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Cruising Rules and Weems & Plath


Everyone's got their own list of cruising rules. Here are Peter and Cathie Trogdon's words to live by:

  • Keep no hard schedule
  • Invite no overnight guests
  • Always watch the weather and get reports
  • Plan your route each morning
  • Compare paper and electronic charts
  • Wear shoes to protect your toes
  • Never jump off the boat
  • Close all hatches before leaving the boat


Weems & Plath had a noble history long before Peter and Cathie Trogdon purchased the company. Lt. Cmdr. Philip Van Horn Weems was a navigator in the U.S. Navy in the early 1900s when he realized it would be his destiny to modernize navigation systems. Through the years he gathered knowledge, invented and perfected marine tools, taught, and wrote. Charles Lindbergh and Admiral Byrd both took instruction from him.

Carl Plath, meanwhile, had begun manufacturing commercial sextants and magnetic compasses in Germany in the 1800s. Weems became the North American source for Plath products, combining two respected names into one firm.

In this day of disposables, most of the company's products are intended to last a lifetime. With the addition of Conant Custom Brass, Weems & Plath now manufactures outdoor weather instruments to go with its other nautical inventory.

Peter Trogdon became general manager of Weems & Plath in 1995 and bought the company in 1997. "Bee Weems is intended to get us closer to the core market for Weems & Plath products and is an ideal way to experience various regional boating conditions and the needs of our customer base," says Peter. Using his own products while under way gives him firsthand testing and development knowledge.

Years ago, I bought my husband a Weems & Plath brass quartz ship's bell clock and matching barometer. When we sold our boat, we decided these were the two things we simply couldn't part with. They hang in my office, awaiting their next vessel. My husband enters my office each day to check the latest barometric reading, and the clock is the one by which I set all other household timepieces.

When I asked Peter to name his favorite Weems & Plath product, he said it was the brass quartz ship's bell clock and matching barometer. Yes! "A classic romance of the sea and functional timekeeper for determining longitude," he says, a bit tongue in cheek, "in case my GPS fails."—Sally Bee Brown