Anacortes, WA TrawlerFest recap

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Anacortes, WA is a great town to host PassageMaker magazine’s Trawler Fest. It is a perfect place for cruisers to provision before heading out locally to the San Juan and Gulf island groups or even further north to Canada and Alaska.  A number of trawlers make Cap Sante marina their home base and for good reason, it is a great location in a town geared for cruisers.

This year the dates for the PNW extravaganza were May 19 – 21st.  The weather was very nice, just a little drizzle, sun and clouds and the attendance by visitors and the number of trawlers on display was spectacular.

Jeff was invited back again to teach two courses, Friday he presented “Cruising Offshore – preparing yourself and your boat” and Saturday he delivered his very popular “Dialing in Your Trawler” talk.   Both classes were completely full and the audiences had good questions and were very appreciative.  Many of the students requested copies of the presentations which were mailed to them afterwards for more in-depth study.

Jeff was also asked to take part in the Saturday afternoon “Cruisers Perspectives”, a Town Hall type panel that included a who’s who of cruising authorities. Hosted by Peter Swanson and led by circumnavigator, Bruce Kessler, the group also included Dylan Bailey, Denny Emory, Mark Bunzel, Pat Raines and Steve Zimmerman.

In between classes, Jeff was busy spending time with clients and had the opportunity to tour just about every boat on display.  Word from those brokers who had boats for sale was that the attendance numbers were not only up, but the quality of visitors was exceptional.

There were a lot of gatherings (cocktail parties) and there is no doubt Anacortes ’16 was one of the best TrawlerFests held in recent years. Over 70 boats were officially on display with a dozen others “coat tailing”.  There were fast boats, slow boats, tugs and cats…among the brands on display were various models from; North Pacific, Helmsman, Diesel Duck, Fleming, Kadey-Krogen, Navetta, American Tug, Nordic Tug, Nordhavn, Hans Christian, Ranger Tugs, Seahorse, Grand Banks, Aspen Cat, Devlin, Fathom, Northwest, Arcturos, Marlow, Back Cove, Pacific Seacraft, Pajot, Beneteau, DeFever, Aleutian, Nimbus, Outer Reef, Real Ships, Eastbay, Selene and FPB plus many more –truly an impressive assembly.  I’ve shared a photo collection of some of my favorites, how many can you identify?

The next and final Trawler Fest for 2016 will be the “Bay Bridge” event near Annapolis, MD this September 27th – October 1st. For information on future Trawler Fests go to

Anacortes, WA TrawlerFest May 19th – 21st 2016


PassageMaker magazine has a full schedule of seminars and a marina filled with trawlers to entice visitors to make the pilgrimage to Anacortes again this year for TrawlerFest.


Boat Show Hours: Thursday – Saturday 10am – 5pm

Location: Cap Sante Marina 1019 Q Ave #C Anacortes, WA 98221

Jeff Merrill has been invited back to speak at his 14th Pacific Northwest TrawlerFest.  These spectacular waters of the Puget Sound and Salish Sea provide a truly unbelievable area to enjoy the trawler lifestyle. The town of Anacortes is considered the gateway to the San Juan Islands and has been a launching pad for countless summer vacations that head north, first across to Canada and then migrate farther up through the inside passage to Alaska.

Jeff will arrive early in the week and stay through Sunday and is available to meet with you to discuss your cruising plans and trawler desires.

On Friday May 20th from 10:45am to 12:30pm Jeff is presenting “Offshore Cruising”. *

Friday afternoon from 3:00pm to 4:30pm he will be taking part in the Cruisers Perspectives Town Hall forum along with industry veterans; Bruce Kessler, Steve Zimmerman, Mark Bunzel, Dylan Bailey, John Clayman and Peter Swanson.

On Saturday May 21st from 10:45 to 12:30 pm, Jeff will be presenting “Dialing in Your Trawler”. *

*Complete seminar descriptions for both of Jeff’s course are included below


There are several different ways you can attend Trawler Fest. If you want, you can just purchase a dock pass and wander through the boats on display.  The early slip registration indicates spaces have been reserved (things can change and more boats may arrive) for the following brands (new and/or used) to be on display: Tollycraft, Grand Banks, Eastbay, Kadey-Krogen, Helmsman, FPB, North Pacific, Selene, Beneteau Swift, Ranger, Back Cove, Cutwater, American Tug, Sabre, DeFever, Outerreef, Custom builds, several trawler cats and Fleming.

You can also sign up for individual seminars and this year there is a larger variety to choose from.  Go to the Anacortes Trawler Fest website to check on class availability – if you know which ones you are interested please sign up soon as the most popular classes have been known to sell out. Purchase of a seminar ticket includes general admission to boat show for day of seminar.

If you are going to Anacortes to soak it all in and spend a few days immersed in trawler lore, you can purchase an all access pass to walk the docks, sit in on the seminars and enjoy other opportunities.

Here is the link for TrawlerFest that will provide all of the information you should need to determine the best way for you to enjoy your time in Anacortes.


You can arrange for a $10 off discount to attend seminars if you provide the promo code PRAN2016.

For information about TrawlerFest call (410) 990-9086 extension 22 or email them, .

Please call, text or email Jeff to set up an appointment, he will be happy to meet with you and has already begun filling up his schedule.

Jeff Merrill – cell 949.355.4950, email

 Jeff at Tfest

Here are the class descriptions for Jeff’s talks:


May 20, 2016 10:45am-12:30pm.  Cost is $60.00.

This seminar is designed for skippers and crew wanting to make offshore passages to reach distant ports; it’s designed to be both an introduction and a refresher. Jeff Merrill, who has logged more than 15,000 sea miles, much of it training clients, will discuss the essential preparations and fundamental skills. Topics will include weather considerations, route planning, watch standing, engine room checks, navigation/electronics operations, and more. The goal is to help make sure you and your trawler are ready before you depart, knowing what to expect under way and understanding what it is really like to operate your trawler at sea.  Many helpful pointers will help ensure you, your boat and your crew are prepared so your next open water trip is safe, comfortable and successful. A certificate of completion will be issued to all attendees



May 21, 2016 10:45am-12:30pm. Cost is $60.00.

Over the years and through his experiences on hundreds of trawlers, yacht broker Jeff Merrill has amassed a collection of “good ideas” and “best practices” that trawler owners are using to better monitor their vessels. These simple and effective techniques apply to most power cruising boats. Tricks of the trade and helpful reminders will help take some of the guesswork out of tracking various systems and equipment on board your trawler. Little details like reference marks for needles on analog gauges, a dry-erase board in your engine room, anchor chain marking and many other common-sense tips make this an engaging and informative seminar that you won’t want to miss. Merrill will share photos of these ideas and also discuss an assortment of products that you should consider using on your trawler that will not only make your life more enjoyable, but may also favorably affect your eventual resale value.