When a question was posed on Facebook about who would host this years Rendezvous, I semi-reluctantly threw my hat in the ring. With only two months to prepare there was not a moment to lose. Schedule dates at the Port Ludlow Marina, check. Get good speakers to present, check. Food, drink, and a bunch of cool Westsail merchandise to sell on behalf of the Westsail Owners Association (WOA), check. Now if only folks would show up… I was walking down our dock at around 8pm on Thursday evening, going for a grocery store run to prepare for the gathering. I look over towards the guest dock and what do I see? An collection of oh so familiar bowsprits. The Westsails are here! Four boats on the docks and another two in the bay, woot!
Eighteen boats gathered in Port Ludlow Washington for this years PNW Rendezvous. We had boats sail down across the Strait of Juan De Fuca from Canada, and up the Oregon Coast from Portland. There were Salish Sea Westsails and Kendalls from Olympia to BC and all points in between. Westsail owners showed up without their boats from as far afield as Annapolis MD, North Carolina, San Francisco, and a landlocked sailor from the mountains of Oregon.
We have refit our W32 and over the last three years have constantly been amazed at the resources our Westsail family have to offer. Thousands of blogs and forum threads, helpful Facebook posts, and of course, there is Bud Taplin. When the time came to host our Rendezvous, it was a way of saying thanks to our extended nautical family.
The official events began Friday evening with an awesome presentation by Carol Hasse, from Port Townsend Sails. Carol talked about sail plans for our cutter rigs, discussing options, trim, and storm sails. Carol brought along samples of Tides Marine Strong Track and other goodies we could put our hands on. Focusing on our sails was a good topic, as fellow Westsailors were facing a bit of trouble. Jay and Nan had left Everett at 1:30PM and their engine promptly failed. They sailed on, and on, on. Little to no wind made a four hour sail to over fourteen hours. They sailed onto a tight spot on the dock at four in the morning. Nice sailing Jay!
Saturday started off with Bud Taplin sharing a great talk on “Parts that Fail”. Bud has been helping refit Westsail and other boats, by providing parts and consulting for the better part three decades. Following Bud, Lisa Vizinni from PT Rigging gave us an in depth presentation on reefing. We then went to the dock and put a reef in the mains’l on three boats. Special thanks to Chaika and Spray for volunteering (my boat didn't count)!
We spent the day wandering the docks looking at people’s lovely Westsails and Kendalls. One amazing boat after another. Simple lockdowns for your coffee thermos, cockpit coaming, hard dodger, maple floors, and yes my friends… a washer/dryer. Here we had boats that had sailed long distances, and some that are just coming back to life after being neglected for many years.
We also got the opportunity to meet Westsail legends Dave King and Randy Leisure, both Transpac and Westsail single-handed racers.
At six in the evening we gathered in the big tent for a pot luck supper. There was salmon, pulled pork, mac’n’cheese, grilled shrimp, thai salad rolls, fresh made salsa, and many delicious foods. Over forty people to feed, and food left over. Great to see the family come together and feast.
Off to the firepit for music and stories. A couple of Ukulele’s joined in to play “Westsail’s Lament”. Epic.
Sunday, northbound boats began to leave as early as 3 A.M. to catch the tides back to Canada. We awoke and were down to a dozen boats. Their owners slowly meandering the docks, waiting for the next part of their journey to begin.
All in all I was blown away by the gathering of Westsails here in a little town by the sea. I had only been to one other Rendezvous, and can say without hesitation: find a Rendezvous near you, and go. Untie your docklines, sail on over and join the fun. You will make friends, learn things about your boat, and get a chance to have Bud Taplin give your boat a once over. Truly a great experience.
Last but not least, if the time comes when the family calls upon you to host a Westsail Rendezvous, go for it! A huge thanks goes out to all the Westsailors that showed up, to Port Ludlow Marina, Bud Taplin and the folks at WOA!