Greetings HAPS fleet

Kerstin and I are excited to begin our tenure as fleet captains.  Alright, we are also a little nervous, given that our previous fleet captains have set the bar impossibly high, over a very long time.

We begin with a new mantra: “Let’s get out there!” Kerstin and I are not spending near as much time aboard our boat as we would like; I’m guessing a lot of you are in—or rather out of—a similar boat. Daily life seems to interfere far too often.  Time to do something about that! 

We have heard from a number of HAPS members that they would like to see HAPS events planned during the “off season”, which we define as October thru March.  A growing number of us are now in a position to plan extended cruises of a month or more during the summer months.  Consequently we may be otherwise engaged when traditional HAPS summer events are held.  For the coming season, we will try to have at least one event each month.

In an effort to increase the number of events, as well as provide for differing style and schedule preferences, we propose to have three different kinds of HAPS events:

Rendezvous – Conventional Friday thru Sunday hosted event at a specific destination, with planned activities and meals

Cruise – Multiple destination event lasting 4 or more days, hosted with a float plan

Meet Me @ - Short notice or spontaneous, low key, no-host gatherings initiated by one or two members.


The Meet me @ event type isn’t really new. We’ve been doing it for years, by either contacting HAPS members we know and planning to meet in an anchorage or marina on a few day’s notice, or using the HAPS Facebook page to invite any HAPS member who is so inclined. But for 2018, we are going to actually designate some Meet Me @ months, and encourage members to do it, using Facebook, or asking Comms to do an eblast.

We’ve attached a draft 2018 HAPS schedule here, which we hope to finalize at Chart Chat, 3-6PM on Saturday 20 January, 2018. This will be a land-based, drive-in event, with a potluck to follow. We’ll get the venue out shortly. For now, please save the date if you can.

One of the challenges we face is the large geographic area of our home ports.  Larry Tughan has kindly prepared prepare a  map to illustrate that. We’ve posted it here if you’d like to see it. No matter where we hold an event on land or sea, someone has to travel quite a distance.  Our goal is to provide a variety of opportunities to gather with our HAPS friends.  Some will be localized, knowing that we probably won’t see the members living far away.

We also can see that, with so many opportunities, our gatherings will be smaller. So be it. Success is measured by how much fun we have, and by the new and time-tested sailing relationships we have as HAPS members.

Some might say that October-March is too cold for cruising. Most of our PNW-based Hunters have robust heating systems and cockpit enclosures that allow comfortable boating in brisk conditions. The truth is many of our favorite destinations like Gig Harbor and Langley actually have a lot going on in the Fall and Winter months.  While browsing along the streets of town you are never far away from a warm boutique pub, and the winds are better: the odds of actually sailing are really good.

We know there are times when it is just too much to get the boat to a HAPS event.  Not to worry, you can still hang with your boating family! We are looking at planning some events that can be attended without a boat.  The annual meeting in Brownsville was a prime example; no one came by boat, and yet we had a great time hanging out in the Brownsville Yacht Club clubhouse.

From a very informal poll at the annual meeting, we learned that quite a few members are interested in improving their boat handling and maintenance skills. Some of the events planned for the coming season will have an informational skill-building or technical component.

Our members have rich and varied interests.  Some are more social than others.  Some are energized by the hands-on sailing of their boats, and others are content to be along for the ride.  We have observed that connections between HAPS members are often made in the most unexpected places.  It can be a cockpit conversation during a raft-up, problem-solving a mechanical issue, or sharing a quiet moment in the kitchen while preparing a meal for the annual meeting. In the final analysis, it’s our relationships that make HAPS so special.

Let’s get out there!

John and Kerstin Hilton

Fleet Co-Captains