CruiserPort returns to the 2017 Newport International Boat Show this fall with a seminar series designed for New England mariners seeking to extend their horizons. CruiserPort University: The Bluewater Edition features a package of 11 seminars to hone the offshore skills of sailors and powerboaters alike.
“New England boaters never had the substantial network of inland waterways enjoyed by much of the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico. Cruising anywhere usually meant exiting through jetties,” says CruiserPort Seminar Manager Peter Swanson, who grew up on Buzzards Bay.
“This seminar series is designed for boaters wanting to build on their existing New England skill sets,” he says. “It will give attendees an idea of whether they should consider, for example, piloting their boats to the Caribbean via Bermuda, rather than the long haul down the Intracoastal Waterway before making a 1,200-mile slog east to the Virgin Islands.”
The seminar series is brought to you by PassageMaker magazine and the producers of TrawlerFest boat shows. Despite the trawler connection, all classes are “propulsion agnostic,” valuable to anyone who cruises under power or sail. “Even if you don’t intend to go past the sight of land, these classes will benefit coastal cruisers who want to boost confidence and a sense of independence,” Swanson says.
Nearly every speaker, a list that includes well known figures such as Nigel Calder, John Clayman and Chris Parker, has extensive cruising experience. “I have a modicum of experience offshore,” Swanson says. “My goal was to try to ensure every presenter had more bona fide sea-time than I do.”
Calder’s books Marine Diesel Engines and Boatowner’s Mechanical & Electrical Manual have saved many a mariner wise enough to carry them on board as references. A protégé of the late Ted Hood, Clayman is an accomplished offshore racer and has hundreds of long-range deliveries under his belt. Parker, a former Bahamas liveaboard, is a popular weather router.
The seminars, two and 3½ hours in length, happen Wednesday through Saturday, Sept. 13-16, at the Blues Café across from the entrance to the show. Here are summaries:
“Troubleshooting & Repairing Diesel Engines Underway.”
Having circumnavigated Cuba and sailed the high-latitude waters of the British Isles and northward, often beyond the range of towboat services, have honed author and researcher Nigel Calder’s mechanical skills to a fine edge. Calder spends an entire morning teaching troubleshooting, repairs and preventative measures.
“Troubleshooting & Repairing Systems Underway”
As is the case with his diesel engine seminar, Calder spends 3½ hours discussing common failures by onboard systems that can happen when outside the sight of land or in far-flung cruising grounds. He will share solutions and proactive failure-prevention measures.
Weatherman Chris Parker’s lively and informative seminar is aimed at any one who wants the knowledge to make their own passage decisions with whatever information is available, including GRIB patterns and discuss various forecast delivery services.
“First Aid & Emergency Preparedness at Sea”
The go-to company for emergencies at sea, a technician for DAN Medical Services will help prepare attendees for almost any medical emergency, covering sources of information, first aid kits, medical manuals, medical equipment and supplies, prescription medications, over-the-counter medical supplies, first aid and medical training, communication; 24/7 tele-med support, personal crew responsibilities and pets on board. There will also be an opportunity to practice first aid skills, hemorrhage control or learn hands only CPR.
“Characteristics of Offshore Boats, Sail & Power”
What does “seaworthy” really mean, and what are the characteristics that distinguish a sail or power boat for offshore work? John Clayman’s entire life has prepared him to answer these questions. A native of Marblehead and ocean racer, Clayman describes himself as a “water rat” who went on to earn an advanced degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from MIT. Clayman worked for the legendary Ted Hood, first in the Little Harbor design office and eventually as Hood’s general manager. As the East Coast distributor for Selene Ocean Trawlers, he was instrumental in introducing and refining these displacement powerboats. He is president of Seaton Yachts.
“Old School Navigation”
You’re offshore and lightning strikes. You’re offshore and the U.S. government shuts off GPS for civilian use because of an impending terror attack. Pick your scenario. The upshot is no GPS. Would you be sufficiently skilled at “old school” navigation to get to your destination? Instructor Bob Sweet is a senior navigator and author of The Weekend Navigator, GPS for Mariners, Using GPS, Using GPS with charts. He’s a consultant to OceanGrafix, an on-demand provider of nautical charts. Sweet's 3½-hour seminar is for novices with no idea how to navigate with pencil or paper. It’s also a refresher for more experienced boaters, who have become perhaps too accustomed to the ease of chartplotter navigation.
“To Bermuda, the Caribbean & Beyond”
Offshore mariners John Clayman and Ryan Gettler take attendees down island and through the Panama Canal to the South Pacific. Clayman, president of Seaton Yachts, is a boatbuilder and Bermuda Race veteran. Gettler of Pantaenius USA is no ordinary insurance executive. As a younger man, he and his brother circumnavigated in a production sailboat. Clayman and Gettler discuss all aspects of getting a boat from New England to southern waters.
“Radar & Electronic Navigation”
Marine author/illustrator Bob Sweet and Furuno Senior Product Manager Eric Kunz will discuss the recent and rapid rise of solid-state multi-frequency radar and the demise of pulse technology. They will share navigation techniques and how to get the most from today’s modern multi-function displays, regardless of brand. Do we still need to carry paper charts?
“Survival at Sea”
Forget anything you may have seen in Robert Redford’s movie “Lost.” Surviving a crisis at sea happens because of preparation, the right gear, seamanship skills and a good attitude. Among the topics that trainer Bob Arrington and Nordhavn yacht broker Ben Sprague will discuss are: heaving to, storm anchors, drogues, ditch bags and communicating with rescuers. Brian Kinsella of Viking Liferafts will focus on liferafts, one of which will be deployed during class. Sprague brings his own unique insight. When he and fellow crewmembers tried to abandon ship during an Atlantic Ocean passage in 1978, their liferaft blew away. They spent days in a dinghy until rescued by a Cuban freighter.
“Troubleshooting Electronics at Sea”
First of all, note “electronics” not “electrical.” This new seminar will prove that when marine electronics fail there are remedies available to a boater other than surrender and making telephone call to the technician, especially if you are beyond cellular range. Eric Kunz, senior product manager for Furuno, takes a non-partisan look at how to troubleshoot hardware, systems and NMEA 0183 and 2000 networks using a meter and common sense.
“Storm Tactics: Power & Sail”
Anyone whose passagemaking will extend beyond normal forecast windows faces the possibility of encountering foul weather. John Clayman (see “Characteristics of Offshore Boats Sail & Power” and “To Bermuda, the Caribbean & Beyond”) is an ocean racing veteran and many, many bluewater deliveries. Clayman will talk about dealing with high winds and big seas. There will be ample time for audience Q&A.
Participants can purchase all 11 sessions for $599, which includes box lunches. Seminars may also be purchased à la carte--$65 for two-hour classes and $130 for four-hour classes. Whether they subscribe to the entire series or purchase individual courses, participants will receive appropriate certificates of completion that can lower insurance rates.
Further information on CruiserPort University at the Newport International Boat Show can be found at www.PassageMaker.com, by calling (410) 990-9086 x22 or emailing CruiserPort@PassageMaker.com