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TrawlerFest-Florida Diesel Course Includes Hands-On Electrical Troubleshooting

Nigel Calder's custom crafted teaching aids have arrived. They are circuit boards for the hands-on electrical system troubleshooting session, which is part of the diesel engine course.

Our tremendously successful two-day engine seminar with Nigel Calder and Steve Zimmerman will be repeated at TrawlerFest-Riviera Beach on Jan. 20-21, but with more hands-on training than before. The seminar is entitled "Everything You Need To Know About Diesel Engines."

Well known as an author, Calder is PassageMaker’s technical editor, and Zimmerman writes the magazine’s “Troubleshooter” column. Both men are real-deal cruisers.

 Nigel Calder conducts a workshop in electrical troubleshooting during the Diesel Engine seminar at TrawlerFest-Baltimore.

Nigel Calder conducts a workshop in electrical troubleshooting during the Diesel Engine seminar at TrawlerFest-Baltimore.

Calder is author of six books, including Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual, Marine Diesel Engines, Refrigeration for Pleasureboats, The Cruising Guide to the Northwest Caribbean, and Cuba: A Cruising Guide. Zimmerman, a long-time friend of the magazine, is president of Zimmerman Marine, which operates four boatyards, in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina, specializing in repairs, refits and maintenance. He has been repairing and building boats for almost four decades.

The Riviera Beach event will mark the second time we’ve used a team approach to teaching about diesel engines. Besides our lead presenters we will have knowledgeable reps from Yanmar and other makers teaching basic maitenance using two-engines, a genset and fuel-filtering system for hands-on work.

Calder himself will lead attendees in electrical troubleshooting using multimeters and training aids that he has developed especially for the class. The program will conclude with a panel discussion and questions from the audience.

TrawlerFest-Baltimore in September was our first attempt, and the feedback from Diesel Engine attendees was overwhelmingly positive with this from one of them:

“Nigel was excellent I believe he presented a great deal of information but did not drown us in the unimportant stuff. His presentation seemed to get at the ‘meat’ of the issue directly. Thus, he was able to cover more. He was entertaining and repeated: ‘You can do this’ many times which I found very supportive.

“Steve, your presentation was equally solid. I liked your approach from the prop forward and it was great to hear what shipyards see as the major problems.”

The class is limited to 39 attendees, and it is almost guaranteed to sell out.

 Click the button to purchase tickets to TrawlerFest Riviera Beach!

Click the button to purchase tickets to TrawlerFest Riviera Beach!

The team approach worked so well at Baltimore that we’ve expanded the technique to cover a variety of subjects at TrawlerFest-Rivera Beach, including seminars on going to the Bahamas, transiting the ICW and Great Loop, boatbuying and hands-on small boat handling.

TrawlerFest-Riviera Beach begins on Tuesday, Jan. 20, with seminars and goes through Sunday, Jan. 25. The in-water boat show begins on Thursday, Jan. 22, and runs through Sunday, featuring boats for long-term cruisers and liveaboards. Located at 200 East 13th Street in Riviera Beach, Florida, the new venue lies along the Intracoastal Waterway, just two miles south of Lake Park Marina, site of last year’s event. Set at the mouth of the Lake Worth Inlet, the freshly refitted marina is a perfect solution to accommodate cruisers that are not local to the Palm Beach area.


In the past there was a distinction between TrawlerFest and TrawlerFest University. TrawlerFest University consisted of long seminars on Tuesday and Wednesday, while TrawlerFest put on shorter seminars, the in-water boat show and vendor exhibits, opening on Thursday and running through Sunday.

For TrawlerFest-Riviera Beach we have added several longer TrawlerFest U type courses and scheduled them in two-morning blocks (the equivalent of a full-day) all the way through Sunday, while maintaining a full-schedule of short seminars at the same time. Our goal is to give attendees an opportunity to take more than one University-style course or any combination of longer and shorter seminars.