The “Happy Hours” is our new boat. It is the first of its kind in the Seattle area. It is a new top-of-line super-luxurious 26 ft Avalon pontoon boat. Waypoint Marine in Ballard is our dealer. This is the perfect boat for the Pacific Northwest or anywhere where you want versatility, quality and performance. It is a luxury deck and party room on the water at the dock, floating or motoring. These are our adventures and experiences. See the 6/12/11 post for free rides and dock parties.

Happy Hours on Lake Washington

Happy Hours on Lake Washington

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Husky Sailgate Parties

The University of Washington Huskies are famous for their “Sailgate Parties. The partiers in Lake Washington’s Union Bay, just west of Husky Stadium, are in full force before, during after the UW home games. This was an exceptionally good year with great weather and an above average number of afternoon games. Next year will be without these parties as Husky Stadium is being renovated and the Huskies will be playing in CenturyLink Field.

The New York Times ran a recent article featuring these parties: “. . . On fall Saturdays . . . when Washington plays at home, the occupants of Husky Harbor emerge near the stadium’s east end like some sort of tailgate flotilla. They come on charters, luxury yachts and smaller vessels, in sailboats, motorboats and speedboats, even boats coated in purple paint . . . Once docked or anchored, they tailgate with a twist, a practice the locals have alternately called boatgating, sailgating and sterngating. . .”

The NY Times also has some great photos in a 13 picture slidshow. The article also featured the Miles family and their boat, the Big Dawg. More information is in one of my Seattle Mansions blog posts.

We were at these parties with our boat, Happy Hours. We took friends to the games and enjoyed the parties in the water. The water-slide was a huge hit!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Summer Boating in Seattle

Our summer on Lake Washington has been fantastic! Many of our family and friends have been boating with us aboard Happy Hours and rave about the experience. Comments from out-of-towners include, “Our most memorable day in the Seattle area.” Comments from locals include, “The best day of our summer.”

We had 38 outings with over 300 passengers. Many others have stepped aboard at a dock. Others have swum or boated over and climbed aboard. Everyone loves the water slide! We’ve relaxed viewing the Map of the Stars, just enjoying the lake, going to waterfront restaurants and sunset rides. We viewed houses for sale and sold with Realtors and their clients. We’ve hosted premium charity auction item outings.

We’ve had slow rides pulling the big tube and higher-speed extreme tubing and water skiing. Because the boat has flat decks and a fabulous stereo system, we’ve had wonderful dance parties on the boat. We've had fantastic party times on the boat with the flotillas at Boating Opening Day, the 4th of July on Lake Union, Seafair, University of Washington "sailgate" parties, and in the party coves of Andrews Bay, Meydenbauer Bay, Fairweather Bay, and Cozy Cove. Pictures are up on a new Happy Hours Picasa web album. A brief video features action with water-skiing and extreme tubing and relaxing at the dock or viewing the LW 130 Homes Map of the Stars.  

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Seafair’s Water Party

Lake Washington is famous for Seattle’s Seafair summer celebration.  This is a month long festival of many activities throughout Seattle and ends the first Sunday in August.  The final four days feature hydroplane races, the Navy’s Blue Angels’ air shows (previous post) and the Seattle area’s biggest party. Over a million people watch the Blue Angels and party on the water and shoreline.
During the Seafair air shows all the boats, except those tied to the log boom, between the I-90 Bridge and Seward Park must move out of this area. After the Friday through Sunday air shows, which is usually around , the boats return in mass. The party-on-the-water begins!
This is Seattle’s summer on-the-water version of Mardi Gras. Thousands of boats packed with partiers crowd the area. Most are in swimming suits and the babes are in bikinis. Some only wear the bottom part. Many with the tops on (sometimes) collect strings of beads Mardi Gras style.
Boats raft to other boats. The hydroplane races are the excuse but very few watch. Water fights with high powered water guns, hoses and water balloons are everywhere. Of course there is a lot of drinking. Over the last few years the police have cracked down on drinking while piloting a boat. Boats need to have a designated captain.
After the air-shows we make trips with our new boat, Happy Hours, to join the spectator fleet. Because of our location we have a head start versus the main flotilla. We provide water guns. Prepare to get wet if you wish to join us on these excursions.
Professional photographer, Bernard Zee, has a neat website with a lot of great photographs of 2009’s party-on-the-water.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Seafair 2011

Lake Washington is famous for Seattle’s Seafair summer celebration.  This is a month long festival of many activities throughout Seattle and ends the first Sunday in August.  The final four days feature hydroplane races and the Navy’s Blue Angels’ air shows.  The hydroplane races are on the west side of the lake south of the I-90 floating bridge. The Stan S. Sayres Memorial Park, known as the “Sayres Pits” was established here in 1957. The pits are the launching, service and staging area for Seafair’s hydroplane racing boats.
The air show’s center is this area over the lake. The planes and their stunts can be seen from much of the lake and its shores.  During these four days the lake is crowded with spectator boats and the lake is renowned for the associated “floating party” or “Mardi Gras on the water.”
On Saturday and Sunday, August 6 and 7, The Navy F-18 air show begins at and the Blue Angels performance starts at (More information about the Blue Angels.)
Stan Sayres (1897-1956) was known as “The Legend of Lake Washington” and “The Fastest Man Afloat.”  He was selling and racing cars in northeastern Oregon in 1926 when he had his first experience with a power-boat.  He purchased a wrecked 40 mph outboard engine racing boat and began racing, designing and building race-boats.  He moved to Seattle in 1931 and in 1937 he bought a 91 mph racing boat that his wife named Slow Motion.  Stan changed the name to Slo-Mo-Shun, often called Slo-Mo.  Stan designed, developed and built new and faster Slo-Mos.  He moved to Hunts Point in the 1940s and built a 6,860 sq ft house on the tip of Hunts Point. (The house was demolished in 2008 and the vacant lot was sold March 31, 2011 for $14.8 million [see Seattle Mansions blog]). The neighbors in this sleepy community “enjoyed” (?) the roar and 30 ft rooster tails of his trials and practices.
He set his first boat-on-water speed record of 160+ mph in 1950 on LW and continued to set new records, all on LW, with his last at 178.497 mph in 1952.  After his first record he took Slo-Mo IV to Detroit and won the 1950 Gold Cup, boat racing’s biggest prize.  This was a big upset to the hydroplane establishment.  Stan brought hydroplane racing to LW in 1951 as part of the Seafair.  The first Seafair was in 1950 to celebrate the centennial of the first U.S.-European Seattle settlement.  The 1951 race was the first U.S. hydroplane race west of Detroit and was a huge success.  Stan became a local hero.  The races are now a Seafair tradition.  He received a lot of local backing for his racing against the Detroit establishment.  Slo-Mo-Shun IV and V won the next four Gold Cups.
We live in the Proctor Landing area of Mercer Island directly across the lake from the pits and the center of the big show. We and nearly all of our neighbors have Seafair parties over the week-end. The planes fly low directly over our dock. After the air-shows we will be making trips with our new boat, Happy Hours, to join the spectator fleet for Seattle’s Mardi Gras. For Seafair facts and history, go to Seafair’s site.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Lake Washington Photos

Looking East at Bellevue and the Cascade Mountains

South of I-90 Bridge
Our daughter, Susie Vannatter, and her husband, Charlie Vannatter, visited us on June 4, 2011. This was the most beautiful day this year. Susie modeled and Charlie took pictures from the west side of the I-90 Bridge. It was another wonderful day and Happy Hours in paradise! The blog’s top photos, looking south at Andrews Bay and Mt. Rainier (very top) and Happy Hours on Lake Washington, were taken this day.
More pictures are on the Happy Hours Picasa web album.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy Hours Dock Parties

Lake Washington pontoon boat dock parties are very popular.  We’ve had several Happy Hours parties at our and friends’ docks. These dock parties are great on nice days.  When it is cooler or windy this is more comfortable than the open water. With this luxury living-room/cocktail-lounge at the dock it makes waterfront living and parties better. Sometimes we have cocktails at the dock in luxury before dinner in the house.
We’ve had up to 16 on the lower deck enjoying cocktails while others are above on the sundeck or water-sliding. The fantastic stereo system plays on both levels. The main level includes luxurious seating, 2 drink and appetizer tables, multiple cup and drinking glass holders, a wine and storage cellar, and a wet bar with a blender, an electric wine and glasses rack and a refrigerator.
Susan and I love taking our boat to friends’ docks for their parties. If you are having a dockside party, give us a call.
More pictures are on the Happy Hours Picasa web album.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tom’s Boat Shop Seattle

Tom’s Boat Shop -- Seattle Area in Ballard
5350 – 30th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107
206-257-6058 Tu-Fri 9-5, Sat & Sun 10-4
I bought my boat, Happy Hours, from Tom’s Boat Shop at the Seattle Boat Show in February 2011. Tom has been selling and servicing boats in Wilbur WA for many years. Tom opened his Seattle area dealership and showroom in Ballard May 1st, 2011. After I met Tom at the Boat Show we became good friends and he gave me a super deal for having the first of his Avalon luxury pontoon boats on Lake Washington.
I have his advertising on the sides of my boat. Because of Tom’s and my friendship and my passion for the new boat and LW sightseeing, I love taking guests for Happy Hours boating. Please let me know if you and your family, friends, associates or clients would like to join Susan and me on a Happy Hours outing or Happy Hours at the dock.
From Tom’s web page:  Tom's Boat Shop is a Family-owned, Family run, full service boat dealer. We believe in providing the absolute best customer service possible and we mean it. Before, during and long after the sale, we treat people with the greatest respect and are available to do whatever is needed to take care of our customer. We believe premium service along with premium products is a winning package, add to that exceptional people and you end up with a one of a kind dealer who really does care!
We specialize in new boat sales of Avalon pontoon boats.  Our full service repair facilities have state of the art equipment and certified technicians that can handle all of your repair and boat customization needs. Small town hospitality, great people and first rate service tell the story.”

Monday, June 13, 2011

Avalon Luxury Pontoon Boats

After I decided the new generation pontoon boats were perfect for Lake Washington I researched the available brands and selected Avalon. I contacted customers and they raved about Avalon’s quality, performance, features and service.

From Avalon’s web page: “Avalon Pontoon boats are a result of our total commitment to making the finest pontoon boats in the world. These luxurious boats are a beautiful composition of the finest elements known to pontoon boating, along with over 40 years of pontoon boat manufacturing experience. The finest construction, the most luxurious designs and the largest group of unique standard features create a distinctly different and clearly superior pontoon boat that will exceed your expectations.

“The latest technology, the finest materials and the best people create Avalon Pontoons. We have been building the finest U.S.A. made pontoon boats for over 40 years. Avalon is a vertically integrated builder. We manufacture the pontoons, framing, furniture, covers and more right in our own production facility [in Michigan]. Avalon is rated as having one of the lowest incidents of warranty claims in the industry and has also won the 2008, 2009 & 2010 NMMA CSI Award for outstanding customer service.All Avalon Pontoons are certified by the National Marine Manufacturer Association which lets you know it was built to meet and often exceed, the industry’s strictest quality and safety standards. According to U.S. Coast Guard statistics NMMA Certified boats are safer than non-certified boats.”

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Happy Hours Boating

Lake Washington luxury pontoon boating is the way to go! Since we brought our Avalon boat, Happy Hours, home on May 10 we have had many wonderful Happy Hours boating with our friends. The weather was not always the best but we’ve had a lot of fun and are enjoying the new boat. More pictures are on the Happy Hours Picasa web album.

It is rated for 14 passengers but is most comfortable with 10 to 12 adult passengers plus the captain (me). It includes an upper deck with seating, a sunbathing area and a water slide. The main level includes luxurious seating for 14, 2 drink and appetizer tables, multiple cup and drinking glass holders, a wine and storage cellar, a privacy (porta-potty) station plus a wet bar with a blender, an electric wine and glasses rack and a refrigerator.

FREE (BYOB/D/F) rides or dock parties (I will bring the a deluxe party room to your dock) with the Happy Hours deluxe Avalon pontoon boat are for friends and family. We depart or dock on nice days at various locations on Lake Washington. The rides are usually 2 to 3 hours, depending on the passengers' desires. Locations include, but are not limited to, Luther Burbank, Madison Park, Kirkland and private docks. We take up to 12 passengers. If you are interested please reply and let me know the approximate number in your group, preferred departure location and preferred dates. We will schedule rides about one week in advance based on the weather forecast. The boat and I are also available for water skiing and kids’ parties.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dykstras' New Boat!

Avalon Pontoon Boats in Lake WashingtonHappy Hours Launched May 7, 2011
Seattle's Boating Opening Day 5/7/11
On 5/7/11 Susan and I launched our new boat, “Happy Hours,” and, with our wonderful crew, we proceeded to Seattle’s Boating Opening Day celebration and boat parade. Tom’s Boat Shop and I entered Happy Hours in the parade. The Opening Day theme was "Salish Sea Treasures" and we received the Alaska Airlines Trophy for 1st place in our class (Decorated Commercial). Pictures are up on the Happy Hours Picasa web album.

Happy Hours is the first boat of its kind in the Seattle/Lake-Washington area. This is an Avalon luxury pontoon boat. It is sometimes called a party barge - but it will go 35+ mph and can pull water skiers. It is the perfect boat for Lake Washington or Lake Sammamish. You can go happy hours sightseeing in luxury or just float and with kids of all ages relaxing or playing on the water slide. It is also great extension of our dock. We now have a luxury cocktail lounge, sundeck and wet bar with refrigerator and blender at our dock.

I bought the boat from Tom’s Boat Shop at the Seattle Boat Show in February 2011. Tom opened his Seattle area dealership and showroom in Ballard in May 2011.