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International Cruising Boat Expo at Essex Will Be a TrawlerFest-Plus

Essex Island-06

The publishers of PassageMaker and SAIL magazines are launching a new event for New England in the tradition of TrawlerFest, PassageMaker’s signature combination of educational seminars, boat show and social gathering.

The name of the event is International Cruising Boat Expo, and it will be held June 2-7, at Brewer Essex Island Marina in Essex, Connecticut. AIM Marine Group, the magazine’s parent company, decided on the new name to broaden the event’s appeal.

Defining a trawler has always been a slippery undertaking, and some manufacturers of power cruising boats have been reluctant to market their brands under the trawler heading because they associated the word with slow, full-displacement vessels. AIM Marine Group also sought to have a strong sailing component to the show, and in fact all but a handful of the seminars are “propulsion agnostic.” That is, they would benefit sailors and power cruisers equally.

Aside from the name, the event will have all the hallmarks of TrawlerFest, including dozens of new and used sail and power cruising boats displayed in the water. The boat show portion of the ICBE begins on Thursday, June 4, and runs through Sunday.

The week begins on Tuesday with a variation on our popular two-day diesel engine seminar Troubleshooting Boats & Diesel Engines, led by PassageMaker Troubleshooter columnist Steve Zimmerman in collaboration with Bell Power, a John Deere engine distributor headquartered in Essex. Zimmerman is not your average magazine writer. He has been repairing boats for four decades and today owns four boatyards in Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. He is also the builder of the Zimmerman line of power cruisers.

 Click to see seminar options and buy tickets.

Click to see seminar options and buy tickets.

Charles Truthan of Ocala, Florida, recently bought a boat to go cruising. He was asked about his experience at the Riviera Beach, Florida, TrawlerFest in January. Testimonials such as his are commonplace:

“I started with the two-day diesel mechanic course and before the end of the first day, I’d already learned three items that I have put into action,” Truthan said. “Every course I sent to, I picked up at least one or more new bits of information I could use in the next 60 days. Many other items ‘knocked the rust’ off some brain cells that had not been exercised in a few decades.”

Other long seminars feature the same “team-teach” approach as the Troubleshooting class. They are The Great Loop & ICW, The Boat Buyer’s Survival Guide, Soup-To-Nuts Navigation and Hands-On Boat Handling, all of which provide the equivalent of a full day of instruction. But for those who like their topics a la carte, there are plenty of two-hour seminars.

Sailors will enjoy two-hour seminars such as Dealing With The Rough Stuff: Heavy Weather Seamanship, Monohull or Multihull: How To Make the Choice, Comms for Cruisers: SSB Satphone and the rest, and Empowering the First Mate: Cruising Confidence for Cruising Wives.

In all, there are 31 seminars, one of which is ripped from today’s headlines.

With the sudden change in relations between the U.S. and Cuba, there is a tremendous amount of misinformation being aired in online boating forums. With the knowledge gained from 18 winters cruising Cuba, Canadian Capt. Cheryl Barr will discuss preparation of your vessels and yourselves for a Cuba cruise, officialdom and the checking-in process (facts and myths), marine infrastructure (or lack thereof), routes for long- and short term cruises, and must-see sights and how best to access them.

TrawlerFests are held in three locations. Baltimore, Anacortes, Washington, and Riviera Beach. The Essex venue for the International Cruising Boat Expo is quaint, manicured and quintessentially New England, known for its historic Griswold Inn and its Federalist and Colonial-era homes. The town is just a few minutes off Interstate 95.


For information about the International Cruising Boat Expo call 954.703.4789 or email us at To see all the seminars available and sign up, and