Every year at the Port Ludlow Marina we are lucky to host The Perry Design Rendezvous featuring Robert (Bob) Perry’s boat designs. 45-50 boats come out for the rendezvous and it is a great chance for sailors to see other Perry designs. Perry has 47 years of professional yacht design experience in addition to 54 years of involvement in yacht design. Recently, I had the pleasure of conducting a Q&A with Bob Perry.
How did you become interested in boats and sailing?
Perry: As a kid, it just came on me. 8th or 9th grade I had to give a talk and use visual aids. For some odd reason I chose to give my talk on sailing and I have no idea why. So I got a bunch of books from the library and started reading about sailing. The spark was lit and I slowly developed a more and more intense interest in sailing. It’s just a part of us that can only be satisfied by sailing.
How did that passion for boats and sailing transform into designing boats?
Perry: High school mechanical drawing classes bridged the two. I got kicked out of band for bad behavior and the only class they could put me in was mechanical drawing. Within two weeks I owned the class and I became passionate about mechanical drawing. My teacher who was very nourishing, a big, gruff guy, he knew how to nurture. He helped me buy mechanical drawing equipment to draw at home. Well what am I going to draw? At school I drew the assignment, at home I drew boats.
I worked at a meat market after school. I was walking home and walked by a drug store with a magazine rack and I saw a boating magazine. There was a sail boat on the cover and I looked at the boat and at that point in my life I thought that was the most beautiful man-made thing I had ever seen. I began drawing and collecting magazines. I was fortunate that my high school geometry teacher was a sailor and he suggested I visit a local yacht designer in Seattle and join the yacht club. He showed me the doors and pointed the way. I attacked it with the kind vigor a 16-year-old has.
Where is your favorite place to sail?
Perry: British Virgin Islands. The water is warm for swimming, the wind blows, the ratio of sailboats to power boats is skewed in favor of sailboats. It’s a sailor’s paradise. Good food and music.
What advice would you give to a 16 year old kid who is interested in sailing and design the way you were?
Perry: Sail a lot. Study a lot. Stay focused on the goal. I did it, you can do it.
Q: How did the Perry Design Rendezvous begin? Why Port Ludlow?
Perry: It was my idea years ago. We had about a dozen boats and we did it for about 5 years and it stopped for a while. About 20 years ago the rendezvous began again and Port Ludlow was chosen as the destination. It was convenient. Everybody liked it. It just seemed like the perfect – kids, dogs, picnic grounds, the staff always bent over backwards to make us welcome. I just loved it. I love the feel there. So it has carried.
What is your favorite aspect of the rendezvous?
Perry: I’m not going to pretend it’s not a huge ego stroke. There is a lot of humility involved when I see people enjoying in my boats. It’s a party. I like the boats lined up on the docks and check out each other’s boats.
The Perry Rendezvous will be at the Marina for the weekend of August 19th and in the words of Mr. Perry, “it’s a party,” – so stop by the Marina that weekend to see some of the beautiful Perry design sailboats.
Interested in hosting a Yacht Club Cruise or Rendezvous? Contact Kori Ward, Marina Director, at 360.437.0513 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Click to view our 2016 Rendezvous and Yacht Club schedule.
Written by: Kaitlin Chester