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Q&A with Robert Perry

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.


Photo Credit: Tom Larsen

How did you become interested in boats and sailing?
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.

George the drummer arriving for the Perry Rendezvous on his Tayana 37 at Port Ludlow.

Photo Credit: Tom Larsen

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.


Photo Credit: Tom Larsen

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 Click to view our 2016 Rendezvous and Yacht Club schedule.

Written by: Kaitlin Chester

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