Trawler Fest comes to Manitowoc, Wis.

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The Great Lakes edition of Trawler Fest steams toward a new location for 2004: Manitowoc, Wis. The annual event — a mixture of boat show, rendezvous and educational sessions — is aimed at long-range cruisers and will take place over three days, Aug. 19 to 21.

The Trawler Fest series has made stops this year in Stuart, Fla., (January); Poulsbo, Wash., (June); Newport, R.I., (July); and will head to Solomon’s, Md., in late September.

Trawler Fest has been producing these events for over nine years, according to its Web site. In addition to social networking and counseling among long-range cruisers, many of the attendees open up their own trawlers — in what is called the Trawler Crawl — to show visitors a wide selection of vessels, as well as to share insights on decoration and interior layouts.

Many of the latest trawler models on the market will also be on display. Jack Rose of Trawler World Productions says he estimates a total boat count between 20 and 30 trawlers, including dealers, brokers and Trawler Crawl participants.

Educational seminars planned for the Manitowoc event include information on cruising the Great Circle Route, cruising Lake Michigan, docking, what to do in case the captain becomes incapacitated, diesel engine selection and maintenance, understanding modern electronics, catamaran powerboat design, how to be your own weather forecaster, and tips on boat selection and buying.

The boat-buying seminar will cover some of the most important decisions facing potential trawler and tug buyers, including whether to get single or twin engines, a pilothouse or a flybridge, a displacement or a semi-displacement hull, and whether to buy new or used.

A ladies’ roundtable discussion is also planned in which participants can get a woman’s point of view regarding power cruising, according to the Trawler Fest Web site.

A typical Trawler Fest schedule calls for door prizes one night, a charity auction the next, and an award dinner with sea stories on the final night. There’s a special meal each evening.

The city of Manitowoc, on the western shore of Lake Michigan, is considered Wisconsin’s Maritime Capitol. It is home to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum (www.wimaritimemuseum.org), which counts among its treasures the USS COBIA, a World War II submarine docked beside the museum in the Manitowoc River.

While the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company produced 28 such submarines during the war, the history of shipbuilding in the city goes back to the mid-19th century, when wooden schooners and clippers were being built in Manitowoc.

The Manitowoc Breakwater Light marks Manitowoc Harbor and evinces the maritime history of the area.

Manitowoc is also the Wisconsin port of the SS Badger, the Lake Michigan car ferry running daily between Manitowoc and Ludington, Mich. The 410-foot, 6-inch ship accommodates 620 passengers and 180 vehicles on its 4-hour trip across the lake (www.ss

badger.com).

Numerous other cultural and artistic treasures can be found in and around Manitowoc. The Rahr-West Art Museum, housed in an 1891 mansion, boasts 19th- and 20th-century American art collections including antique dolls, ivory carvings, prehistoric artifacts, and porcelain and glass sculptures, according to the City of Manitowoc’s Web site.

In addition to miles of paved recreation trails, the Lake Michigan shoreline in Manitowoc boasts the West of the Lake Gardens. The 6-acre estate of the late Ruth and John West has a variety of different gardens and more than 900 feet of herbaceous borders filled with colorful annuals.

The Capitol Civic Centre in Manitowoc is a renovated 1920s theater that hosts touring Broadway plays, symphonies and other headliners.

Nearby Two Rivers, Wis., is the home of the Rogers Street Fishing Village and Museum, which celebrates the history of commercial fishing dating back to 1837. Green Bay and the famous Door Peninsula are only a stone’s throw away from Manitowoc, too. www.

trawlerfest.com;www.manitowoc.org/tourism.htm