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 know today. As far as we can tell, the Puget Sound Chris-Craft Rendezvous 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 about forty Chris-Crafts of all ages, styles, sizes and models. 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 maintain them.

Over time, 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 when 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 who are just beginning a restoration, as our most coveted award is for “Most Improved” ….and you can’t win that if you don’t bring your boat until it is “finished”.

In addition to the festive gathering of boats and crews, the Rendezvous has developed a number of activities over the years, including seminars, a swap meet, children’s activities, a raffle, shared meals, a live auction, and the thrilling “Dinghy Dash” small boat race.

Famed Chris-Craft historian Jerry Conrad, author of Chris-Craft: The Essential Guide, has visited the Rendezvous twice, as has Chris Smith, the engaging and delightful grandson of Chris-Craft founder Christopher Columbus Smith.  In 2014, the Rendezvous was honored with the presence of retired Chris-Craft executive Herb Pocklington, who regaled attendees with many inside stories of the Chris-Craft Corporation, which is known around the world as the greatest boat-building company in history.

The beloved founders of the Rendezvous, Milo and Monnie Moen, retired as chairs of the event in 1998, and were succeeded by Jerry and Jackie Rudd. Hundreds of Rendezvous participants over those early years were greatly blessed by the leadership, wisdom, patience and good humor of those 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 saw the event through to the 20th Rendezvous in 2009 and passed the chairman’s torch to long time committee member Mike Monda.  Under Mike’s inspired leadership, the Chris Craft Rendezvous has continued to evolve and grow, providing a summer centerpiece on the calendars of hundreds of people who love these special boats.  Mike is proud to play a part in an event that fosters great relationships, and where people can get together to share stories about these wonderful examples of floating history.

Jim Paynton

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