Dale Tangeman stood atop his 66-year-old Chris-Craft sedan moored at the Port Orchard Marina. Wiping down part of the 36-foot boat’s mahogany stern, he apologized for a non-existent mess.
“It’s in decent condition,” he said. “But it’s certainly not prime.”
To the average visitor strolling the marina during the 23rd Annual Chris-Craft Rendezvous last week, Tangeman’s classic Chris-Craft, and the more than 80 visiting boats moored in the marina’s guest dock, looked far better than prime.
Ranging from 16 feet to nearly 100 feet, the classic style Chris-Craft boats spent the weekend being admired by visitors who took in the sleek lines, classic mahogany and antique helms.
The gathering of Chris-Craft boats at the marina drew comparisons of a mid-century yacht party. And Tangeman, with his white wiping towel and bowl of nectarines for visitors who stopped to admire his boat, drew comparisons of a mid-century yacht owner.
“Chris-Craft boats are Chris-Craft boats,” he said, explaining the draw of his 1946 Cruiser. “It’s in the wood. When you pull up somewhere, they notice these boats.”
Always a boat owner, Tangeman bought his Chris-Craft four years ago. He and his partner, Karen Chikuami, have spent the past four years making repairs to their boat, named the Summer of ‘46. The couple first came to the annual Port Orchard Rendezvous three years ago and were impressed with the community feel.
“There are wonderful people here,” Tangeman said. “Nobody shuns you.”
Brian Sauer, the Port Orchard Marina Operations Manager, said he sees the same faces at the Rendezvous year after year.
As the largest Chris-Craft gathering in the Pacific Northwest, the Rendezvous only skipped Port Orchard once, in 1997, due to a space problem.
With the number of visiting Chris-Craft reaching as high as 137 a few years ago, Sauer said a turnout somewhere of 80 or so is what he has come to expect.
Boaters at the four-day Rendezvous put on a barbecue, nightly dances and an awards banquet for Chris-Craft club members. Saur said the Rendezvous served both the boat owners, and the local residents and merchants, many of whom see a boost in sales during the time the boats are docked in the Marina.
“People come to the area to see the boats,” Sauer explained. “Places like the Cedar Cove Inn are booked up.”
Brent Johnson, the owner of the 46-foot “Destiny” 1956 Chris-Craft, said he liked the area so much that he now moors his boat in Port Orchard year-round. Living in Marysville, he drives to Port Orchard nearly every weekend to spend time afloat in his mahogany palace.
“We love the area,” he said. “We spend weekends on the boat.”
Tangeman and Chikuami said they also enjoy Port Orchard and its relaxed feeling. He doesn’t think the club has thought about switching locations, and believes holding the Rendezvous in Port Orchard is a tradition.
Chikuami said she likes the Rendezvous most for the ability to look at the other Chris-Craft boats and see what work they do on their boat to make them special. That way, work on their boat can continue, and they can come to future Chris-Craft Rendezvous looking even sharper.
“We come here looking for new ideas,” she said. “We look for styles we like.”