7th North American West Coast Fleming Rendezvous
By Ron Ferguson, October 8, 2011
The Fleming Fleet Review along the Seattle waterfront at the close of the 7th North American West Coast Fleming Rendezvous. Photo by c-images. CLICK ON ANY PHOTO TO ENLARGE.

The next best thing to cruising our Fleming yachts is a rendezvous that brings together many Fleming owners to share experiences, receive lots of valuable technical information, and most of all, have a good time. The recent Fleming Fling at Seattle's Elliot Bay Marina was just such an event.

Many of the photos in this article were shot by me, and I don't claim to be a professional photographer. Those with a photo credit of c-images, though, we shot by a professional photographer who was hired for the weekend - Mike Penney - and he's made his photos available for view on Flickr. Go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikepenney/sets/. There are hundreds of photos divided into these categories...Flemings from the Air....Fleming parade from the marina breakwater, and from each of the events of the weekend. As you can see from the opening photo above, Mike took some amazing photos!

Friday, September 30, 2011

An elegant invitation package was put together by Chuck Hovey Yacht Sales.

Brian Hovey, of Chuck Hovey Yacht Sales, was our official host for the Fleming Fling. Brian is based at the company headquarters in Newport Beach, CA, but we often see him in Seattle at their office on Lake Union and also at boat shows around the country and along the West Coast.

What a great weekend! Chuck Hovey Yacht Sales, with the support of many, many sponsors, hosted the 7th North American West Coast Fleming Fling at Seattle’s Elliot Bay Marina on the weekend of October 1st, 2011.

The marina’s entire guest dock was reserved for Fleming Fling Participants, and throughout the opening day on Friday, at least a dozen Fleming 55s and 65s arrived. The dock was full of Fleming owners meeting and greeting other Fleming owners – some they hadn’t seen for a long time, plus many who’ve never met before. For me as the Fleming Owner’s Forum web site administrator, I was really pleased to meet up with owners that I’ve known about, but haven’t had the opportunity to welcome as new members.

The guest dock at Seattle's Elliot Bay Marina, as seen from the breakwater on shore.
The guest dock was indeed full as Fleming 55s and 65s arrived for the Fleming Fling. Here, Holly Muser of Delta Marine is giving FLYING COLOURS a last-minute scrub before the big weekend.
A Fleming Fling wouldn’t be complete without Tony Fleming and VENTURE, his original Fleming 65 (65-001), now permanently moored at Delta Marine in Sidney, B.C. VENTURE was delivered to the Fling by Brian Coverely, and throughout the weekend provided an elegant and comfortable place to stay for Tony and Nicky Fleming.
Fleming 55-188, originally commissioned as SONNY BOY and now renamed JERSEY GIRL, is owned by Dennis and Nan Pennell (seated on cap rail and at left), with their friends, Tom and Anita Nute. This Fleming is actually based in Nanaimo, B.C., but its home port is Ventnor, New Jersey to go with the name.
SHENANDOAH is one of the newest Fleming 65’s on the block – owned by Kemper Freeman and home ported in Anacortes, WA. Kemper recently took delivery of Corvette 340 #5, the new “World’s Biggest Little Yacht” that’s also produced at the same Tung Hwa facility in Kaohsiung, Taiwan as the Fleming (read more about it at www.corvettemarine.com).
After cruising in British Columbia waters with them most of the summer, it was good to again meet up on the guest dock with Steve Clark and Shirley Stolz of the COUVERDEN (55-087). The COUVERDEN is home ported in Port Angeles, WA, and while Steve and Shirley live on Maui (HI), they return to the mainland each summer to cruise for several months on the Inside Passage.
Tony and Nicky Fleming were popular guests at the Fling. Here they are greeted on arrival at the dock by (left to right) Mike Brown of JOURNEY, Nicky, Tony, Pam and Mick Bacich of MOLA MOLA.

By Saturday morning, a total of 17 participating boats had arrived at the marina, including the Corvette 340, FIRST LIGHT, recently delivered to Kemper Freeman of Bellevue, WA. In all, we had Fleming owners from 27 boats attending. This is pretty amazing, considering that the West Coast of North America doesn’t have an ICW like the East Coast. With a wild and rambunctious Pacific Ocean pounding our shores, and 22’ swells (at 15 second intervals) reported by the U.S. Coast Guard just five days before the start of the Fleming Fling, you can see why it’s very difficult to get the entire Fleming fleet from north to south together. Nevertheless, we had a great turnout, and everyone had a grand time.

MOLA MOLA (55-065) and JOURNEY (65-015) arrived on their way south from an entire summer’s cruise to SE Alaska, with plans to head down the coast of Washington, Oregon, and California as soon as the Fling is over. JOURNEY is home ported in San Francisco and MOLA MOLA in Newport Beach, CA, although they’ve spent the past several years cruising in the Pacific Northwest.

The seat cushion-sized container was thrown into the water, and within just a few amazing seconds the water-activated sensor triggered the CO2 capsule to inflate the 4-person platform. This gizmo isn’t cheap – it lists US$999 plus an additional $99 for the inflatable pylon – but it looks to be worth it for the peace of mind in a man overboard situation.
Next, the Switlik SAR-6H-TSD-MKII was demonstrated by Ed Vienkowski with an inflation of the emergency raft on the lawn. Mike Brown, who has this unit on JOURNEY (65-015) pulled the inflation cord to get an idea of the amount of pull required.

The weekend began with a welcome reception and cocktail hour on Friday night at the Seattle Yacht Club station at the marina, giving everyone a chance to talk with old Fleming friends and meet new ones. The evening was hosted by Switlik, with an open bar and buffet catered by Seattle’s famous Ray’s Boathouse Restaurant. After initial hors d’oeuvres and a glass of wine, we were treated to a waterside demonstration of the new (and very exciting) Switlik MOM 600 throwable rescue platform that folds up to the size of a seat cushion (you can see more about this at www.switlik.com/marine/mom600), plus a lawn demonstration of a 6-person rescue pod. Throughout the evening we were entertained by the cool sounds of Seattle’s own Roosevelt High School Jazz Band (this amazing band regularly competes in - and frequently wins - the invitational Essentially Ellington competition held annually at the Lincoln Center in New York City).

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mike Radding (center in white shirt), the technical service manager for Chuck Hovey Yacht Sales, started the morning off by introducing the sales and support team for the West Coast. From left to right is Peter Schaefer (Chuck Hovey, Seattle), Brian Hovey, Brian Coverley (of Delta Marine, Sidney, B.C.), Jeff Sanson (of Pacific Yacht Management, Seattle), Mike Radding, Mike Johnson (Anacortes), Martha Comfort (Chuck Hovey,Seattle), and Jon Allsop, and Randy Crowley (Chuck Hovey, Seattle; Randy is behind Jon).
Eric Folkestad of ABT TRAC was our first presenter, with lots of information about stabilizers for our Flemings.

Saturday morning began with a continental breakfast at the SYC outstation. At 9AM we sat down to an extremely informative morning of technical presentations. First up was Eric Folkestad from ABT TRAC, manufacturer of the TRAC marine stabilizers that are standard equipment on all Fleming models.

Klaus Schwientek, of RDI Marine MAN in Seattle gave an extremely informative discussion about the diesel main engines in our Flemings.

Next up was Klaus Schwienteck of RDI Marine MAN from Seattle. MAN diesel engines are now standard in the Fleming 65, and optional for the new Fleming 58. But Klaus wasn’t there just to talk about MAN engines – which, incidentally, were originally designed by Rudolf Diesel, the inventor who’s name was given to the engine he created – but rather, to give us lots of really good advice on how to best run and maintain our marine engines. One significant piece of advice from Klaus is that all diesel marine engines, regardless of make and including the new common rail electronic engines, should be periodically run at high RPM, bringing the engine temperature to its rated high point. Also, Klaus recommends, for both mechanical and common rail electronic engines, to bring the engines up to 2,200-2,300 RPM (varies, depending on make and model), to ensure that the engine is capable of reaching maximum operating RPM.

Joe Cable of Mariners General Insurance Group presenting on marine insurance for our Fleming Yachts.

Following Klaus was Joe Cable of Mariners General Insurance Group. You might ask, “What could possibly be interesting about listening to a marine insurance presentation?” Well, Joe kept us all on the edge of our seats by illustrating several serious gotcha’s to watch for when insuring your Fleming yacht – pointing out shortcomings in various marine policies (identified as Policy A, B, C, and D to protect the guilty).

The last of our technical presenters, Jana and Peter Stolper of Seatorque Control Systems (Stuart, FL).

Next, Jana and Peter Stolper of Seatorque Systems outlined the new Bold On Shaft System (BOSS) that was recently introduced on Fleming models – standard on 65s and 75s, and optional on 55s. This is a very intriguing driveshaft system that replaces the AquaDrive systems that many of us now have. According to their information, “the BOSS is a totally enclosed, oil filled, self- contained, shaft and thrust bearing assembly, supplied as a complete unit from transmission output coupling to propeller end.”

The morning’s pièce de résistance was the showing of Tony Fleming’s latest video – The Cruise Aboard VENTURE to Haida Gwai, the First Nation’s name for the Queen Charlotte Islands located north of Vancouver Island on the central British Columbia coast. I hate to admit it, but this was the first of Tony’s videos that I’ve seen – and wow! – I was blown away by it. The cinematography is truly professional, and Tony’s narration is superb. The full written story of Tony’s Summer 2011 cruise can be found on the Fleming Yachts web site, at http://www.flemingyachts.com/venture4/entry2.html, along with dozens of wonderful photos. Incidentally, the venerable VENTURE (65-001) has now completed 23,000 miles of cruising, and is permanently based at Delta Marine in Sidney. When Tony isn’t aboard, VENTURE is available for charter.

A surprise gift in each Fleming Fling’s duffel bag was from Jeff Robinson, owner of Totally Chocolate (www.totallychocolate.com) and owner of DAYBREAK (Fleming 55-197) – a box of Belgian chocolate pieces, containing a large centerpiece with an engraved image of a Fleming yacht, and each of the small outside pieces identifying Fleming Yachts, Chuck Hovey Yacht Sales, and all of the Fleming Yacht models.

The afternoon was devoted to Open Boats, providing an opportunity to visit the Flemings or the new Corvette 340 on the dock. It was a great way to find out how other Flemings are outfitted, the latest in the newer Flemings, or catching up on summer cruising stories.

Saturday evening was dubbed the Seatorque Soiree in honor of our sponsor for the elegant dinner at the Alani Room of the marina’s Palisades Restaurant. The evening began with a cocktail hour, followed by a sit-down dinner. The dinner choices were excellent – either Fresh Grilled Halibut, Peppercorn-encrusted Beef Tenderloin, or Macadamia Nut Chicken with Banana Papaya Chutney – and if my choice was any indication, they were all wonderful. After dinner entertainment was provided by jazz pianist, Walt Wagner, and the evening ended with a selection of cruising stories.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

There was a lot of milling around as we formed up for the Fleming Fleet Review on Elliot Bay. SHENANDOAH (65-026) is in the foreground, JOURNEY (65-015) in the right background, and SERENITY (55-033) at left background.
FIRST LIGHT, the Corvette 340, was the lead boat for the Fleming Fleet Review around Elliot Bay.
With everyone in position, the Fleming Fleet begins the review, with the first leg across Elliot Bay to the Duwamish Head.
SERENITY, with owner Scott Johnson at the wheel and Seattle’s distinctive skyline in the background.
VENTURE and JOURNEY as they turn towards the Seattle waterfront.
FLYING COLOURS, MOLA MOLA, ENDGAME, and FANTASIA line up on the right flank, as the cruise speed picks up to 9 knots for our rendezvous with the photo helicopter. Photo by Tony Fleming.

The closing day, Sunday, began with a brunch buffet at the Magnolia Room of Palisades Restaurant, hosted by MMI Marine (specializing in marine equipment, the company supplies many of the off-the-shelf products that are on our Flemings – they are located in Newport Beach (CA) and Kaohsiung (Taiwan)). The brunch was followed by a Skipper’s Briefing for the afternoon Fleming Fleet Review.

At 1PM sharp, a dozen Flemings on the guest dock slipped their lines, departed the marina, and passed individually by the photographer’s platform on the outside of the marina’s breakwater for a close-up photo by the Fling’s professional photographer. Martha Comfort was on the platform, and she provided us with pre-photo reminders – remove stray deck gear, burgees/flags in place, and don’t look over at the photographer!

From there, we gathered in our pre-arranged formation sequence for a grand parade across Seattle’s Elliot Bay. Our lead boat was FIRST LIGHT, the Corvette 340 driven by Mike Radding, with Randy Cowley handling formation communications. Behind the Corvette were the two 65s in side-by-side formation – JOURNEY and SHENANDOAH – with Tony and Brian Coverely alone behind them and in the middle in VENTURE. Behind the 65 were eight 55s, also in side-by-side formation, SERENITY and FLYING COLOURS in the first row, LADY LAURA and MOLA MOLA in the second row, MARTA ANN and M&M in the third row, and ENDGAME and FANTASIA in the fourth row. We maintained a comfortable formation distance of two boat lengths fore and aft, and one boat length side-to-side.

After we formed up, we headed due west across Elliot B to the Duwamish Head – at exactly 6 knots cruising speed, dodging Washington State super ferries along the way. We then turned south towards the Seattle waterfront, and of course, an Argosy harbor cruise ship came steaming towards us, so it too had to be avoided.

As we neared the waterfront, we received VHF confirmation that the photo helicopter departed Boeing Field after a bit of a traffic delay due to airport construction. We held up in formation along the waterfront, then with a radio signal Randy Cowley on the Corvette 340 leading the formation, we were instructed to speed up to 9 knots and make a coordinated turn to a heading of 285°, pointing directly towards the Elliot Bay Marina.

The original plan for this route was to have the Fleming Fleet formation with a backdrop of the Seattle downtown waterfront behind us, with Mt Rainier towering in the background. The mountain would make a wonderful backdrop, but it’s an iffy proposition at this time of year, as we’re starting into the overcast, rainy season that Seattle is famous for. And that’s what happened – the sky was partly overcast, with varying areas of blue sky and sun, but Mt. Rainier was completely encased in cloud.

Nevertheless, as we made the turn, the helicopter showed up, hovering about ¼ mile away and at several hundred feet altitude began taking their photographs. I hope to add some of these photos as soon as we receive them, but for now, we’ll have to made do with the water-level photos.

Back at Elliot Bay Marina, every Fleming again paraded individually past the photographer’s platform on the breakwater for a second close-up photo. We then turned Flying Colours into the marina, and several of the boats peeled off and began their trek home.

In the evening, former Fleming 55 owners, Ed and Margaret (Peggy) Strickland, invited everyone from the Fling to a cocktail hour at their houseboat on Lake Union. Situated on the east side of Lake Union, directly across from the famous Sleepless In Seattle houseboat, their elegant houseboat offered a wonderful venue to wind down from the weekend’s activities.

In the evening, former Fleming 55 owners, Ed and Margaret (Peggy) Strickland, invited everyone from the Fling to a cocktail hour at their houseboat on Lake Union. Situated on the east side of Lake Union, directly across from the famous Sleepless In Seattle houseboat, their elegant houseboat offered a wonderful venue to wind down from the weekend’s activities.

Special thanks go to Martha Comfort, Office Manager and lead broker for Chuck Hovey Yacht Sales in Seattle, for organizing this 7th North American West Coast Fleming Fling. Martha put in a tremendous effort to make this a most enjoyable rendezvous of Fleming owners on the West Coast.

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