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Alberg 30 Association Seminars


Each February, The Chesapeake Bay Alberg 30 Association holds a series of four seminars, one on each Saturday in February. There's a seminar on racing, one on cruising, another on maintenance and a final catch-all category called "potpourri" These seminars, in addition to discussing the upcoming racing and cruising schedules, are a great vehicle for sharing information on all aspects of boat ownership.

Who could forget Karl Gerhard's lesson on spinnaker handling. With a plywood "boat", a large fan and a real miniature spinnaker, he taught the basics of using this sail to novice racers and cruisers who didn't know what to do with this sail that came with their boat. I think some of the experienced racers learned a trick or two, too.

In the above picture, Ward Rosenberry is giving an entertaining and informative talk on cruising up to Maine. As you can see, there was a big audience for this mix of practical advice and hilarious anecdotes.

The biggest audiences always seem to be for the maintenance seminar. It's not unusual for people to drive long distances, say from Boston, to learn more about the care and feeding of their boats. There are some real experts in the association, and they're more than willing to share their wisdom. As this seminar generally concentrates on things that can go wrong, it can be pretty scary. People have come away thinking that their boat might sink at any minute. Fortunately, that's not the case (if you've kept up with a few basic items), and these boats are very sturdy and reliable.

You'll find some pictures, and associated information, from various Maintenance Seminars in the maintenance section.

There's one other aspect of these seminars. The association's annual dinner is in January and the sailing schedule doesn't start until late April. The seminars provide an excuse to get together and spend time with old friends (and meet a few new ones) in the Winter doldrums. Consequently, there's always an "aftergathering," generally at someone's home, for less focused discussion over food and drink.


Offshore Sailing book cover Offshore Sailing by Bill Seifert with Daniel Spurr

We went to a Windjammers lecture to hear Bill Seifert and I was impressed enough to buy the book on the spot. I've heard a lot of people talk about ways to improve a boat, but I've never heard one person suggest so many good ideas that I hadn't considered. Part of the charm is the specificity of the suggestions. Everyone says you should secure your floorboards, hatchboards and batteries. Bill shows good suggestions on how to do so.

The suggestions are very practical for the do-it-yourselfer, too. Many show how to make or adapt inexpensive solutions. Tip #12 on closing the deck blower vents is one that will pay off for me without ever going offshore. I'll implement that one to stop the wintertime storms from finding their way belowdecks.

Besides modifications, the book also includes advice for operating offshore, cooking, boat selection, dealing with bureaucracy, and more.

Bill Seifert has worked at Tartan, TPI, and Alden Yachts. He's a veteran of many Marion-Bermuda races and now runs his own yacht management company. His tips are born of experience--not of book-learning--and it shows. He obviously knows his stuff.

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