Pacific Northwest Rendezvous 2002
By Dave Mowers


BoatNameProud Owners
C-34 MK IIRondeletJack & Jean Rothrock
C-22eBayPaul von Stubbe & Clyde Kent
SabreRadio FlyerVic Childs
C-33First TemptationDave & Brenda Mowers
C-38SvafritaJonathan & Jackie
C-36The LibertyCarl Nichols & Sons

Left to Right: Carl, Jack, Dave & Jean on First Temptation
Jack at the helm of Rondelet
Rondelet lookin’ good!
Jonathan at the helm of Radio Flyer
Dave chillin’ on a beautiful day. In the background is Clyde (I think) on eBay.
Chowin’ down! Jack & Jean are on the left. Dave is toasting with a cold one next to Paul.
Next to Paul is Clyde.

There were four Columbia Kids present. The Mowers had their two sons, Connor and Harris, and Carl also had two sons. They had a great time all weekend playing with Bionicles (don’t ask) and catdhing crabs off of the pilings.

We arrived at Point Hudson Marina in First Temptation just after dark on Friday the 13th. We experienced no problems whatsoever and had a wonderful sail up from Seattle capped off by a beautiful sunset. Everyone else had uneventful trips except for Svafrita which blew a main on the way to Port Townsend.

We were the last boat to arrive and there was much laughing and carrying on as we got tucked into our dock spot. The slips were very narrow for two boats, but fortunately we got to share with Vic’s Radio Flyer - the world’s skinniest 33 foot boat!

None of the attendees had met before the rendezvous, so most of Friday night was spent getting to know each other and bragging about our boats. Point Hudson Marina is in a really great location and the fire pit out on the very tip of the point was great. There was plenty of beer and rum to go around. Everyone had a pretty long day getting there, though, so we didn’t quite party ‘til dawn. It was clear very early on that Jonathan might be the most experienced partier in the group. I tried to keep up, but I don’t think I succeeded. Maybe next year…

Saturday was a lovely day and we started off with most of group doing breakfast at the funny place across the harbor with the red checkered tablecloths. Nothing like a good breakfast! After breakfast it was open boat time with everyone checking out each other’s boats. This hasn’t been discussed amongst the group at all, but here’s my personal awards list:

Most Classic - Rondelet. I swear that boat looks *exactly* like it did the day it hit the showroom (showdock?). Gotta love those harvest gold cushions!

Biggest & Best NW configuration - Svafrita. The pot-luck dinner was a great success due to the great food and also to the fact that we weren’t all freezing our asses off.

Smartest Boat Owner - eBay. He bought his boat on e-bay for $797 (he was short $3, but the seller let him slide).

Reddest Boat - Radio Flyer. ‘Nuff said J

Newest Boat - Rondelet. “Only” 31 years old - a regular spring chicken!

Oldest Boat - First Temptation. 38 years old and going strong!

The race

Vic’s got a competitive streak a mile wide, so he had us talked into the “First Annual Pacific NW Columbia Sailing Regatta” before noon. After a quick bite to eat and a redistribution of beer and winch grinders it was off to the races!

Somewhere along the line we picked up Scott(??) the motorboat guy. I think it was the beer and the fire that attracted him. Anyways, he stuck around the next day and volunteered to act as the committee boat and also sail as crew on Radio Flyer. We agreed on a short course for the race and Vic laid out the marks.

Now Radio Flyer is not particularly fast, even amongst this group of Geriatrics, but he probably does have the best light air performance. Strangely, the start Vic selected was very well sheltered against the shore with no wind whatsoever. Hmmm….

After much comedy, the racers finally got themselves positioned properly so that they could let the current carry them across the start line. The race was on!

First over the line was First Temptation (I was not early!) followed by Rondelet, Radio Flyer, eBay and La-De-Da. There was a bit of concern as the current was sweeping First Temptation towards the old ferry pilings, but fortunately we drifted into a puff just as I was getting ready to hit the starter. Now we’re racing and sailing! With wind!

First Temptation (12,000#, 24’ of waterline, 38 year old sails, single-handed skipper, and all) kept a narrow lead all the way to the red buoy which had to be kept to port. Things got interesting past Point Hudson because there was actually quite a bit of wind out towards Admiralty Strait. I had chosen to fly my 160% Genoa as the wind had seemed pretty light at the dock. We were cooking along, close-hauled at hull speed. The rail was buried, and the kids were whooping it up. I thought we were really heeled over until I looked back at Radio Flyer. I’ve never seen a boat heel 45, maybe 50, degrees and just stay that way. Several of the other boats had also chosen to fly their big genoa and felt a bit over-powered as well. Nothing broken, though, so no harm done and it was a fun ride.

Things got a bit strange after this, because Vic had described the course rather “loosely” in the pre-race meeting. I guess he planned on being in the lead. Unfortunately, he was the third boat, so the skippers of the first two boats picked what we thought was the mark and headed that way. We were wrong, of course, so Radio Flyer kept going. Too bad for him, as the rest of fleet followed us J

It was neck and neck between the lead boats but Rondelet’s longer waterline, “performance” underbody, “new” sails, and the superior skill of his skipper finally allowed her to gradually overtake First Temptation before the first mark. Manic sail adjustments allowed First Temptation to stay close the remainder of the race. The boats crossed the finish line only seconds apart.

The order of finish for the “Geriatric Columbia cruising/day sailing class” was (to my best recollection):

1st Place - Rondelet
Close Second - First Temptation
Honorable Third - The Liberty
Radio Flyer (nearly DQ for taking a longer course)

Next year we’ll need a trophy.

After the exhausting race it was back to the dock for beer, libations and recriminations. There was also some cooking to do for the pot-luck scheduled that night. The weather got a bit worse as the day went on and by 6pm it was blowing pretty good even at the dock. In order to get out of the weather, Jonathan and Jackie graciously hosted the pot luck on Svafrita. J&J live aboard so they have a really nice full cockpit enclosure that held almost the entire group.

Needless to say there was more great food then we could possibly eat, but we gave it our best effort. Thanks to all the cooks who made it such a great meal. After about an hour of lounging around, the kids decided that it was time for desert. Off we go and a short walk into Port Townsend to the really good Ice Cream parlor. Yum!

Back at the dock it was time for one or two more beers and a chance to say farewell for those leaving early the next morning. The forecast had worsened and was now calling for a significant chance of rain and generally icky conditions for all of us without full cockpit enclosures. Oh well, that’s the Pacific NW for you.

We were supposed to have a fire on Saturday as well, but I think we all promptly passed out. At least I did, anyway. What a great day!

First Temptation left just after “sunrise” for the journey back to Seattle. Although foggy, overcast, and generally grey, we mostly missed the rain and had a reasonably nice trip back home.

A final hearty thanks to Jack & Jean aboard Rondelet. It was Jack who organized the whole deal and who selected the great location. Thanks again Jack, it was great fun!

Speaking for my family, we thoroughly enjoyed the rendezvous and the chance to meet all those great Columbia owners.

Until next year, fair winds and smooth sailing!

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