Thursday, June 18, 2009

Anatomy of a CBGT (C-Brat Get Together)

Camaraderie ~ Goodwill and lighthearted rapport between or among friends; comradeship.

This past weekend we had a CBGT at Langley Boat Harbor on Whidbey Island. We had maybe a dozen C-Dory boats, including 16, 19, 22 and 25 foot C-Dory Cruisers and Anglers and one 25 foot C-Dory Tomcat 255. Some came down from Bellingham or Anacortes, others up from Everett, one from Sequim and another from as far south as Gig Harbor.

People started arriving Friday night, and some more arrived Saturday morning. Saturday afternoon, Patty and I went with Steve and Cindy (new C-Brat friends) to a DNR beach and gathered mussels. We had a wonderful potluck on the dock Saturday night, featuring the mussels steamed in wine with garlic, onions and tomatoes, and lots of other great stuff. Ample quantities of beer and wine flowed! Wonderful desserts appeared. Great conversation, comparing notes on our boats, trips past and future, and all kinds of chatter and laughter. Sunday morning, we went to the Braeburn restaurant in Langley for breakfast. After breakfast, folks hugged, said their goodbyes, and motored back on to wherever they came from. Just another fabulous CBGT on the books! The whole photo album is here.

C-Dory Banner at Langley 6-13-09.jpg

C-Dorys at Langley Boat Harbor 3.jpg

People see a pod of C-Dorys gathered at a place like Langley, and the group obviously having a great time. They see our C-Brats banner, and assume we are a club. But C-Brats is not really a "club"! There are no dues, no membership cards, no meetings, except CBGTs and the grand CBC/SBS (Seattle Boat Show / C-Brat Convention). We don't have an "Events Committee" that schedules these wonderful CBGTs. Yet we manage to have them all around the country on a pretty regular basis. How do these great events happen?

The secret is that C-Brats is not an organization - it is just a comfortable place on the web for friends to gather, like a neighborhood pub. These events happen because some individual C-Brat makes it happen. It starts with a message on the C-Brats web site: "How about getting together at Friday Harbor in May?" People respond, and if there is enough interest it happens. Whoever proposed the gathering contacts the harbormaster and makes sure they can accommodate us, and lets us know if we need to make individual reservations or if we have a group reservation. And we all show up. That's pretty much it, except that certain traditions have emerged.

CBGTs are usually Friday through Sunday, although some have cruises of a week or more following the event. Great cruises after CBGTs in the Canadian Gulf Islands and on the Chesapeake are some of our fondest memories. Some, like Lake Powell, are mainly cruising with a pre-arranged rendevous. For the typical CBGT, though, dinner Friday night is usually at a restaurant. Saturday we always have a potluck. Sunday morning is frequently breakfast at a restaurant. But none of this is set in stone. Some CBGTs have been going for quite a few years (Bellingham, the Delta, the Eastern Shore) and some are brand new (Nanaimo, B.C.). C-Brats is just the gathering place on the web for friends to communicate about their common interest in these great little boats and arrange getting together.

Next secret: it isn't really about the boats. Yes, we are fanatically loyal to C-Dorys, they are wonderfully salty, economical, seaworthy little boats. But it really is about the friendship and camaraderie. Maybe it is because of some common values we have that attracts us to these boats. Like they say, a stranger is just a friend you haven't met yet. C-Brat friends quickly become your new best friends.

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