Classic yacht armada sails to shores of Little Norway

POULSBO — It was an homage to boating history last weekend at the Poulsbo Marina, where wooden relics of pleasure cruises past docked and displayed their craftsmanship to fellow seafarers and interested passersby.

Despite a cloudy sky and light winds, more than 25 boats dating as far back as 1926 gathered on the shores of Liberty Bay for the 11th annual Classic Yacht Rendezvous.

“It was a successful weekend,” said event organizer and Indianola resident John Jacobsen. “The weather cooperated, it was just a wonderful place to go to.”

Jacobsen said visiting sailors displaying their crafts had a pleasant time in Little Norway.

“We had a lot of people say how much they enjoyed it,” he said. “They really enjoyed Poulsbo, and always feel welcome here.”

For Classic Yacht Association members, the rendezvous is a chance to show off the work and upkeep they put into their vessels, many of which serve as partial homes for owners who sail several months out of the year.

“That’s one of the things that our members enjoy, is to put their tools away and go to these events where a lot of people come and a lot of people appreciate seeing the boats,” he said. “Each one you look at or go aboard is different. Each has got its own characteristics. That makes it so much more interesting. Visitors were impressed with what they saw.”

Bainbridge Island residents Richard and Cindy Randall, who purchased the 1929 bridgedeck cruiser “Compadre” three months ago, said it was the CYA’s past Poulsbo rendezvous that first started their interest in becoming members of association.

“We decided maybe this was something we could do ourselves,” Richard Randall said. “We just like the look of these old boats, they have a lot of character. This kind of craftsmanship and use of materials you don’t see anymore today.”

Randall said the members of the CYA’s Pacific Northwest Fleet are an encouraging group, and are ready to help one another out at a moment’s notice.

“It’s a really nice group of people,” he said. “They’re very friendly and supportive.”

Rayma Mery, who sailed into Poulsbo with husband Doug on their 1929 “Island Runner,” echoed Randall’s sentiments. She and her husband have spent nearly 100 days on their boat, and are preparing to head home.

“This is kind of our last get together with this group that we may not see for a while,” she said.

Dan and Paulette DeGard, owners of the 1956 “Saga,” one of four boats designed by Edwin Monk Sr. at the event, decorated their vessel’s interior to match its historic era. The two live off Portage Bay on their craft during the week, then boat across the Puget Sound for the weekend.

It was “revenge on the ferry system” that inspired their classic yacht purchase, Paulette DeGard said.

She added the history the boats offer is what attracts so many to them.

“This is like an archive of history that you don’t often find,” she said.

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