|Some of the presenters at the first-ever Spring Boating Symposium hosted by the Northwest Maritime Center were (from left) Mark Schrader, Mark Bunzel, Barbara Marrett, symposium director Kaci Cronkhite, Chris Brignoli, Larry Pardey, Lin Pardey, Carol Hasse, Brion Toss and Steve D'Antonio. Photos by Jan Davis|
Scott Wilson, Editor/Publisher
She’s sailed through terrific Pacific storms without an engine.
She’s been accosted by Arabs armed with machine guns in the Red Sea.
She’s sailed through the pirate-infested waters of Somalia.
She’s been all over the world in all kinds of conditions.
But according to nationally known sailor Lin Pardey, the biggest fear in sailing or cruising isn’t any of that.
“The scariest part,” she told a packed crowd of boaters at the Spring Boating Symposium of the Northwest Maritime Center, “is getting away.”
For boaters who seek the adventure of a long cruise, people who openly or secretly wish the boat would never leave the dock are everywhere, said Pardey at the March 18-20 event.
But casting off is the key to the adventurous life, said Pardey, who with husband Larry has sailed tens of thousands of miles and written a dozen marine books. The places you go, the people you meet, the choices you make – that’s what motivates most boaters, she said.
The Pardeys were just one set of 27 faculty who presented almost three solid days of workshops to 133 attendees at the event, a first-ever symposium by the NWMC held in the center’s collection of eight waterfront classrooms in downtown Port Townsend. Some 50 volunteers assisted.
"The facility is an awesome example of what can happen when a group of people with vision and determination set on intention,” said one presenter. “Kudos to all who got us here. What a fine launch pad into the future.”
Other sessions dealt with how to cruise north of the Queen Charlotte Strait, cruising at night, battling on-board fires, using electronic steering systems, how to dock without damaging your boat, the latest in survival suits … and the list went on and on.
Local presenters included rigger Brion Toss, skipper Pete Hanke, sailmaker Carol Hasse and rigger Lisa Vizzini, among others.
Capt. Carolyn Spragg focused on “no-impact docking,” and noted the three keys to avoiding damage during docking are “boat speed, boat speed and boat speed.”
“At what speed should you come into a dock?” asked the Seattle-based skipper. “It depends on at what speed you want to hit the dock.”
Kaci Cronkhite, the NWMC's symposium director, said it was a resounding success in which participants got more excited as time went on.
“We had an overwhelmingly positive response from attendees,” she said, “with everyone asking for more, more, more. More time to talk with each other between sessions and at restaurants; more time to see every single topic or presenter; more time to see the boats,” of which nine were tied up at Point Hudson for tours.
Just as the Wooden Boat Festival in September is a bookend to the summer boating season, NWMC leaders hope this educational symposium – aimed at boaters and boats of all types – can mark the season's opening. Cronkhite also said it is a concentrated effort to draw people to Port Townsend in March (when hotels, restaurants, etc. can use the business).
"We're focused on a lifetime of boating," Cronkhite said of NWMC programs. Younger people may start with a craft to row, then sail and perhaps race, maybe advancing to ocean cruising. And as boaters get older, some switch to powerboats. And when the time comes in a boater's life to downsize, it is back to the small boat to row or sail with the grandkids.
"We're trying to grow quality programming for people of many ages and with many boating interests," Cronkhite said. "This symposium is a great platform from which to launch our programs."