Skip to main content

CruiserPort Returns to Rhode Island With a Bluewater Edition

  • Author:
  • Updated:

CruiserPort returns to the 2017 Newport International Boat Show this September with a seminar series designed for New England mariners seeking to extend their horizons. CruiserPort University: The Bluewater Edition features a package of 11 seminars to hone the offshore skills of sailors and powerboaters.


The seminar series is brought to you by PassageMaker magazine and the producers of TrawlerFest boat shows. Despite the trawler connection, all classes are “propulsion agnostic,” valuable to anyone who cruises under power or sail. “Even if you don’t intend to go past the sight of land, these classes will benefit coastal cruisers who want to boost confidence and a sense of independence,” says CruiserPort Seminar Manager Peter Swanson.

The seminars, two and four-hours in length, happen Wednesday through Saturday, Sept. 13-16, at the Blues Café across from the entrance to the show. 

Participants can purchase all 11 sessions for $799, which includes box lunches. Seminars may also be purchased individually - $75 for two-hour classes and $150 for four-hour classes. Whether they subscribe to the entire series or purchase individual courses, participants will receive appropriate certificates of completion that can lower insurance rates.

The well-known speakers, including Nigel Calder, John Clayman, and Chris Parker, have extensive cruising experience. Calder’s books Marine Diesel Engines and Boatowner’s Mechanical & Electrical Manual have saved many a mariner wise enough to carry them on board as references. A protégé of the late Ted Hood, Clayman is an accomplished offshore racer and has hundreds of long-range deliveries under his belt. Parker, a former Bahamas liveaboard, is a popular weather router.

A few of the seminars offered include:

Troubleshooting & Repairing Diesel Engines Underway
Circumnavigating Cuba and sailing the high-latitude waters of the British Isles and northward, often beyond the range of towboat services, have honed author and researcher Nigel Calder’s mechanical skills to a fine edge. Calder spends an entire morning teaching troubleshooting, repairs and preventative measures.

To Bermuda, the Caribbean & Beyond
Offshore mariners John Clayman and Ryan Gettler take attendees down island and through the Panama Canal to the South Pacific. Clayman, president of Seaton Yachts, is a boatbuilder and Bermuda Race veteran. Gettler of Pantaenius USA is no ordinary insurance executive. As a younger man, he and his brother circumnavigated in a production sailboat. Clayman and Gettler discuss all aspects of getting a boat from New England to southern waters.

Survival at Sea
Surviving a crisis at sea happens because of preparation, the right gear, seamanship skills and a good attitude. Among the topics that trainer Bob Arrington and Nordhavn yacht broker Ben Sprague will discuss are: heaving to, storm anchors, drogues, ditch bags and communicating with rescuers. Brian Kinsella of Viking Liferafts will focus on liferafts, one of which will be deployed during class. Sprague brings his own unique insight. When he and fellow crewmembers tried to abandon ship during an Atlantic Ocean passage in 1978, their liferaft blew away. They spent days in a dinghy until rescued by a Cuban freighter.

Storm Tactics: Power & Sail

Anyone whose passagemaking will extend beyond normal forecast windows faces the possibility of encountering foul weather. John Clayman is an ocean racing veteran who has given many bluewater deliveries. Clayman will talk about dealing with high winds and big seas. There will be ample time for audience Q&A.

A full list of the seminars can be found here. ▶

For more information on CruiserPort University at the Newport International Boat Show, call (410) 990-9086 x22 or email

Tickets can be purchased here. ▶