Sunday, June 30, 2013

Pocket Yacht Palooza, 2013

Don't miss the second annual Pocket Yacht Palooza, the largest gathering of small-craft gunkholing designs held in the Northwest, scheduled for July 20-21 at the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, WA.

The main focus of this event is on design...not on who has the most coats of varnish. While wooden boats tend to dominate the Palooza, fiberglass hulls are welcome and the whole idea is to share information, as well as time on the water, so that participants come away with a deeper understanding of different pocket-cruising designs, whether rowboats, sailboats or traditional motorboats.

The Palooza is organized by the Port Townsend Pocket Yachters group, a loose-knit club with "no officers, no dues, no bylaws or other signs of organization." In other words, they just like to have fun on the water together. Co-sponsors of the Pocket Yacht Palooza include the Northwest Maritime Center, Small Craft Advisor magazine, Sage Marine, the Port Townsend School of Wooden Boatbuilding, the Puget Sound chapter of the Traditional Small Craft Association and the Port Townsend Marine Trades Association.

Saturday, July 20, everyone is invited to the boat show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with many boats displayed on trailers at the Northwest Maritime Center, and others hauled up on the adjoining saltwater beach. At 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Peter Guerrero (host of KPTZ-FM's "Boat Talk" program) will lead a waterside discussion of different traditional small-craft sailing rigs--their use, advantages and possible shortcomings. Participants with spritsails, gaff rigs, lugsails, sloop rigs, sliding gunters and others will pull their boats together on the beach to chat about their rigs and how they work. At 6 p.m., there will be a potluck on the beach, followed at 7 p.m. by slide talks in the Maritime Center by Dale McKinnon (who built her own dory and rowed the Inside Passage from Ketchikan to Bellingham), and Kirk Gresham (talking about his years of trailer-sailing a Devlin Eider from California to the Puget Sound area and into the islands of British Columbia).

Sunday, July 21, participating boats will hit the water for a day of rowing, sailing and/or motoring together on Port Townsend Bay, with a picnic lunch on the beach of Rat Island, next to Fort Flagler State Park. The main emphasis of the day will be sharing boats--either boat rides or actual short-term trading of boats so that everyone can experience different designs and their sailing/rowing characteristics. The day of boating will begin at 10 a.m. and end in the late afternoon when many participants will rendezvous on Port Townsend Bay with Native paddlers as they arrive at Fort Worden State Park, their overnight stop, as part of their Tribal Canoe Journey to Quinault, on the outer coast of Washington.

The Palooza is absolutely free to participants and the public--no registration fees, complicated forms or other requirements. Just let organizer Marty Loken know you're coming and include a brief description of your boat when you email him: Norseboater22(at)

For updated details on the Palooza, check the Port Townsend Pocket Yachters website or follow postings on the Port Townsend Small Boats forum.

Hope to see you there!

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