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Monday, June 13, 2016

Anacortes Waterfront Festival, Boat rides for the public

Boat Rides for the Public
RE:  Anacortes Waterfront Festival and AYC

I am going to attempt to write a description of this effort to show off boating to the public, complete with spreadsheets

Who:  The target of this article is the non-boating public.  Out of the 40 guest we had for the day there were about 20% that had been on a sailboat once, most were total newbs.  When the engine was cut there was a very loud moment of silence each and every trip!  When the noise of the boat slices through the water riding the wind power was a fun time to watch our guests.  Also, as we would bring the boat to weather, and trim in there were always some concerned faces to start but in a few minutes they were looking for more pressure!

I am unclear why there was a plethora of Bulgarians.  We took out about 10 of them and no one else in the fleet seemed to get them.  I had never met anyone from Bulgaria and then to have two different groups of them was definitely odd.  Nice folk!  One was seriously thinking how to get his hands on a starter Catalina!  He was HOOKED! 

What:  This ‘Free Boat Ride’ takes place during the Anacortes Waterfront Festival. There is a booth the public can sign up in, manned by our YC.  Skippers are using their own boats and going out for an hour's worth of sailing or motoring.  Guests are escorted down the docks to the waiting boats who are working out of loaned slips for the weekend.

When:  The weekend was scheduled by the Port of Anacortes in conjunction with the City of Anacortes.  Anacortes Yacht Club has been giving rides to the public for years during this weekend. We took our boat out for one day out of the weekend, Sunday. The perfect NW weather was predicted and it showed up to the delight of all.  We took out 5 groups from 10:00-15:30  (we had a 30 minute break for lunch).  Each group for our boat, a Catalina 42, had 8 appreciative bodies with most boats taking 6 or less.  The boats all had a crew to work the boat as needed. 

Where:  The sailing took place in Fildalgo Bay between Fidalgo Island and Guemes Island.  This is the same water we hold our ‘Beer Can’ races on Wednesday.  There are usually oil tankers anchored out and sure enough there was a 995’ long by 151’ wide tanker anchored in the middle.  That was a fun mark to round. They could see how big they really are from up close.

Admittedly, Anacortes is situated ideally for this with a large public marina that had all the food booths in the parking lot, a boat building (milk carton) and race competition, lots of vendors selling all the usual street stuff with a band playing, dancers dancing, cars show, and let us not forget free boat rides for the public.

Why:  We do it because we love to show off our boat and try to share some of the good fortune we enjoy as boat owners.  There was an 80 year old man a few years ago that started crying as he thanked us on departure.  He never thought he would be sailing again.  All the guests were very appreciative and had huge smiles as they departed.

How:  There were 3 of us working Jah Mon.  Myself, my wife, and #1 crew Patrick who I met giving him his first boat ride 7 years ago during this same event.  He is now making a living in the charter boat trade and races all races that Jah Mon does.  The corner cockpit seats were recommended to the less agile as out of the way locations with the best view in the house.

We always recommend the guests go forward to the bow pulpit so they can do a ‘Titanic’ pose.  One of them lost her shoe overboard as she was headed to the bow.  A Shoe Over Board (SOB) drill commenced under sail.  The fish net was dug out of the forepeak and the boat turned around and tracked back to the errant slipper.  It took a couple of passes but we got it and then had to sort out the messed up headsail after all the 360s as it was unattended.  Next time, take the time to furl that sucker!

The details are not in yet but last year we broke records and gave out 600 rides and this year was even better weather and crowd.  Fewer boats showed this year but we worked it out.

I am wondering why more YCs don't do this or do they

My goal is to spread the word on this activity.  The article will be coming, hopefully in a week.  I would like to gather some photos and data so others can emulate this event.  It was VERY well organized!

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