Chesapeake Escapades

There's no time like summer to ponder new boats and enjoy rendezvous with friends. "Past the Spindle" for our July 23, 2009 CW Reckonings

Lagoon Rendezvous 368

Boat owners enjoy the Lagoon rendezvous.Nicolas Claris

East Coast Lagoon catamaran owners got a jumpstart on summer with a Chesapeake Bay Escapade that started in Annapolis and then wound its way down the bay to St. Michaels, Maryland.

Friday evening's festivities took place along the docks outside Lagoon America's offices. In the morning, the boats headed to St. Michaels, where a classic wooden boat show provided entertainment for the crews.

The Chesapeake Escapade attracted 10 boats and about 35 sailors. A similar event, also held this summer, but in the Vieux Port of Marseilles, France, brought together 14 Lagoons from homeports such as Corsica and Spain.

I jump-started my own summer in fine fiesta-style by flying off to Baja, Mexico, to participate in a Seawind Catamarans rally. We set off from the harbor at Puerto Escondido, wound our way through the islands in the Sea of Cortez's National Marine Park, and ended up back in Puerto Escondido for Loreto Fest. Four boats, three of which were sailed by their owners, all Sea of Cortez cruisers, took part in the rally organized by Seawind importer Kurt Jerman of Seawind USA. Kurt and friends borrowed a customer's boat to round out the fleet.

Each bay we visited surrounded us with remarkable scenery, from steep rock cliffs to desert landscapes. In one anchorage, I jumped in to snorkel amid millions of bait fish, which swarmed around, glimmering in the sun. Then, suddenly, the fish were gone and I found myself staring right into the face of a critter with a remarkable number of teeth. Luckily, he'd eaten his fill and I must have appeared a poor dessert.

Another morning, in Bahia Salinas, on the south end of Isla Carmen, we went ashore to visit the historic buildings that were once a working salt harvesting operation. Rusted machinery littered the flat, arid landscape and a trail led inland to a series of ponds encrusted with rock-hard, snow-white salt. The contrast between the shore and deep blue water in one of the ponds was astounding.

Loretofest is a weekend-long end-of-the-cruising season party that's organized by cruisers. It derives its name from the nearest town, Loreto, located a dozen or so miles north. At Puerto Escondido, about 300 people gathered for the festivities that included seminars, music, and on Saturday night, a spaghetti supper and dance party. Several thousands of dollars were raised at this year's event, with the proceeds going to scholarships for local students.

Did you attend a rendezvous this year? If so, send along details and a photo and I'll try and include them in an upcoming Past the Spindle.

On the new boat front, French multihull builder Outremer will launch a performance-oriented 49-foot catamaran designed by Christophe Barreau. Due to debut in September, the Outremer will feature twin daggerboards, twin tillers and steering seats as well as a wheel, and an interior forward-facing nav station with a 360-degree view. The interior styling is by Frank Darnet.

In the Netherlands, Contest Yachts is currently building a new 57-foot, flush deck cruiser called the 57CS. The designer is Georg Nissen.

The 57CS will have twin wheels and will be fitted out for shorthanded sailing, though the sail plan will include a gennaker or Code Zero that can be flown on a removable bowsprit. The boat's interior will be semi-custom, with several layouts available.