The second annual Pocket Yacht Palooza was well-attended both by pocket yacht owners displaying their boats and curious visitors asking plenty of questions about the pint-sized vessels and the cruising adventures they enable.
Boats on display at the event, held Saturday at Port Townsend’s Northwest Maritime Center, came from as far away as California and Colorado.
The exhibitors included a team from Sage Marine of Golden, Colo. that group brought one of its Sage 17s, a Jerry Montgomery design. A small audience watched and asked questions while the team lowered the boat’s tabernacle mast. The operation went smoothly, with a team member on the foredeck showing that he could easily lower the mast by himself.
Also on display was a small armada of SCAMPs, the little pocket cruiser commissioned by the editors of Small Craft Advisor magazine (read a Three Sheets Northwest feature on the SCAMP here), and each was a little different. The maritime center has hosted several SCAMP Camps, during which owners construct hulls for their own SCAMPs in about a week.
Palooza organizer Marty Loken said he expected about 65 boats at this year’s show; I estimated that between the boats displayed on the beach and those on trailers in the center’s commons area, there were about twice as many as at last year’s inaugural Palooza.
There was an interesting contrast at times, even in individual boats. Randy Jones of Seattle displayed his Core Sound 17, an sprit boom ketch of rather traditional appearance built by B&B Yacht Designs in North Carolina. But his auxiliary propulsion was an oar he built himself mostly of carbon fiber components designed for river rafting. He did, however, make his own wooden handle for the oar and weighted the handle with lead to give the oar better balance.
Once the wind picked up in the mid-afternoon Saturday, some of the boats on the beach went out for short cruises in the area, while others remained at the center’s floating dock at the end of the pier.
Afternoon entertainment featured local band Ukuleles Unite!, which features other stringed instruments besides ukuleles, and at 5 p.m. tables were unfolded at the head of NWMC’s pier for an informal potluck dinner.
My own pocket yacht, the custom 22-foot sailing dory Ladybug, was docked at Point Hudson Marina next door, within sight of the center. Despite Ladybug being a little away from the action, I hosted a few visitors in my cockpit and let them peek around the modest living quarters that have been my home for the last couple of days.
The conversation was engaging and visitors seemed very interested in Ladybug’s design and functionality. I count the quality of these conversations as significant, even though being a bit further from the center of activity, foot traffic was low.
After the potluck dinner, a standing-room-only crowd gathered in one of the center’s upstairs classrooms for slide show talks by Dale McKinnon, who built a dory and rowed 800 miles from Ketchikan to Bellingham, and Kirk Gresham, who shared some of his own sea stories and slides about circumnavigating Whidbey Island in his 16-foot Eider, designed by renowned local naval architect Sam Devlin.