Jeff Merrill in cockpit

Courtesy of PassageMaker magazine and reprinted with the permission of the author, Peter Swanson.

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Learn and Plan Together, Says Teacher for Seattle Show
By Peter Swanson

“Cruising is typically a couples activity. You both need to buy in. The idea can start as one person’s ultimate goal, but it is more successful and more satisying if you plan and prepare together,” says TrawlerFest instructor Jeff Merrill. “There is probably no single activity that is more satisfying than the freedom implied by running your own boat.”

Merrill is a CPYB yacht broker, trawler specialist and polished public speaker. He is the instructor for two popular seminars at TrawlerFest in Seattle: Dial-In Your Trawler and Offshore Essentials, which represent a distillation of wisdom from tens of thousands of miles underway.

(Additionally, Merrill serves as moderator for a freewheeling Q&A seminar Cruisers Roundtable, which features a panel of offshore experts, including power cruising pioneer Bruce Kessler.)

Dial-In Your Trawler provides a boatload of simple tricks to better monitor and maintain the ship’s systems. Merrill as almost two-hours of tips such as reference marks for needles on analog gauges, a dry-erase board in the engine room, anchor chain marking techniques.

Offshore Essentials covers the basics of weather forecasting, route planning, watch standing, engine room checks, pilothouse navigation and electronics operations. Anyone interested in transiting between sea ports requiring overnight passages will learn essential preparations and best practices.

SEMINARS: Tuesday-Saturday, April 23-27 at Seattle Marriott Waterfront

IN-WATER BOAT SHOW: Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 at Bell Harbor Marina. Show is open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

QUESTIONS? Contact Donna at

BEST VALUE: Every seminar except the diesel course and “Boat Handling on the Water” are part of our VIP package. Being a four- or five-day VIP gives attendees access to their choice of 24 other seminars. The cost is $449 for a four-day VIP pass and $549 for the five-day pass. Visit our ticketing site and do some math. You’ll see how being a VIP maximizes your seminar buying power.