“Sea to Shining Sea”
East Coast Catalina Factory Rendezvous, Aug 2-3-4, 2002
When Ron Marcuse and I volunteered to committee this year’s factory rendezvous, we knew we could rely on our experience from just three years ago. However, Zahniser’s Yachting Center was already booked through July. We settled on the August dates, apprehensive about the perennial hot and sticky summer weather for Southern Maryland. Well, it was hot! Ninety-five degrees for over a week, but that didn’t keep the owners away. By Friday PM, over 116 owners had arrived by boat or car with some 20 more registering on Saturday. This year’s event rivaled the June 2000 attendance of 138 boats. I cannot thank enough, my old friends and my new friends for making this, another hugely successful owner rendezvous.
Many of the attendees had sailed up/down the Chesapeake Bay on Thursday and were on hand first thing Friday morning to help setup the tables, chairs, banners, and especially to stuff all those captains bags! Sharon and Gerry were there early and pitched in to get the assembly lines going smoothly. The bags were quickly filled with t-shirts, SAIL caps, magazines, freebies, local maps, brochures, discounts, and drawing tickets! We all missed Frank Butler, who could not join us this year due to family obligations.
Registration began in the afternoon, with the usual chaos associated with dozens and dozens of owners standing in the sun, anxious to get their bag of goodies, and get on to the pool! Of course, it seemed that almost everyone wanted to exchange something for a different size or obtain an extra... The smallest boat register was a Capri 22. There were a few C25, C27, C28, and a dozen C30, and all the larger boats were represented. By late afternoon, we were all ready to start up the band and open the beer wagon. The Garhauer refreshments must have been cold because two-thirds of the kegs were demolished that evening requiring supplemental trips to the brewery for Saturday night. Thanks Bill and Mary. We needed that! Tidewater Yachts provided a popular ferry service around town in the air-conditioned van.
Woodburn’s of Solomon’s Island catered the meals, which began with a chicken and barbecue dinner followed by the “Most Outrageous Dessert Contest”. Winners were selected on the basis of originality, theme (Red, White, and Blue), and taste. The Catalina dealers and myself judged the two-dozen entries very, very slowly and had to sample many of them several times. There was a potted plant filled with chocolate dirt (most original), a raspberry, blueberry and cream parfait (theme) and a strawberry covered trifle (tasty) along with several dishes of worms. There were so many chocolate treats that there should have been two contests! I cannot begin to describe the awful devastation after the hoards descended upon those treats. Dessert was followed by a much more peaceful slide show by Cruising Magazine.
Saturday began with coffee, juice and a huge breakfast. Seminars were presented by Garhauer, Forespar, Cruising Magazine, Gerry Douglas Q&A and more. Everyone was on their own for lunch and hikes about town, the Calvert Marine Museum, into the shade or the pool or on to the dealer boats (C350, C400, C470) for show and tell (and purchase). I understand Gerry Douglas got excellent marks for the boats, but the dealers got accolades for the margaritas! The C400 was the most visited – must have been those (2) 50amp yellow cables that tied it to shore! Did I say it was hot! Fortunately, a 5-10 SE wind blew into the marina all weekend. While thunderstorms pounded Washington DC 65 miles to the north, our skies remained clear.
Saturday evening kicked off early with Mike Gartland’s slide show of the inland passageway from Seattle to Juneau, AK. The “Alaska Poor Boy” shared his C36 sailing adventures with us projected on the tent ceiling. Next year he will be going back to 49th state and invited everyone to come see him there! Did I say we had C36’s at the rendezvous? Fleet 3 from Annapolis came down in its entirety and many owners from Fleet 5 drove down from Long Island. The C36ers had their own resounding cocktail party on the lawn just before dinner.
Did I mention prizes? Our sponsors were extremely generous this year and almost every boat drew a prize. There were numerous $25 coupons for Chili’s, and Outback, seemed like a dozen Lewmar winch handles, (6) Schaeffer rail cleats, (8) Norcold personal (electric) coolers, (6) Raytheon VHF radios, raincoats, medical kits, ice chests, and a complete plow anchor, rode and chain! Sailnet provided several $50 and $100 gift certificates and AB Marine provided $100, $200 and $400 discounts on GORI and AUTOPROP propellers. YANMAR donated 4 complete engine maintenance kits. Dozens of mouse pads, eyeglass bands, e-coupons, and t-shirts from Sailnet were tossed into the crowd. And more hats from Winchard! Sharon, Gerry, Ron and I took most of Fri night, Saturday night and Sunday morning to draw and distribute all the valuable prizes.
The Sunday continental breakfast was quickly gulped down with more coffee and juice. My wife Sherma arrived a fashionable hour late and missed breakfast entirely! There were two reasons for the anxious crowd. Many families wanted to get started on the motor sail home and second, they wanted to get to the grand prize drawing! This year it was a week at Frank Butler’s seashore home in Acapulco, Mexico! The surprised winner was Bill and Sally Jack (C42).
It was a sad moment when everyone dashed to the boats to start their engines and head home. There were hundreds of quick goodbyes and “see you next times”. I think there were also some bets on which boats would get back home first. One more time I called upon my friends and a few stragglers to help dismantle what had for three days, been the “biggest party in town”. And certainly the best! With most of the day now free, I was able to sail back north to Annapolis (45 miles) with Ron on his C400. Folks it was a lot cooler out on the Chesapeake Bay! Ron and I are most appreciative for the help from Catalina Yachts, Tidewater Yachts, John Middleton and the family at Sails Annapolis, Lew and Oona Grimm from the new Deltaville VA dealership, Glen Winters and to my fellow members of Southern Maryland Sailing Assn for making it all happen. See ya’ll next year.