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May 17, 2011

TrawlerFest in Anacortes, WA a booming success

Anacortes, WA is a wonderful sea town and a true gateway to boating heaven. This past weekend marked the fourth year for PassageMaker magazine’s TrawlerFest – a celebration of the cruising lifestyle. Nordhavn is a national sponsor, has been since the beginning, and we participate in all four TrawlerFests held annually around the country.

Cap Sante Boat Haven in Anacortes is a good sized marina with modern floating docks and the venue attracted 66 trawlers for the hundreds of aficionados who signed up to take this all in. People fly in from all over the US and Canada to partake in this festival and all those attendees I spoke with were excited to have so much trawler access and information packed into three short days.

Don Kohlmann, the Nordhavn Northwest sales manager brought up the glorious Nordhavn 62 Windflight from Seattle. She is hull 36 and though she has an accepted offer, we wanted to have her available for viewing to show what an amazing job the Ta Shing yard can do in building a beautiful yacht. The Nordhavn 62 model has come to the end of her production run, but Windflight represents all that a potential buyer would want to see on a new 64, 68, 72 or 76. Don sold Windflight to her original owners and has just helped to deliver to this couple a brand new Nordhavn 68.

Barbara Lippert, the Nordhavn listing agent for the Nordhavn 43 Navigator was her usual charming self greeting all who came aboard with a smile and good humor. Navigator is a flybridge 43, and truly represents all of the best features a buyer is looking for in this size Nordhavn. We are seeing a lot of interest in this size, and if you would like to learn more about your choices, click on this article I recently wrote: Nordhavn 43 article.

Rounding out our sales team for the weekend, James Leishman and I flew up from Southern California on Wednesday. James just sold the Nordhavn 47 Gaarden Party last week, and in fact, we had this N47 scheduled for display at the show and he sold it out from under us (which is great!) and fortunately Barbara was able to quickly recruit Navigator.

TrawlerFest mornings start out with a wide selection of seminars and on Thursday I gave two talks, “Purchasing a Trawler” and “Enjoying your Trawler”. It is always a pleasure for me to meet with a group of folks who are about to embark on this wonderful way of life, and the large, enthusiastic audience asked a lot of good questions and left for the docks tuned up on what to look for.

The docks are open from 10 am – 5pm and there were actually two other Nordhavns on display, a 35 and a 60, so there was a good variety of our brand to inspect. Several other Nordhavn owners brought their boats (much more fun to come by water than by land or air) and among those who I ran into during the weekend were: Cecil and Sheila Rhoades on the Nordhavn 55 Rhapsody, Marty and Linda Ellison on the 55 Tenacious and James and Jennifer Hamilton on their Nordhavn 52 Dirona. While all three of these couples call the PNW home, special recognition should be given to John Graham, the captain of the Nordhavn 56 Motorsailer Nordsail One who trekked up from the Mexican border to make the event. A highlight was making the right turn into the straight of Juan de Fuca and flying the spinnaker to charge into town.

Nordsail One was on display and represented by Voyages Northwest, a wonderful charter group based in Seattle that operates a fleet of Nordhavns for charter. The Motorsailer is one of VNW’s most popular attractions. (If you would like to know about chartering a Nordhavn contact Doug Smith through their website – www.voyagesnw.com). In fact their most active charter, the Nordhavn 47 Sandstone, was at the docks the first day as part of a charter; pretty cool to attend a day of TrawlerFest and then head out to the San Juan Islands while all of the other trawlers are tied up in Anacortes.

Barry Kallander, who started SeaKits a few years ago after he purchased a Nordhavn 40 (the company recently changed its name to Wheelhouse Technologies) was also a seminar presenter and had a booth in the vendor tent. Barry owns the Nordhavn 40 Commander (available for charter summers in New England – contact www.boatbookings.com). Barry gave a seminar, “Practical Considerations for Spare Parts Outfitting” that was very popular with the long range passagemaking trawler owners.

At Friday night’s dinner (the dinners are a blast and a great way to unwind and dine at the end of a long day) I sat with James and Jennifer Hamilton and we were joined by Don and Sharry Stabbert of the famous Northern Marine 75' Starr. The Stabberts joined the GSSR fleet of three Nordhavns last year while the gang was in Japan and though they don’t own a Nordhavn, we count them as part of our extended family, not only for their buddy boating and long friendship with many Nordhavn owners, but also because many Nordhavns call their marina the Salmon Bay Marine Center home and our tight knit community enjoys so many shared experiences. Other Nordhavn “pals” I connected with included: Jeff Sanson of Pacific Yacht Management, Larry Schildwachter of Emerald Harbor Marine (who helped us with deliveries), Steve D’Antonio who taught at TFest U, gave talks and prowled the docks, Bob Sweet – author of Powerboat Handling Illustrated from the US Power Squadron, Denis and Mary Umstot who are working on the 4th edition revision of Voyaging Under Power, Ed Cox, organizer for this year’s FUBAR Rally (seven Nordhavns are signed up) and the omnipresent “Lugger Bob” Bob Senter who gave classes, poked around in engine rooms and always has time to share his advice.

Saturday morning presented a little bit of a conflict – wish I could have been in two places at once. Don Kohlmann joined a Naval Architect and Boatbuilder Roundtable moderated by the always entertaining Chuck Hawley of West Marine (Chuck used to be the official TrawlerFest master of ceremonies back in the early days and it was great to see him back on the scene) - at the same time James and Jennifer Hamilton gave a very intriguing talk about their cruise to Alaska last summer aboard the Nordhavn 52 Dirona. I sat in on the Hamilton talk joined by new Nordhavn 40 owners Jeff and Denise Johansen (with their daughter Emily) and we marveled at the beauty of Alaska. (The Johansens and I were up on Kodiak Island, Alaska last week for the sea trial and survey of their N40 brokerage purchase – watch this site for an article about that experience).

Several other Nordhavn owners passed through our boats and strolled along the docks during the three day event including: Bill and Arline Smith of the 62 Autumn Wind which is available for sale (thanks again for dinner Wednesday night!), Don Weippert of the 55 Lili Pad, Stan Heirshberg of the 50 Crossroads, John and Sandy Henrichs who just sold their 64 Tiger, Gary and Shari Rogowski from the 35 Sanctuary, Jef Appel former owner of the 55 Enterprise and though I didn’t see him, Ken Williams from the 68 Sans Souci also made the rounds.

It was also fun to see a few of the Nordhavn Dreamers (nice to meet you Jimbo and thanks for your post on the Dreamers group).

We had three days of sun and then the rain returned during the final hour Saturday, but by then we were all headed up to the tents for the closing cocktail reception. We all celebrated when Cecil and Sheila Rhodes won the coveted Ocean Navigator award for being the couple who travelled the farthest to attend the event.

I’d like to thank all of our friends at PassageMaker for another outstanding event. Great job of organizing all of the multi-layered logistics and the fantastic promoting developed a large attendance of boats on display, equipment in the tents and enthusiastic crowds eager to learn more about trawlers. I had several wonderful visits with future Nordhavn owners and we all met some great new prospects. The interest in Nordhavns continues to gain momentum and sales of new and used Nordhavns is becoming increasingly busy with spring arriving and summer boating plans getting organized.

The next Trawler Fest is scheduled for October 6 - 9 in Baltimore, MD and then the last one for 2011 will be in San Diego, CA November 10 - 12. So, block out your calendar and make reservations for those fall dates now – it’s a great way to stay informed about what is happening in the Trawler world. For more details on these events go to www.trawlerfest.com. In the meantime, this spring/summer cruising season is here now – get out on the water and enjoy time aboard!


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