NWMA History by Rita Kepner

posted Dec 11, 2015, 2:27 PM by Steve Keever   [ updated Dec 11, 2015, 2:29 PM by PacificNorthWest MultihullAssoc ]

Here is what I remember:

No one to ask...

I arrived in Seattle from Connecticut in 1966.  In New England I had met Arthur Piver at a sailor group meeting and was all ready to build a world-cruising sailboat in the back yard in 2 or 3 weeks (joke).  I think it was Art Piver that suggested finding the little club in Seattle,but it could have been one of the enthusiasts at the New England group.

I honestly cannot remember how I found the little group that was the early club, but do remember going to meetings once a month, and I know it was at individual homes.  I am certain that it was Jim Staggs who started the group and it may have been 1965, but I did not attend a meeting until fall of 1966.  It grew from 7 or 8 people to 15 or 20 crowding into rotating living rooms of people, some of whom had projects started in their back yards.  At one crowded meeting of wide-eyed dreamers someone proposed finding a hall to meet more comfortably.  We found the one where you are now, and at each meeting passed the hat to pay that night's rent.


It became the first Friday early on -- I think it was the first Friday at the homes.  Over time, people decided to get slightly more organized with rules and by-laws and a non-profit status.  That helped with getting discounts on supplies.  Jim Ruby wanted to find a small "clubhouse" to buy -- even found a small old building somewhere on the waterfront as I recall, but fund raising to pay a down-payment got voted down because everyone was going to build their dream boats and soon be gone...


Ellen Ruby and I and a few others who were there at the time argued down a women's auxiliary proposal from one of the guys.   We women had sawdust in our veins and fiberglass in our hair. We were part of the group.  End of that discussion. 


A newsletter mailed to all who asked (later all who paid dues of $5)  kept us together with information and reminders of the upcoming meetings.  Of course, all volunteer. Coffee, wine and beer were early fringe benefits to attending the meetings.  Put money in a can. The group grew in size to fill the hall and we had speakers, designers, of merit who would fly in from all over to talk to us.  In monthly magazines, we followed and discussed the stories of Donald Crowhurst racing his trimaran around the world, and also Piver's disappearance off of California.


Good memories...