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Read All About Them: The Long Seminars For TrawlerFest-Riviera Beach


You can't buy tickets yet, but here are the 11 "long seminars" we will be offering at TrawlerFest-Riviera Beach in Florida, Jan. 26-31, at the Riviera Beach Municipal Marina. Stay tuned. We'll be posting a whole bunch of great two-hour seminars shortly. Make your vacation plans now.

Two-day seminar

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DIESEL ENGINES with Nigel Calder & Steve Zimmerman in partnership with Riviera Beach Maritime Academy and

Tuesday & Wednesday, Jan. 26-27


Class size limited to 36

This is not the only diesel engine course for boaters, but it is the only diesel engine course for boaters taught by renown author/researcher Nigel Calder and veteran boatbuilder and yard operator Steve Zimmerman. Calder’s status is such that when he makes an observation about engine performance, the engine manufacturers themselves pay attention. It is also worthy of note that unlike most other engine instructors both Calder and Zimmerman are real-deal cruisers, who bring this perspective to the curriculum. This two-day session combines classroom time with hands-on engine time in the shop. It also combines theory and practical troubleshooting instruction, and it does so with a touch of humor to keep things lively. New this year: TrawlerFest is partnering with two outstanding institutions, the Riviera Beach Maritime Academy and Viking Yachts, both of which are adjacent to marina.

LUNCH: Attendees will be provided box lunches both days.

PARTY/CEREMONY: Attendees and spouses are welcome to a “graduation” party after Wednesday’s session, during which certificates of completion will be awarded, and a good time will be had. In some cases the certificate of completion may help attendees save money on their boat insurance.

Two-morning seminars


With our team of experts

Thursday & Friday, Jan 28-29, 8:30 am-12:30 pm


Even when it goes well, buying a boat can be a stressful process. The idea behind this eight-hour seminar is to arm buyers with the information they need to minimize frustration and unnecessary expense. There are six “team teach” instructors, with individual presentations and a group panel session at the end of the second morning.

The theme of the first morning is “physics & psychology,” leading off with the first decision a prospective buyer of a cruising boat must make. That is, what kind of cruiser you plan to be and therefore what kind of hull design, because, as boat designer Reuben Trane will argue, hull form matters. Then Great Harbour trawler builder Ken Fickett will explain fiberglass boat construction and how to discern between good and bad. Metal boat builder and surveyor Dylan Bailey explains metal boat construction and its advantages and disadvantages, then finishes the morning with an explanation of the role a surveyor plays in the buying process and what to look for when hiring one.

The theme on day two is “the fine print,” and it begins with yacht broker John Clayman on the topic of choosing a yacht broker and the elements of a good sales contract. Insurance veteran Frank Atlass follows with a behind-the-scenes look at marine insurance and the elements of a good cruising policy. Topics will include navigation territories, coverages, claims liability coverages, international medical coverage, north/south restrictions, named windstorm deductibles and the differences between the agreed value and actual cash value policies. Maritime attorney Todd Lochner gives his advice on how to “stay two steps ahead of the taxman” as you cruise the East Coast, illustrated with horror stories from his case files.

The seminar concludes with all the presenters on stage to answer questions from the audience and to discuss one of the great conundrums of the age: The virtues of simplicity are often touted in discussions about boats, but simplicity is rarely achieved in the marketplace. What constitutes a simple boat? And are complex boats really that bad?


With Steve Zimmerman

Saturday & Sunday, Jan. 30-31 8:30 am- 12:30 pm


Led by PassageMaker Troubleshooter columnist Steve Zimmerman, this intensive, two-morning seminar will provide attendees with valuable information about all aspects of boat maintenance in cruising conditions. Zimmerman is uniquely qualified as an instructor by virtue of nearly four decades of boat repairs, culminating today in his ownership of four boatyards in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina, not to mention the fact that he is an experienced cruiser. Attendees will learn about fiberglass construction methods, maintenance, and repairs. General maintenance topics will include hauling, bottom paints, exterior wood care, and use of sealants. One full session will be devoted to marine electrical systems and basic troubleshooting techniques. Attendees will receive a certificate of completion that in some cases may help save some money on their boat insurance.


With Bob Sweet & Captains

Saturday & Sunday, Jan. 30-31, 8:30 am-12:30 pm

Class size limited to 20


This course will develop skills in close quarters maneuvering and docking, not to mention the confidence gained from having been taught by some of the very best instructors in the business. Bob Sweet is the author of several marine titles including Powerboat Handling Illustrated and The Instant Handbook of Boat Handling, Navigation and Seamanship. Saturday is all class time, then on Sunday, the class breaks down into groups and goes out on the water to put what it has learned into practice. For live training, we plan to use our twin-screw project boat, a Grand Banks 42 named Arawak, and a single-screw vessel, so students can learn the differences in handling and maneuvering techniques. Attendees will receive a certificate of completion that in some cases may help save some money on their boat insurance.

All morning or all afternoon seminars


With Mark & Diana Doyle

Wednesday, Jan. 27, 8:30 am-12:30 pm

$125 ($140 at the gate)

This is a must-attend seminar for any cruisers who intend to head north or south on the Intracoastal Waterway. Mark and Diana Doyle are authors of On the Water Chart Guides, recognized as the gold standard of ICW guides. The Doyle’s will outline how attendees can prepare themselves and their boats for the trip and highlight some of the fun and inexpensive stops from Virginia to the Dry Tortugas. In fact, you are almost guaranteed to save several times the price of admission by following their advice.


With Chuck Baier & Susan Landry, Peter Swanson, Chris Parker, Greg Singer and John Brownlee.

Thursday, Jan. 28, 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

$125 ($140 at the gate)

Chuck Baier and Susan Landry lead this team-teach seminar with a stable of down-island specialists. This seminar is for anyone planning a trip to the Bahamas or the Caribbean. Attendees will learn how to prepare their boats and provision and what to expect as they move from island to island. Former PassageMaker Editor Peter Swanson will discuss the North Coast of the Dominican Republic, otherwise known as the “thorny path to windward.” Weather Guru Chris Parker will talk about weather patterns and ways to obtain forecasts. Maritime Attorney Greg Singer presents a module for anyone considering keeping firearms aboard while cruising; he identifies the islalnds that can cause problems for even the most consciencious armed cruisers.


With Bob Sweet

Thursday, Jan. 28, 8:30 am-12:30 pm

$125 ($130 at the gate)

Are you truly confident that you always know where you are and how to get to your destination? Whether you’re new to navigation or just want to get up to speed with the latest technology, this mini-course is for you. Instructor Bob 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.

You’ll learn the essential skills from planning a cruise, through navigating it and checking along the way. You will learn how to use conventional charts with your electronics in a complementary way to ease your navigation tasks and ensure your safe arrival at your destination. You’ll also learn some neat tricks for adjusting your navigation along the way and making your task a lot easier. You will learn about tides and currents and how to adjust to them. This also is a great course for mates and crew who would like to share in the navigation. You will get to work with real charts and some plotting tools on a simulated mini-cruise.


With Chris Parker

Friday, Jan. 29, 8:30 am–12:30 pm

$125 ($130 at the gate)

Weatherman Chris Parker, himself an experienced mariner, has been serving as a weather router for cruisers on the East Coast, the Bahamas and the Caribbean for more than 12 years. Parker’s lively and informative seminar is aimed at any one who wants the knowledge to make their own passage decisions with whatever information is available. Topics include basic weather terminology and concepts such as temperature, wind and pressure and cloud identification. Parker reviews all the different free and paid ways to get weather forecasts on a boat. Everything from OCENS and Sirius, and the services provided by MFD-makers, explaining which is best for what set of cruising circumstances and what they cost. This includes a briefing on GRIB files and how to use them. Plus, he will touch on down island weather patterns and various ways to obtain forecasts. Attendees will receive a certificate of completion that in some cases may help save some money on their boat insurance.


With Don Barr, Greg Singer & Peter Swanson

Friday, Jan. 29, 8:30 am–12:30 pm

$125 ($140 at the gate)

Now that U.S. citizens with a legal reason to visit Cuba can take their own boats there, we’d like to get the word out to cruisers about what they can expect to find when they arrive. Don Barr, a Canadian sea captain, has cruised the Cuban coast for the past 19 years, most recently to facilitate research for his daughter Cheryl’s two-volume Cruising Guide to Cuba. He’ll share his thoughts on cruising strategies for short and long trips. Maritime attorney Greg Singer will show attendees how to navigate U.S. regulations and cruise Cuba legally. Peter Swanson will suggest some resources that will make cruising easier and safer.


With George and Pat Hospadar, Joe Pica & Todd Lochner

Saturday, Jan. 30, 8:30 am-1 pm

$125($140 at the gate)

George and Pat Hospodar, active cruisers authors of Reflection on America’s Great Loop and The Great Loop Experience from Concept to Completion, will guide attendees through the important practical considerations that should be made before even undertaking this trip. These topics include: outfitting your boat, route planning, financial, medical, insurance, time-frame, and life-style factors, types of locks and lock safety, Canadian and U.S. Customs, addressing security issues, and much more. Co-presenter Joe Pica, an eight-year liveaboard, has done the Great Loop three times on his N37 trawler as well as the entire Mississippi from Mineapolis to New Orleans. He will also describe his adventures navigating the Ohio River all the way to Pittsburgh, the Cumberland River to Nashville, and other heartland tributaries. Todd Lochner is a maritime attorney and regular TrawlerFest presenter. He’ll summarize gun laws along the Loop’s multiple jurisdictions--laws and enforcement of those laws that vary wildly. What is legal in Georgia might very well result in serious consequences in New Jersey, for example. This information has never before been compiled for cruisers.


With Steve Seaton & Dylan Bailey

Sunday, Jan. 31, 8:30 am-12:30 pm

$125 ($140 at the gate)

Yacht designer Steve Seaton has been designing trawlers for nearly 40 years, many of which were built of metal. As a surveyor specializing in metal construction and editor of Metal Boat Quarterly, Dylan Bailey is a leading authority on steel and aluminum boatbuilding. Seaton and Bailey will discuss the many advantages to of custom construction in metal, including the ability to survive most groundings and collisions, as well as the downsides. They will also offer advice about how to buy a used metal boat, which can be tricky because quality of construction varies widely in the marketplace. During the presentation, an attendee will be selected to sit across from Seaton as he takes pen to paper to bring that person’s dreamboat to life.