even more dinner.
Vince Valdes (left). Columbia Yachts VP Justin Wallin (right).
Roger Fitzwilson leaving on Windstorm. This was once Dick Valdes' boat Escudero
John Atkinson departs on Fui
Eric Bureau tacking out of Newport.