On a Sunday afternoon the visitors’ dock buzzes at picturesque Roche Harbor, a quaint seaside town, where vessels in the distance are coming and going through U.S. customs here, the northern-most harbor this side of the Canadian border.
As I walk down the steep gangplank at low tide––its rails draped in red, white and blue banners––the Americana spirt of the charming village includes a beautiful restaurant’s veranda and a garden overlooking the harbor.
Many families enjoy boarding three Sundance yachts tied up at the dock––a Prestige 460, Prestige 500 S, and 43-foot Jeanneau Vallasco. They explore the salons, fly bridges and staterooms, as I meet Nick Buck-Niehaus and Rick Buck, the father-and-son team who’ve held their seasonal Sundance at Roche Harbor event for the past ten or so years.
A Pop-up of sorts, boaters in the region can conveniently experience the latest Sundance yachts while at anchor or tied up at the harbor. Nick, his Dad and the staff at Sundance Yachts enjoy meeting boaters to talk yachting. This event is all about relationships, which run deep at Sundance, a company built over three generations with its roots in Nick’s grandfather’s boat repair and boat yard business in turn-of-the-century Portland.
“What we try to do is get to know people and find out what we think they could want and answer all of their questions,” Rick says after we chat for a bit next to one of their latest offerings here a Prestige 460.
The hot weather turned a bit cool that afternoon as Nick and sat aboard Jeanneau Prestige 460 to talk about the event and what motivates him and the company.
“Fun,” Nick says simply.
That sizes up the Sundance philosophy. What they concentrate on delivering to their many diverse clientele is the same from first time boaters and young couples with small budgets, to seasoned captains and high net-worth individuals. They bring boats to Roche Harbor every year that reflect the Northwest boating needs of their clients.
“Most of the boats we sell have open layouts with good visibility which lend themselves to entertainment and floor plans that maximize the use of space for accommodations and comfort,” Nick says.
As I look around the salon after touring the Prestige 460, a 46-foot stunner with panoramic views from continuous windows in the hull, I wonder what boat would do that job better. The L-shaped Fly Bridge accommodates a sundeck and sports a dodger for protection from the sun. With all of the entertainment features a family could want at sea, the salon includes clean lines and sophisticated furniture with neutral tones, and a flat screen TV. The galley is conveniently located next to the aft sundeck which also houses a Skipper Cabin. An aft swim platform adds to the fun.
The nearby elegant 50-foot Prestige 500 S, features an Owner’s Suite and a tender garage designed for the Williams 285 LP. While the third yacht on display, a 43-foot Jeanneau Velasco, features soft lines and beautiful 360-degree views designed for smooth, safe cruising at high speeds. All the boats embody Northwest, four-seasons cruising––with beautiful cabins where you can turn up the heat and cruise in bad weather, or open everything up and really feel the outdoor experience on a nice day.
On why Roche Harbor Nick says, “We love Roche because it’s a great venue––an old-fashioned harbor with wonderful places to explore and great food.”
Nothing is more fun that yachting to great destinations like Roche with easy access to everything boaters enjoy, a frequent stop for boating rendezvous, including the Cutwaters they also sell.
After our visit, I head back out to my vessel anchored in the harbor for a small voyage to do more crabbing. When we say our goodbyes, Nick is greeted by a couple who shake his hand, telling him they appreciate everything Nick has done for them with their new boat, reflecting the accolades they’ve received from other boat owners––
“Sundance stays engaged long after the sale. We were new boat owners and they provided ‘piloting & docking’ training for free. The service team really rocks and has helped us when we really needed it. Everyone is a pleasure to deal with.”
“You can just tell what a great business Sundance is by how truly friendly and caring everyone is.”
As I walk back up the gangplank, the Sundance boats on display here are busier now as more family’s eyes light up. The Sundance at Roche Harbor Event runs through the beginning of September and the team looks forward to meeting you to help add more fun to your future adventures at sea.
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