This note comes from one of our students at TrawlerFest University in Anacortes WA. They detail their experience to share with us and Christine Alhambra, Managing Editor for Passagemaker. Of course we see the value of education and believe we offer a terrific course but here’s just another perspective….
Below is a summary of our experience that we are using to let people know what we have been up to; including our own Power Squadron in CA.
Christine, I hope I have not confused the histories too much!
Chris and Alyse, great boating with you. Perhaps we will have a chance to do it again……………..
May 20, 2011
As new boat owners Barbara and I have been using all training opportunities available to us [including joining the USPS!].
That led us to decide to attend, this month, educational activities associated with the specialized boating show called TrawlerFest.
For background, as I know it, these four times a year events are products of the two decade boom in trawler type boating;
I am aware the trawler type boating has existed for many years. Loosely defined as slow, ‘workboat’ style boats often capable of traveling great distances courtesy of single engine diesel’s low fuel consumption.
As a group they differ from the very popular Grand Banks type of live aboard cruisers in that they are generally more blue water capable; many capable of crossing an ocean.
That said, there are many [power]boat manufactures now producing boats that fit a broader definition of ‘trawler’. Many were represented at the show with a truly wide variety of types and styles being shown;
from the thousands of dollars to the millions; dream boats at every level!.
I am not sure of all factors that have led to the dramatic increase in interest/activity in this area in the last twenty years but I do have some opinions; to wit:
A number of years ago a man named Beebe wrote a pretty straight forward book on the subject that made the idea sound very attractive.
The trend grew enough that it attracted the interest of a man named Paratore who started a magazine focused specifically on trawlering life style; Passagemaker, in 1996.
Then, my speculation here, there occurred a demographics situation where many lifelong sailors reached the age where the appeal of trawlering lifestyle pointed to the next step in boating.
Admittedly I fit that group, however, an incredibly large number of people we have met are the same. As they have aged the challenge of big boat sailing has become more daunting and trawlering
has looked like a great way to extend their time on the water. We all know it is in your blood and never leaves!
I do not know the full background but I believe that West Marine may have been involved with the early TrawlerFests.
Passagemaker magazine became involved with two day education opportunities created that run in conjunction with TrawlerFests; generally the two days before the actual boat show.
In addition, ninety minute seminars on a wide range of subjects are presented throughout a show’s duration
Initially called Passagemaker University I believe it is now called Trawler Fest University.
The events are currently being run in Ft Lauderdale, Anacortes, Baltimore and San Diego; spread throughout the year.
We chose to attend the one in Anacortes, WA, as we hope to move our boat to that area next year.
The range of classes and seminars are described on the website. The class emphasis is on Diesel engine and boat systems maintenance and on bringing spouses to a comfortable confidence level as boating partners.
The latter is emphasized by a class offering for women only as well as the ‘couples class’ that we took. Both are very popular and sell out quickly.
As noted, the range of seminar subjects is broader. You can check it all out at www.trawlerfest.com.
Barbara and I chose to do the “Building Cruising Confidence as a Couple” course; popularly know as a couples survival course!
We spent two days on a Kady-Krogan 44, a single engine long range trawler/cruiser optimized for a couple. They are well built boats and popular throughout the country.
There were just four couples in the class. A husband and wife [Captains, both] team did the program; Chris and Alyse Caldwell; great instructors.
We also had the pleasure of having R/C Eugene Molteni SN, on board. He was auditing the course as it will serve individual USPS members by providing points toward their BOC.
Though not his reason for being there he was an asset and added to the course’s content.
Also on board for the second day was Christine Alhambra, Managing Editor for Passagemaker. She too added to the experience and was a welcome shipmate.
Briefly, the eight of us were divided into two teams. One team spent the day on deck and the other inside the boat. The next day the teams swapped duties.
We were the very lucky team that got the dry day on deck. The second team had to do it all in the cold, wind and rain!
We covered everything from engine room to line handling and a lot in between. It was very thorough and informative; and fun.
A real value was listening to the the Caldwells on the small ‘stuff’; things learned from their years of living on board. We came away with pages of notes.
We each took in seminars; Barbara did “Confessions of a Galley Slave” [self explanatory?] and “Tips and Techniques to Enhance Life Aboard”.
I attended “Listening to Your Engines”, presented by Steve D’Antonio, a well recognized expert in the field.
We also had the opportunity to participate in a life raft deployment demonstration; not often seen, I think.
Sad to say we were scheduled to leave Seattle on Friday so that was all the time we had. we will do it again and do a better job of scheduling.
The entire experience was well worth the trip and cost. We recommend TrawlerFest University for anyone wishing to advance their comfort level in the areas offered.
We were especially pleased to see that USPS is heavily involved with these events. There has to be some real efficiencies in joint educational efforts such as these.
Dave and Barbara Gunn
May 20, 2011