Arts & Leisure

2016 0322 trawlerfest

PassageMaker magazine’s lifestyle event, TrawlerFest returns to Anacortes, Washington, in May with a niche boat show, seminars and social events.

The show, May 17-21 at Cap Sante Marina, is aimed at recreational boaters who cruise or want to cruise for long periods or live aboard their vessels. For many people engrossed in work and raising families, this notion may seem impossibly romantic, but the fact is that an increasing number of Baby Boomers are taking to America’s waterways for what they see as the adventure of a lifetime.

“I used to joke, half seriously, that TrawlerFest was like Woodstock for the nautically inclined,” says Peter Swanson, who organizes the seminar program. “It not that farfetched. We’re bringing together a bunch of Boomers whose goal in life is to escape and live like gypsies on the water.”

That’s where PassageMaker magazine and TrawlerFest come in. Magazine and show are dedicated to preparing people for the “trawler lifestyle.” A trawler is a broad term for a powerboat designed for live-aboard comfort and long-range cruising. Makes include Grand Banks, Nordhavn, Kadey-Krogen as well as well known Pacific Northwest brands such as Ranger Tugs, American Tugs and Nordic Tugs.

“But that doesn’t mean the appeal is solely to powerboaters,” Swanson says. “Most of our seminars are equally applicable to sailors. You might say the program is ‘propulsion-agnostic’.” Most of PassageMaker readers and TrawlerFest aficionados are 55 or older, and many of them are former sailors looking to make the switch to a powerboat or already have.  

More than 60 new and used boats are expected to line the docks, beginning Thursday, May 19, and running through Sunday. Anacortes is a salty little city on Fidalgo Island with a fishing and workboat heritage. It is walkable and boasts a lively restaurant sector.

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