Palooza Crooza

Three small sailboats under sail.

July 18-20, 2021 – Three Day & Two Night Cruise From Port Townsend to Favorite Local Gunkholes

Small boat with tent.
Ready for a cozy evening.

Starting Sunday morning, the day after the Pocket Yacht Palooza boat show, boaters are invited to join this mini-cruise to some favorite destinations close to Port Townsend. We will enjoy three days of cruising together, with one night at Kilisut Harbor (either Fort Flagler or Mystery Bay) and the other at Mats Mats Bay. We will cover anywhere from 6 to 18 miles each day, and should have lots of time for relaxing and enjoying each other’s company, good food, and maybe even some music in the evenings and mornings.

The final itinerary will be decided upon as the event grows closer, but here is the tentative plan based on the tides. There will be a few negative tides, -.45 the first night, and -1.47 the next (at PT).

Note: There will be a short skippers meeting, at 5pm on Saturday the 17th, right after the Pocket Yacht Palooza, at the NWMC.

Day 1 – Port Townsend to Kilisut Harbor – (3-6 Miles)

We will likely have a leisurely start, leaving Port Townsend around 10am and making our way across the bay and entering Kilisut Harbor. High tide is at 10am, The tide switches to an ebb at around 1pm, so the current at the entrance next to Rat Island should be minimal. Boaters can take a break at Rat Island, and maybe have a lunch on the sandy shores, watching the seals play in the current, and bald eagles that nest in the trees of Indian Island just to the south.

There will be a few options for overnighting on the 18th. Some may choose to camp at Fort Flagler, either beaching their boats, anchoring, or paying for moorage on the park dock. Other folks may wish to continue up Kilisut Harbor to Mystery Bay to anchor, or to moor at the dock.

Day 2 – Admiralty Inlet to Mats Mats Bay (15-18 Miles)

This will be the longest travel day, so some may want an early start. At best guess, flood tide starts at about 7:30am at Marrowstone Point, so getting around there by then or shortly after is a good idea, both to ride flood current all the way down the length of Marrowstone Island, and also to avoid a sometimes nasty tidal chop that can build up off Marrowstone Point. There is a fairly big flood tide all morning, so if you don’t get out of Kilisut Harbor early it might be a struggle. There is a negative tide in the morning of -.45, so only the most shallow boats will be able to sneak through the shorter route over the bar between Rat Island and Fort Flagler.

After traversing the length of Marrowstone Island we make our way to Mats Mats Bay for our second evening.

Day 3 – Mats Mats Bay Through the Ship Canal to Port Townsend (12 miles)

It is about 5.5 miles from Mats Mats Bay to the entrance of the Ship Canal. Most boaters will need to be going with the sometimes very strong current through the Ship Canal. The tidal direction in this passage can switch as many as two or three hours before the listed tide change in Admirality Inlet. On the 20th, it is estimated the ship canal will switch to an ebb at around 12:30-1pm. So depending on your boat speed and the weather, you could have a leisurely morning at Mats Mats Bay, heading through the ship canal in the afternoon. Or you could get up early and be through the canal before 7:30am to beat the flood. After going through the Ship Canal you could take a break on the beach in Hadlock, or continue on across Port Townsend Bay to our final destination.

Palooza Crooza Registration (Closed)

If you would like to participate please fill out the registration form below (closed). There is no fee for participating in the Palooza Crooza. There will be some costs which are your responsibility, including all fuel, food, and camping or moorage fees.

As of this posting, there are campsites still available at Fort Flagler State Park. But we have heard that campsites are already filling up at Washington parks for this summer. You will be responsible for reserving your own campsites. Moorage at the Fort Flagler dock is first come first served. There are also seven moorage buoys, that are first come first served. There is a decent anchorage area south of the buoys as well. Mystery Bay also has a linear dock and moorage buoys. Mats Mats Bay offers a good protected anchorage. There are currently no tent camping options at Mystery Bay or Mats Mats Bay.

Experience Level
You are responsible for the safe operation of your own vessel, the route you are taking, and for potential weather and water conditions you may encounter. It is best if you have some intercoastal overnight cruising experience. If you don’t, let us know and we can advise you on preparation. On this route you should be prepared for up to 20 mph winds, have the ability to reef your sail on the water and to take it down on the water. We may experience strong currents and steep standing waves in tidal zones and in situations with wind against current, so your boat should have buoyancy in case of capsize, and you should have a capsize recovery plan. You should be able to maintain three knots of boat speed with your auxiliary power.

If you have any questions please contact us.


Recommended Safety Gear

Finally, and importantly, if you plan to take part in the Palooza Crooza, we recommend that you have the following items aboard your boat:

  • PFDs – One Coast Guard approved life jacket for each person aboard, plus one throwable if your boat is longer than 16 feet.
  • VHF Radio – If handheld (ideally waterproof), bring extra battery. Monitor Ch. 68 during all active hours of the Palooza Crooza
  • Fire Extinguisher – Required if your boat has an inboard engine; is longer than 26 feet, or has closed compartments for storage of fuel or other flammable materials.
  • Sound-Signaling Device – Some means of making an efficient sound signal (whistle, typically).
  • Navigation Lights – Boats under 23 feet in length, if not equipped with sidelights and a stern light, must have ready at hand a flashlight or lantern showing a white light that must be displayed in sufficient time to avoid a collision… according to CG regulations.
  • Visual Signaling – For boats under 16 feet, distress signals (red flares, flashlights) are required for distress signals between sunset and sunrise. For boats over 16 feet, requirements are for one orange distress flag and one electric distress light, or three handheld or floating orange smoke signals and one electric distress light, or three combination day-night red flares, handheld, meteor or parachute type.
  • Anchor and Rode – Anchor, chain and/or line appropriate for the boat. (We recommend but do not require two anchors, with suitable rode, for the Crooza.)
  • Reboarding Device – A ladder, other device or plan for getting skipper/crew back in the boat in open water.
  • Compass – Magnetic or electronic compass.
  • Bilge Pump, Bailer, Buckets – Some way to bail out the boat.
  • Charts – Covering the area of the Palooza Crooza, paper or electronic.
  • First Aid – A basic or more-than-basic kit
  • Lines – Enough for mooring and towing… or being towed.
  • Boat Fenders (at least two)
  • Knife
  • Foulweather gear, extra clothing for everyone aboard.
  • Water, food and cooking equipment for four days. (Don’t plan on restaurant meals…. they don’t exist on our route.)
  • Dry bags to protect extra clothing and electronic gear.
  • Camping gear, including tarp(s), for those tent-camping ashore.
  • Other Items – Recommended but not required: Handheld GPS, depth-sounding line and lead; flashlight, timepiece, cellphone and camera to capture all of the memorable scenes.