Stuart Florida is ground zero for one of the most destination-intensive TrawlerFest ever undertaken. Taking all six of our cruising seminars will be like getting a master’s degree in cruising geography, starting with our own location on the ICW.
Hutchinson Island, TrawlerFest’s location at the Marriott is just off the Intracoastal Waterway, so why not kick off a destination series with a treatise on “The Ditch” with Ditchmaster General Tom Hale.
After retiring from a long career in the marine industry, Hale has shared his tricks with dozens of cruisers, giving them the confidence to make their ICW transit a path to paradise, not Hades highway. Cruising the ICW, Tuesday, Feb. 28 8:30 a.m. -10:30 a.m.
Smuggler’s Run: Cruising Florida’s Mini-Loop, features Ken Fickett as your native guide. Fickett is a Florida boatbuilder with a penchant for telling tales, some of which are actually true. Learn about an around-Florida adventure that involves circumnavigating the lower part of the state via the Okeechobee Waterway and Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands as Fickett takes you on a journey that encompasses many of Florida’s remaining wild and eccentric places. Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2-4 p.m.
Living aboard their DeFever 40 Blue Turtle, Capt. Randy and Kim Kalisik have cruised to the Dry Tortugas for the last three years with their son, Corey, and Sophie the dog.
The Dry Tortugas National park is a small group of islands located 70 miles west of Key West Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. It is home to a history of sea turtles, sunken wrecks and one of the largest coastal brick fortresses, Fort Jefferson (shown above). It is an amazing cruising getaway to unspoiled reefs, shallow water wrecks and fantastic star gazing. Cruising to the Dry Tortugas, Wednesday, March 1, 8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
Boaters who circumnavigate the East Coast of U.S., using the Hudson River, Erie Canal, Great Lakes, Mississippi River and Intracoastal Waterway are called “Loopers” for having completed “The Great Loop.” Kim Russo, executive director of the America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association, will give a detailed briefing with plenty of time to answer questions. She will also address which boats are most suitable and how to budget. The Great Loop: How To Prepare, Wednesday, March 1, 8:30 a.m. -10:30 a.m.
The Abacos region of the Bahamas is so welcoming that it has earned the nickname “Little America.” Captains Chris and Alyse Caldwell will brief attendees on when and how to cross the Gulf Stream, supplies, weather, communications, fishing and Bahamian clearance procedures. They’ll share some of their favorite anchorages and destinations. Today’s electronics make the crossing easier and in less than a day, most boats find a wonderful marina or anchorage awaiting their arrival. Bahamas Bound: Destination Abacos, Thursday, March 2, 8:30 a.m. -10:30 a.m.
Addison Chan is a veteran Canadian cruiser and founder of the Facebook public group Cuba, Land And Sea, an excellent clearinghouse of up-to-date information about cruising Cuba and shoreside amenities. Chan also contributes to the latest Waterway Guide on Cuba. He will be joined by Peter Swanson of AIM Marine and Maritime Attorney Greg Singer to brief attendees on the current state of U.S. law with the new administration. Cruising Cuba: The Latest Word, Saturday, March 4, 10:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Most PassageMaker fans know that TrawlerFest is more than a seminar series. The event’s in-water boat show, runs Thursday, March 2-4. Dozens of power cruisers will be open for inspection on the docks and vendors will be on hand to demonstrate products and services.
Smart money goes for our five-day VIP Page, which costs $499 but can amount to a value of more than $1,100. Here’s what it includes:
- General Admission to all threedays of TrawlerFest’s In-Water Boat Show
- Unlimited access to seminars (Tuesday-Saturday) (Diesel Engine course and Boat Handling Hands On is NOT available as part of the VIP package)
- Entry for one to Thursday’s Dinner and entertainment.
- Entry for one to Friday’s Docktail Party
There is also a three-day VIP package for $399, which provides similar value. For more information, visit www.passagemaker.com and navigate to TrawlerFest>Bay Bridge, or call 443-745-7785.