The annual cannons of Seattle’s Opening Day, always scheduled for the first Saturday of May, signal more than just the water-themed festivities of the afternoon. The cannons are a declaration to shake off those winter landlubberly attitudes and board the nearest boat for on-the-water fun! Prominent on the summer calendars of Pacific Northwest boaters are the various festivals, parades, celebrations, fish derbies, regattas, potlucks, messabouts, and the like we enjoy. Among the array of boating events is the rendezvous.
What exactly distinguishes a rendezvous from the rest? First and foremost, the focus of a rendezvous is always boat owners and their guests. A typical rendezvous involves gathering boat owners of a certain type, often at the invitation of an owner’s association or local yacht brokerage. Odds are that there is a rendezvous out there that you and your boat fit into, either planned by your broker or even a fellow owner with gumption.
Rendezvous vary quite a bit in character. Some are packed full of educational seminars from factory representatives while others just want you to bring your guitar and a bowl of potato salad for the evening barbecue. Some rendezvous are mobile, resembling more an organized group cruise, while most are stationary at a gorgeous location, often in the San Juan Islands. There are exclusive rendezvous for members only vs. open-ended rendezvous for anybody who wants to go, and ones catered to fine wine or Rainier tallboy crowds. Rendezvous can embrace a dress-up theme, like superheroes or rock stars, or ask folks to just come as they are. Not all heroes wear capes.
Ultimately, what defines a successful rendezvous is a spiritual feeling of community, a shared experience of Boat with a capital B. When you pull into your rendezvous, a feeling of finding your tribe should ensue. Your boat is among her sister ships and familiar faces are there to greet you, often with a cocktail in hand. Take a deep breath in and cleat off those mooring lines. You’ve made it.
We offer our inaugural Rendezvous Roundup to help fill up your calendars this summer and find the rendezvous that best fits you. Note that we’ve kept the geographical scope of this guide in Washington state, purely for magazine space restriction reasons. We also acknowledge, especially because this is our first take with this roundup, that we’ve probably missed somebody. Fortunately, the season is young, and we eagerly await to publish your scuttlebutt. Send all information to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do what we can to get the word out.