By: Scott Way
One of boating's most underappreciated events may be the 'rendezvous.' At its most elemental, it's an opportunity for boaters to hit the water and meet new people. In a more specific sense, it's the perfect excuse for boating cliques to share new experiences, create new memories, and bring their communities together. Many rendezvous events are organized around specific boat brands, which give die-hard owners the chance to pal around with like-minded boaters and share their stories and wisdom. Others are organized by marinas or dealers to bring their customers together to explore new places or try new activities. The more well-known events among the general public are poker runs, where (typically) racers spend a day or weekend trying to outdrive each other in exchange for playing cards and bragging rights. Then there are cruiser events, which usually involve a weekend get-together in a secluded bay with dropped anchors and a celebration of the 'boat life' and all it provides. In essence, there are niche groups in nearly all forms of boating that enjoy the rendezvous in some form, and its growth in popularity is undoubtedly a good thing for boating as a whole.
In September, owners of Rosborough trawlers got together for one of boating's truly unique events: the Rosborough River Rendezvous. This year's group dropped anchor in the 1000 Islands, which tor those unaware is an archipelago of 1864 islands straddling the Canadian and US border on the St. Lawrence River, connecting the province of Ontario in the north with New York state to the south. The chain begins at the northeast corner of Lake Ontario and meanders along an 80 km (50 mile) stretch of pristine waterway through some of North America's most stunning natural landscapes. In other words, it's an exceptionally nice place to go boating.
Clayton, New York served as the gathering point, with owners spending the weekend at the nearby Clayton Harbour Municipal Arena. Unsurprisingly the event attracted owners from across Canada and the US, many of which trailered their oversize boats from as far away as Florida. Others flew in from as far away as California (without their boats) to join the fun.
For Robert Russell, a Rosborough owner from Cape Vincent, New York, the event is about more than just boating: "The great thing about the group is the support and comradeship one experiences belonging to it. If one has a question about anything related to their boat, they can get multiple inputs from others who wish to help and share their experiences. Members help directly when they are able."
That sentiment is echoed by fellow Rosborough owner and event organizer Otto Cuyler, “It’s interesting that you may rarely speak to your neighbor, but will bond with a fellow Rosborough owner after only having met them once in a faraway state or province. In this day and age of political polarization, we can all enjoy and speak of something awesome that we totally agree on. That's terrific in any day and age."
For this year's itinerary, the mayor of Clayton, Norma Zimmer, graciously met with the captains and crews at nearby Frink Park on the St. Lawrence before the fleet left the marina for an extended cruise through the US side of the St. Lawrence. Some spent time at the famous Boldt Castle while others stopped for lunch in the popular Alexandria Bay anchoring spot.
Evening events included an outdoor banquet at the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel sponsored by Rosborough boatbuilders Eastern Boats. Greg Hopkins, CEO of Eastern Boats provided a pre-recorded message and a local historian served as the keynote speaker with tales about the history of the 1000 Islands region, including some fascinating stories about its influence during the rum running era and the mysteries of its famous castles.
Another day was spent cruising to Singer Castle and Cedar Island State Park where boaters were able to explore the region by both land and water. Others headed around Chippawa Bay to soak in the sights before heading back to port. There was even an educational component where owners held a seminar on trailering to encourage owners to explore new places while safely transporting their beloved boats.
So what makes the Rosborough River Rendezvous a standout event? For Russell, "I was describing the rendezvous to a friend as a 'week of play.' It is doing what we love doing: talking about boats, living on our boats and cruising on our boats. Most of all, however, the rendezvous is about seeing old friends and making new friends--all centered around the Rosborough RF246. "
The 2022 Rosborough Rendezvous is set to take place in nearby Kingston, Ontario on the Canadian side and will include more group cruising to nearby hotspots like Trenton and Brockville along the St. Lawrence. . Additional events are intended for South Florida in March, as well as a cruise off the coast of Maine in August.