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Bestselling author headlines TrawlerFest on the Chesapeake

Michael Tougias, who has chronicled ocean rescues and survival at sea, will headline the 2016 TrawlerFest on the Chesapeake. In addition to Tougias, TrawlerFest offers 24 seminars designed to help make cruising safer, more enjoyable and less expensive.

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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 (which was made into a Disney movie released earlier this year). Tougias fascinates by demonstrating how survivors channeled and managed their energy, making proactive, life-saving decisions.

The Finest Hours: Two hours of inspiration With Michael Tougias Bestselling author Michael Tougias caps his TrawlerFest appearance with a two-part multimedia 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 Affleck star in the Disney movie of the same name released earlier this year. For “The Finest Hours” presentation, Tougias will include images 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 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, which had broken in two. Standing between the men and their mission were towering seas 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 images. 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 while adrift, but also includes the story of the daring U-boat commander who patrolled the Gulf, even entering 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.

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 Chesapeake Bay Bridge on Kent Island. The program includes 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-range cruising or living aboard. Brands in this niche include Fleming, Marlow, Grand Banks, Nordhavn, Ranger Tugs and Nordic Tugs. 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 of 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”

“What To Look For Before You Hire A Surveyor”

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

Click here for more information, or call (443) 745-7785.