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by Kim Apel - Los Angeles, California - USA

The sixth annual Havasu Pocket Cruisers’ Convention (HPCC) was held February 10-17 on Lake Havasu, a reservoir of the Colorado River, between California and Arizona (  From modest beginnings, this year (2013) it attracted 227 boats and 439 registered attendees from 24 states, two Canadian provinces, and beyond.  It’s probably the biggest sailing event you never heard of.  If there’s a larger sailing event this side of the Brest-Douarnenez festival in France, I don’t know about it.  I’m a three-time attendee, and an enthusiastic supporter.


HPCC has a lot going for it, but admittedly, it neither quite lines up with the special socio-cultural vibe of the Duckworks/Messabout/Texas 200 crowd, nor with my usual friends in the Southern California Small Boat Messabout Society, known as ScFuzbums.  Once a year, we Scuzbums make an exception and sail with a different crowd, in a nicer neighborhood.  The HPCC bunch mostly likes well-equipped fiberglass trailer-sailers, nice hotels and restaurants, spotless cockpits and well maintained docks.  The Scuzbums, like others in the Messabout  Galaxy, are accustomed to beach camping, homemade boats, improvised gear, muddy bilges, soggy shoes and . . . well, you know what I mean.  A delegation of nine Scuzbums and five boats came to HPCC, ready to mix with the “beautiful people,” and experience a slice of the good life, sure to return to the Messabout Galaxy, as soon as the money ran out.  I hope you can tell that I’m just making a little a little fun of the Scuzbums.  The HPCC bunch are as un-yacht-club-ish as any bunch of sailors could be, and great companions for a festival of affordable sailing. 

Apart from the Scuzbums, there were a few other exceptions to the armada of mass-production fiberglass: two Welsford-designed Scamps, a Paradox on dry display, and a Sherpa dinghy.  There were also some atypical fiberglass boats that messabouters might know and appreciate: a Sea Pearl, a Dovekie, and a British import called a Bayraider.  We Scuzbums brought a few San Francisco Pelicans, a gaff-rigged Montgomery 12 footer, and one-of-a-kind camp cruiser designed and built by the late pioneer of stitch-and-glue boatbuilding, Joe Dobler.  I recently named this boat Joe Cool, jointly in his honor and for the Charles Schultz comic character).  A good time was had by all.  There’s sure to be another HPCC in February, 2014.  Plan ahead.

John's dinghy with custom gaff rig
Two new Welsford Scamps came from Colorado.
Winter? We don't need no steenking winter! Just another beautiful Lake Havasu morning
Bayraider from Swallow Boats in the UK; gorgeous and pricey
Beach at . . . No docks at the alternate hotel; we preferred it that way.
Roger's Pelican in a dying breeze after the Big Race
Scamp build #24 of this popular Welsford design
Scuzbum Bill – the smile says it all
My almost 60 year old Dobler-designed and built JOE COOL
Matt Leyden-designed Paradox, still under construction


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