Cruisers University Courses

Advanced Diesel Diagnostics SOLD OUT

Many students who completed the Diesel Maintenance Master Class in the past, have requested a continuation of the course with Jim Zima to go into more detail for troubleshooting engine issues.  Well, this class is for you!  Jim Zima will use the knowledge he has taught in the Master Class and will work with each student on trying to determine where the malfunction is occurring with the engine.  The prerequisite for this class is having completed Jim’s Diesel Maintenance Master class anytime in the past 2 years.  Class Size will be restricted to 15.

  • This course is rated as an advanced (301) course

Presented by:  Jim Zima of Great Lakes Diesel

Amp it Up!  Cruising with Alternative Energy SOLD OUT

Bob will give a technical discussion on different solar photovoltaic(PV) and wind turbine technologies that make sustainable cruising possible.  Consideration will be given to the range of efficiencies, cost and durability of each technology. Installation examples will be shown  for both PV and wind, including mounting, maintenance, articulation and considerations for wiring.  Wind generators (turbines) will be considered as an alternative or compliment to PV, comparing efficiency, noise, durability and cost.  Installation examples are used to highlight some of the important consideration to safety and service.  Proper charge regulation for both photovoltaic cells and wind will also be covered. 

  • This course is rated as an advanced (301) course

Presented by:  Bob Williams of SALT Services, Inc.

Anchoring for a Good Night’s Sleep SOLD OUT

Many stories, and even a few songs, have been written about the “entertainment” a couple can provide when docking and anchoring. With large doses of humor and humility, learn some tricks for working together on these maneuvers.   

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by:  Jeff Grossman & Jean Levine of TwoCanSail

Bahamas Bound:  Cruising the Abacos

Pam Wall will tell you what she knows about getting all prepared for cruising the Abacos and some other nearby islands of the Bahamas.  She will tell you about equipping your boat, what you need to take with you to the islands, crossing the Gulf Stream, weather to expect and get you all excited about cruising these lovely islands so close to the Eastern Seaboard.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by:  Pam Wall

Cruising & Living in Hurricane Latitudes SOLD OUT

            …..Preseason Planning, readying the boat for a storm, and dealing with the aftermath

None of us likes thinking about the possibility of a hurricane bearing down on our boat, but it’s a reality of cruising. The good news is that weather forecasting generally gives ample warning for you to be well prepared. Having a solid plan – before a storm is bearing down on you – for where you will go and how you will prepare the boat is key. Twice the eyewall of a hurricane has passed over Carolyn’s boat: Hurricane Irma in the Florida Keys in 2017 and Hurricane Marty in the Sea of Cortez in 2003. Both times, her boat suffered no damage while nearby boats were lost or had major damage. Here, she’ll discuss what you can do to be ready for a large storm or hurricane, how to prepare the boat once a hurricane is forecast, when to evacuate and then what to do after the storm.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) to an intermediate (201) course

 Presented by:  Carolyn Shearlock of The Boat Galley

The Chesapeake to the Caribbean SOLD OUT

Follow along as Jeff & Jean chart the route a couple can take from the Chesapeake to the Caribbean with only day sailing (almost) and enjoying the sites along the way as well! The East Coast of the US has many splendid cruising grounds and gunkholes and the ICW is a unique resource offering protected passage. Learn where you can “jump out” and in safely. The Bahamas are one of the finest cruising grounds in the world stretching 800 miles with over 700 islands and can be day sailed almost their entire length to the Caribbean! 

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by:  Jeff Grossman & Jean Levine of TwoCanSail

Cruising on a Budget – Silver, Gold & Platinum SOLD OUT

This session addresses practical aspects of cruising with a focus on cost-conscious cruising whether you are frugal or a high roller. Behan Gifford draws from real-life experiences sailing around the world to address common concerns and realistic aspects of cruising, to quell worries and help you spend less… so you can get out there, and cruise more!

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by:  Behan Gifford of SailingTotem

Cruising Secrets: An Insider’s Guide to Walking the Walk SOLD OUT

Cruising is a wonderful lifestyle, but a different one as well.  It’s not just the navigation, boat maintenance, and getting underway you need to get used to, but also fitting into the cruising community.  In this session, Carolyn Shearlock will discuss everything from the dinghy dock, boat cards, happy hour & potlucks, laundry room and VHF etiquette.  Carolyn will be joined by John Herlig, who will be giving an entertaining and rapid fire VHF radio introduction. Get a leg up on feeling like you’re part of the community!

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by: Carolyn Shearlock of The Boat Galley & her special guest, John Herlig of Postcards from Sea

Cruising Women

           A Master Class taught by Pam Wall & Behan Gifford

The Cruising Women program provides two unique days of education for, and by women.  Pam Wall and Behan Gifford have each traveled tens of thousands of nautical miles in many areas of the world and garnered a wealth of information about the cruising life.

Are you prepared to cruise? Pam and Behan will help answer that and many other questions as they fill in the gaps of your knowledge with understanding, patience and enthusiasm.  One half-day is spent aboard a docked boat to facilitate discussion of equipment, layout, and safety.

The topics include:

  • An introduction to cruising:  with a partner, alone, or with family
  • Typical tasks and experience for a day on passage, a day coastal cruising, and a day in port
  • Skill sets – learn what you still need to acquire
  • Equipment overview     
  • Understanding the jargon
  • What works, what doesn’t work

The Cruising Women program is part of the Master Series Package at Cruisers University.  In addition to two fabulous days in this program you get to choose from a wide variety of elective classes.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Comments from women attending previous Cruising Women seminars:

  • I took a two-day class for women that changed my perspective on sailing. It all became do-able after that. Beforehand, it was like learning a new language. The class showed me that I can do everything needed on a boat. The class was so supportive on every level, and I came away with experience and knowledge that has been invaluable since.
  • There is no way to express my gratitude for how gracious you are! You truly made me feel like there is no stupid question.  
  • It reassured me that I am not foolish or crazy for pursuing this dream, this lifestyle. It also helped me believe that I can learn the skills needed to do this, even be good at it!
  • Thanks so much for all the sharing, information, humor, and encouragement. And so non-intimidating! 
  • The wide range of topics covered answered many questions I didn’t know I had.

Presented by:  Pam Wall & Behan Gifford

Diesel Maintenance SOLD OUT

                A Master Class with Jim Zima

This two-day, hands-on class will provide a preliminary and in-depth review of how a diesel engine works. All aspects of general and yearly maintenance will be covered, to include:

  • Oil changing
  • Impeller replacement
  • Cooling system service
  • Fuel filter replacement and general fuel system servicing
  • Basic transmission service
  • Trouble shooting electrical systems
  • Motor mounts and shaft alignment

Various engine parts, tools, and running engine models of Yanmar 1GM10 and Universal M-25XP will be available to demonstrate parts and procedures.  

Day two of Diesel Engine Maintenance will include topics such as:

  • Valve adjustment
  • Compression testing
  • Cooler/heat exchanger repairs

The Diesel Maintenance program is part of the Master Cruisers Series, a 4-day Tuition Package. Students will choose electives for the additional two days. Take-aways include an information booklet for note taking and outlines. 

Comments from a recent student:

“After completing the Diesel Maintenance course, I now feel like I can do all my annual maintenance on my Yanmar diesel engine.  The yard savings this fall should pay for the tuition!”

  • This course is rated as an intermediate (201) course

Presented by:  Jim Zima of Great Lakes Diesel

Docking and Line Handling for Couples SOLD OUT

This class addresses docking techniques and skills that can benefit every mariner but puts a special emphasis on common problems encountered by couples during the docking and line handling process.  This focus on processes required when getting underway and when docking their vessels, making the next time you prepare to leave or come back to the dock less stressful. 

Topics Include:

Situational Awareness
Spring Lines
Line Handling

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by: Jeff Grossman & Jean Levine of TwoCanSail

Doppler Radar & Satellite Imagery SOLD OUT

Doppler weather radar and satellite imagery are great resources for the weather-savvy mariner. This presentation will introduce common types of Doppler weather radar and satellite imagery and provide instruction in their interpretation and use. You’ll learn how Doppler weather radar works (along with a few of its quirks) and how it can be used to monitor the development, intensity, and speed of approaching thunderstorms. Offshore cruisers venture beyond the reach of land-based Doppler radar, and therefore must rely on satellite imagery to monitor approaching weather systems. We’ll investigate how to use visible and infrared satellite imagery to enhance marine weather observations and forecasts.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course, you may wish to take Weather 000 first if you are completely new to weather forecasting

Presented by:  Mark Thornton of LakeErieWX

Efficient & Reliable Onboard Systems

Bob will review proven system design concepts available to cruisers today as compared to systems found on vintage vessels.  Air/water cooled refrigeration is considered essential for cruisers today and typically represents the single biggest power consumer, driving alternative energy production requirements and cost.  Different system design technologies available, costs and related trade-offs will be discussed.  Water cooled air conditioning for cruising, a related technology, will be reviewed, along with appropriate generator or inverter sizing.  Basic trouble shooting for both technologies will be discussed.  Overall interior design considerations for comfort without air-conditioning will be considered as well.  Desalination is a big game changer in range, water safety and onboard weight for today’s cruising lifestyle.  AC and DC systems will be discussed with considerations to PPM quality, GPH production, watt hours/gallon, maintenance and reliability.  Considerations for installation, service and troubleshooting will be reviewed.  All of these topics will be discussed in the context of an overall integrated systems design as it pertains to energy management and sea water distribution matrix.

  • This course is rated as an intermediate to advanced (301) course

Presented by:  Bob Williams of SALT Services, Inc.

Electrical Systems – Understanding & Troubleshooting

            A Master Class with Nigel Calder

The number one source of problems on boats large enough to have an electrical system, both power and sail, lies in these electrical systems. Tech guru Nigel Calder, author of the best-selling ‘Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual’ (now in its 4th edition, with over 300,000 copies sold) takes participants through the core design and installation requirements necessary to head off electrical systems problems, and to optimize electrical generating efficiency. There will be a hands-on segment installing cable terminals, which are critical to the reliability of electrical systems. Nigel will delve into step-by-step troubleshooting techniques, including using a multimeter, that will rapidly identify most problems should they arise. Various common electrical faults will be simulated and tracked down. Although the focus is on DC systems, Nigel will look at critical safety issues with respect to AC circuits, and measures to prevent galvanic and stray current corrosion. Not only will you leave class with a far better understanding of your electrical systems and knowing how to fix common problems, but you will also likely save the price of admission by not having to make service calls or swap out perfectly good parts in search of solutions. No previous experience is necessary, although this will be an intense two days for those with zero electrical experience! Basic wire terminal installation tools are required. These will be available for purchase for those who do not have them.

This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) to intermediate (201) course

Presented by:  Nigel Calder

Fishing from a Slow Boat – A Cruiser’s Guide to Feeding the Crew

Everyone sees the pictures of the amazing catches of Mahi from boats traveling offshore, but how do Cruisers catch the same fish going 6 knots or slower while under sail?  Lenny will help make sense of the best fishing tackle & procedures you need to set it and forget it while cruising.  Some of the areas he will address are:  What type of fish and size is good to eat? What to do about a fishing license? How to set up simple trolling lines on the boat?  Can you fish along the ICW? How do you handle the fish once it is caught? And what tools & supplies should be in your tackle box?

This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by:  Lenny Rudow of Fishtalk Magazine

Great Products You Need To Know About 

Pam Wall worked for West Marine for over 20 years.  During that time, she was able to cruise thousands of miles on her own 39-foot sloop.  She came to know, and use, many products that very few would ever know existed.  In this seminar Pam provides a list of products that she thinks are unusual yet so important to your cruising.  Pam will take you down the list, product by product, explain what it is, tell you what it is good for, and let you know how she uses it on her own boat KANDARIK!  This is a very informative seminar that will help you find incredibly useful products that you otherwise would never know were available.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by:  Pam Wall

Heavy Weather Sailing

Severe weather appears, and your destination is still miles away.  Big waves and high winds make it challenging to keep your boat balanced and your crew safe.  You need a plan, you need the right equipment and you need practice to bring your boat and crew through heavy weather with everyone’s confidence intact.  This class will help you create a plan and overcome the fear of strong winds.  You will be shown Cape Horn tested methods to keep any type of boat, classic or modern, ride out extreme weather.  Even if you think running or lying-ahull are effective storm tactics for you & your crew, there are reasons you still must learn to heave-to.  Storm sail and gear selection will be discussed along with hints, so you can create a sea-anchor using gear you already have on board.

  • This course is rated as an intermediate (201) course

Presented by:  David Flynn of Quantum Sails

Line Handling, Knots & Bends

The biggest misconception is that all you need to know is a few knots like the bowline and square knot.  Too often knots are taught but line handling is neglected, resulting in hockled lines, figure 8 coils, jammed lines on cleats, rope burns, and a spaghetti mess when you need the line to run free.  This course will cover the essentials in line handling, which is one of the most important and overlooked seamanship skills.  We will also go over our list of essential knots, splices, and bends and when to use them.

Topics covered include:  rope care, parts of a knot, bends, line handling, what makes a good knot, heaving a line, surging a line, understanding load, the fair lead, the proper direction to coil, when to trust a slippery hitch, types of ropes, line care, ‘to flemish or not to flemish’, etc.  Guaranteed even an experienced sailor will be surprised to learn something in this course.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) to intermediate (201) course

Presented by:  Teresa & Ben Carey

Maintaining Your Boat – Above & Below the Waterline SOLD OUT

This 3 part class will cover all the basics of cruising boat maintenance, from bottom paints and blister prevention, to power train service and corrosion prevention, the goal of the half day course will be to explain the most common below the waterline issues and how to get the best of your annual haul out and maintenance schedule.  Steve will also explore modern composite construction with strategies for keeping moisture out of the deck/cabin structure along with general gelcoat maintenance, electrical system safety and annual maintenance tasks.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) to intermediate (201) course

Presented by:  Steve Zimmerman of Zimmerman Marine

Maintaining Your Diesel Engine 101

Jim Zima will guide you through the essential components of diesel engines giving you a basic understanding of how diesel engines work so that when the captain can’t leave the helm and sends you down to the engine room to investigate unusual sounds, smells or to just check the fluids, you will be capable of troubleshooting basic components of your diesel engine. This course will help take the mystery out of what is inside that noisy engine room and how to begin to understand the basics of maintaining the diesel engine. Jim will cover the description & operations of vital engine components, the Daily Engine Checklist, checking fluid levels and how to top off, investigating unusual sounds & smells, learn how to generate a list of what spare parts should be kept aboard.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by:  Jim Zima of Great Lakes Diesel

Marine Weather Forecasting

             A Master Class with Mark Thornton

Coastal and off-shore cruising requires many skills. Regardless of where your adventures may take you, no aspect of cruising is more important than an understanding of marine weather forecasting. During the 2-day Marine Weather Forecasting Masters Class, you will gain an understanding of basic weather principles and learn how to use a wide variety of forecasting resources. These skills will improve your cruise planning and reduce the likelihood that you will be exposed to uncomfortable or hazardous weather conditions.

What you can expect to learn at the 2-day seminar:

  • A few basic meteorological principles.
  • How to decode the confusing symbols and meteorological shorthand on forecast graphics, regardless of your cruising grounds
  • How to prepare a detailed wave height forecast and recognize the conditions that promote dangerously high waves.
  • Why the wind behaves the way it does and how to prepare a detailed wind forecast.
  • How to predict the development and movement of low pressure systems and their accompanying frontal boundaries.
  • How to forecast the potential of thunderstorms, including when, where, and what type of storms may develop.
  • Identify the ingredients required for the formation of tropical cyclones and how to interpret the products published by the National Hurricane Center.
  • The terminology used by the National Weather Service during hazardous and severe weather events.
  • How to use Doppler weather radar and satellite imagery to help you avoid an encounter with severe or hazardous weather.
  • Where to find forecast graphics and a strategy for preparing a multi-day marine forecast.
  • The pros and cons of several of the most popular weather forecasting apps.
  • But most of all, the seminar will provide you with the skills to be self-reliant. The seminar combines classroom instruction, case studies, hands-on forecasting exercises, and live product demonstrations to create an engaging learning experience. For additional information on this class or to contact the instructor, please click here.

Comments from a recent student:  “Don’t miss the 2-day weather class.  You’ll be safer and a more confident cruiser”

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) to intermediate (201) course

  Presented by: Mark Thorntonof Lake Erie WX

Maritime Communications – an Introduction

Topics covered will include VHF/FM Radio installation and use, AIS Operation, SSB/HF Radio Operation, and Digital Options.  The focus will be on operating installed radios to communicate with both ship and shore stations, access weather, and other information, and make and respond to emergency calls.  This class is for someone looking to understand their communication options while cruising.  

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by:  Scott Berg of Chardonnay Boatworks

Moving Your Business Aboard

Are you itching to go cruising but not ready to give up the business you’ve invested your time and money into?  You don’t have to wait until retirement to go cruising – all you need to do is take your business with you. In this course, we’ll cover everything from managing the harsh reality of mobile internet to time management, handling postal mail and voice communications, as well as customer support, retail fulfillment, bookkeeping, shipping, and more. Whatever your business – or whatever skills you have to build into a business – chances are, you can turn it into a cruising-friendly business with the right planning and management.  This course will also touch on the specific challenges of several types of businesses including retail, professional consulting, and software development.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) to intermediate (201) course

Presented by:  Devon & Richard Anderson of Sea-Tech Systems

Navigating the ICW – North to South

For legions of boaters, a trip down the ICW is the cruise of a lifetime. For others, it’s the first big step in a grand tour of the Islands. Whichever it is for you, “Navigating the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW)” will help you do it in style. We’ll talk about how to follow the famous magenta line south without getting lost. We’ll discuss some of the route’s hidden treasures, like Marineland, Fla., and McClellenville, S.C. And we’ll discuss the best ways to negotiate the ICW’s infamous shallow areas, like Hell Gate and Lockwood’s Folly. Join lifelong cruiser Jody Argo Schroath—cruising editor at Chesapeake Bay Magazine and author of the new Atlantic Coast ICW Planning Guide—for a discussion of all facets of negotiating the ICW, from cruise planning and the best navigation apps to finding the tastiest ghost shrimp in the Carolinas.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by:  Jody Schroath of Chesapeake Bay Magazine

Offshore Energy Management & Design

This class will demonstrate design concepts of a balanced, energy management system, from the primary components of energy consumption to production and storage.  

Part 1 will highlight some significant load considerations that can be designed for efficiency, most significant of these, refrigeration and desalination, which will be touched on briefly. 

Part 2 will demonstrate energy storage through a discussion of battery technologies, battery bank capacity calculations, effective charge regulation and staged load management. 

Part 3 will demonstrate the need for calculating balanced daily power production using alternators and generators but emphasize the benefits of sustainable wind and solar power. (Consider taking Amp it Up!  Cruising with Alternative Energy for a more in-depth focus on this subject).

  • This course is rated as an intermediate (201) course

Presented by:  Bob Williams of SALT Services, Inc.

Offshore Rigging & Sails – When things go wrong SOLD OUT

It’s very important to do your homework before heading offshore. A critical aspect of this preparation is monitoring the condition of your rigging and sails. This session starts by covering strengths and weaknesses of rigging and sail materials, such as the many shortcomings of stainless steel. Then we’ll discuss what to look for in rig and sail inspection, improving sail handling setup, and maintenance. Finally, how to safely manage a rig or sail problem when away from professional resources, including recommended maintenance and repair kit contents to prepare before you go.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) to intermediate (201) course

 Presented by:  Jamie Gifford of SailingTotem

Old Salts, New Systems: How to Rig an Older Boat for Cruising Comfort

Pam Wall combines her tried & true wisdom on rigging boats for cruising along with Annie Dike’s, an offshore sailor, use of newer technology and gear to best outfit an older boat to cross oceans and cruise comfortably in the islands.  In this fun and interactive class, you will gain insight into the pros and cons of all types of systems for boats from rigging, ground tackle, navigation, communication, power management, and propolsion.  While Pam will teach the beauty & necessity of dependable, simple systems, Annie will share the perks and quirks of newer more complicated systems with a fun interactive Q & A session at the end.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by:  Pam Wall & Annie Dike

OMG I Bought a Boat! Now What? 

You may know how to sail, and perhaps you have chartered boats . . . but now that you own a boat you are finding that you didn’t know as much as you thought about systems and boat maintenance. Jeff & Jean explain how you can get familiar with your boat and her systems so that you can have Drama- free cruising. It’s likely that your To Do list is overwhelming. We will help you understand how to prioritize what needs to be addressed immediately and how to choose a vendor to do the work properly and cost effectively.  With tips to create a budget so you don’t run out of money before the work is finished!

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by:  Jeff Grossman & Jean Levine of TwoCanSail

Plugged In – Power Cord Safety

It seems like such a simple thing. When in a marina you plug the power cords into  a power post and enjoy the use of nearly unlimited electricity, but there are a few safety and systems concerns involved. Every year there are boat and marina fires which are attributed to faulty shore power cords. How do you determine if your power cord might be a fire hazard?  What can you do to protect your boat and your cord set? Is there a connection between shore power and the galvanic anode consumption rate?  Why is it that?  Are marinas corrosion hot spots? We’ll examine some simple  issues of galvanic corrosion and  discuss  what anodes will work well for your  boating area.  Tom Hale will help you understand the safe practices of plugging while on the dock with an in depth photo study of shore power systems.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) to an intermediate (201) course

 Presented by:  Tom Hale of Sail Magazine

Preparing for Your First Coastal Cruise

This course will help the first time cruiser get ready for a longer cruise than just the weekend away.  There are many areas to worry about, but Tom Hale will walk you through the stages of leaving the dock:  Planning, Preparing, and Practice!  This course will look at your boat and getting its systems ready for the extended cruise, preparing your crew for the journey as well as what to expect along the way.  He will give a few hints learned along the way of his cruising from the Chesapeake Bay, south along the ICW to Florida and north to Quebec along the St. Lawrence Seaway aboard his Trawler, Tadhana.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by:  Tom Hale of Sail Magazine

Provisioning – From List to Last Bite

Provisioning can seem daunting. What should I get? How do I store it? Am I destined to eat Spam forever? Regardless of whether you’re planning a one-week Bay cruise or are headed across the Atlantic, food will take center stage for more of your cruise than you can imagine. To provision properly, you must account for budgetary concerns, refrigeration availability, storage space, and more. This class will teach you how to relax and provision like you’ve been doing it for years. It all boils down to 3 simple questions: 

What to provision – what are your personal preferences, your cruising grounds, and the length of your cruise. 

Where to provision – pros and cons of farmer’s markets, your neighborhood grocery store, big box stores, and even ship chandleries. 

When to provision – do you go to the boat the morning you’re leaving with your groceries and untie the docklines? Do you lovingly store wine for months in the bilge? What special timing do you have to consider when provisioning?  You will leave this class with a start of your own personalized provisioning list and a thorough understanding of what questions you need to ask to make the next provisioning run your best ever.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by:  Nica Waters of Fit2Sail


Rally Ho!

Learn about preparing the boat and crew for blue water passages and why participating in a rally might make sense for you.  The course will cover boat and crew preparation, recommended safety equipment, how to make your boat a home, and what to look for in a crew.  Additional topics will include working with a weather router, along with information about cruising the eastern Caribbean and why Antigua makes sense as a destination and point to cruise to other areas of the Caribbean.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by:  Bob Osborn of the Salty Dawg Sailing Association

Route Planning SOLD OUT

Telling friends about the dream destinations you’ll sail to is easy. Stepping up to the edge of departure is often stressful and loaded with difficult decisions. Poor route planning can lead to uncomfortable, slower than expected, and riskier passages. There is a surprising number of recent examples of boats beat-up or lost due to poor routing. Learn how to route plan for an upcoming passage, upcoming season, and to deal with conditional changes underway. In this class you’ll learn the techniques, tools and process for a safer and more efficient trip down the coast or across an ocean.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) to intermediate (201) course

Presented by:  Jamie Gifford of SailingTotem

Rules of the Road

All boaters are legally bound to the COLREGS, but very few recreational boaters have actually looked at the rules or even carry a copy aboard.  And there’s a good reason for that!  Navigation Rules are confusing, long, and cumbersome.  In this course, Teresa will simplify some of the most important and common rules by drawing upon real world experience.  She has developed many tools to help you understand and remember these complex regulations.  She will look at meeting, crossing and overtaking situations, vessel responsibilities (aka, who’s got the right of way), navigation lights, sound signals, and discuss in depth some techniques to help you make informed and safe decisions to avoid collisions in a variety of situations.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by:  Teresa & Ben Carey

Safety at Sea

Safety at sea is like good background music, it delivers a subliminal theme that continues to resonate. In this 2-part class we’ll spotlight real examples showing how easily unsafety at sea creeps aboard. Then delve into specific risks and how to develop skills to respond to these safety challenges. Spotting problems before they happen, thoughtful decision making, and managing small issues before they spiral into crisis are paramount points of safety. And when a situation does go bad, your response can remedy or really complicate the issue. We’ll cover methods and procedures to managing situations of elevated risk through to crisis management. From first hand stories and lessons in groundings, dismastings, medical emergencies, etc., you will leave this class with a to-do list for preparation and roles for safety and crisis management aboard. This is a two part class.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) to intermediate (201) course

Presented by:  Jamie Gifford of SailingTotem

Sail Trim for Performance & Safety

This presentation provides instruction on best practice sail trim for cruisers. The goal is to present the sailor with ways to deal with common cruising concerns of heel, over-powered situations, when to reef or use a Cunningham control on the main, best upwind performance and easy downwind sailing. We examine all the components of sail shape and trim and how to use the controls on your boat to overcome these common concerns.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) to intermediate (201) course

Presented by:  David Flynn of Quantum Sails

Sewing on a Boat – Canvas Work (a full day class)

Most cruisers know the Sailrite® Ultrafeed® Sewing Machine is the gold standard machine to have on board for minor repairs to major projects, but how many of us know how to use the machine to its fullest capabilities?  The Sewing on a Boat – Canvas Work class led by Sailrite instructors will walk the student through how to choose the right supplies for your next project, from salon curtains to a new bimini. The instructors will give you an overview on which fabric to use, how much you need, what type of stitches to use, and the fasteners and equipment needed to finish the project.

Students will be in small groups to work on (and hopefully finish) canvas tote bags which will go home with them at the end of the day. This is an amazing opportunity to learn from experienced Sailrite craftsmen on the best-in-class Sailrite Ultrafeed Sewing Machines.  All supplies and machines will be provided for in-class use. Class limit 25.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) to intermediate (201) course

Presented by: SAILRITE

Single Handed Sailing – Coastal & Offshore

Teresa Carey has years of experience voyaging and passagemaking solo.  There is a wealth of rewards with sailing solo, and Teresa feel very strongly about it as an essential part of her development as a sailor.  But there is also a significant increase in risk when you head out to sea alone, on both coastal and offshore passages.  This seminar discusses seamanship and safety techniques that help keep the sailor well rested, safe and alert at sea while sailing solo.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by:  Teresa & Ben Carey

Spinnakers for Cruisers & Beginners

This course is aimed at families, cruisers, singlehanded sailors or folks thinking about buying a spinnaker or who have bought a boat that has a spinnaker but do not know how to use it.  The course will guide you through the following areas:  

  • Why fly a spinnaker?
  • Different types of spinnakers (pros & cons of each)
  • How to set up the boat for spinnaker use (equipment needed & how to run lines)
  • Basic operation (hoisting, jibing, take down for both types of spinnakers
  • Spinnaker trim – Close, running and broad reach
  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by:  Gary Shaw of Chutescoop

Splicing SOLD OUT

Traditional rigging techniques paired with modern materials should be part of every cruiser’s “go to” repair kit. This course will focus on utilizing dyneema and 3-strand rope. Stainless steel is a robust and flawed materials that can often be replaced temporarily in case of failure, or permanently, with super strong, low stretch Dyneema. We’ll use single-braid Dyneema line to make “bury” and “brummel” eye splices, loops, and soft-shackles (completing soft-shackles is class-size dependent, but students will understand the method); and cover a range of uses on board. Traditional 3-strand splicing is decorative and practical for use in docklines, fenders, and other applications. We’ll cover 3-strand eye-splice, end-splice, and join-splice.

All lines used in the Splicing course have been donated by Latell Sails out of Deltaville, VA

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) to intermediate (201) course

Presented by:  Jamie Gifford of SailingTotem

Staying Ship Shape – When Your Boat Becomes Your Gym

Start in shape, stay in shape – the joys and pitfalls of exercise on board. Cruising is not always the most physical of lifestyles, and staying in shape can mean the difference between a successful cruise and one that ends too soon. There’s mental as well as physical reasons to create an on-board fitness routine that will work for you, and in this class you’ll learn about all of them. You’ll learn about basic body exercises, good equipment (and substitutes) for use on board, and by the time class is over you will have created your own personalized exercise routine for use on board.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by:  Nica Waters of Fit2Sail

Storing Food With a Tiny Fridge

Most boat refrigerators are just too small to store foods the same way we did ashore. Carolyn Shearlock, author of “Storing Food without Refrigeration,” will cover what foods do just as well without refrigeration, the techniques for safely storing food outside the refrigerator, alternate products that produce great meals, purchasing provisions for storage without refrigeration and meal-planning tips. Get the benefit of Carolyn’s 40 years of adventuring (including two 4-month trips without even a cooler) to learn how to have meats, cheese, yogurt, milk, eggs, fruits and vegetables and everything else you crave even with a tiny fridge . . . or none at all!

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by: Carolyn Shearlock of The Boat Galley

The Art of Anchoring – Tackle, Tips, and Tactics

During the first part of this class, Rudy & Jill will go over sizing anchors and rodes, anchoring techniques for mud and weeds, calculating scope, plus some ‘surprises’ about scope ratios, shackles for High Test chain, and hand signals, plus much more.  

The second part of the class will cover the seven steps to anchoring and the associated idiosyncrasies, cautions and considerations before you anchor, backing down on the anchor, how not to break your windless, marking your rodes, sizing cleats, the COLREGS for anchoring, sizing swivels and deploying multiple anchors, plus more.  Rudy & Jill encourage questions throughout this class.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by:  Jill & Rudy Sechez

The Cruising Boat – The 5 Step Plan to Purchasing It

The 5 Step Plan is a guide to becoming happy cruisers by maximizing your Dream and minimizing the Drama. Jeff & Jean will guide you through the 5 Step Plan, from what you should learn ahead of time, to creating a budget, the boat selection, a detailed look at the buying process, and then how to learn your boat after purchase.  The buying process can sometimes be complex and has several opportunities for expensive pitfalls. Jeff & Jean show you where the “stepping stones” are that allow you to navigate from Landlubber to Cruiser without making potential six figure mistakes.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by:  Jeff Grossman & Jean Levine of TwoCanSail

Thunderstorm Primer – Weather in Motion SOLD OUT

Thunderstorms can quickly spoil an outing in many ways—strong winds, large waves, dangerous lightning or visibility-limiting rain. This presentation, presented by Mark Thornton of LakeErieWX, will examine the various types of thunderstorms and the atmo­spheric ingredients that lead to their formation. Learn why thunderstorms often ‘pop-up’ late on summer afternoons and why some storms have short life-spans while others persist for hours. Discover why thunderstorms remain independent on some days and form into damaging long-lived squall lines on others. Reduce your chances of a hair-raising or wind-swept encounter with a thunderstorm by learning to assess the potential for their develop­ment using readily available resources.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course, you may wish to take Weather 000 first if you are completely new to weather forecasting

Presented by:  Mark Thornton of Lake Erie WX

Tool Time

It is time to drop the dock lines and set off on your cruising dream, but is your tool box ready to face the continuous maintenance on your boat and all of the systems?  Tom will address what tools you should have aboard (and ones most likely not necessary), what tools you should have duplicates of and what specialty tools may be needed.  Also, how do you decide the number of spare parts you should leave port with and where should it all be stored?  Tom Hale will give you an overview of what is and isn’t necessary based on his travels and his years in the marine business.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by:  Tom Hale of Sail Magazine

Top Newbie Cruising Mistakes SOLD OUT

Improve your odds for a successful launch into cruising.  This session will talk about common mistakes and bad habits that make the transition into cruising more challenging.  Topics include boat selection, preparation, transitioning aboard, finances, and a review of ‘cruise killers’.  Learn how to avoid the top five reasons that people stop cruising sooner than planned.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by:  Behan Gifford of SailingTotem

Traditional Navigation – A Full Day Class SOLD OUT

Join world cruisers Ralph and Lenore Naranjo for “A Navigator’s Look down Long Island Sound and beyond”. The Naranjos will share basic coastal piloting and traditional navigation techniques in the morning and fill the afternoon with a blend of paper plotting skills and the most current electronic navigation alternatives. By the end of the day you’ll be shaping routes toward new landfalls near and far, and ready to plot on a paper chart just in case the lights go out. 

Morning Session:

  • Using a compass, chart and few simple plotting tools
  • Location by latitude and longitude
  • Anatomy of the Nautical Chart
  • Chart scale and symbology
  • Position plotting on a Mercator chart
  • Speed time and distance—a DR tradition
  • Working with a hand bearing compass
  • Planning and plotting a Long Island Sound summer cruise

Afternoon Session:

  • GPS and digital cartography
  • Three levels of commitment to electronic navigation
  • The role of piloting and DR in a satellite signal world
  • Interfacing the human mind and a digital solution to navigation
  • Developing a no-electrons navigator’s backup plan
  • Blending the best of both worlds
  • Plot your cruising plans for destinations near and far
  • This course will start as a beginner / introductory (101) course and continue to intermediate level (201) throughout the day

Presented by: Ralph Naranjo

Tropical Weather Forecasting SOLD OUT

Cruisers are naturally drawn to the tropics by the promise of shimmering blue water, warm sandy beaches, and predictable trade winds. However, the tropics are also the breeding ground for nature’s most destructive storms – tropical cyclones. The weather in the tropics can be far from relaxing.

Weather forecasting in the tropics is very different than forecasting in the mid-latitudes. Tropical Weather Forecasting begins with a review of the prevailing weather patterns in the tropics. From there, we’ll discuss where to find weather forecasting products covering the region and learn how to interpret them. We’ll also delve into resources that cover the formation, movement, and evolution of tropical cyclones (tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes). If your cruising plans include the tropics, don’t miss this introduction to tropical weather forecasting.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course, you may wish to take Weather 000 first if you are completely new to weather forecasting

Presented by:  Mark Thornton of LakeErieWX

Troubleshooting Basic Electrical Problems

This seminar is meant to assist the boat-owner identify the most common sources of onboard electrical problems found on cruising vessels.  Expedient diagnostic procedure and possible solutions will be discussed, with a focus on the use of a digital multi-meter and test leads.  Other areas to be covered are Battery Charging Systems, Charging Devices, Electrical Circuit Testing, and Ground Faults.  While DC circuits are the highest priority and will be given most focus, AC circuits will be discussed with common faults and troubleshooting techniques.  

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course, you may wish to take Watt’s Up  first if you are completely new to understanding electricity

Presented by:  Scott Berg of Chardonnay Boatworks


Watt’s Up – Electricity Simplified

The concept of electricity is both familiar and mysterious. We all know what electricity is, or at least have a rough idea, based on practical experience. Consider these points: 
We are very familiar with the electricity that flows through wires. That electricity comes from power plants, harnessing solar energy, or catching the wind.
It travels from the power plants to our houses in big cables hung high in the air or buried in the ground. Once it gets to our houses, it travels through wires through the walls until it gets to electrical outlets. From there, we plug in power cords to get the electricity into the electrical devices we depend on every day. But how do we achieve the right source of electricity on our boat.
This class will offer a broad overview of the components of electricity such as:  Amps, volts, watts, the difference between AC/DC, charge and circuits.  It will also give you an understanding of how cruisers live on DC power.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by:  Jeff Grossman & Jean Levine of TwoCanSail

Weather 000 for Cruisers SOLD OUT

If you do not know the difference between High & Low Pressure, how to read a barometer, what causes wind flow, how to read the basic symbols used on weather maps, then you are not ready to take even the most basic 101 weather class.  Without this foundation of knowledge, you will be lost. This class will help you understand how weather works in lay language anyone can understand and will give you the basics needed to take classes on weather forecasting for sailing.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by:  Jeff Grossman & Jean Levine of TwoCanSail

What, Me Worry?  Putting Cruising Fears to Rest 

Every soon to be cruiser hears the horror stories of being out there from others about piracy, big winds, and big seas or they watch a movie with very scary scenarios creating a fear of leaving the dock.   Are these fears really situations a cruiser faces and are there strategies you can work on to minimize the fear of the unknown.  Let Jamie & Behan Gifford give some hints from their circumnavigation with their family to put everyone’s worst fears to rest.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by:  Behan Gifford of SailingTotem

Winemaking in Tropical Places

There is nothing better than enjoying a nice glass of wine with friends as the sun sets while at anchor in the Caribbean, but how do you store (and afford) enough wine on your boat to make sure there is always a supply available?  What if you could make your own along your voyage with the supplies available to you? You may not find grapes in the local market but how great would mango wine taste!  Lauren Brush will walk you step by step through the simple process of basic winemaking. You’ll leave class with information about supplies, techniques and recipes so you can enjoy your own tasty wine made from local fruits, flowers and vegetables in as little as a month.

  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by:  Lauren Brush

Writing, Videos, and Blogging – How to Make it Pay

Can you top up your cruising kitty by writing? How do you sell that first sailing article?  What will make your voyaging blog stand out from the rest? How do you keep folks watching your videos?

Lin Pardey will share tips and ideas on what nautical readers and viewers want to know, how to insure your illustrations not only add useful sailing advice to your stories but attract readers, viewers and reviewers attention.  She will show how to get noticed by editors, ways to present work that sells and ideas for expanding your markets.

A discussion of what returns you can expect for your work will be included along with the pitfalls and the practicalities of adding writing, blogging, photography and video to your cruising life.  Book creation and publishing, both traditional and self-publishing, will be covered, including the realities of self-publishing.

Special guests will be dropping in by video or in person to add further information and answer specific questions.  They include Tim Murphy with Cruising World Magazine, Behan Gifford, author of Voyaging with Kids and, Carolyn Shearlock of, Tory Salvia creator of, Sheryl & Paul Shard, videographers and producers of the Distant Shores sailing TV series (AWE TV in the USA) and via video, Jordan & Desiree Wicht of the YouTube channel Sailing Project Atticus and Captain Fatty Goodlander. 

The special guest will cover the following:

  • Tory Salvia – choosing affordable equipment for video making & the best editing apps
  • Behan Gifford – bloggling while you cruise
  • Carolyn Shearlock – maintaining a website that keeps growing
  • Jordan & Desiree Wicht – the realities of cruising and vlogging
  • Paul & Sheryl Shard – how to blend fine film making and cruising
  • Tim Murphy- how a copy editor improves your work
  • Cap’t Fatty Goodlander – the realities and pleasures of self-publishing through Amazon
  • This course is rated as a beginner / introductory (101) course

Presented by:  Lin Pardey



Annapolis, Maryland

"Diesel School was extremely helpful and well run. Good mixture of classroom reinforced with hands on training."

"My wife and I met a lot of wonderful people who, like us, were focused on developing their skills and knowledge base as cruisers."

“If you make the effort to come to the Annapolis Sailboat Show and miss Cruisers University, you have missed the most useful, and potentially life-saving part of the show. The value cannot be overstated!”