Setting out on this course with PassageMaker, we thought long and hard about the backbone philosophy of our publication. It is all about passagemakers – the boats, the people, and the lifestyle.

However, there are vast differences in the intended cruising and voyaging plans of the owners. Some of us dream of ocean passages to distant lands or island paradises, or cruising the European canal and river systems, or gunkholing around the coast of the US, or voyaging to Alaska, the Caribbean, Newfoundland, or Mexico. A number of people plan extended cruising on our inland waterways, or cruising the ICW or Mississippi River. PassageMaking takes many forms.

There are also some strong opinions out there about what a trawler is, and what it is not. Some owners are adamant about the full displacement nature of their boat’s hull form, which provides excellent tracking ability and offshore capability.  Others insist their ideal is a semi-displacement boat with fabulous teak interior and excellent speed and accommodation potential. Still others identify closely with custom or converted commercial designs, developed to maintain life aboard for long periods.

What is remarkable about all this diversity in thinking is that a fairly common theme transcends the differences between boats, cruising plans, and owners. It is the trawler lifestyle that binds together all of these interests. As a whole, the lifestyle we enjoy is about quality of life, self-sufficiency, economy of operation, modern conveniences, cruising capability, and true comfort aboard.

Most of us want the ability to spend less time at a dock, preferring instead a quiet or secluded anchorage. We often cruise at a leisurely and economical speed, which extends our range and independence. We tend to enjoy the voyage as much as the destination. Much like turtles, we may enjoy a slower pace, but are content knowing that no matter where we end up, we are already home.

Almost without exception, the owners of these boats share a reverence for the engine room or compartment. More than a simple premise of “Cleanliness is next to Godliness,” we know that the safety and success of our cruising absolutely depends on the reliability of the boat’s propulsion and major systems. This reliability is achieved primarily through devotion of the crew toward simple and routine maintenance schedules.

There is also a realistic desire for self-reliance in our approach to the boat and it’s systems. We want everything aboard to be as workable, reliable, and fixable as possible. In a world of awesome push button and electronic technology, we alone want to determine when and where this technology should be used aboard to make our cruising safer and more enjoyable.

Many of us also look to get back to some simpler truths, some basic ideas of what is important and what is not. Many of us feel the strong need to get a little closer to the feelings we had when we first got involved in boating – the sense of independence, the confidence we developed in our boats and ourselves, the dreams we created, the desire to learn the skills and craft of practical seamanship so that we might travel with self-reliance, avoiding the overly complex or unfixable.

We need to maintain accountability in our boating. By preparing our boats and ourselves beforehand, we can avoid many threatening or disastrous situations. Self-reliance is an important characteristic of the successful voyager or cruiser, and it is developed through experience, knowledge, and heart.

The people who cruise in trawlers usually do so as a team. They share decision-making responsibilities regarding the boat, the necessary planning and preparations, and the passagemaking. They share the good and the bad together, the realities and the dreams. Often couples, their bond is tested and often strengthened by this experience. Shared with family and friends, the team philosophy can provide insight and balance to all of our relationships. So we celebrate the team, and strive to satisfy each of your interests.

PassageMaker focuses on exploring and presenting the realities of cruising and voyaging. We will document the preparations necessary for traveling and living aboard, and how to deal with any number of practical and often non-marine issues. We want to assist you in making your cruising plans attainable, affordable, and enjoyable.

We intend all these things and hope that PassageMaker becomes an active platform for all of us to share information, our ideals, and ourselves.

Steady as she goes.