Annapolis Spring Boat Show Features Great Courses for Cruising Sailors


Spring is a busy time for the cruising sailor, and it’s also a good time to sharpen your skills. Sailors moored in the Annapolis area March 7-8, or headed for the Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show April 23-26 can catch Ralph Naranjo, a longtime contributing writer and editor for Practical Sailor. Ralph will be sharing is wisdom on weather routing March 7-8 at the Annapolis School of Seamanship. In April, he’ll be teaching courses on seamanship, safety equipment, and traditional navigation at Cruisers University April 23-26, a series of lectures being hosted by the Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show). Naranjo, who tells the story of his circumnavigation with his wife and two young children in the 1970s in Wind Shadow West, was the Vanderstar Chair at the U.S. Sailing Academy. One of the most trusted voices in sailing safety today, Ralph is also the author the Art of Seamanship, a comprehensive look at everything from boat selection, to heavy weather handling, to weather routing. It is one of a handful of books that should be required reading for every cruising sailor. Whether you are planning a short coastal hops or are heading offshore on long passages, a moment with Ralph is a moment very well spent.

Here are the course descriptions.

Weather Routing

March 7 – 8, 2020

This 2-day class builds on the foundation of Weather Basics class. Students will perform several practical exercises to reinforce their understanding of surface weather charts. The class also introduces students to the 3-D aspects of weather such as 500 Mb upper air flow charts, ridges, and troughs. Understanding the upper air movement and its influence on the corresponding surface systems is a critical first step in making weather routing decisions. This class is essential for anyone venturing offshore and recommended for those looking to further understand marine weather.

500 Mb Upper Air Charts
Troughs & Ridges
500 Mb Flow Patterns
Practical Exercises using real-time Weather
Online resources available at sea
Global weather patterns
Passage planning
Comparative analysis of tropical and extra tropical Lows

Safety is Seamanship
10:00 -11:30 AM

This is a sailor’s look at the reasons why boat handling underpins safety afloat. We will explore heavy weather decision making and how things like heaving to, setting storm sails and rigging up emergency steering alternatives can become a part of every cruiser’s skill set. This is a class for inshore and offshore sailors and covers handling summer thunderstorms as well as a gale in the Gulf Stream. It’s more about what to do when things turn bad and less about the gear to purchase. Both are of value, but being able to avoid calamity trumps preparing only for its inevitability.

DIY Safety Survey
12:30 – 3:45 PM

A sound, seaworthy, well fitted out vessel is a worthy goal, especially when it comes to lessening the likelihood of underway incidents. In this session we will go from the bilge to masthead in search of what can go wrong and how to sort out inconsequential issue from the truly indispensable functions that keep you afloat and underway. Structure, sailboat stability, systems and safety attributes lead the list. This is an all inclusive session useful to those looking for a new boat, refitting an older vessel or pondering a switch from sail to power.

Traditional Navigation
Sun 3/26/20
8:15 AM – 3:45 PM

Join world cruisers Ralph and Lenore Naranjo for “A Navigator’s Look down Long Island Sound and beyond”. The Naranjos will share basic coastal piloting and traditional navigation techniques in the morning and fill the afternoon with a blend of paper plotting skills and the most current electronic navigation alternatives. By the end of the day you’ll be shaping routes toward new landfalls near and far, and ready to plot on a paper chart just in case the lights go out.

Morning Session:
Using a compass, chart and few simple plotting tools
Location by latitude and longitude
Anatomy of the Nautical Chart
Chart scale and symbology
Position plotting on a Mercator chart
Speed time and distance—a DR tradition
Working with a hand bearing compass
Planning and plotting a Long Island Sound summer cruise

Afternoon Session:
GPS and digital cartography
Three levels of commitment to electronic navigation
The role of piloting and DR in a satellite signal world
Interfacing the human mind and a digital solution to navigation
Developing a no-electrons navigator’s backup plan
Blending the best of both worlds
Plot your cruising plans for destinations near and far

Capt. Eric Naranjo tests liferaft boarding for Practical Sailor. The life raft test is part of our Four Volume Safety-at-Sea ebook available in the Practical Sailor bookstore. (photo by Ralph Naranjo)

For questions about the many other offerings at Cruisers University during the Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show see the website or contact
For questions about Annapolis School of Seamanship see the website,
or call (410) 263-8848
For more research on these and related topics, see Practical Sailor’s Four Volume Report, Survival at Sea, which is among several excellent resources available at the Practical Sailor Bookstore.

Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.


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