Cruisers University Courses

Naval Academy Club at the United States Naval Academy.  

Photo ID required!

Advanced Navigation

This course 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. Part 4 in a 4 part series. Traditional Navigation (Part 1), Chart Plotting (Part 2), and Nighttime & Limited Visibility Navigation (Part 3). Parts 1-3 are recommended.

Tools: We will try to do as much hands-on work as possible. If you have parallel rules, hand bearing compass, dividers, triangles, charts, pencil, Eldridge’s tide book, Chart #1, please bring them. We will have some tools to share.  

Presented by:  Teresa and Ben Carey       

Amp It Up – Cruising With Alternative Energy

Bob will give a technical discussion on integrating alternative energy systems into your power mix to ensure that when the time is right and your anchor is set, you have cold drinks, fresh ice, and hot showers at your fingertips. He will look at multiple alternative energy sources including solar PV, wind turbine technologies and now hydrogenerators 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 all 3.  This will include mounting, maintenance, articulation and series and parallel wiring of arrays.  Considerations will be given to efficiency, noise, durability and cost.  Installation examples are used to highlight some of the important considerations for safety and service.  Proper charge regulation for both PV and wind will also be covered. 

Presented by: Bob Williams

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 oftentimes challenging maneuvers.

Presented by: Jeff Grossman & Jean Levine

Bahama Bound – The Abacos

 . . . Preparation for cruising the Abacos islands in the Bahamas

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 Bahamas, crossing the Gulf Stream, weather to expect, and get you all excited about cruising these lovely islands so close to our Eastern Seaboard.

Presented by: Pam Wall 

Changing The Engine Oil Made Easy

In this presentation Pam will get women, and men, fired up about how easy it is to monitor and maintain your engine, change the oil, and get to know the functions of this important piece of equipment.  There will be check lists to follow, step-by-step oil change procedures, and a lot of good information contained in Pam’s PowerPoint presentation to give all attendees a much better understanding about your engine and how to keep it happy! This class will help make being your own day-to-day mechanic useful and fun.

Presented by: Pam Wall

Chart Plotting SOLD OUT

Traditional chart plotting is an essential tool to ensure to finding your way from point A to point B throughout 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 2 in a 4 part series. This course builds on the previous. Traditional Navigation (Part 1), Nighttime & Limited Visibility Navigation (Part 3), and Advanced Navigation (Part 4). We recommend you sign up for part 1 as well.

Tools: We will try to do as much hands-on work as possible. If you have parallel rules, hand bearing compass, dividers, triangles, charts, pencil, Eldridge’s tide book, Chart #1, please bring them. We will have some tools to share. 

Presented by: Teresa & Ben Carey

Countdown to Cruising 3-2-1 Blast-off! SOLD OUT

The Big Decision has been made – WE ARE GOING CRUISING! But now what? The devil is in the details, and the countdown is on. This session provides a practical and methodical look at your plan from 2 years out to when you drop the lines and cruise away from home.

Presented by:  Behan Gifford

Crisis Management While Cruising SOLD OUT

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 situation, 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.

Presented by:  Behan and Jamie Gifford

Crossing The Gulfstream

The Gulf Stream is a current of warm water 60 miles wide that moves at 1-5 kts that originates in the Gulf of Mexico and flows to the southern tip of Florida. 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 first hand knowledge of what to expect when crossing. This class will provide techniques for crossing including planning, boat preparation, weather, when to go, shipping, collision avoidance and night sailing. 

Presented by:  Dave Skolnick

Cruising Docs – You Can’t Go Paperless

Take off cruising and the paperwork in your life should be less complicated, and it will be, if, and it is a big if, you do some careful but relatively simple planning beforehand. This course will discuss some of the important and often overlooked documents that you will need to carry on board, starting with papers to prove you own and have the right to operate your boat, along with personal documents that you will need when travelling between countries, including vital passport information plus safe economical ways to transfer and carry money. Mail handling, paying bills, insurance coverage and email considerations are also covered.

Presented by:  Behan Gifford

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

This session addresses practical budgeting aspects of cruising with a focus on cost-conscious cruising for the gold, silver, and bronze level cruising budgets. Behan Gifford draws on real-life experiences from sailing around the world to address common spending concerns and realistic budgeting aspects of cruising, to quell worries and help you spend less… so you can get out there, and cruise more and more!

Presented by:  Behan Gifford

Cruising Women

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.

Comments from women attending previous Cruising Women seminars:

  • Changed me from passenger to crew. 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 and Behan Gifford

Diesel Maintenance 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.  

Presented by:  Jim Zima of Great Lakes Diesel, Inc. 

Dock and Line Handling for Couples

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

Presented by: Jeff Grossman & Jean Levine of Two Can Sail

Docking Single Handed Made Easy

Docking can be very intimidating, especially on a busy summer weekend at the fuel dock with an audience. We’ll discuss the fundamentals of docking including: understanding prop walk, using momentum to your advantage, steering in reverse, holding position, proper use of spring and breast lines, docking in adverse conditions, rafting to another boat, warping, and springing on and off a dock. You’ll learn concepts that you can apply in a variety of conditions, rather than just learning steps that only work in ideal conditions. In addition we’ll share some proven techniques that work when shorthanded or solo.

Topics Include: understanding prop walk, using momentum to your advantage, steering in reverse, holding position, spring lines and breast lines, docking in adverse conditions, rafting up to another boat, kedging, warping, springing off a dock, communication, and leaving the dock.

Presented by: Ben Carey

Gear Up – Are You Ready To Drop The Lines

What can you do to make your boat a blue water sailing yacht?  Pam’s expert knowledge gained from 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.

Class curriculum, complete with detailed handouts, includes:

  • Layout and Equipment on Deck
  • Layout and Equipment Below Deck
  • Check Lists
  • Inspection Lists,
  • Maintenance Lists     
  • Tools to have aboard
  • Rigging
  • Tender equipment
  • Heavy Weather Sailing
  • Hurricane Preparation            
  • Downwind Pole Use and Deployment

Presented by: Pam Wall

Great Products You Need To Know About

During Pam’s 20 years of outfitting work with West Marine, 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 class 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.

Presented by: Pam Wall

Healthcare In Paradise

Learn about and prepare for everyday health concerns while cruising. This course is not taught by a doctor and doesn’t address emergencies – instead, it addresses those issues you are MOST likely to encounter! Raising a family while sailing around the world gives Behan Gifford a broad perspective on the most common health concerns on board, how to prepare for them, and what to do when they occur. She’ll discuss what it’s like seeking out medical care in foreign countries, managing your prescriptions from home, and how most cruisers handle health insurance.

Presented by: Behan Gifford

Heavy Weather Sailing

Severe weather appears and your destination is far 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 their confidence intact. This 90 minute class will help you create that plan and overcome the fear of strong winds. You will be shown Cape Horn tested methods to help 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 and 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.

Presented by: David Flynn


Insider’s Guide to the Florida Keys

This seminar provides an overview for approaches to the Florida Keys from both the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, along with anchoring techniques and bottom tackle appropriate for coral reef environments. The Florida Keys is encompassed by the second largest marine sanctuary in the US, hence various regulatory issues will be discussed along with fishing regulations and legal consequences of running aground. Learn about the historical nature of this area and sites of interest to be visited ashore, along with wrecks and unique dive sites offshore.  Navigational concerns and techniques for reading bottom depth and composition will be shared as well.

Presented by: Bob Williams

AIS & Radar – Is Anyone Out There?

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 and outs and pro’s and con’s 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.

Presented by: Dave Skolnick

Lines, Knots & Bends

This course will look into the importance of line care and the components of a good knot, along with the appropriate knot to best use in various situations. Topics will also include line handling, heaving a line, surging a line, understanding load, types of rope, whipping, “to flemish or not to flemish!” etc. Guaranteed even an experienced sailor will be surprised to learn something in this seminar!

Presented by: Teresa and Ben Carey

Living Aboard – When The Dream Becomes Reality

For years you dream of moving onto a boat and travelling the world. You plan, you commit, and finally, you pull away from your home port and begin 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 ever 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 were once used to? 

Presented by:  Nica Waters

Maine’s Beautiful Coast

Peter Trogdon, President/Owner of Weems and Plath, and his wife, Cathie, will share their cruising knowledge of the rich coastline of Maine. They will share tips about harbors, island gems and anchorages; and what to anticipate in regards to lobster buoys, weather, fog, tides, currents; and best places for ‘lobsta’ and boat repairs. 

Presented by: Peter & Cathie Trogdon

Maintain Your Diesel Engine 101  SOLD OUT

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 just to 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’s inside that noisy engine room and how to begin to understand the basics of maintaining the Diesel engine.

Course outline

Section 1. Description and operations of vital engine components 

Section 2.  Explanation and review of the Daily Engine Checklist 

Section 3.  Proper procedures for checking fluids, fluid types and when and how to top off fluid levels

Section 4.  Investigating unusual sounds and smells coming from the engine room and how to communicate those findings to the captain 

Section 5.  Learn how to generate a list of spare parts and fluids to keep on board

Presented by:  Jim Zima

Maintaining Your Boat – Above and Below The Waterline

This course 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 this half day course will be to explain the most common below the waterline issues and how to get the best out 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.

Presented by:  Steve Zimmerman

Making The Most of VHF & SSB

You have short and long range radios installed on your boat, but what are their features and what types 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.

Presented by: Dave Skolnick

Marine Weather Forecasting SOLD OUT

The Marine Weather Forecasting all day class provides attendees with an understanding of basic meteorological principles and explores the conditions favoring the development of severe weather. Animated graphics and analysis of past weather events are used to delve into the interesting and unique weather forecasting challenges associated with coastal and offshore cruising. Attendees will develop a basic forecasting resource kit based upon readily available government and university websites.

Note:  To sign up, purchase the One, Two, Three, or Four Day Package; a link will be sent where you’ll opt for this course for one of your days.

Presented by: Mark Thornton 

Navigating The ICW – Marks, Locks & Bridges (2 classes: Miles 0-500 & Miles 501-1095)

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 prepare you to make the trip 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.

Presented by: Jody Schroath

Nighttime & Limited Visibility Navigation SOLD OUT

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 seminar with deduced reckoning, log-keeping, danger bearings, and more. Seminar 3 in a 4 part series. This course builds on the previous. We recommend you sign up for part 1 and 2 as well. Traditional Navigation (Part 1), Chart Plotting (Part 2), and Advanced Navigation (Part 4).

Tools: We will try to do as much hands-on work as possible. If you have parallel rules, hand bearing compass, dividers, triangles, charts, pencil, Eldridge’s tide book, Chart #1, please bring them. We will have some tools to share. 

Presented by:  Teresa & Ben Carey

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. 

Presented by: Jamie Gifford

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!

Presented by:  Jeff Grossman & Jean Levine

Provisioning and Galley Essentials

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 take into account 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.

Presented by: Nica Waters

Rules of the Road

We are all legally bound to the COLREGS, but very few recreational boaters have actually looked at the rules or even carry a copy of them aboard. And there’s good reason for that! The Navigation Rules are confusing, long and cumbersome. In this seminar we will simplify some of the most important and common rules by drawing upon real world experience. We’ve developed many tools to help you understand and remember these complex regulations. We’ll 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. Bring your notebooks!

Presented by: Teresa & Ben Carey

Safety At Sea

Safety at Sea for cruisers often boils down to thoughtful decision making and being able to quickly solve a small problem before it escalates. However, dangerous situations can occur at a moment’s notice on a boat and having the proper foresight, planning, and preparedness to respond accordingly can be the difference between a smooth successful cruise and a complete disaster. This course will provide insight into emergency planning and developing the toolkit to be successful in emergency response situations. This course looks at multiple aspects of emergency response, considering crew size, skill level, vessel readiness, and focuses on incidence prevention and effective response mechanisms.

Presented by: Jeff Jordan

Sail Trim for Performance and Control

As we cruise, we often find ourselves faced with situations requiring proper sail trim to deal with conditions like heavy weather or your need to catch the next boat on the horizon.   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-powering situations, upwind performance, and easy down-wind sailing. This session will examine all the aspects of sail shape and trim and how to use the controls on your boat to overcome these common concerns.

Presented by:  Jeff Jordan

Single Handed Sailing – Coastal & Offshore

This session walks through tried-and-true rules for routing with safety and comfort, from technical skills like route planning to practical guidelines for making good passage choices and avoiding common pitfalls that can turn a passage from a pleasant journey to an ordeal. Recommendations for weather, routing, sailing efficiency along with softer skills for crew comfort to keep passages safe and enjoyable.

Presented by: Teresa & Ben Carey

The Albermarle Loop

The Albermarle Loop is a group of marinas and towns located in North Carolina that have come together to promote the marine aspects of the Albemarle Sound.  This cruising ground offers boaters and cruising enthusiasts the possibility of inexpensive boating while enjoying the historic and entertainment opportunities of the Albermarle area. Leave this session with the tools necessary to plan and enjoy the likes of Elizabeth City, Manteo, Ocrakoke, Edenton and Plymouth, and the Dismal Swamp and Alligator River. There are 10 marinas participating in the great summer destination. 

Presented by:  Kim Russo

The Chesapeake in 7 days

You only have 7 days to take a sailing vacation on the Chesapeake Bay, but where should you go?  It is time to turn to a Bay expert and let him give you some tips to make the most of your 7 days. Maybe it’s visiting a port for a summer festival or finding that secluded anchorage where you only have eagles as a neighbor.  Let your summer break begin here!

Presented by: John Stefancik

The Chesapeake to Nantucket

Peter Trogdon, President/Owner of Weems and Plath, and his wife, Cathie will share their coastal cruising knowledge of the varied coastline from the Chesapeake to Nantucket via Delaware, New Jersey, New York City, Long Island Sound, Narragansett Bay & Martha’s Vineyard. They will share tips about harbors and anchorages along the route and what to anticipate in regards to weather, tides and currents.

Presented by: Peter & Cathie Trogdon

The Endless Fresh Water Supply

This class clarifies the technological differences between types of Reverse Osmosis water making units with graphs, photos and system schematics for reference. Particular attention will be given to DC desalination that can be supported with wind and solar energy sources, not requiring engine or generator support. Comparisons between Watts per gallon, PPM of salt rejection between models, and noise level will be made. Installation considerations that may affect performance, maintenance and life expectancy of the membranes will also be discussed.

Presented by: Bob Williams

The Great American Loop

The Great Loop is the continuous waterway that encompasses the eastern portion of North America including the Atlantic and Gulf Intracoastal Waterways, the Great Lakes, the Canadian Heritage Canals, and the inland rivers of America’s heartland. Loopers range from experienced Loop cruisers to boaters in the midst of Looping; those planning on someday cruising the Great Loop to those simply exhilarated by the process of learning about the journey. Whether you’re young or just young at heart, still working or retired, ready to travel full time or only every-so-often; whether you’ve got a powerboat, sailboat, trawler, rowboat or no boat, this course will give you the information you need to follow this great route.

Presented by: Kim Russo

The Cruising Sailboat – 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 you buy it.  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 potentially dream shattering mistakes.

Presented by: Jeff Grossman & Jean Levine

Thunderstorm Primer SOLD OUT

In a variety of ways, thunderstorms can quickly ruin an outing. This presentation will examine the types of thunderstorms and the ingredients that lead to their formation. Reduce your chances of a hair-raising encounter by learning how to predict and monitor thunderstorms using readily available Internet resources.

Presented by: Mark Thornton

Traditional Navigation SOLD OUT

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 seminar 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 1 in a 4 part series. Chart Plotting (Part 2), Nighttime & Limited Visibility Navigation (Part 3), and Advanced Navigation (Part 4).

Tools: We will try to do as much hands-on work as possible. If you have parallel rules, hand bearing compass, dividers, triangles, charts, pencil, Eldridge’s tide book, Chart #1, please bring them. We will have some tools to share. 

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 (besides cute grandchildren!) that people stop cruising sooner than intended.

Presented by: Behan Gifford

Troubleshooting Electrical Problems

This presentation will review the most common sources of onboard electrical problems aboard cruising vessels and will outline diagnostic procedures and possible solutions to these problems. DC circuits are the highest priority and will be given the most focus.  AC circuits will be discussed with common faults and troubleshooting techniques. Other topics discussed include:

Battery Powered Systems

  •  Determining battery condition
  •  Determining state of charge
  •  Determining faults related to battery capacity or state of charge
  •  On board means of testing batteries; load and specific gravity tests
  •  Possible solution for sulfation through equalization

Charging devices

  •  How to check and test your alternator
  •  How to check and test your solar PV 
  •  How to check and test your wind turbine
  •  How to test and check your generator supported charger           

Electrical Circuit Testing

  •   Basic concepts of electrical circuit distribution
  •   Making amp and voltage measurements; understanding Ohms Law
  •   Understanding multi-meters
  •   Ground versus insulated return
  •   How to look for voltage drop, undersized conductors versus high resistance connection
  •   How to resolve high resistance connections
  •   Finding short circuits

Ground Faults

  •   Preliminary Test
  •   Leak found with test meter
  •   Isolating Leaks

AC Circuits

  •   Supported by inverter/batteries
  •   Importance of grounding
  •   Safety versus corrosion
  •   Galvanic isolators
  •   AC leakage
  •   Testing grounding circuits
  •   Testing for polarity
  •   Electrical outlet testing
  •   Checking AC circuits
  •   Voltage drop as to cable length
  •   Inductive load circuits

Presented by: Bob Williams

Weather Apps to Follow

There are many weather apps out there but are they any good?  Everyone has an opinion on their accuracy but really where do the apps get their data from?  Can you really use your favorite app for passage planning?  Mark will look at a few weather apps that he recommends and examines their accuracy for use while cruising.

Presented by: Mark Thornton

WiFi and Cell Service – Close Yet So Far Away

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

Presented by: Dave Skolnick



Annapolis, Maryland

"I now feel much more comfortable about being self-reliant and managing the boat's systems."

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

"It was so well done from the lectures, to the delicious breakfasts and lunches to your wonderful cocktail hours."