The new ride: Highlander may not execute much of a "destroyer turn," but she's an economical long-range cruiser.

The new ride: Highlander may not execute much of a "destroyer turn," but she's an economical long-range cruiser.

We first met Vice Admiral Dixon Smith at TrawlerFest-Baltimore 2018. He was taking our diesel engine course with instructors Nigel Calder and Steve Zimmerman. After tours at the Defense Department, Smith was about to retire and wanted to go back to sea, this time with his wife Kiki. They were about to purchase a 2005 Selene 48, and Smith wanted to prepare for this new “command.”

Dixon and Kiki Smith are loving life, and they're eager to tell their story.

Dixon and Kiki Smith are loving life, and they're eager to tell their story.

Now, two years later, the Smiths are teaching their own seminar at TrawlerFest-Florida, which happens March 3-7 in Stuart. The name of the seminar is From Pentagon to Power Cruising, and it occupies a regular sub-genre at our combination boat show and educational event. Each TrawlerFest features a couple that has navigated the transition between the “real world” and the cruising lifestyle, the challenges they faced and how they overcame them. 

As a vice-admiral in the U.S. Navy, Dixon Smith’s real world was an office at the Pentagon, responsible for the Navy’s logistics and naval bases worldwide. Before that he commanded USS The Sullivans, a guided missile destroyer. Certainly having been a career naval officer must have informed his decision-making. It will be interesting to hear how much the "Navy way" was brought to bear in the process, and perhaps the times it may have been deliberately disregarded. 

The Smiths have already completed an East Coast shake-down cruise.  And by the time of the show, they will already have shipped Highlander from Florida to the West Coast; that experience will also be part of the program. One hopes that it will go smoothly.

Vice Admiral Dixon Smith receives his certificate of completion from instructor Steve Zimmerman at the conclusion of the 2018 diesel course. Here's what Smith, now retired, says about it: "I’ve been around boats and ships my whole life, and having recently purchased a trawler, I’m glad I took the time to attend the two-day diesel engine course. The range and depth of material Nigel and Steve cover, not just the main engine, but electrical and various auxiliary systems, is excellent and covered many areas I didn’t know, or didn’t know well enough. The 'hands on' opportunities also helped reinforce/clarify what we covered in the classroom. "While I certainly don’t remember everything, I do feel more comfortable moving around my engine room. When I come upon something I don’t have 100 percent confidence in, I’m now better prepared to find my way to the correct solution. I definitely find TrawlerFest’s diesel course to be of continuing value."

Vice Admiral Dixon Smith receives his certificate of completion from instructor Steve Zimmerman at the conclusion of the 2018 diesel course. Here's what Smith, now retired, says about it: 

"I’ve been around boats and ships my whole life, and having recently purchased a trawler, I’m glad I took the time to attend the two-day diesel engine course. The range and depth of material Nigel and Steve cover, not just the main engine, but electrical and various auxiliary systems, is excellent and covered many areas I didn’t know, or didn’t know well enough. The 'hands on' opportunities also helped reinforce/clarify what we covered in the classroom.

"While I certainly don’t remember everything, I do feel more comfortable moving around my engine room. When I come upon something I don’t have 100 percent confidence in, I’m now better prepared to find my way to the correct solution. I definitely find TrawlerFest’s diesel course to be of continuing value."

BUY TICKETS

In-Water Boat Show: Thursday to Saturday, March 5-7, 2020. Show runs 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Thursday, Friday & Saturday.

Seminars: Tuesday to Saturday, March 3-7, 2020.

Tickets: General Admission is $15 in advance, $18 onsite. Seminar tickets include General Admission to the boat show on the day of the seminar

Location: Marriott Hutchinson Island Resort & Marina
555 NE Ocean Blvd, Stuart, FL 34996. Parking is free.

Questions? Contact us at trawlerfest@passagemaker.com or (954) 761-8777

Pssssst...Here's the Best Deal

Every seminar except the diesel course, "Practical Marine Weather" and “Boat Handling on the Water” are part of our VIP package. Being a four- or five-day VIP gives attendees access to their choice of 24 other seminars. The cost is $449 for a four-day VIP pass and $549 for the five-day pass. Visit our ticketing site and do some math. You'll see how being a VIP maximizes your seminar buying power. 

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