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The Finest Hours: Two hours of inspiration With Michael Tougias

Finest Hours boat

Bestselling Author Michael Tougias caps his TrawlerFest tour-de-force with a two-part multi-media presentation about survival at sea. The first part covers his new book So Close To Home: A True Story of an American Family’s Fight for Survival During WWII. The second part of the program features his bestseller The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Most Daring Sea Rescue. Chris Pine and Casey Afflect star in the Disney movie of the same name released earlier this year.

For The Finest Hours, Tougias will use slides of the storm, the sinking oil tankers, the rescues, the victims, the survivors and the heroes to tell the story of this historic event which took place in February of 1952. He will describe the harrowing attempts to rescue the seamen, especially focusing on four young Coast Guardsmen who must overcome insurmountable odds to save the lives of 32 crewmen stranded aboard the stern of the Pendleton. Standing between the men and their mission were towering waves that reached 70 feet, blinding snow, and one of the most dangerous shoals in the world, the dreaded Chatham Bar.

“This event was--and still is-- the greatest and most daring sea rescue ever performed by the Coast Guard,” Tougias says. “I felt this episode of heroism and tragedy needed to be told in its entirety because it’s an important piece of overlooked history.”

For So Close To Home, Tougias will also tell the story through a series of slides.  This event happened in the Gulf of Mexico in 1942 when a U-boat sank a ship carrying the Downs family. Tougias describes the family’s incredible fight for survival adrift at sea, but also includes the story of the daring U-boat commander who patrolled the Gulf, even going into the mouth of the Mississippi River.

“I enjoy doing these programs because I like to transport the audience into the heart of the storm so that they ask themselves ‘what would I have done.’ I don’t like to do author readings because I think they are boring, but with a slide presentation, the viewer can visually relive the adventure,” Tougias says.

Bestselling Author To Headline TrawlerFest on the Chesapeake

America’s great chronicler of ocean rescues and survival at sea, Michael Tougias will headline the 2016 TrawlerFest on the Chesapeake. Besides Tougias, TrawlerFest offers 24 seminars designed to help make cruising safer, more enjoyable and less expensive.

Tougias has conducted extensive research about how people have survived disasters and obstacles that most of us shudder to think about. He shares what he has learned about decision-making under pressure from researching his six national bestsellers: A Storm Too Soon,Overboard!, Rescue of the Bounty, Ten Hours Until Dawn, Fatal Forecast, and The Finest Hours(A Disney movie released earlier this year). Tougias fascinates by demonstrating how survivors channeled and managed their energy, making proactive, lifesaving decisions.

The TrawlerFest boat show and seminar series runs Tuesday through Saturday, Sept. 27-Oct. 1 at Bay Bridge Marina, located at the foot of the Cheseapeake Bay Bridge on Kent Island. The program includes signature in-depth seminars on diesel engines, hands-on boat handling and mastering the boat buying process. Dozens of power cruisers will be open for inspection on the docks and vendors will be on hand to demonstrate products and services.

For the uninitiated, trawler yachts are powerboats designed for long periods of cruising or living aboard. Some of the brand names in this niche are Fleming, Marlow, Grand Banks, Nordhavn, Ranger Tugs and Nordic Tug. TrawlerFest is brought to you by the people who publish PassageMaker magazine, The Power Cruising Authority.

But don’t let references to “power” put you off. TrawlerFest is for sailors too. In fact, we like to say that almost all our seminars are “propulsion agnostic” with presenters experienced in power and sail. Here are some of the actual seminar titles:

“Everything You Need to Know About Diesel Engines,”, “Boatbuyer’s Survival Guide,” “Hands-On Boat Handling,”Maintaining a Cruising Powerboat,” “The Great Loop,” “Basic Weather” & “Advanced Weather,” “Navigation for Couples,” “Couples Cruising (With Pets),” “Cruising the ICW with Chris & Alyse Caldwell,” “Getting the Most From Your Radar,” “Guns & Governments: Firearms Laws on the East Coast & Down Island,” “Provisioning Tips from the Pros,” “Bluewater Cruising: Preparing Yourself & Your Boat” and “What To Look For Before You Hire A Surveyor.”

Tougias presents two illustrated seminars, both on Saturday Oct. 1. The first, beginning at 10:45 a.m., is called “Survive & Thrive: Decision-Making From Those Who Have Overcome All Odds.” The second, called “The Finest Hours,” is the seminar-series grand finale and begins at 3:30 p.m. (See related story).

For more information, visit, or call 443-745-7785.