Nordhavn 55 on display at Trawler Fest

The Nordhavn 55 South By West will be our featured display boat at the upcoming Riviera Beach, FL TrawlerFest. South By West is a knock out with a beautiful cherry interior and decked out with the upgraded hydraulics package. For a sneak peak preview, please watch the video and view the write up on our website.

South By West


Details are – January 22 – 25th from 10am to 5pm (Thursday through Sunday).


The venue is:

Riviera Beach Marina

200 East 13th Street,

Riviera Beach, FL 33404


Jeff will continue his regular participation as a presenter at Trawler Fest by giving two weekend talks and sitting in on a Saturday afternoon panel. Here is that schedule:

Saturday, January 24, 8:30am – 10:30am
$50.00 ($60.00 on-site)
Presented by: Jeff Merrill
With more than 14,000 miles at sea on trawlers, Jeff Merrill has run nonstop for days on end, transitioning from dusk to night to dawn. His seminar will shed some light on what you can do to become more comfortable when it is your time to stand watch or do an engine room check at sea in the night. We will review engine room checks, standing watch, watch schedules and basic navigation and electronics monitoring and how these chores are carried out during the night. This seminar will include time to swap some sea stories and some helpful handouts will be provided.


Saturday, January 24, 3:30pm – 5:30pm
$50.00 ($60.00 on-site)
Presented by: Bruce Kessler, Milt Baker, Peter Swanson, Jeff Merrill, Steve Zimmerman and more!
TrawlerFest’s only afternoon seminar during the boat show will be a town-hall event. In it, our panel of veteran cruisers will field audience questions on a wide-range of topics, sea stories resulting. Circumnavigator Bruce Kessler can discuss what it’s like to spend months and months treading blue water. Milt Baker, owner of a Nordhavn 47 and an American Tug (and a blue water veteran himself), has a unique perspective on the advantages of full- versus semi-displacement. PassageMaker Editor Peter Swanson cruised the Caribbean on financial fumes and has delivered boats on both coasts. Veteran broker Jeff Merrill can advise on how to choose the right boat. And Steve Zimmerman can discuss repairs and boatyards from the point of view of both a cruiser and boatyard owner.


Sunday, January 25, 10:45am – 12:45pm
$50.00 ($60.00 on-site)
Presented by: Jeff Merrill
Jeff Merrill has been selling cruising sailboats and trawlers for more than 20 years and has discovered some of the secrets diligent trawler owners use to reflect great care and attention. Whether your boat is new to you or you have enjoyed her for years there are common secrets and tips to successful trawler maintenance and organization that will be shared by viewing photos and through descriptions of real-life examples.  Learn what you can do to keep your trawler ship shape and show pride of ownership. This seminar will include a tip sharing session and helpful handouts.


TrawlerFest is a low key event with many vendors in booths, lots of boats to see and informative seminars. If you have not been before I encourage you to come as this is a great way to experience the trawler lifestyle. If you have attended, you know the classes fill up fast and it’s best to plan ahead.


There is a general admission charge and a separate fee for seminars.


For full details on this event please go to PassageMaker’s TrawlerFest link here:


TrawlerFest Riviera Beach


TrawlerFest | Jeff Merrill Yacht Sales



Thanks, we invite you to come and chat with us aboard South By West and look forward to seeing you at the TrawlerFest!





PMM 20th Anniversary Ad

Jeff Merrill is the president of Jeff Merrill Yacht Sales, Inc. Jeff is a 30-year marine-industry veteran who offers worldwide professional representation for buyers and sellers of new and used premium-brand ocean-going trawlers. As a trawler specialist, Jeff will provide you with the experience and personal attention you deserve!

PMM: Jeff, how long have you been in the trawler business?

JMYS: I’d like to start by saying congratulations to PassageMaker for a great first 20 years! In 1996 I was the vice president of sales for Pacific Seacraft and we determined that many of our cruising sailboat clients were ready to transition to a trawler. We developed the Bruce King designed 38T fast trawler. My wife Pam and I were the models for the original ads published in PassageMaker circa 2000. The Nordhavn

40 was also built by Pacific Seacraft and in 1999 I was hired by PAE as a project/sales manager. I’ve had the trawler bug for about as long as PassageMaker has been in print.

PMM: What do you view as the most significant trawler advances over the last 20 years?

JMYS: Builders and parts suppliers have done a great job of making trawlers more reliable and easier to operate. Among the highlights in the last two decades are AIS, which has made navigation safer, and electronic common rail engines, which make trawlers more efficient and “greener.” Trawlers now come equipped with all of the luxuries of home. Larger models utilize bow and stern thrusters to make docking less stressful and active fin stabilizers to make cruising under way more comfortable. Even with all of the boating design and equipment improvements, I’d have to say the internet has been the biggest game changer for the trawler world in the past 20 years. I’ve watched our industry graduate


PMM: What advice do you have for buyers looking for a trawler?
from AOL accounts to domain-based email for electronic communication. Boatbuilders now present sophisticated websites with detailed content, photos and video to make online marketing much more effective and visual. Trawler aficionados surf the web with their computers and tablets, joining user group forums and reading blogs. The interconnectivity of the cruising community has made it easier for our diverse boating population to share their trawler experiences in real time. My website,, was created to share the trawler lifestyle and is an invaluable business tool for me.

JMYS: Do your homework anonymously at first, and narrow your search before reaching out to a builder or broker. Establish your budget and then look for trawlers that will fit your plan. Don’t make contact by calling or emailing until you determine how much time you have available and what type of cruising you want to do. I advise my clients to buy the smallest boat that is big enough and the newest boat they can afford. Buyers have total control of their shopping … until they identify themselves.  In addition to finding the right boat, research which broker is best qualified to be your trawler advocate (look for experience, reputation and product knowledge). Don’t accept being assigned to a salesperson. Target a broker who can help you take the helm after the transaction closes and train you with checklists, etc., to get you independently on your way with confidence.

PMM: What should a trawler seller know to more effectively market their boat for sale?

JMYS: Sellers need to be realistic on asking price. In order to make a strong first impression, spend some money up front to detail your trawler and ensure all systems are fully operational. Look for an experienced listing broker who is well connected and understands your type of trawler. You want a trustworthy broker who will look out for your interests and give you a realistic assessment of your trawler’s value.   Carefully evaluate every offer and consider what your carrying costs will be if you decide to wait for a better one. The first offer is often the best! Remember, buyers have a lot of choices and are primarily searching based on price, location, equipment and condition. Most buyers prefer turnkey trawlers that radiate pride of ownership, not projects that can turn into money pits.

PMM: What is your prediction for the trawler market in the next 20 years?

JMYS: Our industry will become more professional in how we operate our businesses and interact with our clientele. The “modern trawler” will continually evolve with advances in construction, features and equipment. Fiberglass and steel trawlers are ideal for people who want to go out cruising in a safe and reliable boat. Future trawlers will rely more on computers and buyers will expect even more “creature comforts” to be installed aboard. The trawler market is poised for tremendous growth; it’s very exciting and going to be a lot of fun for everyone involved!

20th Anniversary 79

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