Perry Rendezvous 2019

What happens when you find out that the legendary designer of your 40 year old boat is not only alive, but spends his time right down the road from you… and is having a meetup with dozens of other boat owners? You go to the party, right? Well yeah!

Some weeks back Kerri found a Bob Perry fan page on Facebook and joined. Not only is it an active discussion group, Bob himself is a daily partaker of the community. Also, there is an annual rendezvous (I really hate trying to spell that word) in Port Ludlow each year and we would be near enough to seriously consider dropping in. I think we both felt a little uncomfortable with the idea to begin with, as we are so new to this whole thing, but after meeting some other sailing couples recently we were desperate to go see other like-boats to get ideas and advice about our own.

We arrived a week before the festivities would begin, intentionally. I was hoping to complete a few engine projects in the safety of a marina, which went smoothly (abnormally). We also had the location to have our mail, Amazon purchases, and some additional parts shipped. I was kept busy for those days leading up to the party so you can imagine my surprise when there was a heavy knock on the side of the boat and an older gentlemen – pipe in hand and dog at his side – introduced himself as Bob and welcomed us to the get together, followed by a bit of small talk. It was quite a pleasure to meet Bob, and to get a few minutes to talk with him before he moved on to knock on another boat’s occupants.

On Friday night we stayed up well past midnight, at the fire pit, telling and listening to sailing stories from other first-time attendees. It may have been too late a night for me as I struggled to make it through Saturday after. Luckily, the events on Saturday were scheduled a little earlier in the day, with a two hour talk from Bob himself as he walked us through his 50+ years of designing boats. We learned that our Baba was one of his first, when he was in his twenties! Shit, I was delivering pizzas in my twenties. This man was designing boats capable of circumnavigating the world! Later that night – at a respectable hour – was a potluck dinner with music where we got to hang out and socialize even more.

During the weekend we met, and talked with, dozens of other Perry-boat owners. We had a few over to our boat and we toured a few of the other’s boats. There were two other Baba’s in attendance, one of which was a 40 foot variety which was enormous in comparison to our 35. The other was a direct sibling of Meriwether – a 1979 Baba 35 which has had the same owners for the past 31 years. We soaked in the ideas and advice as best we could before Sunday afternoon. It was then that everyone started heading back to their respective port, leaving us behind – nearly all alone – for a single night before we too left Port Ludlow on our way to more adventures on the horizon.

I sure am happy that we decided to pop in to the rendezvous. Kerri and I are not normally into formal get-togethers, but it really helped us learn more about our boat. A big positive was to hear from so many that we are not alone in our struggles to control the bow of our boat in the act of docking. It is just part of the deal with this type of boat, and no matter how experienced one gets, it is still a point of angst on breezy days… great! {insert sarcasm}

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