Stuart Florida Boat Show Marina

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March is chilly in many parts of the world, but we were fortunate enough to recently spend a week in sunny Stuart, FL. We love kicking off the annual TrawlerFest series by joining everyone else who participates in PassageMaker magazine’s first event of the year.

We were particularly pleased to have our listing, NaviGator, a 2005 Nordhavn 47 on display. The JMYS team in attendance included: Jeff, Pam, Elle, and Jonn Merrill plus Christopher and Alexandra Bruce.

On Monday, before the show began, Jeff and Elle sailed NaviGator up the coast from Fort Lauderdale with her owner Mike at the helm. (Read more about Elle’s impressions about that magic Monday delivery here >> NaviGating to the Stuart, Florida TrawlerFest

Jeff got things rolling on Wednesday with his first talk “Offshore Essentials”. This course reviewed helpful information for those sailors who want to know more about cruising underway offshore during extended trips. Jeff’s materials provided both an introduction and a refresher for trawler owner operators. Topics included: safety, navigation, engine room checks and watch standing and all peppered with funny stories from Jeff’s experiences with clients aboard various trawlers over the years.  “Offshore Essentials” was as entertaining as it was informative.

(All three PowerPoint presentations mentioned in this article are linked near the end of this article and available for you to download for a limited time only).

Speaker Jeff Merrill at TrawlerFest Stuart Florida

Thursday was the show’s first day of the in-the-water-show and NaviGator was a start attraction! Jeff, Christopher, Elle, and Mike gave nonstop tours of the boat. We have found that engaging with our visitors, personally showing the highlights and listening to their thoughts is truly the best way to let people understand a sophisticated and long range capable trawler like NaviGator (here is a link to the dedicated NaviGator website if you’d like to see more – photos, specifications, 360’s and video).  Many enthusiastic trawler-goers climbed aboard and the number of shoes on the dock grew throughout the day as more people came to check her out.  We think that being the only Nordhavn at the event made her an even larger attraction (the fact that she is a previous People’s Choice award winner also helped)!  The day flew by and we didn’t really get time to take a lunch break. This “all work and all play” trend continued on throughout all three days. We were regularly backed up with a line of folks interested in seeing her and appreciate all who thanked us at the end of their tour complementing NaviGator and assuring us it was well worth the wait.

Stuart Florida Dock

Jeff grabbed the lectern again on Friday, to teach his “Dialing In Your Trawler” class which focuses on numerous ways you can improve and monitor your on board equipment and systems. As in the past, the class was packed with eager-to-learn, note taking trawler owners. Jeff touched on solutions to common problems and techniques learned from our clients – all illustrated through a large collection of photos showcasing these ideas and suggestions.

After answering questions at the end of the “Dial-In” class, it was time for the “Cruisers Perspective – A Town Hall Meeting” to begin. As he has for the past couple of years, Jeff served as the MC/moderator. This seasoned collection of veteran cruisers fielded audience questions and told personal stories from their years of at sea adventures. The panel featured a who’s who of trawler experts joining Jeff and included: Bruce Kessler, Andrea Gaines, Dylan Bailey, John Clayman, Eric Kunz, Chris Parker, Ken Fickett and Steve Zimmerman.

Speaker Jeff Merrill and attendees at TrawlerFest Stuart Florida

Saturday, Christopher and Alexandra Bruce gave their seminar, “Cruising from Cambridge, Mass to Cambridge Cay”. Truly a crowd favorite, the seats were packed, and it was standing room only as the Bruce’s talked about their transition leaving full time business careers on land and their smooth transition and immediate pleasure taking time off to embrace the trawler lifestyle.  This was an inspiring and appealing presentation with straight forward advice that was soaked up in abundance by those in the audience planning to embark on their own boating travels.

Christopher and Alexandra Bruce at TrawlerFest Stuart, Florida

Jonn Merrill, (on spring break in his senior year of college) filmed all of these presentations and we hope to upload some highlights in a future video to be posted on our YouTube channel.

Saturday also marked the last day of the show and ushered in a rush of visitors eager to tour NaviGator before she departed (Sunday she sailed home with Mike and some clients).  Our team had a great time at the event catching up with friends and meeting new people. Thanks for stopping by and please stay in touch. If we didn’t catch your name please send us a note to reintroduce yourself.

The TrawlerFest evenings were spent with clients enjoying dinner and fulfilling appointments with them to go off campus and inspect nearby trawlers.  One of the boats we visited a couple of times is Klassy Kady an exceptional Kadey-Krogen 48 North Sea that Christopher has just listed for sale. (Here is the link to Klassy Kady).

There never seems to be enough time during these action filled days to spend the time we would like with everyone and finish every conversation, but even though we were exhausted by days end and slept well we all thrive on the rush of excitement.  We applaud PassageMaker for continuing to produce a trawler-centric event that really has something for everyone – thank you! The seminars are insightful, the shore side tent vendors offer excellent products and services and the boat selection on the docks offered a wide variety of makes, models, types and sizes.

We have included a photo gallery of images from the event located below.

If you would like to see the handouts please email Jeff Merrill at

Next up – Seattle, Washington:
The JMYS team is now gearing up to attend the Seattle, Washington TrawlerFest (April 23-27) We are very proud to announce and can’t wait to hear Rob and Deanna Piwowarczyk present their new talk, “Making the Leap: A Cruising Couple Tells Their Story”.  Rob and Deanna are speaking for the first time at TrawlerFest and will be talking about their search for a trawler. It was a winding path that led them to JMYS, loving the first boat they saw, being told they had to look at others before being allowed to write a check and finally circling back to their original favorite.  This buying process led to living aboard and found them climbing down from the high-altitude mountains of Colorado to climbing aboard their Selene 55 Bella Luna at sea level in Oxnard, CA. Please check back here soon to learn more about the Seattle TrawlerFest or go to the event website now to learn more (Seattle TrawlerFest)

Below is an alphabetical by brand record of most of the trawlers displayed

American Tug- 40’
Axopar – 37’
Beneteau – ST 35’
Beneteau – ST 44’
Beneteau – ST 47’
Chuck Paine- 72’
Custom – 53’
Diesel Duck – 50’
Fleming – 58’
Grand Banks – 42
Great Harbour – 35
Great Harbour – 47’
Kadey-Krogen – 36’

Kadey-Krogen – 48’,
Kadey-Krogen – 48’ AE
Kadey-Krogen – 52’
Krogen Express- 52’
Marlow – 88’
Nordhavn- 47’
Nordic Tug – 42’
North Pacific – 45’
Northern Marine- 57’
Norseman- 45’
Prestige – 50’
Trawlercat – 40’

Jeff did a quick “walk and talk down the dock” before things got started on Friday. Great selection of trawlers, just wish we had time to go get aboard each one like most of the participants did. Hope you enjoy this brief video clip to show you which boats were on display.

Let Jeff take you on a walk down the dock.