The idea of taking off on a great adventure to explore distant shores aboard your own yacht has inspired a great number of people to look very closely at recreational power boats, specifically “trawlers” as the safest, easiest and most efficient method to safely accomplish this.
Entering into the trawler market as a buyer, whether this is the first time or you are a “repeat offender”, can be a daunting, potentially overwhelming proposition. There are so many decisions you have to make and a lot of things to think about that you may not even realize are important.
Trawler Skills has been created to offer insights and recommendations for current and future trawler owners. This section is trawler-centric, but much of what is covered should be relevant to most power and sail cruisers.
The Trawler Lifestyle is a great escape from the routines of the traditional 9 – 5 work world rat race. Instead of sitting in traffic or staring at your computer screen while gazing out an office window – you are sitting in a helm chair and looking out your pilothouse…at waterfront views!
The Pacific Northwest is one of the best places in the world to operate a trawler. The cruising grounds are so vast and so beautiful that you could easily spend a lifetime exploring and always find a new cove or secluded anchorage to enjoy. If you don’t own a trawler here, you can choose from several companies who offer charter services.
PassageMaker magazines annual Northwest TrawlerFest is an evergreen event that showcases much of what makes this region so attractive to trawlerites. This spring boat show / product and service display / seminar event has always been popular and draws a large flotilla of boats and enthusiasts. Many people mark it on their calendar year after year and this year we also saw a lot of new faces and met both locals and out-of-towners all of whom will most likely return.
For the second year in a row the host town was Bremerton, WA. The Bremerton Marina is adjacent to the ferry terminal and the Hampton Inn serves as a convenient home for most of the exhibitors and visitors. Bremerton is a casual seaside town with plenty of stores and restaurants to keep visitors entertained and satiated.
The 2018 NW TrawlerFest was highlighted by exceptional sunshine (always a plus when you have to wear your shades to walk outdoors) and reasonably comfortable temperatures. In the water, over 30 different types of trawlers were tied up along the dock display: from outboard fast runabouts to large ocean crossing cruisers.
The trawler market remains strong with more buyers than trawlers available for sale and this has helped boat builders improve their backlog for those buyers patient enough to wait to commission a new trawler. The trawler boat building industry continues to strengthen, and the tide of momentum is surging with more new models announced and more production slots filled.
The Kitsap Convention center is across the plaza from the Hampton Inn and served as the gathering place for all of the classroom seminars. The walk to the docks was fronted by vendor tents showcasing various products and services while also allowing several builders to show off models and drawings of new trawlers that are being developed.
Jeff Merrill flew up to meet with clients and also presented his two most popular courses: Dialing-In-Your-Trawler on Thursday and Offshore Essentials on Friday. Many of the same people attended both classes, filling the rooms and listening intently as Jeff used his animated style to keep things lively and informative. Jeff’s mentor, Bruce Kessler, sat in on both talks and added additional words of wisdom, thank you Bruce! The entire slate of seminars covered an assortment of interesting topics and it was often difficult for attendees to decide which class to sit in on when there were great choices offered simultaneously.
The Cruisers Roundtable featured an all-star cast of trawler veterans. Jeff again resumed his role as moderator for the panel and helped keep the audience engaged as they listened to strong opinions and sage advice from those seated up front: Dylan Bailey, Eric Kunz, Pat Raines, Bruce Kessler, John Clayman, Stan Creighton and Dennis Fox formed the brain trust an impressive collection of “salty cruisers” who have been there, done that and still enjoy it. This is a town-hall format that relies on audience participation. Inquiries ranged from stabilization choices, to surveyor roles, navigation and weather questions, how many engine hours are acceptable as well as favorite places to cruise. PassageMakers’ Peter Swanson thoughtfully interrupted to stir things up when needed, and the crowd in attendance had all of their questions responded to with thoughtful insights.
Overall attendance was down this year. Most likely because it was the Opening weekend for the Puget Sound boating season and with such lovely weather many trawler aficionados probably skipped the event to instead head out and enjoy time on their own boats doing some local cruising. With the formal commencement of the spring/summer season, many trawler owners are now underway or finalizing their plans to head north to prowl the magic that awaits in the San Juan’s, Canadian coast, Inside Passage and Alaska.
It was fun to walk the docks in between sessions and hop on board the wide variety of trawlers – new and old, big and large – from day cruisers to ocean crossers there was an interesting assortment of choices to see; Seahorse, Hampton, DeFever, Grand Banks, Fairway, Beneteau, Jeanneau, Cutwater, Ranger Tugs, North Pacific, Linssen, Nimbus, Devlin, Helmsman, Sunnfjord, Monte Carlo, Nordic Tug Selene, Ocean Alexander, Kadey-Krogen and the big daddy -a Nolan 92’ steel trawler. A photo gallery showcasing the event is posted below.
The final TrawlerFest for 2018 will be held September 25 – 29 in Baltimore, Maryland. Seminars have already been announced and the JMYS team will be attending. Too early to know if we will have a trawler for sale on display, but we know that Jeff and Christopher Bruce are both going to be presenting. We welcome you to join us and look forward to hearing about what you did on your summer vacation.
Details for the Baltimore TrawlerFest are published on this web link:
For those students who attended Jeff’s talks in Bremerton you are invited to review the presentations and handouts posted here for a limited time. These resources will be online for downloading until the end of May and then be removed. Please review them while they are “live”. Thanks to all everyone we met in Bremerton, hope we can keep in touch!
Reminder: In addition to our trawlers for sale listings, JMYS now has TrawlerSkills videos for you to view on our YouTube channel. Our first two offerings discuss docking and running a windlass. If you would like, please sign up on our email newsletter list to receive announcements and keep informed about events, listings and videos.
PowerPoint presentations in PDF
(There are two different talks, each file is quite large and may take some time to download)
We know that most people like to learn by watching. There are so many things going on with the proper “care and feeding” of a trawler that we decided to shoot some videos sharing some of the many tips we have learned from our clients. Experience is the best teacher. We learn from our mistakes. There is always another, or even a better way to do everything. Bottom line, it is easier to understand something when you are first shown how do it.
Many of our clients have owned multiple boats and are set in their ways of how they tackle the various onboard trawler duties everyone faces. Most develop routines and it becomes such second nature that they don’t often realize why they do what they do. When we ask why owners do things one way and are then shown how they do it, we often learn new tricks which we can then pass along to our other clients.
When you try to break down the never-ending ways to keep your trawler in tip top shape it can really add up to a seemingly unlimited number of projects – from the mundane minutiae of setting parameters to the common every day service items like how many times to flush the head, everyone seems to have an opinion. When it comes to maintenance, every day that you don’t tend to a few chores is another day you have fallen behind.
For the newbie or the uninitiated, consider yourself lucky, because if you knew how much you need to know it is a bit overwhelming. In our attempt to have an easy to view and enjoyable interchange trading ideas, we have asked many of our owners and friends to let us in on their secrets to success and to demonstrate their techniques. To be a competent boat owner there are many tasks you really need to understand and be proficient accomplishing; like changing impellers, cleaning out strainers, adjusting alternator belts, etc. Usually a service repair occurs when you are underway, in the middle of the night, in a rough sea, at the most inconvenient time. Murphy’s law? Being prepared and forewarned may help get you out of a pickle.
It also seems like there is always a new magical product or specialty tool that our trawler owners are bragging about as the next must have aboard thing. When we sell a trawler, probably our favorite part of the transaction is spending time with our clients aboard their boat. We learn something new every time we do these coaching sessions, you can never know it all. Our goal with this section is to have some fun and share some information that you will find beneficial and hopefully you can pick up some useful pointers.
We’ve left open the feedback feature and we welcome you to participate if you want to ask for additional clarification or add on to the presentation with your own ideas and opinions.
Our attorneys have warned us that we need to insert a disclaimer here, something like “don’t try this at home” as a caveat introduction. If you are careful, and exercise a modicum of common sense you should be fine. We hope you will view and verify, listen and learn, and hopefully get a little more comfortable with the various topics we are filming and can take advantage of what you learn by applying it to your own trawler.