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Senter, Leitch Join TrawlerFest Diesel Seminar at Bay Bridge Marina

Star trainer Robert Senter and veteran Bay-area diesel tech Jeff Leitch are joining as presenters for “Everything You Need To Know About Diesel Engines" next week at TrawlerFest-Bay Bridge.
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Robert Senter is the closest thing the marine engine world has to a celebrity chef, and he’s returning to TrawlerFest at Bay Bridge Marina next week

Senter and veteran Bay-area diesel tech Jeff Leitch are joining Nigel Calder and Steve Zimmerman to present “Everything You Need To Know About Diesel Engines” over two days, Sept. 26-27, at Bay Bridge Marina on Kent Island.

Senter, also known as “Lugger Bob” for his work with that venerable diesel propulsion motor, has been active in yachting for nearly half a century, starting in the Sea Explorers in Portland, Oregon. He has owned boats for 38 years, and lived aboard, off and on. An avid cruiser, Senter has explored the San Juan Islands, Puget Sound and Canada and continues to spend as much time as possible cruising.


He received his degree in Diesel and Automotive Technology from Oregon Technical Institute. After working ten years for White Trucks as both technician and manager, he started a successful automotive service business in San Francisco, specializing in diagnostics, diesels and computerized electronic engine controls. In 1991, Senter joined Edge Diagnostic Systems in Sunnyvale, a Silicon Valley startup specializing in PC-based live electronic computer signal diagnostics for gas and diesel engines.

In 1998, he founded his Marine Engine Consulting and Training Company, and regularly offers hands-on engine maintenance training. He consults with several companies, providing expertise in marine engine development and training, including John Deere’s marine division and TrawlerFest sponsor Northern Lights.

Senter has trained everyone from private boat owners to the Mexican Navy in engine, generator systems repair and maintenance. In 2004, he served as Engineer-on-Call while taking part in Nordhavn’s Atlantic Rally crossing the Atlantic with 18 motor yachts from Ft. Lauderdale to Gibraltar.

Leitch is providing two motors for the seminar--a Northern Lights genset for Senter to present and a Yanmar training engine. "Finding engines for the diesel course can be a challenge and TrawlerFest is greatful that Bay Shore Marine has agreed to fulfill that role," says Peter Swanson, seminar manager.

Leitch founded Bay Shore Marine in 1988, having worked for a marine engine service company in Annapolis for about 10 years prior to that. He said he considers himself fortunate to learn this trade from a man named Buddy Rogers.

After starting bay Shore Marine he brought talented technicians on board and later acquired the Yanmar and Northern Lights dealerships. Bay Shore became a John Deere Dealer around 2005 and that opened up a great market of trawler owners seeking to repower.

The diesel class is limited to 36 attendees and has almost always sold out.

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.