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East Coast boater heads out West

Joins Nordic Tugs owners as they share camaraderie and advice at Vancouver Island rendezvous

Joins Nordic Tugs owners as they share camaraderie and advice at Vancouver Island rendezvous

The 2006 Northwest Nordic Tugs Rendezvous was held in beautiful downtown Sidney on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and a record 88 boats made it to Port Sidney Marina June 22 for a fun-filled, three-day event.

All sizes of Nordic Tugs were represented: the 26, 32, 37 and 42, as well as a new 52 from the factory.

Most boats were from British Columbia and Washington, but California, Arizona, Oregon, Georgia, Texas and Colorado also were represented. Sidney was chosen for its proximity to some of North America’s most spectacular cruising grounds, including the San Juan and Gulf islands. It’s also a popular staging area for boats heading north on the Inside Passage to Alaska.

The charming seaside city proved itself to be a perfect host to nearly 200 “tuggers,” with its waterfront shops, galleries, restaurants and museums. More than 50 businesses contributed to the rendezvous with raffle prizes and special discounts. Many attendees took advantage of an organized tour of nearby Victoria, home of the famous Butchart Gardens, which attracts more than a million people a year to view the amazing sight of its six billion flowers.

But the biggest attraction was the series of seminars and Q&A sessions held Friday and Saturday. “Meeting the Big Boys,” presented by Capt. Fred Tiggs, addressed the best ways to stay clear of large ships and fast-moving ferries, explaining the parameters these vessels have to deal with in maneuvering. Graham George of Pacific Marine Diesel presented “Engine Maintenance,” offering valuable tips on preventing mechanical problems and ensuring trouble-free cruising. Safely navigating the challenging Northwest waters was covered in “Radar 101” and “Managing Tidal Rapids,” presented by Capt. Kevin Monahan, author of the cruising guide “Local Knowledge: Tacoma to Ketchikan.” With tidal currents sometimes reaching 16 knots and creating 30-foot-wide whirlpools, Monahan’s presentation was especially helpful.

Dan Hilsinger and Joe Franett from the Nordic Tugs factory held a panel discussion and made themselves available throughout the event, hopping from boat to boat, answering questions and sharing their knowledge with the eager-to-learn owners. Equally valuable was the sharing of tugger tips and tricks between owners, most of whom cruise extensively. Each afternoon the boats were open to fellow attendees for visiting and inspection.

An outside observer might have wondered why all these people were having so much fun, but it was obvious to this seasoned cruiser how much tuggers love their boats and enjoy being on them. It was apparent from the discussions along the docks that Nordic Tugs owners are a savvy, experienced group of cruisers who have great confidence in their stout, little ships.

Based in Burlington, Wash., Nordic Tugs employs more than 140 people in its modern facility and builds approximately 50 boats a year. One of its new flagship 52s was heading to Alaska immediately following the Northwest Rendezvous, while many other boats left Sidney for extended cruises throughout British Columbia.

For more information, contact Nordic Tugs at (360) 757-8847, or visit .