Skip to main content

Prefer Bliss To Blisters? Try Our TrawlerFest Seminar Series For Couples


Some will accuse us of sexism. It happens every time we offer “couples” courses at TrawlerFest. To some extent, we take the critics’ point. Navigation techniques are the same whether you are male or female, alpha or omega dog. We contend, however, that modes of cooperation or lack of cooperation exist differently depending on the relationship between two people.

 Captains Chris & Alyse Caldwell

Captains Chris & Alyse Caldwell

And since cruising is an activity nearly always practiced by couples, we thought we would recognize that reality with four seminars that emphasize cooperation and familial ties.

The TrawlerFest seminar series runs Tuesday through Saturday, Sept. 27-Oct. 1 at Bay Bridge Marina, located at the foot of the Cheseapeake Bay Bridge on Kent Island.

We begin TrawlerFest with captains Chris and Alyse Caldwell presenting “Couples Cruising (With Pets)” on Tuesday, Sept. 27. The Caldwells will open your eyes as they share their experiences cruising together, and still managing to like one another! To live and work together in a small boat–even 60 foot boats can seem small--couples will need to find your comfort zone and understand each persons role aboard. True, you can only have one Captain but if you both contribute different skill sets, then you’ll have 100 percent teamwork.

 Circumnavigators Bruce and Joan Kessler demonstrate some cooperative docking techniques.

Circumnavigators Bruce and Joan Kessler demonstrate some cooperative docking techniques.

Both partners do not have to be in the room to benefit from “Tying the Knots: Line Handling for Couples,” also on Tuesday with Doug Dickinson, but it can’t hurt.

Unlike the Navy, which leaves seamanship to the Bosun and crew; knowing the ropes is a task for mom and pop. Dickinson, a professional mariner and trainer, will teach the class how to tie the basic knots and hitches that cruisers need, not just for routine maneuvers but in the event of emergencies. He will also cover the cooperative line handling for docking, anchoring and other events. This seminar is for boaters who want to “maintain an even strain,” literally and figuratively.

Finishing our triple-play Tuesday is Bob Sweet with “Navigation for Couples” Sweet is a senior navigator and author of The Weekend Navigator, GPS for Mariners, Using GPS, Using GPS with Charts, and consultant to OceanGrafix. Sweet’s seminar is a comprehensive “quick start” guide to navigation for crews that want to share the burden.

On Wednesday, we shift gears a little bit with “Photos Afloat: Making, Saving & Sharing Cruising Memories” With Gary Reich. Reich has been providing articles and photographs for boating publications ever since working as an editor at Waterway Guide, and he has a raft of simple ideas for making your photography great.

The seminar will also includes an overview of the online storage and sharing options and the advantages of social media, not the least of which is Facebook. It’s a way to keep in touch with family and friends through imagery whether you are traveling on the the Great Loop or circumnavigating the planet.


Most PassageMaker fans know that TrawlerFest is more than a seminar series. The event’s in-water boat show, runs Thursday, Sept. 29 – Saturday, Oct. 1 . 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 NOTavailable as part of the VIP package)
  • Entry for one to Thursday’s Dinner, Raffle & Trivia Night
  • Entry for one to Friday’s Trawlers At Twilight Docktail Party

There is also a three-day VIP package for $399, which provides similar value. For more information, visit and navigate to TrawlerFest>Bay Bridge, or call 443-745-7785.