The Puget Sound area, and Port Townsend in particular, is at the epicenter of a global downsizing trend in boats, leading the way with smaller-boat designs, boatbuilding workshops, small-boat publications and events such as this weekend’s third annual Pocket Yacht Palooza, a free showing of more than 60 small boats to be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend.
The Pocket Yacht Palooza is organized by the Port Townsend Pocket Yachters, an informal club of small-boat owners (“no officers, no dues, no bylaws — just fun on the water with small boats”). The event is free to the public, and showcases a wide variety of designs, from camp-cruising sailboats to smaller rowboats, kayaks and some pocket-cruising powerboats.
Boats will be displayed at the Northwest Maritime Center’s First Federal Commons, along the adjoining beach and at the NWMC pier. The address is 431 Water Street, Port Townsend 98368.
On Sunday, participating boat owners will hit the water together to sail, row, paddle and/or power across Port Townsend Bay for a picnic on the beach at Ratt Island.
The worldwide downsizing in boats parallels a similar shrinkage in average house sizes (tiny homes are in), along with trends toward smaller and more fuel-efficient cars. “Small boats just make more sense in today’s economy,” said Palooza organizer Marty Loken. “Families have less time for recreation and increasingly have trouble affording the initial cost, upkeep, moorage, insurance and operating costs involved in larger boats. Besides, small boats are simply more fun, and give the owner a more intimate on-the-water experience … like riding a bike vs. driving a Kenworth.”