Next month Petersburg’s harbor master will be making room for the biggest group of vising boats she’s ever had in town at once. And right as fishing season is kicking into gear. Abbey Collins spoke with her about how she’s planning to accommodate the fleet.
Harbormaster Glo Wollen says the group wasn’t always this large. The meetup of Nordhavn boats travelling under the name “Nordhavns2Alaska” started out around 18-20 when she was first contacted last November. But over the course of the year it grew to around 35 vessels between 40 and 70 feet.
They’ll set out from around the world and meet up in Petersburg for a three-day visit from July 8th through the 10th. The group of motor yacht owners plans to have three days of seminars and social events at the Sons of Norway Hall.
Every stall in Petersburg’s harbor is permanently held. That means they’re only open for visitors to rent when the regular moorage owner is away. So, in a worst case scenario Wollen says all 35 boats could be anchored out – but she doesn’t think that’s likely.
“We don’t reserve stalls,” says Wollen. “Our priority of course is our own fleet, the permanent stall holders, and we’ll fit you in where we can. So it is going to be a real juggling act for us.”
Wollen says her plan for accommodating the boats is based mainly on anticipating where local vessels will be when the visitors arrive. She says the real trick is handling the boats that are fifty feet or longer.
“A lot of our vessels in the larger class are seining vessels. I’m really hoping that there’s going to be a Thursday opening,” says Wollen. “A lot of times they don’t come home from Thursday until Sunday. And the dates that this flotilla is set to arrive is Friday the 8th and stay through until Sunday the 10th. So we should be able to clean house Sunday night and open ourselves back up for the permanent owner to come back.”
Seining openings are set by the Department of Fish and Game, depending on how many salmon are in the water.
Wollen says while this group is larger than any she’s ever had come into town at once, finding room for travelers is nothing new.
“We run between four to five thousand transient vessels through in a summer,” says Wollen. “So four or five thousand times my crew is going through this same drill. So 35 is a bit much for us in a day because our priority is our own commercial fleet.”
Still, economically this many visitors is a good thing for the harbor. Wollen says that revenue benefits the community here and the people that regularly keep their boats in Petersburg’s harbor.
“Every transient vessel that comes in that we collect moorage from goes into the pot that offsets their moorage rate,” says Wollen. “And our guys are all business men, they know that. And the economy of Petersburg is based on income so they all realize that.”
Wollen says she’s trying to get the word out to local crews about possible congestion around the July gathering. But, she says Petersburg’s commercial fleet remains the priority.