The Largest Boat Rendezvous in the World
– Jeff Messmer
When we made plans last fall to bring Kismet out to the Pacific Northwest for a full year, we knew we wanted our itinerary to include Fluid Motion’s (parent company of both Ranger Tugs and Cutwater boats) 2016 Ranger Tugs & Cutwater Boats Factory Rendezvous. This year the event was held at Roche Harbor, Washington the first week in September.
150 Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Boats Attending the
2016 Rendezvous in Roche Harbor, Washington
We’ve now been to three rendezvous in Washington state. Our first was in 2011, when we took possession of our Ranger Tug R27, it was held in Bremerton, WA. The second was in 2013 when we trailered our boat out for the summer season – mainly to join the Desolation Sound Cruise (a group cruise put on by the factory to help new owners get out on the water). The 2013 rendezvous was held in Anacortes, WA. With each event attended, we encountered a growing and cohesive boating community. It’s easy to identify with this friendly bunch of boaters. Working with the knowledgable factory personnel and management is also a delight, something we’ve never experienced before when buying other boats.
If you are a boater and you’ve never attended a major boat show where Fluid Motion sets up a significant display, or been to a marina during one of their yearly factory rendezvous, you are missing out on witnessing a growing phenomenon, especially in the Pacific Northwest. No doubt, the magnitude of this collective fever, to become a part of an active boating community, will spread throughout the country in good time.
Looking back on our time in the Ranger Tugs community the last five years, we are most grateful for the many tug owners we have met all over the country. It’s a mobile group because of the ability to trailer several of the Ranger Tugs and Cutwater models for use as RVs while on the road between cruising destinations. We met up with several tugs who hail from across country during our time in the Pacific Northwest this summer. In turn, while cruising Eastern United States waterways, we often see boats trailered across country from the west coast. The community spirit is heightened and strengthened by smaller owner directed rendezvous all over the country.
Benefits of Attending a Rendezvous
A rendezvous is a valuable opportunity for owners to add a social component to their boating activities. This is a great opportunity to hook up with other boaters with similar interests in boating or lifestyle. If you like to “buddy boat,” this is the place to hook up with other Ranger Tug or Cutwater owners. Owners also benefit from learning from others. This would include an exchange of information about boat mechanics, add-ons, decor, accessories and cruising destination experience and knowledge.
Probably the most valuable thing an owner will find at a Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Boats Rendezvous is something quite rare in the boat building industry today – quick access to the factory personnel, their wealth of information and expertise. Because almost all factory personnel are in attendance – sales, factory and support staff – you can sign up for time with a factory employee to troubleshoot a problem on your boat or talk with a sales rep about new models.
In addition, many companies, whose components are a part of the makeup of these boats, are in attendance as well (many are sponsors of the event). Some arrive with service personnel to help with questions or problems. Volvo Penta put on two seminars reviewing engine maintenance – it drew large crowds. Right after signing into the rendezvous, Jim went straight to the Garmin table to add his name to their sign-up sheet, he wanted to get an chip update on our chart plotter. Mission accomplished!
Refreshing to See a Company Own a Passion Toward Excellence!
We’ve said this before and we say it again – this growing collective of owners is not by chance or even owner driven. Fluid Motion’s philosophy about doing things right – with quality along with concerted efforts to help customers get the most out of their new boats on the water – is admiral to say the least. Word of this phenomenon has spread fast throughout the boating community. This conviction and passion toward excellence starts at the top with the father and son owners, Dave and John Livingston and continues with outstanding direction from Vice President, Jeff Messmer. The philosophy trickles down to every last employee, a team effort towards the same goal. We’ve never seen anything like it.
Lenny and Louise, on Then Again (above), hail from Portland, Oregon. We have been trying to meet them since we were docked in Portland on Hayden Island last fall and then again last March while we visited Portland to await the arrival of our new granddaughter. It never seemed to work out, but we were glad to finally meet them at the rendezvous.
We met Linda and Tom, on Life Savor, at the beginning of the summer at the Poet’s Cove Cruise event. It’s great fun to meet up again with other Ranger Tug owners, especially when you find a kindred spirit.
A few of our friends (above) who trailered tugs from the east coast are Mike and Jess, on Illusions, and Dave and Ginny, on Tiny Town.
We met Robby and Meg, on Wet Wiggler, during our 2013 stay at Salpare Marina in Portland, Oregon. We sat on Kismet and talked with Robby about his plans and concerns about ordering a Ranger Tug. When we returned to Portland earlier this year, we were able to see their new boat rigged for running. They will be trailering all over the country. Robby and Meg will be showing the rest of us how to fully enjoy our boats as they enjoy an enviable mobile lifestyle on their new Ranger Tugs R27.
We met Rick and Nancy, on Andiamo (above-left) during the Desolation Sound Cruise in Gorge, BC. They will soon embark on the Great Loop boat trip by trailering their boat to the river system this fall. Fred, on Alice J (above-right) trailered his boat from Florida and has done some extensive cruising on his way out and in the Pacific Northwest this summer. Our dock neighbors at the event, Carol and Gail, on Chesapeake (below) hail from Arizona.
Jim joined Ron to compete in the Corn Hole Tournament. They gave it a good go up until the third round. They had fun anyways.
The theme of the rendezvous this year was western. Some owners got very creative with their costumes and boat decor.
Can you see Kismet (above)?
The second night’s Margarita Happy Hour, sponsored by Global Marine Insurance and Elliott Bay Brewery was a fun event following a tradition started by Bob and Nita, on Nellie Too, many years ago. Happy hour was followed by dinner under the tents on the seaside lawn, sponsored by Garmin.
Friends, Libby and Ron, on Tug O’ My Heart are enjoying their new Ranger Tugs R25 and will be trailering their boat east this fall to start their Great Loop adventure.
Factory staff and owners took full advantage of an opportunity to dance with the live band, compliments of Pacific Power Group, after dinner.
We ran into friends Ron and Libby, on Tug O’ My Heart, during our walk to the Sculpture Park. It was a good walk on a beautiful day, we had some fun with this mirror sculpture in the park. We had a heck of a time getting ourselves in the shot while taking the photo.
No, the docks were not this crowded during the event. On the last night of the rendezvous, we all gathered at the dock ramp for a group photo and drone video.
A few years ago, several women Ranger Tug owners started a Facebook page, Ranger Tugettes. Some of those in attendance at the rendezvous posed for this group shot. We currently have over sixty Tugettes hailing from all over the United States and Canada.
We met Ted and Donna, on Peregrino (above), when we got to Roche Harbor.
Volvo Penta sponsored the dinner on the last night of the rendezvous. Everyone dressed up in their western gear to have a good time.
Robby and Meg again (above). We met Sue and Dena (below), on Meander during the Poet’s Cove Cruise, in June.
Louise and Lenny again (above). We met Sue, on Spinner (below-left), at the Poet’s Cove Cruise also.
A few of the outstanding factory staff and families (above and below) Kenny and Tegan (above-right), Andrew (below-left) and Ivan and family (below-right).