10th Annual Northwest Cruiser’s Rendezvous features sailboats, pirates, music and more

The Schooner Adventuress owned by Sound Experience

The Schooner Adventuress owned by Sound Experience

Bikers and sailors have a lot in common, that is according to Lisa O’Brian.

“Bikers get the freedom of the road,” O’Brian said. “And sailors get the freedom of the sea, you can go anywhere you want to.”

This comparison comes up as O’Brian describes Bob Bitchin, publisher of Latitudes and Attitudes, a sailing and cruising magazine and the creator of Biker Lifestyle Magazine and Tattoo Magazine.

You can meet Bob Bitchin along with other characters and activities at the Latitudes and Attitudes’ 10th Annual Northwest Cruiser’s Rendezvous, this weekend at the Port of Friday Harbor.

There probably won’t be many bikers at this pirate-theme event, but there will be plenty of sailboats, a costume contest, food, a belly dancing competition, Northwest Maritime Film Festival movies with popcorn and more.

It all started ten years ago with a small party on Sucia Island with a gathering of just 30 people who were Lattitudes and Attitudes readers.

The event is still put on by those fans, which includes a sailing group known as Brethren of the Sound.

Last year, the rendezvous hosted  more than 200 boats and 1,800 people at Anacortes Marina.

The event is sponsored in part by the San Juan Island Chamber of Commerce and sanjuanislandsTV.com, owned by O’Brian and her husband, Darren, who recently moved from San Juan to Port Townsend.

“If it wasn’t for the chamber I don’t know if we would have been able to keep the event on San Juan Island,” said O’Brian, who started planning for this event in January.

When the first venue she reserved notified her that they were double-booked that weekend, O’Brian struggled to find another option for hosting more than 100 boats.

That’s when the Port of Friday Harbor stepped in.  O’Brian also got the green light for events, like the Pirate Party with tropical rock by Eric Stone, to be held in Sunken park.

“It will be one of the most unique settings we’ve ever had,” said O’Brian, noting that the party is usually held indoors.

Part of the event’s proceeds will go to Sound Experience, a nonprofit Puget Sound-based environmental and youth leadership organization.

More than 3,000 young people and adults board the Schooner Adventuress each year to learn about the ecology of the waters and how to be safe and experienced sailors.

You can tour the Adventuress on Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

O’Brian said some of the other highlights of the rendezvous is the Blindfold Dinghy Race and the chance to see sailors in pirate costumes.

“People make new friends every year,” O’Brian said.  “We invite and cherish locals who come and dress up, see the boats and the community. It’s about celebrating sailing and the friendship and fellowship found over the years.

After the festivities, O’Brian with the Brethren of the Sound will get together to start planning next year’s event and location.