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The spring Trawler Workshop hosted by Steve D’Antonio at the Deltaville Boat yard on April 16th and 17th was a huge success.

Attendees arrived from all over the country representing the states of Washington, California, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, North Carolina and Florida – really a spread out group. The owner of Deltaville Boat yard, Keith Ruse, runs a very tidy operation and it was cleaned up to “red carpet” style for the two-day work shop. The crisp April weather was chilly, but that probably helped everyone concentrate better.

Saturday began with a review of on board critical systems and troubleshooting techniques. Steve and Keith fielded questions from the group whose experience ranged from just getting started and boat-less to seasoned cruising veterans. Halfway through the morning we broke up into two groups with Steve pointing out the key components on a Caterpillar diesel engine (installed at the entrance to the shop floor), while Keith was in the next room showing everyone how to use a multi-meter.

The boat yard setting enabled the group to bask in the warm sunshine outside during breaks and look at boats on the hard. I’m always intrigued seeing the underbody of a trawler and right by the travel lift was a Fleming 75, Nordhavn 55 and a Hatteras 53.  DBY is a very popular destination for serious cruisers in need of service work and repairs. Keith and his staff have a hard earned and well-deserved reputation as one of the best yards – not only on the east coast, but in the entire US and I’ve had numerous clients compliment the staff and quality of work received at DBY.

A Kadey Krogen 48 and brand new Nordhavn 52 arrived to class by water and the rest of the participants who drove or flew in to town own a variety of trawlers and motor yachts so it was a truly diverse group on hand.

After lunch on Saturday there was a choice of two seminars. Ralph Naranjo, a longtime friend of Steve’s and a very experienced yachtsman as well as author (who has circumnavigated on his Ericson sailboat) gave a presentation on weather and Jeff Merrill talked about one of his favorite topics, “Dialing in your trawler”. The day wrapped up with an informal Q and A involving all four presenters; Steve, Keith, Ralph and Jeff answering details on a range of power boat topics.

On Sunday, Steve started the day by speaking for a couple of hours about the importance of asking for detailed cost information (hours and materials) when having work done on your boat. Steve highlighted several ABYC requirements and strongly recommended hiring ABYC certified technicians. Time was spent discussing the benefits of doing work done in compliance with ABYC standards and stressed that to avoid unknown costs on refit projects it is best to get a firm quote for the work requested up front.

Mid-morning, we again divided the class in half and Keith demonstrated the pre-check and startup of a Caterpillar diesel – including changing a Racor filter and bleeding the engine. Keith also showed how to change out the impeller on a Panda generator.  Steve had a work bench in the adjacent room displaying his favorite boat tools, all neatly arranged and discussed what every boat should have on board for various maintenance and repairs and the applications where you would use them.

During the lunch break a large group of us went over to the magnificent trawler, Retired Sailor III, to inspect this remarkable tralwer that is dialed-in, exemplifies pride of ownership and is listed for sale.  Jeff gave tours of the interior and Steve held court in the engine room showing many of the incredible features he had recommended to the owners and that were installed at DBY.

After lunch Ralph had an enthusiastic crowd for his very popular presentation on anchoring and Jeff held his “Pride of Ownership” talk across the field at the Deltaville Maritime Museum.  We wrapped up the day and the event back in the work shop with some closing comments and the awarding of certificates to all of the participants.

The work shop classes involved a great mix of boaters and included several husband and wife couples, a very sound investment to have both spouses listening and learning together to insure a more relaxed and successful boating partnership.  These workshops are a smart way to become better informed and help insure a future of boating enjoyment. An added bonus for all attendees is the password access to a private website where all of the class information is archived as well as a huge collection of boating material prepared over the years by the presenters making it easy to study in more depth whenever time allows.

It is always enlightening to hear Steve D’Antonio address a group of serious boaters. Steve and I have become close friends and have shared a number of clients over the years.   I’m always impressed with the depth of his knowledge and have never seen him not be able to comment on any boating topic with an insightful response.    He has years of experience and is very analytical in his approach to the inner workings of all on board systems and not only comprehends how everything works, but has a very deliberate and easy to follow explanation for just about everything.

Plans are being developed for more trawler workshops in the future with the goal being to hold them in other active boating communities like Seattle, WA and Palm Beach, FL.

Reservations are open for a Fall Trawler Workshop in Deltaville, VA. The dates are October 15 and 16, 2016 – here is a link for more details and the event flyer:  There is a bonus hydraulics class on Friday the 14th if you can arrive early.  Be sure to sign up soon as these events always sell out.