Signature All-Fleet: 1-3 June 2018

Dave Garland and Tom Hubbard catch up

Dave Garland and Tom Hubbard catch up

June 1-3, 2018

Signature Yachts put on a great all-fleet rendezvous in Poulsbo.

There were 12 Hunter Sailboats, along with some Beneteaus.

HAPS was well-represented:

John and Kerstin Hilton (and guests) aboard New Shoes

Mike and Ruth Murray (and John and Stephanie Murray ++) aboard Wings of Gold  

Dave and Mary Weale aboard Dulcinea 

Stuart and Linda Scadron-Wattles aboard Selah

Dave and Susie Garland aboard Endless Options

Larry and Sue Tughan aboard Beverly Jane

Tom and Kersten Hubbard aboard Tiburon

Larry and Connie Wilhelmsen (and family) aboard Pure Sterling


Gary and Joanne Mallett (Anna) drove in on Saturday, as did John and Stephanie Murray and family.

In addition, there were a number of former HAPSters, and HAPSters to be.

The highlighted boat was a 57-ft Beneteau Sense, which, we were told, was on loan from the company, who had placed one on the East Coast of the US and this one on the West Coast, at Signature. It bears logos for King 5’s Evening magazine, and is often featured on the air.

Friday night was a potluck Heavy Hors D’oeuvres, and BYOD on the dock. The food was plentiful and varied. It was a great time to greet HAPS friends we had not seen since Chart Chat, and to get acquainted with some of the people who have been on our mailing list, but have yet to join HAPS. As heavy as the food had been, we saw groups heading up to dinner in town.

Saturday morning dawned with light wind, promising blue skies and temperature in the 70’s. After a continental breakfast provided by our hosts, Robbie Robinson, Signature’s owner, provided a brief history of his brokerage/dealership, of which Hunter is now a chapter. As he brought us to the present tim, he also mentioned the troubles still being felt in the European sailboat market, and the recent import duties affecting the Canadian market for US-built boats.

With a small sea of swag bags at his feet, Robbie mentioned the many supporters of the rendezvous, including CSR, Pacific Title, Trident Marine, and Neal Pryde Sails. The bags included a generous supply of  Team McLube’s Sailkote, and their One-Drop lubricant for ball-bearings. Signature acquired the local franchise for Neal Pryde Sails about a year ago, Robbie noted, “…and we’ve been staying very low-key while we learn what we’re doing.”

As if to prove his point, Robbie them introduced Neal Pryde’s sail guru, Bob Pattison, who heads up Design and Special Projects for Neal Pryde Sails International. Pattison is a Long Island-based sailor who has been sailmaking and racing for 25 years. He brought his considerable knowledge and experience to bear on the topic of sail trim and construction for cruising boats, when to reef and why you should (“Fourteen knots true is all of the power you will ever need on a full rig”) and the ins and outs of furling mainsails (“It’s all about friction and mast bend”). Pattison explained the physics of wind and the consequent design and trim of sails with authority and simplicity. 

He began by talking about the cutter designs of the 1980’s, and the reasoning behind those sail plans. He went on to discuss modern yacht design and the two to three sail inventory, explaining that light and efficient ship designs have changed and simplified sail requirements. Pattison then returned to his comments about cutter rigs, as he introduced the idea of a free-flying “screecher” sail for reaching. As he looked to the future, he pointed out that Beneteau designers are already producing their boats with athwartship (port-to-starbord running) tracks forward of the mast: a key sign that the smaller, self-tacking jib will likely be the preferred headsail, with a free-flying sail such as the screecher the upwind power sail of choice.

After a generous period of Q&A, we adjourned for lunch on our own: some aboard our boats, some heading up the ramp to Poulsbo for the variety of eating establishments in “Little Norway.”

By mid-afternoon, the wind had freshened, and many of us opted for the two sailing trials on two Beneteau models, demonstrating Pattison’s points, and featuring the Neal Pryde self-furling screecher sail. The negative tide proved to be only a slight setback for the 57-foot Sense and its 7’10” draft.

Saturday evening we held a potluck supper, with plenty of choice for all, and libations provided by Signature Yachts. This proved to be only the start of their generosity, however. A post-prandial drawing for prizes included gift certificates to West Marine, Anthony’s, and a candle-powered LED lantern from Fisheries Supply, as well as  “water” bottles from CSR ( Tori: “I’ve never known the guys at CSR to sail with actual water in those bottles”)

Most PNW rendezvous end with a desultory continental breakfast in cold drizzle. Not this one: There were blueberry pancakes, breakfast sausage, and melon, in addition to orange juice, coffee and muffins. Since many of us did not have to leave for an early tide, we had seconds, warmed up our coffee, and lingered in each other’s company, discussing our plans for the season ahead, and vowing to meet again.

We’re now saving the date for the 2019 Signature All Fleet: May 31-June 2.

Stuart Scadron-Wattles

HAPS Comms