Unhitched and Afloat in Clear Waters
Grassroots energy and enthusiasm—plus a willingness to drive many miles to the destination—make Arizona’s Havasu Pocket-Cruiser Convention an annual winter success. "Passage Notes" from our November 2011 issue.
Owners of the largest fleet of mixed-design trailerable pocket cruisers ever assembled voyaged over mountains, reached across broad deserts, and dug their boats out of huge snowdrifts to participate in the 2011 version of the rapidly growing Havasu Pocket-Cruiser Convention.
A total of 139 trailerable boats, from 16 states and Canada and representing 34 past and present manufacturers, enjoyed balmy, mid-February sunshine as their crews partied and sailed under the original, fully restored London Bridge, at Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
Now in its fourth year, this winter rendezvous is a remarkable example of nautical social networking. The event has grown from a few dozen U.S. West Coast Montgomery and West Wight Potter sailors spending a weekend together to an eight-day festival of fun at which everyone’s welcome.
When Sean Mulligan, the originator and driving force behind the event, logged on to the website six months before the rendezvous, he found the message board exploding with activity. Past participants offered a wealth of creative ideas and volunteered to assist him to expand the event, and many sponsors from the marine industry came on board.
The excitement and momentum grew; by November 2010, registration flew past Mulligan’s goal of 100 boats. As the volume of messages increased daily, friendships blossomed among sailors who usually have few marina or yacht-club affiliations. Finally meeting people face-to-face after you’d communicated with them only through the message board generated a unique level of camaraderie and proved to be one of the true highlights of the event.
Better known as a seasonal destination for spring break and a summer spot for bikini babes and powerboaters, Lake Havasu in the off-season is beautiful, rugged, and tranquil.
Crystal waters, crisp air, majestic mountains, and 45 miles of gunkholing shoreline provide a perfect environment for winter-sailing adventure. Among the keys to the event’s success are the specially priced hotel suites, with boat slips, that go for $99 a night and keep crews warm and happy. The 2011 event included daily low-key races, an overnight cruise and barbecue, seminars, evening parties, and the spectacular fleet parade under London Bridge.
Since the rendezvous, the message board stays active as sailors share photos and make plans for the 2012 convention, planned for February 13 to 20. Among them are these three participants who are very active in the pocket-cruiser community.