Arts and Entertainment

Latitudes and Attitudes cruisers come to party in Poulsbo

The Lats and Atts crew pulls into Poulsbo this weekend. - Courtesy Photo/Latitudes and Attitudes
The Lats and Atts crew pulls into Poulsbo this weekend.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo/Latitudes and Attitudes

There's no place like Poulsbo for pirates and parrotheads.

Don’t be alarmed by the sound of cannon fire coming from the Poulsbo waterfront this weekend. It’s all in good fun as hundreds of boats of all types descend on Liberty Bay with canons blazing, Parrotheads squawking and Jolly Rogers flying for the annual “Latitudes and Attitudes’ ” Pacific Northwest Cruisers party.

“Poulsbo is the perfect town for this party,” Lats and Atts magazine founder Bob Bitchin said.

For more than a decade, Latitudes and Attitudes — the world’s leading boating lifestyle magazine — has been well-known for its raucous after-parties at boat shows around the United States. But nearly all of the boat shows Lats and Atts would attend were anchored on the East Coast.

“So we’ve been throwing these parties (at boat shows on the East Coast),” Bitchin noted, “and the people in the Northwest started sniveling that we didn’t throw any up there. But the only boat show that they have there that’s worth attending is too long for us to attend.”

So the Lats and Atts faithful of the Pacific Northwest said, why not just throw one big party, sans the boat show — and the Pacific Northwest Cruisers Party was born.

This is the third year in its eight-year history that the bash will be held in Poulsbo.

There will be revelry and sights to be seen, something for all ages, all weekend long on the waterfront. The official Lats and Atts party is slated for Saturday night at the Sons of Norway Lodge.

“I said, hell yeah, you guys put it on and we’ll supply the band, we’ll supply the beer and we’ll supply the pizza,” Bitchin said of the PNW party. “That’s the standard for our parties... free pizza, free beer and the Eric Stone Band from St. Thomas (Virgin Islands), who are kind of like the Jimmy Buffet band, only better.”

What’s more it’s completely free to attend, as per the Lats and Atts usual, for anyone interested in sailing.

“This is for anybody who is into sailing period,” Bitchin said. “There’s no registration, you don’t have to buy anything. That’s always annoyed me when people throw a party for publicity and then they charge you to go to it. It’s like what... are they thinking?”

Bitchin is a quite a colorful character — one of many in the Lats and Atts crew. He’s an inspiring and stoic symbol of the classic freedom seeker.

In his “past life,” as he says, he started Biker Magazine, which would eventually become one of the largest biker culture magazines in the world. He went on to found “Tattoo” Magazine, which is now one of the leaders in its genre as well.

“I sold them both in ’86 when I retired and got on my boat and went to sail around the world,” Bitchin recalled. “I kidnapped my bartender — well now, she’s my wife — but, yeah, we went everywhere in the world that we ever wanted to go. But back in the 80s, when you retired, you know to go sail off into the sunset, you sailed off into the sunset never planning to come back. But you live longer nowadays.”

After running out of money, he and his wife started Lats and Atts as a newsletter for those in the know in the sailing world, which quickly became yet another genre-leading publication. And that's only the beginning.

PARTY WITH THE LATS AND ATTS CRUISERS starting informally tonight (Friday) at the Poulsbo moorage and along the waterfront. The official Lats and Atts party is slated for Saturday night at the Sons of Norway Lodge, featuring live music from the Eric Stone Band.Info: www.latsandatts.com, www.boatsongs.com.

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