Cruisers University Courses


Naval Academy Club at the United States Naval Academy.  

Photo ID required!


Amp it Up!  Cruising with Alternative Energy

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 with considerations for both, including mounting, maintenance, articulation and considerations for wiring.  Wind generators (turbines) will be considered as an alternative or compliment to PV.  Consideration will be given to 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

Many stories, and even a few songs, have been written about the “entertainment” a couple can provide when doing 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


Bahamas Bound:  Cruising the Exumas

The Exumas are truly the jewels of the Bahamas. Take a step beyond the Abacos to discover the magnificent archipelago of the Exumas – 365 cays and islands of laid-back bliss, crystal clear waters, pristine beaches and yes – swimming pigs. Lisa & Andy Batchelor will advise you on preparing and equipping your boat, provisioning, routing, charts, weather, cruising networks.  They’ll share their experience on “don’t miss” destinations to help you make the most of your Exumas cruising.

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

Presented by:  Lisa & Andy Batchelor of Kinetic Sailing


Blogging & Digital Communications

…..Keeping Your Friends and Family Up to Date

There are many ways to document your cruising adventures for others to follow, you can start with social media like FaceBook & Instagram and move onto a blog, or a YouTube Channel and Podcasts, but the big question is what is right for you and how do you get started?  Get some great hints and tricks from Jamie & Behan Gifford who have been documenting their circumnavigation over the past 9 years.  They will give their perspective of what works and what isn’t worth the trouble.

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

Presented by:  Jamie & Behan Gifford of SailingTotem


Coastal Navigation & Chartplotting

In an age where GPS technology is becoming increasingly reliable and affordable, the art and appreciation for traditional navigation is waning.  Yet, the traditional navigation, with honed skills, can be equally reliable, and in fact, it can build more seamanship skills than just a sharp sense of navigation.  This class is an introduction to the chart and its symbols, navigation tools and how to use them, and the concepts used in traditional, non-electronic navigation.  This class is a must if for any reason your boat’s electronic navigation programs stop working, you will need to know how to get home and in a safe harbor.

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

 Presented by:  Arista Holden


Crisis Management While Cruising

No one individual can escape the power of the great law of Murphy. Let’s be honest, bad things can happen to good cruisers, in fact, it’s a fact of cruising that at some point, something will go wrong. When things go wrong the only thing we can control is how we react. Crisis management is a very important process on a boat when reacting to an emergency and is most effective when you have systems and processes in place to help you respond when things go wrong. From first hand stories and lessons in groundings, catastrophic damage, structural failure, medical emergencies, etc., you will leave this class with a to-do list for preparation and roles for crisis management aboard.

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

 Presented by:  Jamie Gifford of SailingTotem


Crossing the Gulf Stream in Comfort

The Gulf Stream is a current of warm water 60 miles wide that moves at 1-5 kts, flows through the Gulf of Mexico, around Florida, up the US East Coast, and all the way across the Atlantic. This flowing current must be crossed in order to get to the Bahamas, Caribbean or Cuba from the U.S. Delivery Captain Dave Skolnick has crossed the Gulf Stream many times and has expert firsthand knowledge of what to expect when crossing. This class will provide techniques for crossing including planning, boat preparation, weather, when to go, understanding shipping traffic, collision avoidance and night sailing. 

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

Presented by:  Dave Skolnick


Cruising the Eastern Caribbean

Dreaming of cruising the Eastern Caribbean, but not quite sure how to go about it?  How and when do you get there – direct offshore or a combination of ICW and island-hopping?  Should you join a Rally, buddy-boat or go it alone?  Are you and your boat ready for the passage?  If not, how do you prepare?  How and where can you provision and maintain your boat?  How can you stay in touch with friends and family? What charts and weather sources should you explore?  What are realistic itineraries to see the Virgin, Leeward and Windward Islands?  Lisa & Andy Batchelor have been cruising the Eastern Caribbean for the past 10 years and share their knowledge and experience to help you make your cruising dreams a reality.

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

Presented by:  Lisa & Andy Batchelor of Kinetic Sailing


Cruising Green:  Increasing Efficiency & Reducing Your Footprint

Cruisers are inherently aware of their natural environment and the need to preserve it against man-made threats.  They also want to improve their boat’s performance and save money!  This seminar presents a multi-faceted approach to sustainable cruising, to help you optimize your boat’s efficiency while making a positive impact on the environment.  The approach incorporates green technologies, power audits, renewable energy sources, simple onboard practices and eco-friendly products.  We’ll address carbon footprint, pollution, waste management, wildlife and habitat.  Learn how to be a good steward of the environment while optimizing your boat’s performance and preserving the cruising kitty.

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

Presented by:  Lisa & Andy Batchelor of Kinetic Sailing


Cruising & Living in Hurricane Latitudes

            …..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, the possibility of cruising during hurricane season, 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


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

Cruising is a wonderful lifestyle, but a different one as well. It’s not just the navigation, boat maintenance and getting underway to get used to, but also fitting into the cruising community. In this session, Carolyn Shearlock will discuss everything from the dinghy dock to boat cards to happy hour and potlucks to laundry room and VHF etiquette. 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


Cruising the Chesapeake to the Caribbean

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 the Potomac

A trip up the 100-mile-long Potomac River is a trip through the history of the nation. On its first tributary, the St. Mary’s River, the state of Maryland was born. On the Northern Neck of Virginia, the seeds of revolution were sown. Here is the birthplace of the new country’s leaders: George Washington, Light Horse Harry Lee, James Monroe, George Mason. Here too the river is broad and wild, its tributaries beautiful and sparsely populated. Further upriver, Colonial Beach and Cobb Island echo the years when steamboats provided the best transportation for people and goods. Now around the Horseshoe, lies more history: Quantico Marine Base, Gunston Cove and then, high on a bluff, Washington’s beautiful Mount Vernon. The river narrows and every turn brings something extraordinary: National Harbor, Alexandria, and finally, Washington D.C with its monuments, the Wharf, the Yards and Georgetown Harbour. And all of it, from St. Mary’s City to Washington D.C. custom made for the cruising boater. Come along and learn how to make this unforgettable trip up the Nation’s River.

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

 Presented by:  Jody Schroath of Chesapeake Bay Magazine


Cruising Women – Master Class

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 goodat 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 – Master Class  SOLD OUT

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 cut-away engine models of Yanmar 1GM10 and Universal M-25XP will be on display and used 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. 

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

Presented by:  Jim Zima of Great Lakes Diesel


The Efficient Boat Fridge

Bob will examine the refrigeration technologies and proven design concepts available to cruisers today. Refrigeration typically represents the single biggest onboard power consumer, driving many other energy production costs. This presentation will look at refrigeration as it pertains to energy management in addition to managing food storage temperatures. Examples of efficient box design and types of DYI construction material will be covered, as well as possible improvements that could be made to existing systems. A general explanation will be given of a typical refrigeration circuit as it pertains to troubleshooting and diagnostics. If you have a refrigeration system on your boat, or want to install one, this course should provide you with the understanding to design, buy and service your refrigeration intelligently.

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

Presented by:  Bob Williams of SALT Services, Inc.


Gear Up – Get Ready to Drop the Lines

What can you do to make your boat a blue water sailing yacht?  Pam Wall’s expert knowledge after years of circling the globe will help you learn about and understand the essentials of blue water cruising equipment. There will be the “why and because” answers with many products, ground tackle, sails and rigging set-ups, safety equipment, below deck comfort ideas, and plain old common-sense ideas that you never would have known and will become so obvious in this presentation.

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

Presented by:  Pam Wall


Great Products You Want 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


High Seas Communications:  VHF & SSB Radio

 You have short & long-range radios installed on your boat, but what are their features and what type of functions and capabilities do they have?  Pactor modems, Cruiser Nets, passage planning, weather GRIB files, VHF Distress signals.  What the heck is all this stuff and how do you use it?  Join Dave Skolnick as he reviews the operations of your radios, so you can take advantage of all the capabilities of your equipment.

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

 Presented by:  Dave Skolnick


Is Anyone Out There?  AIS & Radar

 We share the water with many others:  Recreational boats, watermen, commercial fishing boats, and big ships.  Dave Skolnick will review tools available to build situational awareness, so you can stay safe and avoid surprises out on the water.  Learn about AIS and radar tracking systems and the ins & outs, pro’s & cons of each system, along with helpful tips to get more out of the tracking systems that you currently use.  Dave will introduce these tracking systems helping you to be better informed and safer on the water, by anticipating and avoiding other vessels.

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

Presented by:  Dave Skolnick


Is the Cat Life for You?

 There are significant differences in design choices among the pride of large cruising Cats available today. These catamarans can literally be as different as a Corvette is from an RV. Explore the design & build tradeoffs, and walk through the different feature and layout choices, to help you to determine which will best match how you plan to go Catamaran cruising.

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

Presented by:  Jeff Grossman & Jean Levine of TwoCanSail


Maintain 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


Maintaining Your Boat – Above & Below the Waterline

 This 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


Make Your Cruising Dream a Happy Reality

 For years you dream of moving onto a boat and traveling the world.  You plan, you commit, and finally, it is time to pull away from the dock and your support system and start your cruising adventure.  How does the reality of this decision feel now?  Is the reality of living aboard meeting your expectations that you had before you left? Perhaps some things exceed your expectations, while others leave you questioning why you were crazy enough to make such a huge lifestyle change.  How do you keep your sanity when the world aboard and the world around you is so different than what you are used to?  What happens if the dream is great for one and a nightmare for the other?

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

Presented by:  Nica Waters


Marine Weather Forecasting – Master Class

 Cruising requires many skills. Regardless of where your adventures 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. Attendees will also learn where to find and how to interpret forecasts for their favorite cruising grounds. Classroom instruction, reviewing past events, and hands-on forecasting exercises combine to create an engaging learning experience.

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

  Presented by:  Mark Thornton of Lake Erie WX


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


Traditional Navigation – A Full Day Class

Part 1 – Traditional Navigation – An Introduction

In an age where GPS technology is becoming increasingly reliable and affordable the art and appreciation for traditional navigation is waning. Yet, traditional navigation, with honed skills, can be equally reliable, and in fact, it can build more seamanship skills than just a sharp sense of navigation. This is an introduction to the chart and its symbols, navigation tools, and the concepts used in traditional, non-electronic navigation. The rest of the day builds on this introduction.

Part 2 – Chart Plotting

Traditional chart plotting is an essential tool to ensure finding your way from point A to point B across waterways, while avoiding certain hazards and finding important navigational aids. While today people rely largely on GPS and electronic chart plotters, understanding the language of traditional chart plotting is a fundamental component to becoming a skilled seaman. We’ll dive right into the essential tools, features of a chart including colors and symbols, shipboard references, lines of position, calculating speed, triangulation, using a red sector.

Part 3 – Nighttime & Limited Navigation

Darkness & fog are intimidating and for good reason. Navigating in the dark and limited visibility is an acquired skill. With some fundamental understanding of what to look for and how to interpret sounds, shapes, lights and targets you can feel comfortable proceeding safely in limited visibility. We will build on the previous parts of the day with deduced reckoning, log-keeping, danger bearings, and more.

Part 4 – Advanced Navigation

This section combines traditional navigation, chart plotting, and limited visibility navigation for a practical session in advanced navigation concepts and techniques. Activities will include utilizing tide and current tables, calculating set and drift, plotting a running fix, using the rule of 12ths, using ranges to estimate drift, calculating closest point of approach, making best use of ferry angles, and more.

  • This course will start as a beginner / introductory (101) course and continue to intermediate level (201) throughout the day

Presented by:  Arista Holden


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. (Consider taking The Efficient Boat Fridge and/or The Endless Fresh Water Supply for a more in-depth focus on this subject).

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 

It’s very important to do your homework before heading out on an offshore run. A critical aspect of this prep work is monitoring the condition of your rigging and your preparedness to adapt in the case of a failure when you’re out on the open ocean. This session will provide an overview of inventory needs, inspection, selection, and repair options and rigging kits, choices you make before you go, and maintenance after you go.  It will provide a framework to evaluate your rig’s setup, condition, and what to do when things go wrong when you’re many miles away from your home port. 

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

Presented by: Jamie Gifford of SailingTotem


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 byJeff Grossman & Jean Levine of TwoCanSail


Plugged In – Safety and Battery Efficiency

 It seems like such a simple thing when on the dock to plug the power cords in and enjoy the use of unlimited electricity, but there are many safety and systems concerns involved. How do you determine your power cord is not a fire waiting to happen, are you using the correct battery charger while on dock, should you equalize your batteries while plugged in, are the batteries receiving a flood or a trickle charge, and what is a smart charger?  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


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


Safety at Sea

Safety at sea is like good background music, it delivers a subliminal theme that continues to resonate. The skill set involved in safety training for cruisers is all about thoughtful decision making, the ability to solve a small problem before it evolves into a big trouble.  And finally, if caught during a Mayday situation, having a plan to cope with fire, flooding or a crew washed overboard. This session delves into specific risks and how to develop the skills to respond to these safety challenges.  Its fine tuned to the reality of short-handed cruising and doesn’t dwell on how a crew of ten copes with a man-overboard recovery. Instead, each aspect of every emergency response takes crew size, skill level and vessel readiness into consideration and focuses on incident prevention as well as an effective response.

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

Presented by:  Jamie Gifford


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


Staying Connected – WiFi & Cell Service

The beauty of Wifi & Cell service on your boat is that you can be in the tropics, and still have connectivity to the mainland.  Wifi and/or cell service have become an integral part of cruising, and provide connectivity with family, friends, and even work.  But there are many options to choose from as far as carriers and different types of technologies.  Join Dave Skolnick as he reviews the options and shares the information you need to choose the best solution for you and your boat.

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

Presented by:  Dave Skolnick


Storage Strategies When Your Boat is Your Home

 No matter what size boat you have, storage is always an issue.  How do you store all of your provisions for 3 months in the Bahamas, what about extra beer & wine, what do you do with multiple seasons’ clothing (you can’t live in a bathing suit all of the time), how about your prescription medications or your furry family member’s food?  Carolyn will discuss tested storage techniques, the compromises that have to be made, and ways to keep track of your galley provisions, first aid supplies, clothing, tools, spare parts and everything else needed for everyday life on a cruising boat.

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

Presented by:  Carolyn Shearlock of The Boat Galley


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


The Endless Fresh Water Supply

This class will clarify the technological differences between types of reverse osmosis water making systems with graphs, photos, and system schematics for reference.  Particular attention will be given to DC desalination that can be supported by wind and solar energy sources, no generator required. Comparisons between watts/gallon, PPM of salt rejection and noise level will be made.  Installation considerations that may affect performance, maintenance and life expectancy of the membranes will be discussed.

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

Presented by:  Bob Williams of SALT Services, Inc.


The Grand Tour of the Chesapeake

“You can cruise the Chesapeake your whole life and almost never have to visit the same place twice.” This is how John Stefancik begins his seminar about cruising the Bay. The Chesapeake has so much cruising area, and so many towns to visit, with such a diversity of scenery packed into a mid-sized region that boaters can literally get lost in between skyscrapers and rolling farmland in the very same day aboard. Whether you are cruising in sail or power, for a week or a whole season, this seminar will take you on a tour of much of the Bay and give you the details needed for a successful cruise.

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

Presented by:  John Stefancik of Chesapeake Bay Magazine


The Insider’s Guide to the Florida Keys

This discussion explains approaches to the Florida Keys from both the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.  Issues concerning weather, visual depth reading and anchor tackle appropriate for any coral reef environment will be discussed. The Keys are the second largest marine sanctuary in the US, related park authority regulations will be explained. Considerations for diving, fishing and edibility of reef fish are reviewed. Marine services and attractions will be shown as well.

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

Presented by:  Bob Williams of SALT Services, Inc.


Tides & Currents of the ICW – Making them Work for You

There are a lot of cruisers who experience tides and currents for the first time as they enter the Intracoastal Waterways, and it can be a rude awakening when you go aground, or you fight a 3 knot current all day.  Tom Hale will help you understand how to determine the tides for your cruising area, how lunar cycle can affect them, as well as figuring out how currents work based on inlets and the best way to use the currents to help push you through your day’s journey.

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

Presented by:  Tom Hale


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


Top Newbie Cruising Mistakes

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


Transiting the Panama Canal

When SV Totem was ready to leave the Atlantic and head back to the Pacific Ocean, the decision was to transit the Panama Canal.  It seems like a straight forward plan, but it takes planning in advance between finances, weather, governmental agencies and handlers.  Listen to Jamie & Behan Gifford recount their Panama Canal transit earlier this year and learn some tricks that will make it a little easier for when you plan to pass through the canal.

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

Presented by:  Jamie & Behan Gifford of SailingTotem


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

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

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


Weather Apps to Follow

There are plenty of apps devoted to marine weather observations and forecasting. Apps are a convenient and popular way to access wind & wave forecasts, marine observations, Doppler Weather Radar, and prepare the most favorable route for your passage. However not all apps are created equal. Several popular weather-related apps such as Squid Sailing, Predict Wind, Sail Flow, Windy, GR Level 3, and Radarscope will be introduced. We’ll examine the underlying data sources and discuss the positives and negatives associated with relying on apps for your cruising forecasts.

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

Presented by:  Mark Thornton of Lake Erie WX


Weather Makers –  Low Pressure System

 Cruising the Chesapeake, Caribbean, or the Atlantic will place you in the path of low pressure systems, known as “cyclones” in the meteorological community. Cyclones come in two varieties – extratropical (mid-latitude low pressures systems) and tropical (tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes) – which form in very different atmospheric conditions. Both types of cyclones present a significant risk to cruisers in the form of strong, shifty winds, steep waves, dangerous lightning, damaging thunderstorms, tornadoes and, in the case of land-falling tropical cyclones, storm surge. This presentation will investigate both types of cyclones and review a variety of resources for predicting the development, strength, and movement of these weather-makers.

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

Presented by:  Mark Thornton of Lake Erie WX


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:  Jamie & Behan Gifford of SailingTotem


 

 



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."

"The presenters not only shared their vast knowledge, but inspired me to get out there as soon as possible and have fun!"

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