A Guide to Cruising the Great Loop

Saturday, 1 PM

Ever wondered what it takes to drop the dock lines, leave life on the land behind, and circumnavigate the eastern part of North America? This seminar teaches the basics of planning for and cruising America's Great Loop. Gain insight on the best boats for the Loop, the route choices, and what you'll see along the way.


Thursday, 11:45 AM; Saturday, 10:30 AM

Ensure your anchor locker has what it takes. Martin Henry of Mantus Marine will discuss anchor gear and techniques to ensure your boats’ safety.

Are You Ready to Enter that Marina

Thursday, 4:45; Saturday, 2:15 PM

Boating safety begins with careful preparation long before you cast off, enter a harbor or are faced with an emergency situation. If your engine quits working on the way in, you’ll want to be ready to get your boat moored safe and sound. Follow these seven boating tips to prepare your boat to enter any marina.

Basic Diesel Engine Maintenance

Friday, 11:45 AM

Learn about basic diesel engine maintenance procedures that can help your engine perform better and run longer. Highlights from Mastry’s nationally acclaimed diesel maintenance seminar series help diesel engine owners understand the importance of routine maintenance and how to recognize symptoms of common engine problems. Subjects include lubrication, fuel, cooling and electrical systems, as well as spring start up and winterizing. The seminar will feature case histories and anecdotes as well as the opportunity for questions and answers.

Best of the Loop

Friday, 10:30 AM

Ever wonder what you’ll see on the 6,000 mile cruising route known as the Great Loop? Kim Russo will reveal the ‘Best of the Loop’ winners in several categories as voted for by ‘Loopers’, including best lock, best lighthouse, best wildlife sighting, best restaurant or meal, best “aha” moment, and more. Learn more about this unique adventure through this presentation that shows the best moments of the Great Loop through the eyes of those who have done it.

Choosing a Cat for Two

Thursday, 11:45 AM

There are significant differences in design choices among the pride of large cruising Cats available today. Explore the design and 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.

Cooking Aboard and Abroad

Thursday, 4:45 PM; Sunday 2:15

Learn tips and techniques for feeding your crew whether cruising locally or in foreign ports of call. The topics covered will include provisioning, recycling, the three types of meals for cruising and offshore sailing, equipping your galley, galley gadgets, and a few rules of thumb to consider when choosing menus and recipes

Couples: Cruising to the Caribbean

Sunday, 3:30 PM

From Florida to Grenada, one couple can cruise without long offshore passages or more than one overnight at a time. Though the Caribbean is the destination, you are cruising from when you leave home, so learn the many wonderful places to stop and see along the way!

Couples: Docking and Anchoring for Two

Friday, 1 PM

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.

Crossing Over to the Bahamas

Friday, 3:30 PM

This talk will look at various routes and ideas on how to make a successful crossing from Florida to the Bahamas. The discussion will cover departure points, arrival points, timing departures, set and drift allowances, and includes crossing the Bahamas Bank.

Cruising From Florida to the Caribbean

Saturday, 4:45 PM

Follow along as Jeff and Jean Grossman chart the route a couple can take from Florida to the Caribbean with only (almost) a day’s sailing, and by enjoying the sites along the way as well!

Cruising Inland Rivers

Thursday, 4:45 PM; Friday 11:45 AM

Learn about negotiating locks and dams, commercial towboat traffic, unique inland river terminology, inland river hazards and navigational nuances, as well as the American history found along our country’s eastern inland rivers.

Cruising the Exumas and Bahmas Out Islands

Saturday, 11:45 AM; Sunday 11:45 AM

This seminar covers cruising to and through the Exumas and other popular out islands of the Bahamas. It begins with a brief discussion of the crossing and then covers essential tips on customs, weather, water and provisioning, it also looks at anchorages, marinas and cruising resources.

Cruising the Florida Keys

Friday, 3:30 PM

This presentation is geared for cruisers desiring the general and practical knowledge needed to safely explore the beautiful Florida Keys and its signature coral barrier reef, the third largest in the world and only one in North America. There will be a discussion of the cultural and natural history of the Keys and examples will be given of the approaches to the Florida Keys from the East or West Coast of Florida to the Dry Tortugas or Key Biscayne. There will also be some discussion of government regulations concerning discharge, anchoring and fishing, as well as locations for some of the best diving, fishing, shoreside entertainment, historical sites and boat yards.

Cruising the Gulf Coast From St. Petersburg to Key West

Thursday, 2:15 PM; Saturday, 2:15 PM; Sunday, 10:30 AM

Discover 32 locations that boaters enjoy, where you can anchor or dock at a marina. Jack Dusendschon will take you from St. Petersburg north to Caldesi Island and south all the way to Key West and the Dry Tortugas.

Do You Know These Charted Danger Symbols

Friday, 11:45 AM; Sunday, 1 PM

What nautical chart danger symbols do you need to know to protect your expensive hull, keel, shaft, and propeller? How will these symbols appear on your nautical or electronic chart? This fast paced seminar will give you the edge in navigation safety aboard any powerboat or sailboat in the world.

Evolution of the Modern production Sailboat

Sunday, 10:30 AM

How today’s designers appeal to new customers as well as the mature sailors with new features.

Exploring Florida's Big Bend Coast

Thursday, 4:45 PM; Saturday, 3:30 PM

Learn about the 300 miles of Florida’s Gulf Coast with no ICW. Cruising considerations include unusual tidal fluctuations and short wave intervals. If your vessel draws five feet or less, cruising this part of Florida is possible. This program will also take you on two side trips—up the Suwannee River and up Apalachicola-Chattahoochee Rivers to Columbus, GA.

First Time Cruising the Bahamas

Friday, 4:45 PM

This seminar is for those thinking of planning their first trip to the Bahamas. The seminar will cover options for ‘the crossing’ including important ‘need to knows’, as well as practical tips for provisioning, getting water, getting the weather, and ducking from bad weather. There will also be plenty of time for questions and answers.

From Pinellas to Bahamas

Friday, 2:15 PM; Saturday, 3:30 PM

Gwen Hamiln has sailed extensively in the Bahamas on her 44' St. Francis cat. Learn how to get there and what to enjoy while there.

Great Gadgets and Ideas to Have Aboard While Cruising

Saturday, 1 PM

Learn about some very practical cruising equipment, neat gadgets, and useful ideas, whether you are coastal cruising or sailing across oceans. These ideas can save you money, save your back, and make you more comfortable on the boat. You may have seen some of these things in SAIL magazine in articles written by Bill Cullen, but here is your chance to see them in person and learn firsthand from the author.

How to Keep a Starboard Attitude While Cruising

Friday, 4:45 PM

Take a close look at the realities of cruising before you set off, presented by Bob Bitchin of Latitudes and Attitudes Magazine.

How to Make a Seacock Diagram For Your Boat

Friday, 4:45 PM

Take a close look at the realities of cruising before you set off, presented by Bob Bitchin of Latitudes and Attitudes Magazine.

Liferaft Survival and Rescue at Sea

Friday, 10:30 AM

This presentation covers life raft deployment, how to survive in a life raft and the steps needed to get rescued. You will also get hands-on practice deploying an actual life raft.

Liveabroad Tips and Tales

Saturday, 4:45 PM; Sunday, 10:30 AM

Liveaboard Bob Williams has lived and sailed aboard for over a decade. Join him for what works, what doesn’t and how to keep your spouse happy.

Marine Weather

Thursday, 3:30 PM; Saturday, 11:45 AM

Marine Weather Center’s weather guru, Chris Parker, will discuss a variety of weather topics, with something of interest for mariners of every experience level. He’ll start with a discussion of how large-scale weather patterns drive winds, and the importance of observing trends in these patterns. Chris will also share some ‘tricks-of-the-trade’ he developed over ten years of forecasting and routing.

Offshore Energy Management

Saturday, 11:45 AM; Sunday, 11:45 AM

Bob Williams will present an overview of power management offshore, using graphics, photos and diagram examples of system configurations. The seminar will focus on three principal considerations in balancing energy needs—energy production, energy storage, and efficient energy consumption—and includes examples and characteristics of types of batteries, alternators, solar PV, wind turbines and appropriate regulation. Examples of buying for efficiency are included in the discussion.

Offshore Safety and Passagemaking

Thursday, 2:15 PM; Friday, 4:45 PM; Saturday, 2:15 PM; Sunday, 1 PM

An in-depth discussion about the requirements for safe passagemaking. Whether it’s a one-day or 30-day passage, Blaine Parks will discuss boat and crew preparation, safety concerns, weather routing and storm management techniques.

Overview of Celestial Navigation

Saturday, 4:45 PM; Sunday, 3:30 PM

A lecture on how to observe the sun with a sextant at local apparent noon in order to determine a position fix using the Nautical Almanac and a chronometer.

Planning Your Great Loop Adventure

Friday, 2:15 PM

This seminar includes advice, tips, and ‘Looper Best Practices’ identified by ‘Loopers’ over the years. Subject matter includes electronics, safety, provisioning, costs, equipment, communications, and more.

Rigging Basics

Friday, 10:30 AM; Sunday, 3:30 PM

Learn fundamental procedures from a rigging expert. Topics include rig tuning, knots and splices, drilling and tapping, epoxy-potting, deck layout, and more.

Sailboat Stability and Safety

Friday, 1 PM

What makes a sailboat tip over? Is it really going to happen on my boat? Bill Bolin will discuss design contributors to monohull and catamaran sailboat stability and how and why, or why not, a sailboat recovers from a capsize.

Sail Trim and Shape Analyses

Thursday, 1 PM; Saturday, 1 PM

Discover the keys to getting the most speed out of your sails.

Short Handed Sail Handling

Friday, 3:30 PM; Sunday, 10:30 AM

For the cruising couple, having sailing systems that can be easily handled by one or two people in all weather is the key to a safe and enjoyable passage. Travis Blain of Mack Sails will take you through all of the systems, from the latest top-down furlers for cruising spinnakers and ways to keep your boat lively in light air, to the best systems to deploy when storms descend. With video, photos and a lifetime of experience on sailboats of all kinds, he will cover headsail handling systems, storm jibs, mainsail handling systems, reefing systems, off-wind sails and much more. A handout that you can use to set up systems on your boat will be provided.

Solar and Wind Power Technologies

Thursday, 3:30 PM

This seminar will be a focused look at the types of wind turbines and solar (PV) panel technologies available for the cruising yacht. It will include a discussion on the types of regulation most appropriate for each. Bob will use photos for examples of different types of configurations and mounts including examples of misapplications.

Take the Drama Out of Your Dream

Saturday, 3:30 PM; Sunday, 2:15 AM

The dream is cruising off into the sunset, footloose and carefree, relaxing and having fun along the way. Reality can be filled with moments of panic, fear and anxiety from weather, seas, crew, broken boat systems and shore side hassles. Learn where the drama comes from and how to remove it from your dream!

Technology for Fun and Safe Boating

Thursday, 1 PM; Sunday, 11:45 AM

HWH Electronics will highlight some of the newest and most current technologies available in marine electronics including communications, navigation, fish finding, weather monitoring and safety equipment. Technologies available for today’s boaters can help enhance situational awareness, ensuring a safe and enjoyable time on the water with family and friends.

Watt's Up: Electricity Simplified

Friday, 2:15 PM

This seminar offers a broad overview of the components of electricity such as amps, volts, watts, the difference between AC/DC, charge and circuits and gives an understanding of how cruisers live on DC power.

Weather Analysis and Forecast Resources

Friday, 1 PM

Chris Parker presents an interactive overview of various weather analysis and forecasting resources relevant to cruisers and accessible on a variety of hardware platforms including computers and Android/iOS phones and tablets. Included are a range of websites, programs, and apps you might use to assess the present state of the weather as well as useful forecasts. He will also note briefly some limitations to fancy model-based resources.

Women and Cruising Panel

Thursday, 1 PM; Saturday, 10:30 AM

Have YOUR sailing questions answered. In this lively and practical seminar, Gwen Hamiln and Monica Kendrick share their sailing experiences and adventures. You will learn about the joys, challenges and surprises they discovered by sailing away.

Zero to Sixty: Becoming a Sailor

Thursday, 3:30 PM; Sunday, 1 PM

Learning to sail without a boat of your own—getting started, developing strategies and staying motivated.