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The big news for the upcoming TrawlerFest-Seattle is that Nigel Calder (at left, above) is back as instructor for our flagship seminar, Everything You Need To Know About Diesel Engines. Calder will be joined by co-instructor Mike Beemer, department chair for the Marine Maintenance Technology school at Skagit Valley College in Anacortes.

Mike Beemer, at left, is Calder's co-presenter. The diesel seminar, capped at 36 students, sells out year after year.

Mike Beemer, at left, is Calder's co-presenter. The diesel seminar, capped at 36 students, sells out year after year.

After many years in outlying port cities, TrawlerFest for the Pacific Northwest is returning to Seattle with an in-water boat show and seminar series designed to make cruising easier, safer and more fun. We're expecting dozens of cruising craft on the docks at Bell Harbor Marina.

Calder is a renown author and researcher. He is technical editor for PassageMaker magazine. Here is a typical tribute to Calder from cruiser-author Carolyn Shearlock:

One afternoon, while Dave sailed the boat, I sat below with everything torn apart, reading Calder until I found symptoms that sounded like ours. I did the tests he described and concluded that our voltage regulator was bad. To be honest, I’d never heard of a voltage regulator before we’d bought the boat—and only heard about it then as we inventoried the spares.

And of course, our spare wasn’t identical to the one in use, so it wasn’t going to be a simple swap-out. No, I had to install a whole new wiring harness and everything. But — and this is big — after reading Calder, I understood what I needed to do. Between this book and the installation instructions that came with the regulator, I had no problems other than those occasioned by working on a moving boat.

I even understood what I was doing in programming the regulator correctly for our batteries (as opposed to a cookbook approach of “do this because I say to”). My confidence soared with that one episode, and I imagine others have had the same experience. I can’t tell you how many times we pulled out “Nigel” to figure something out. More than one page was covered in grease stains.


Beemer is a professional vocational educator who has helped fill the demand for qualified marine technicians in the Pacific Northwest for years. He also happens to be Calder's friend and collaborator. Calder has high praise for Beemer. “Mike has developed, and runs, some of the very best marine systems courses available anywhere in the country,” Calder says. “He is also a long-time boat owner with a great deal of hands-on experience, and as such brings a strong practical element to the academic courses. I can think of no one more qualified."

When Joshua Slocum's sailed Spray around the world, one thing he really missed was a fresh water bath. Many modern vessels are equipped with water-makers, and there are many great options available. Besides teaming with Calder for the diesel course, Beemer will present Watermaker: Build It, Buy It, Use It, which takes you through the theory of water-making, options that are available, why they are so expensive, and maintenance of these systems. He will also discuss options and resources for the DIY boat owner wanting to save some money by building their own system.

This year we're offering more than 25 seminars, including hands-on boat handling and hands-on MFD navigation. Our destinations topics include the Inside Passage to Alaska, British Columbia, Mexico and beyond. Perennial favorities such as First Aid and Medical Preparation and Boat Buyers Survival Guide will also be on offer.

SEMINARS: Tuesday-Saturday, April 23-27 at Seattle Marriott Waterfront

IN-WATER BOAT SHOW: Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 at Bell Harbor Marina.
Show open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. DAILY

ROOMS: Marriott Waterfront offers a limited number of TrawlerFest discounts. Call (206) 443-5000 and mention TrawlerFest.

QUESTIONS? Contact Donna at

BEST VALUE: Every seminar except the diesel course 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. 


Bell Harbor Marina, Seattle's new home for TrawlerFest.

Bell Harbor Marina, Seattle's new home for TrawlerFest.


Seattle’s weather is famously wet, but by the end of April the average high temperatures have moved into the 60s. The peak tourism season is still months away so hotels, venues and attractions are less crowded. Flowers are in bloom. We naturally pitch our Florida event as a vacation opportunity. Seattle should be no different. This is an opportunity for trawler enthusiasts to enjoy a unique American city while they shop for a boat and expand their cruising knowledge.

Catching a thrown fish at the Pike Place Market.

Catching a thrown fish at the Pike Place Market.


James Beard-awarded (and nominated) Chefs: It is foolish to try to compile a comprehensive list of the best chefs in downtown Seattle, but we're here to point you in a few directions. Here are a few names to consider in preparing a list of the up-and-coming - plus the already established - luminaries in the local culinary arts scene. Tom Douglas, Ethan Stowell, Renee Erickson, are a few of the primary movers and shakers who have established reputations with a number of restaurants around town. New this year, is James Beard-winning "Best Chef in the Northwest" Edouardo Jordan and his "Best New Restaurant in America"-winning restaurant, JuneBaby ( Not all of these spots will be at the doorstep of TrawlerFest's waterfront festivities, but most are within reach either by foot or a fairly short Uber ride away.

For a list of tremendous up-and-coming chefs, check out this story from SeattleMet:

Palisades & Canlis: A 10-minute Uber ride from Bell Harbor will land you at Elliott Bay Marina, the location of Palisade, a higher-end restaurant with stunning views of downtown Seattle, West Seattle, and Bainbridge Island. Feast on Alaskan king crab legs (the house specialty), excellent cocktails and an extensive wine list while you watch the ferries come in and out of Elliott Bay. Canlis is a well-entrenched restaurant at the upper end and has earned its reputation over the years for featuring gourmet food, craft cocktails, and service that is hard to match. Either restaurant is within easy reach of Bell Harbor. /


Craft Beer: Craft brewing has exploded in Seattle, and the waterfront boasts several of its most exciting newer breweries. The closest among them are Cloudburst, founded by a former star at Elysian Brewing, Holy Mountain, and . The former focuses its attention on hoppy India pale ales, while Holy Mountain generally excels at oak barrel- or foudre-aged clean and wild fermented beers. Other breweries nearby are Pike Brewing, a Pike Place Market stalwart, and a newer craft house, Old Stove, which is also in the Market. The latter has impressive views over Puget Sound. For a healthy list of some of the best NW breweries, check out this tremendous map created by Seattle Eater:

Wine: Well-regarded Washington wine, as well as wine from all over the world, can be found at Purple Cafe and Wine Bar, located downtown on 4th avenue. If you're hungry, they also serve small plates that are perfect for what Zagat calls "upscale grazing."

Whiskey: Another favorite haunt in Pike Place Market is Radiator Whiskey. If you're interested in sample a wide array of Kentucky bourbon, whiskeys of all ages and flavors, and even barrel-aged whiskey cocktails, Radiator is the place to be.


This market is one the greatest tourism destinations in the world.

This market is one the greatest tourism destinations in the world.

Pike Place Market: Seattleites imagine that everyone knows about the flying fish of Pike Place Market, the infamous gum wall, and the country mile of fresh fruit, vegetables, and flowers that can be purchased inside the Market's twisting, turning halls. There is more than that, though, and we encourage any first-timer to visit - and get lost - inside. Quoth Wikipedia:

Pike Place Market is a public market overlooking the Elliott Bay ... The Market opened Aug.17,1907, and is one of the oldest continuously operated public farmers' markets in the United States. It is a place of business for many small farmers, craftspeople and merchants. Named after the central street, Pike Place runs northwest from Pike Street to Virginia Street. With more than 10 million visitors annually, Pike Place Market is Seattle's most popular tourist destination and is the 33rd most visited tourist attraction in the world. The Market is built on the edge of a steep hill,and consists of several lower levels located below the main level. Each features a variety of unique shops such as antique dealers, comic book and collectible shops, small family-owned restaurants, and one of the oldest head shops in Seattle.

Seattle Aquarium: Down the way on Pier 59 you'll find the Seattle Aquarium. It's pretty self-explanatory, but check out their website ahead of time to find out about special events during TrawlerFest's April dates.

Seattle Art Museum: Swing by SAM itself (but do check to find out about traveling exhibits and shows), or the Asian Art Museum while you're visiting Seattle. If the weather is cooperating, take a stroll through the nearby Olympic Sculpture Park.

Benaroya Hall & The Paramount: If you're into theater, concerts, shows, and performances of all kinds, you're coming to the right place. Both Benaroya Hall and the 1928-build Paramount Theater - among dozens of others located within a stone's throw from Bell Harbor - offer a dizzying array of performing arts. Check out their individual websites or TicketMaster to find out what is coming to town during your visit. /

Seattle's Underground Tour: Take a humorous stroll through Seattle's unforgettable underground - the city that was mostly destroyed during the Great Seattle fire of 1889. You're sure to laugh - and be generally more informed - after the 75-minute tour that comes highly recommended by all.


Major League Baseball - Seattle Mariners: April kicks off the season for Major League Baseball, and while we can't promise it won't rain, we can promise that newly renamed T-Mobile Field has a functioning retractable roof. Come visit the "House that Griffey Built" - baseball Hall of Famer, Ken Griffey, Jr., that is, because without Griffey the "M's" would probably be playing in another city. Instead, you can sit down and inaugurate another season of futility for a team that hasn't qualified for the playoffs in 17 painful years. Who knows, though, maybe your precious Red Sox will be in town?

Major League Soccer - Sounders FC: More recently, Seattle was given a professional men's soccer franchise, and named the new team Sounders FC. Unlike the Mariners, the Sounders have found quick success, having already bagged a number of U.S. Open Cup trophies and an MLS Cup championship, to boot. The team plays at the home of the Seattle Seahawks, at Century Link field, which does not have a retractable roof, but does have a few covered seats. You've been warned.

Of course, how could you ever miss the gum wall, within walking distance of Bell Harbor Marina? It's a place that really sticks with you.

Of course, how could you ever miss the gum wall, within walking distance of Bell Harbor Marina? It's a place that really sticks with you.