WEEKEND: 'Pocket yachts' on display in Port Townsend this Saturday, Sunday
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Marty Loken
Participants display their boats in back of the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend during the 2013 Pocket Yacht Palooza. This year’s event takes place Saturday and Sunday.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Organizers of this weekend's Pocket Yacht Palooza seek to change the perception that all yachts are large, expensive and ostentatious.

“A lot of the people who come to this are sort of like the backpackers of boating,” said Marty Loken, who is organizing the third annual Palooza, set Saturday and Sunday at the Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water St.

“These boats are small enough that you can put them on a trailer and go somewhere without spending a lot of money,” Loken said.

The median size for a pocket yacht is about 16 feet, he said, but they can be slightly smaller or larger.

The only qualification is the ability to put the boat on a trailer, he said.

Boat show

The Pocket Yacht Palooza's Saturday boat show runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is free to the public.

Boats will be displayed on trailers and along the adjoining beach, as well as tied to the maritime center pier.

The featured Saturday evening speaker will be small-boat adventurer Colin Angus of Victoria, who will recount details of his record-setting row around Vancouver Island, along with his earlier row across the Atlantic Ocean with his wife, Julie.

Angus' talk will be at 7 p.m. in the upstairs meeting room of the Northwest Maritime Center. The suggested contribution is $5.

At 10 a.m. Sunday, all of the participants will gather at the beach near the maritime center and participate in a group sail to Rat Island, about 2 miles, where they will have a picnic.

More than 60 boats

More than 60 small boats have been registered so far, mostly coming from all over the Northwest, with a few originating from as far as Southern California, Loken said.

Registration costs boat owners nothing.

This public event is the largest celebration of small rowing and sailing boats on the West Coast and also features small pocket-cruising motorboats, organizers say.

Many participants have always owned small boats because it is all they can afford or manage, while others have owned larger boats and no longer want the expense or responsibility, Loken said.

“A lot of the people coming have downsized,” he said.

“They are sick of owing mortgage money to the bank and of having to pay moorage fees every month.

“They want something they can keep in their backyard and use when they want.”

The portability advantage increases the range of available sailing sites, as participants can drive to a location and sail rather than having to sail to that location, which can take days.

Loken said many of the current pocket yachters once suffered from “2-foot-itis,” believing they would be happy if their boat were only 2 feet longer.

“They keep buying bigger boats and end up with something they cannot afford,” Loken said.

For more information or to register, visit www.pocketyachters.com or email norseboater22@gmail.com.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: July 17. 2014 3:47PM
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