Forecaster Chris Parker Headlines TrawlerFest on the Chesapeake

With Hurricane Harvey behind us and Irma on the way, maybe it's time to take weather more seriously. Hopefully by the time TrawlerFest-Bay Bridge is happening the skies will be clear.

Weather router Chris Parker, who has guided thousands of American mariners across the Caribbean, is a headline speaker at the Chesapeake Bay TrawlerFest, which happens Sept. 26-30.

Parker’s lively and informative "Weather for Cuisers" seminar is aimed at any one who wants the knowledge to make their own passage decisions with whatever information is available, including GRIB patterns and various forecast delivery services. Participants will receive a certificate of completion, which, depending on the insurer, can lower your rates

To prevent information overload, the seminar is split into two two-hour sessions on Friday and Saturday, Sept.  29-30.

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Here's Parker's description of his forecasting philosophy:

Weather forecasters tend to be an opinionated, and some might say arrogant bunch We like to be right. I see technical forecast discussions time and time again, which mention the possibility/plausibility for severe weather, but, since the forecaster’s objective is to be "right" (to produce a single forecast with the greatest chance of being correct), they fail to warn forecast recipients of potentially-severe weather. I have a different objective.

I try to make sure you are not surprised by the weather - especially that you're not surprised by inclement weather. Occasionally that means my forecasts for inclement weather fail to verify, but I'd much rather have it that way than to have clients surprised by nasty weather. Of course, I can't anticipate all inclement weather, and I encourage clients to use as many forecast sources as they wish. I encourage dialogue.

You need to make weather-based decisions, so you need to understand the weather situation. If you do not understand, please ask. If my forecast differs from other forecasts, feel free to ask why...In addition to weather forecasts, most of my services provide Routing Advice.

While I may suggest you consider sailing a specific route for most-favorable conditions, my Routing Advice goes way beyond that. I try to consider unique needs of each client. I’ve worked with physically disabled sailors, vessels with young children onboard, engine-less vessels, serious racers, delivery crews, day-sailors, vessels on Atlantic Crossings, fishing vessels, tug boats, surfers, airplanes, etc. Each client has different goals, and desires different “ideal” weather conditions. I try to tailor my entire interaction with a vessel to the needs of that vessel.

If I know a vessel is particularly “fragile”, I will actually alter the forecast I give that vessel (increasing wind speed forecast by 5k on marginal days, etc.) to make absolutely certain the “bad” weather sounds “bad” to them, and I over-estimate the risk for severe weather, to make absolutely sure that vessel is not surprised. While I hope to never tell you what to do.

You must make your decisions. I may recommend tactics I might use in a situation similar to yours, including how to pick-up a favorable wind-shift to win a race, or how to delay the need to jibe until after sunrise, or how to deploy available gear to steady a ride downwind, or to consider an alternate destination/anchorage given the weather forecast, etc.

PURCHASE TICKETS

The TrawlerFest boat show and seminar series happens at Bay Bridge Marina Yacht Club on Kent Island at the foot of Maryland’s magnificent Tuesday through Sunday, Sept. 26-30. The boat show runs Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 28-30, and includes booths displaying marine products and services.

There are 28 seminars altogether. The diesel seminar is the longest course offering at roughly 16 hours. Another is the equivalent of one eight-hour day. Seven are 3 1/2 -4 hours And 19 are short courses, at two-hours. All the technical seminars provide attendees with certificates of completion.

The best value is to purchase a VIP pass which allows entry into any and all of the seminars (except the diesel and "Hands-On Boat Handling" seminars) for a set price, which also includes admission to the show and evening social events.

MESSAGE TO SAILORS

Nearby Annapolis is known as the "Sailing Capital of the United States." Here's a message to Bay Sailors: Even though the event is called TrawlerFest, and its brought to you by PassageMaker magazine, most of the seminars are “propulsion agnostic.” That is, their lessons apply equally to sailors as well as power cruisers.

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