The weather gods were smiling the weekend of May 10-13 as an enthusiastic group of Grand Banks owners gathered at beautiful Roche Harbor Marina and Resort for the 2012 PSGBOA Rendezvous. Looking ahead to a predicted week of sunshine, boats started arriving as early as Wednesday and by Thursday evening the guest docks were lined with Grand Banks from all over the Northwest. By Friday afternoon we had welcomed a total of 60 GBs, ranging from a 72 Aleutian to several 32 Sedans, and spanning the history of GB production from a 50 year-old Chantyman, to a brand-new 46 East Bay. We were also thrilled to welcome 8 “First-timers” to our ranks and hope that they enjoyed their experience and will be back next year along with everyone else. As always, it was a beautiful sight to look across the water from the lawn and see our gorgeous boats all lined up along the docks.
After an initial afternoon of relaxing and meeting old friends, the activities officially got off to a start on Friday morning with coffee and Lime Kiln Café donuts and the first in our series of terrific seminars. Speakers educated us on marine batteries and charging systems, the latest in border-crossing regulations and the best techniques for trapping crabs and prawns. This year we experimented with a new venue for the talks down on the docks, taking advantage of Roche Harbor’s additional “Party Barge”. This turned out to be quite successful and we will quite probably move all of the talks down to the barges next year.
Back by popular demand and thanks to the sponsorship of NW Explorations, the first of four Women-on-the-Water training classes also kicked off Friday morning. The 4 2-hour sessions for 4 women students each were filled quickly during pre-registration and proved to be a good incentive to register early. Despite the unexpected departure of our primary trainer due to a family emergency, the classes continued and were well-received as always. We are exploring ways to offer a range of training boats next year to try and satisfy the needs of those with both single and twin-engine vessels.
Friday afternoon was dedicated to the fantastic group of sponsors whose support is vital to making our annual event possible, and the sponsor booths gave everyone a chance to talk with these folks one-on-one. Their logos and links are posted at the bottom of our home page and we encourage you to look them up and support them in return when you need their products and services. This year we kicked off the sponsor time with a “New York Street Dog” lunch on the party barge, hosted by Garmin, and this too seemed to be a big success. The afternoon was also a time to walk the docks and visit with owners who opened their boats during “Open House” time, as well as a chance to browse the Grand Banks Store and check out the merchandize in person, and to scan the DVD Exchange which we hope to continue next year.
A beautiful Friday was capped off with the now-traditional Appetizer Pot-luck and Wine Tasting, hosted once again by our good friends at Wells Fargo Insurance. In keeping with this year’s “Mediterranean” theme, the featured wines were from Italy and everyone enjoyed sampling the marvelous selection chosen by Greg Richmond. The food was delicious, as usual, but was consumed so quickly that we have decided we need to find a way to increase the amounts next year.
Saturday morning dawned even more gorgeous than the day before and once again began with coffee and Lime Kiln Café donuts on the dock. The morning talks presented by Grand Banks and Bob Smith of American Marine gave us a good dose of GB past and future, while concurrent talks by two diesel mechanics from Bellingham made sure everyone had a chance to ask specific questions about their own on-board power plants. The lunch hour outdoor cooking demonstration presented by Roche Harbor Executive Chef Bill Shaw was another instant hit as he wowed us by preparing traditional Spanish paella cooked over the fire pit at the “Shipwreck Beach” venue on the Resort’s shoreline. All attendees received a generous sampling, preceded by wine and Spanish bruschetta. It was delicious!
Three more seminars on Saturday afternoon were kicked off by a hilarious send-up of on-board “nightmares” presented by our own team of “Carnac the Magnificent” (Jeff Bland) and his straight-man Brian Pemberton. This hour begs to be repeated next year with all-new material. The final two talks covered the always-popular topic of marine weather as well as a quick overview on the advantages of using Ham radios while cruising. We thank all of our speakers for taking the time to both entertain and educate us.
Although we had fewer children in attendance than in past years, those who did come were treated to an afternoon of crafts and fun lead by a “Grannie Julie” of Roche Harbor, as well as a special movie treat on Friday evening which was capped off by a birds’ eye view of the Roche Harbor Colors Ceremony. Saturday afternoon the kids were also an integral part of our annual Dog Show, which featured our four-legged crew in all their glory; everyone had a good time and all the dogs went home as winners.
Finally, Saturday evening brought a close to a marvelous weekend with our annual banquet hosted by Grand Banks and Cummins. Chef Shaw and his crew outdid themselves again with a fantastic “Little Italy” menu featuring a variety of Italian pasta dishes, chicken picatta and pork marsala, accompanied by sangria and capped off with creamy tiramisu. In celebration of Mother’s Day, all of the ladies were treated to long-stem roses to take home as part of the centerpieces. Unexpected donations from some of our sponsors initiated a last-minute door prize give-away and have inspired us to look into reinstating a raffle of some sort next year.
At the obligatory Member’s meeting before dessert, we elected by a show of hands next year’s officers and most importantly the 2013 Rendezvous Chairs, Bill and Brenda Davis. You can find a list of the 2012-13 Board of Directors on our website. We also took the opportunity to thank out-going President Greg Richmond and gave long-deserved special recognition to Bob Smith who helped develop the Ford Lehman engines and is a long-time friend of GB and GB owners.
Thanks to all of you who worked so hard to make this event a success and to those who joined us at Roche Harbor. It was wonderful to see so many old friends and to welcome new ones. Those of you who couldn’t make it missed a great party! Keep checking this website for updates and timing for the 2013 PSGBOA Rendezvous. We look forward to seeing everyone next year.
Happy cruising! Sue and Byron Richards, 2012 Rendezvous Chairs