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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Catalina Rendezvous 2017, Roche Harbor WA

Catalina Rendezvous
Roche Harbor 2017
May 4-7

A year has gone by since the last Catalina Rendezvous.  2020 page views on the 2016 Rendezvous for the year. click here for links
click here for 2016

click here for 2015

click here for 2014

click here for 2013

click here for 2012

We had up to 40 boats signed up but several had issues that prevented them from attending this year's event.  There were engines being balky, a newly implanted knee, in-laws on their last legs, and the usual last minute cancellations as we close in on the date.  At this writing, less than a week to go, we are down to 33 boats.  26ish showed up depending on how one counted them.

The events:

Customs and Border Patrol Presentation:

We were privileged to get Custom and Border Patrol Officer Jim Specht to give a talk on how the system works when coming into the USA by boat.  This was the second talk he has 
done for us and both have been very educational and fun.  It was about an hour talk and then lots of very good questions (and very good answers!).

Everyone with pencil and  test in front of them.

A very attentive audience

Officer Jim Specht

Women at the helm seminar:

This seminar was so popular it was run on both full days and we had to get a second boat involved.  Both Comocean and Sutlej, (C-42s) were used to take out the ladies for docking practice, driving, and general seamanship considerations.  Captain Sonia  and  Captain Sally were the gurus and all reports were positive.

Preparing for the first day out.

Learning to tie bowlines.

Vince Townrow from Ullman Sails:

Vince came to the dock Friday to consult with the 12 boats that signed up.  Tips were given on all sorts of sail trim issues and he checked for sail condition.  He also brought a lot of swag that was given out on Saturday night after the Pot Luck
Disc Golf outing:
Map for the 18 hole course at the top of the airport.
We had a group of 8 out for a round.
There are many course in the Gulf Islands!
Sing along:

We had a new event which was a sing along
led by Pam with her Ukulele .  Complete with 15 copies of lyrics and about 30 old favorite songs.
It was more fun than any of us remembered.  No screen time here.  Just having fun and croaking about.
Pets on board seminar:

A fun day to talk about dogs and such on board our boats with veterinarian Dr Wendy Mollat
Decorated Tender Contest:
This sign was found near the Sculpture Garden and it applies
to our decorated tenders!
This event is my favorite!  Last year we had three entrants and it was good.  This year there were 7 and all were better than ever.  It was tough for the volunteer judges to make the decision.  We had one winner as we only had one first place prize but we had 3 second places and 3 third places.  All were executed well!

First place with decoration, sound system, and era appropriate costumes were Dave and Mari from Elara.
Theme:  Yellow Submarine
(Note the walrus head!)
The cheering crowd for the Decorated Tender Parade.
Washington State Ferry with Monte from Linje Aquavit
Westward Ho theme with Hoss from Jah Mon
Rear view...

The Good Ship Lollypop
from Sweet Emocean

Octopus's Garden in the Sea with Dave from It's About Time.
Ragnar the Pillager with Nick from Ursa Minor.

Bubble Bath with Val and Barry on Sea Bird

Pot Luck Dinner:

There was a plethora of goodies and sustenance at this event!

We had a great pot luck dinner with way too much good food and then there was a new event with two ladies singing a song they had just created about Catalinas.  Below are the lyrics and tune root.

Click Here to view the song being sung.

written by Janice Iverach Wasik of C-30 Patience May 5, 2017
sung to the tune of 26 Miles (Santa Catalina)
first performed at Roche Harbor May 6, 2017
with Pam Holley of C-47 Tillikum and her ukulele

Over the waves and across the sea,
Catalina owners we are happy to be.
Lovely Catalinas - Our sailboats are
The best, the best, the best, the best.

Water all around us everywhere,
Beautiful seas and the salty air,
But for us our Ca-ta-li-nas are
the best……

Theyre all terrific and take us the distance
In comfort and in style.
We love the islands and all of the coves.
We really ought to stay here quite a while.

Over the waves and across the sea,
Catalina owners we are happy to be.
Lovely Catalinas - Our sailboats are
The best, the best, the best, the best,

Saturday night:
Who could ask for better weather?
Roche Harbor taking care of us:

The resort had a super support group with at least 3 polite young men taking lines on the dock as the visitors came in.  They had the huge party tent set up with two furnaces, lights, bbqs, and many garbage and recycle bins on the dock.
Over view of guest dock from shore.

This is Hailey,   She came to the
boats and collected money so we could all enjoy our rendezvous without
traipsing over to the marina office.
The view from the fuel dock.
The Boats:

We had 26 boats officially but there were a couple that made cameo appearances by pure karma.  Two 35s were there but not officially. one having just bought the boat (a 355)  and stopped there for the night and a 350 that was docked down the dock for a couple of nights.  They came up for the party fun.

The boats came from both Canada and the USA.  An informal poll showed 11 from Canada land and 14 from the USA.  We even allowed a 1973 Cal 35, Hadley,  to attend as he asked because he explained he had no one else to hang out with....  Good thing he came, as John, from Hadley, was put to work as our official photographer. Most photo credits go to him.  He had to scramble to find the appropriate devices to get his photos to a computer and distributed  to other attendees but he pulled it off!  Hats off to Hadley!

We had boats from 22' to 47' and the size of boat made absolutely no difference to the fun being had.  In 2016 we had 22 boats and so we grew the crowd a bit to 26.  This was a good size for the group.  Too large a crowd might make it difficult to manage but these guys were easy!  All were there to relax and explore each other boats and eat too much food!  Mission Accomplished!

Cal 35 ? (Yes that is correct) with John.  He was rammed
in the fog by a 25' fishing boat at 20k on his way here.
Also he was coerced to be our photographer!
See story of ramming below.
36' Mark and Melanie
Sweet Emocean

42  with Captain Sonia and Greg

34 with Stu, who just came up the coast from San Francisco!

34 with Dave and Mary, so shiny it was tough to look at in the sun!
It's About Time

42 Captain Mike and Wendy with brother Monte and his wife Joyce
and Jeanette in the center.
Linje Akevitt

34 with Gail and Don

42 with Nick and Gail who came up Puget Sound all the way
from Olympia!
Ursa Minor

34 with Barry and Val and dog
Sea Bird

22' with Deb and Kurt (Did they have fun???  YES!!)
Tiny Bubbles

42 with Bill, Count Ferrari, Lori and Patrick
Jah Mon

320 with  father Wayne and Captain Jeff

42 with owners Rick and Bob with two dogs
and two guests with a fine Schnauzer.

36 with Les and Trish, the oldest Catalina there at 1983 vintage.
Very nice!  See spinnaker with Vince above.

Dona and Leo on their 310 all the way down from Campbell River BC
White Tara

28 with Martin, Abby, and Wendy

42 with Rob and Kelsey
Je T'aime II

(Plus there was a 355 and a 350 that joined for a day)

30 with Ron and Janice (she wrote the serenade done at
the pot luck about owning a Catalina)

47 with Tim and Pam, their first Rendezvous.  Pam was our
ukulele player for the sing along and the serenade
at the pot luck!

42 with Sally and Warren, recently returned to the life
of leisure!

42 with Ken, Rylan, Madison and Rita, they haven't missed one yet.
Tough boating with two little ones, coupled with finding
a rock on the way home!  Not too bad of damage.

30 with Craig and Patti, Patti saved our collective reputation
by turning in the only 100% correct Customs and Border
Patrol test!

320 with Casey and Betty, They never stopped smiling!
Invitation II

42 with John and Anne, veteran rendezvousists.

Note:  IF you are planning a rendezvous, the most important thing you need to know is to contact your fleet on a near monthly basis.  I started in September so owners can get their calendar set up, prepare yachts, get a dog sitter or whatever is needed.

Getting an agenda together is pretty easy if you ask your fleet for ideas.  I would say you don't need a lot of structure but the social gatherings like our 'Appy Hour' is a seriously good idea.  The Potluck is easy to set up too, provided you have a good gathering spot for all.  Roche Harbor is the best place I have found for Rendezvous support.  They provide it all for no extra cost which is a good thing for all cruisers.

A funny thing (odd) happened on the journey to the Rendezvous:

Roche Harbor cruise and Fog experience (not to mention a ramming!)…

 Our cruise adventure began the morning of Thursday May 4, 2017. Reveille was at 0315 all excited to begin the adventure. Sail plan called for getting underway about 0430 following the ebb current out of Everett, around Possession Point and through Admiralty Inlet and across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to San Juan Island and Roche Harbor. Les on Mahalo made the departure time, Hadley followed about 15 minutes later.

During preparation of coffee there was one major challenge discovered for our cruise, fog right down to the deck. We had varying degrees of visibility ranging from 1/4 mile to 100 yards. Departed Everett Marina under power then turning to port down the Snohomish River towards the river entrance trying to find the green channel marker. Heavy fog made it difficult to make out Mahalo as well as the shapes of the Navy ships on the piers 150 yards away, they drifted in and out of view.

 The GPS tracking on my iSailor phone app and the chart plotter were useful tools providing confidence that I was in the river channel and would find our rendezvous up ahead. Suddenly Mahalo appeared next to the Green buoy at the end of the Navy piers.

 We made contact and headed out in tandem, Hadley in the lead and Mahalo to Port as escort at about 5 knots. Mahalo fired up the radar, while Hadley monitored the AIS and chart track.

We made good time and crossed the ferry route for the Mukilteo Ferry without incident. Never saw the ferries. We heard them on the VHF. We monitored them on AIS and radar but not even their lights were visible in the fog; uncomfortable to say the least.

 We could hear several boaters on the VHF discussing their fishing plans and fog conditions. Even though the sky began to turn from fuzzy black to grey the fog continued, unabated, in our face. We were cruising about 4.5 knots through the water but making about 5.8 over the ground thanks to the favorable ebb current. Our sail plan met our planned waypoint track and CG navigation markers giving us all a good feeling helping to boost our navigation confidence.

We rounded Possession Point about 0700 while observing the first towing tug on AIS heading northwest approaching from our stern. Seeing it moving at about eight knots made it a priority to watch. As the fog began to lift visibility improved allowing us to increase speed to 2300 RPMs to make up time following the ebb along the southern coast of Whidbey Island. Near Useless Bay the sun finally appeared through the clouds and visibility increased from 200 yards to five miles. We basked in the morning sun warming our backs. The autopilot was a great crew. It maintained course spot on, easily handling the minor tidal currents that tried to push Hadley onto a different heading. Time for breakfast a cup of morning joe and some oatmeal to recharge my spirits.

When approaching Double Bluff there was a Kodak moment of seals sunning on the green channel buoy. At 0746, outside the Coast Guard controlled shipping lanes, the sun invited a promise of cruising Puget Sound’s marvelous venue. Sitting on the port side of the cockpit it was easy to chat about our progress with Mahalo. Sun, breakfast and cruising it doesn’t get much better. I stood, stretched, and scanned the course ahead. Out about a mile the fog was hanging low trying to obscure out progress to Roche Harbor.

 I hailed Mahalo, to warn of the fog ahead and to keep a port watch while I watch to starboard. Within a few minutes we were again socked in to 50 yards visibility and back to our routine. Checking the AIS no targets in our one half nautical mile alarm circle. As I sat down I saw ahead in the fog four bright lights coming at me. Looked like the high beams on a car, four beady eyes heading for my starboard mid-ships. I had a very bad feeling. Immediately I flipped off the autopilot, turned hard over to port and advance the throttle to maximum power. I shouted fishing boat as the blurry shape took form, coming fast. I grabbed my air horn delivering five quick blasts to warn of an impeding collision. The fishing boat continued to slice through the water at high speed out of the fog towards me and Hadley. I blasted the air horn again, then suddenly the fishing boat swerved towards me, not away. We're going to hit! I again blasted the horn, grabbed the binnacle guard to brace for impending impact, then at the last second the fishing boat veered away, but too late. The fishing boat slammed into my starboard quarter about six feet from the stern.

The impact threw me towards the port side hitting the wheel and binnacle guard, bruising my right arm and middle back. Immediately I got to my feet shut down the engine then sat down in the cockpit to regain my composure. The fishing boat continued on for about another 35 to 50 yards. His excessive speed and glancing blow made it difficult for him to stop. Mahalo circled back to the fishing boat while taking photos of the fishing boat. The skipper asked if he had hit Mahalo, Les said no, you hit the boat behind you. The skipper pulled his boat up along side and we exchanged information. Driver’s licenses, boat registration number. The crew were not responsive to my questions while their skipper looked for his Driver’s license, one of them volunteered they were trying to get to the shrimp fishing grounds. The skipper was from Port Townsend and said he had gone near Whidbey Island to avoid the commercial traffic.

 We separated and I examined my boats damage. The hull looked sound, it was still seaworthy. No leaks but some damage to the rub rail and fiberglass on the starboard quarter above the waterline. The aluminum trim on the stern was ripped away and hanging in the air, but all looked ok. Mahalo came by. We discussed the situation and I said let’s continue to Roche Harbor.

 When we arrived at Roche Harbor, I met with the local Border Patrol. After discussing the event, the Agent recommended I call the Coast Guard 13th District Investigative Office. The Petty Officer on watch asked that I submit an incident report to their office.

Tuesday morning the 9th I got a message back that they considered it a local issue. This incident needs to be reported to the State using the State Boating Accident Form. Reports must be submitted to the law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction where the accident occurred. If you are not sure what agency has the authority, contact the Washington State Boating Program by email or call 360-902-8555.

 Lessons learned:

 TAKE PHOTOS of everything and person. Cell phone cameras are great. Having a friend and sailing partner wingman, PRICELESS!

 The Fishing boat Captain did not know who he hit nor slow down when I blew the horn warning. The way the boat came through the fog it looked like no one was at the wheel. Possibly they were operating the boat via autopilot. The speed of the boat in such severe fog conditions made it impossible for the unattended helm to respond to the impending collision. The speed factored into no reaction time from awareness to contact.

Damage to the Fishing boat seemed limited to one of the four led running lights on the starboard bow.

 What could I have done differently? Not much. We were sounding our fog horn, scanning the water ahead, monitoring our navigation aids, (AIS, radar, electronic and printed charts) and had an air horn in the cockpit ready to be used. We knew where we were and the location of our escort boat. We were progressing at moderate rate of speed consistent with the conditions. Crew was on watch and able to act to save the boat and life.

Turning the boat hard over to port gave the best chance of avoiding a collision. Regulations state that when two boats are heading towards each other, they should alter course to starboard passing port to port.

 That maneuver, however, would have resulted in a head on collision. With the fishing boat already on my starboard side, the only possible alternative was to alter course hard over to port. Should you be unfortunate enough to experience a similar incident it is important that you collect as much evidence as possible including pictures and exchanging personal information about the skipper and their vessel.

The agenda for 2017:

Points to note:

If you have signed up then you need not contact the marina until after you dock.  They usually have a dock registration official come to your boat after you tie up.

There will be lots of dock help for your docking.

We will be on the guest dock, closest to the shore by the hotel.  You will see the white tent.  We have the entire end of the dock reserved, so pick a slip and back in.  Lots of depth on the shore side.

The marina supplies a party tent or two with heat, garbage, and 4-5 gas bbqs, chairs, and tables.  This tent is where you register for the Rendezvous.

Other Roche Harbor amenities:

Fine dining at Hotel De Haro, reservations are a good idea.  
Cafe at the top of the dock.
Grocery store 
Clothing shopping upstairs over grocery.
Pump out for holding tanks
Showers (6 quarters = 5? minutes)
San Juan Distillery (about 1.5 mile walk)
Mausoleum visit, about a mile walk
Art Sculpture Park (VERY worthy), 1/2 mile from dock

Sign Up at Registration Main Tent:

There is a Gift Exchange held after the Saturday night dock pot luck.  Bring a gift and get a gift.  Keep it under $20 or so UNLESS you have too much money.  See Ken Fischer on Solaria.  Email with questions on this.

There is a Decorated Tender Contest.  Judged by your peers.  Head Judge is Don Paget of Tehillah.  You pick your own theme and decor.  Register at main registration in Party Tent Central.  Email  with questions.  This was a fun contest with lots of thought put into the decor by contestants last year.

There is registration for getting your boat inspected for free by the Coast Guard Auxiliary on Saturday.   If you pass, USA boats get a sticker,  Canadian boats get the satisfaction of knowing they are doing it right.   Sign up at the registration desk  in the Main Tent or send an email to to get in line first.

We will have Ulman Sails representative, Vincent Townrow, available on the dock on Friday to come to your boat and check your sails.  Sign Up for a time slot  and consult, pick his brain, or see if he knows how fix your rating....

Ready to show off the boat?  What Projects?

Send in your latest project for the next UPdate.

EX:  Jah Mon is refinishing the salon table

To read about last year's rendezvous  Click Here

Weekend Agenda:


Arrive, register for various events (see above) at Main Tent.  

Prepare for Appy Hour at 4:30.  Bring a snack and beverage to Main Tent and be social.


Boat visits during the entire event!  Show off your boat and check out others.

10:00 AM Customs and Border Patrol presentation v 2.0, by Officer Jim Specht.    High marks based on last years remarks from attendees!

12:00 PM  
Confidence at the Helm: Boating workshop for Women
 with Sonia Hurt aboard Comocean (C-42)

Ladies, grab your sunscreen and your life vest and join me on a voyage of confidence and skill building. Never been at the helm? No problem. In this supportive setting you can learn to steer, drive in reverse, maneuver in tight quarters and dock. Past participants and their husbands will tell you how rewarding and fun this experience was for the ladies.  Join me, weather permitting, for a couple of hours on my boat, Comocean, and sail into your future at the helm.  We leave the dock at noon.

12:00  Disc Golf Outing.  Spare discs are available.  Local knowledge provided by Count Ferrari, approximately a 3 hour hike.

Prepare for Appy Hour at 4:30.  Bring a snack and beverage to Main Tent and be social.


Boat visits during the entire event!  Show off your boat and check out others.

USCG Auxilary inspections starting in the morning.  This is a great idea, be sure and sign up for this free safety inspection. (Send an email for second in line, after Jah Mon for sign up.)

10:00 AM 
Pets and safety aboard with Dr. Wendy Mollat, Veterinarian from Peace.

11:30 AM 
 Medical advice for on board treatment by Dr. Deon Human from Tehilliah.

Seminar: First Aid at sea with Dr. Human
"Don't throw up now, we need the weight"

It will include:
Suggestions for the contents of a good first aid kit; and how to use it.
Some travel medicine and a list of medications that should be on board.
The talk will be practical ,interactive, and might include some humor.

Decorated Tender Contest.  Time TBD (To Be Determined), DOW (Depending on Weather)
Jah Mon's entry.  Viking theme with Patrick cruising for pillaging.

6:30 PM
Pot Luck Dinner and gift exchange:  in Main Tent


Depart when ready to continue your cruise or head for home!

1 comment:

  1. Just about the best fun on the planet. Thanks so much for all you and Lori did to make it happen. See ya next year.