Visitors to the Poulsbo Marina in July of 1981 were intrigued by a small raft-up of classic wooden Chris-Crafts anchored in front of the waterfront park. Five member vessels of the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club were holding the first ever Puget Sound Chris-Craft gathering. As the lovely old boats posed for photos, no one present would have ever dreamed that an immense Pacific Northwest Chris-Craft Rendezvous would one day be born, and would grow into the great event we now know. As far as we can tell, this is the largest gathering of Chris-Crafts in the world.
When Milo and Monnie Moen of Classic Yachts brokerage in Des Moines, Washington, began publicizing the first official Rendezvous in the winter of 1989, they utilized their prime location at the Seattle Boat Show to register interested Chris-Craft owners. That summer, the first Rendezvous took place at the expansive Port Orchard Marina, attracting somewhere around 50 Chris-Crafts of all ages, styles, sizes, models and conditions. The formula for the popular event has stayed the same over the years: a broad welcome for boats of any condition, plenty of family fun, great activities for the participants and a warm reception from the lovely people of Port Orchard. That formula is reinforced by an honest belief that every Chris-Craft is special, as are the owners who meticulously maintain them.
Over the years the Rendezvous has attracted a great number of the active Northwest Chris-Craft cruisers and runabouts to Port Orchard. The largest gatherings occurred in the early ‘90s where the attendance was over 100 for several years with a record-setting 137 boats in 1996. Over the last ten years our attendance has averaged about 80 boats including several from Canada every year. We continue to be attended by boats that are fully restored as well as those who are just starting the process all over again. We are very supportive of those owners just beginning a restoration as our most coveted award is for “Most Improved” and you can’t win that if you didn’t bring your boat until you were “finished”. Famed Chris-Craft historians Jerry Conrad and Chris Smith have brought their expertise and knowledge to several of the events echoing that feeling and giving people additional encouragement.
The Rendezvous founders, Milo and Monnie Moen, retired from the chairmanship of the event in 1998, and were succeeded by Jerry and Jackie Rudd. Hundreds of Rendezvous participants over the years have been greatly blessed by the leadership, wisdom, patience and good humor of these four wonderful people. With the 2005 event, the chairmanship passed to John Deane, who dedicated his efforts to retaining the special family appeal of the Pacific Northwest Chris-Craft Rendezvous. John continued the tradition of making everyone feel welcome at the event. Quelling the nerves of a new attendee who felt their boat might not be up to the standards of the Rendezvous, John informed him that we prefer the boot strip be above the water line, but it was not a strict requirement. John saw the event through the 20th Rendezvous in 2009 and passed the chairman’s torch to Mike Monda who had stepped out to use the restroom. Mike is excited about the opportunity and loves being involved in an event that fosters such great relationships and where people can get together to share stories about these wonderful pieces of history.