Rendezvous teaches boating skills
Sea Scouts gather to compete in various events, vying for a number of awards
By Jannette Jauregui, Correspondent December 8, 2004
For two and a half days, through cold and wet weather, the 210 Sea Scouts on 21 ships who gathered at Naval Base Ventura County at Port Hueneme competed in the annual Southwestern Rendezvous. A division of the Boy Scouts of America, Sea Scouts was founded in 1912 in the United States, offering girls and boys an aquatic alternative to the outdoor Boy Scouts experience. The focus is on promoting better citizenship, improving members' boating skills and team work, and teaching water safety.
Ventura County Chapter 33, based in Simi Valley, was established in the 1950s and currently has about 75 members. This is the third year the chapter has been host of the Southwestern Rendezvous, which is staged simultaneously with the Rendezvous that is held throughout the country on Thanksgiving weekend.
Young men and women ages 14 to 21 competed in seven group events and 18 team events in groups of four to nine competitors during the local Rendezvous. Competition ranged from uniform inspection to swim trials and radio communication contests. The highest honor of the weekend, the Golden Windjammer, was awarded to the the Del Mar ship at the closing ceremony Nov. 28. The second highest award, the Clipper, went home with six teams whose cumulative competitive scores were in close range. The third highest award, the Schooner, went to the Mariners J team. Among the other awards given out were the Ketch, Sloop, Catboat and Dinghy.
One of the major events the teams work hard to qualify for is the scuttlebutt competition. According to the rule book for the event, in less than two minutes and 30 seconds the teams "must construct a tripod structure and attach a block-and-tackle system, hoist a 55-gallon barrel full of water to a height of 3 feet and lower it without spilling, and then disassemble all gear. Only the coxswain may talk during each run." The scuttlebutt was one of the last events of the weekend, and this year's event had the added complexity of wet gear and surroundings after the rain that fell in the county.
For (particpating) Sea Scouts, Rendezvous is the highlight of the year. The competition takes serious concentration and teamwork for each ship to be successful, say organizers of the event. "They compete against the rules and not against each other," said Rendezvous skipper and co-coordinator, Michael Trouillon. "Everyone can earn top placing."
Seventy-five adults participated in coordinating the event, not including the Rendezvous committee. Participants were from California, Maryland, Illinois and Oregon.
This year marks the 27th consecutive year the Rendezvous has taken place. The Sea Scout competition began during the 1930s but was not an annual event. During the 1950s and 1960s, the event was held in a number of locations, including Port Hueneme, Long Beach and Coronado Island in San Diego. From 1977 to 1994, the Long Beach Naval Base hosted the event, and from 1995 to 2000 it was held at Coronado. Port Hueneme has been the site of the Rendezvous since 2002.
Ventura County Sea Scouts Chapter 33 has planned activities twice a month. For more information, contact Skipper Michael Trouillon at 573-3725, or by e-mail at email@example.com.