WEEKEND: Boating symposium to sail into Port Townsend's maritime center
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Laura-Chase McGehee
Matt Rutherford, 31, sails past Horn Point on his way to City Dock in Annapolis, Md., after Rutherford completed his 314-day record-setting voyage circumnavigating North and South America.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — This weekend's third annual Spring Boating Symposium will offer an opportunity to learn from world-class maritime adventurers, according to Jake Beattie, executive director for the Northwest Maritime Center, which is sponsoring the event.

“Attending this symposium is like going to the All-Star game for boaters because you get to rub elbows with maritime heroes you normally only experience through books and magazine articles,” Beattie said.

“There are great practical presentations and awe-inspiring adventure stories. The whole weekend has an air of excitement and celebration.”

About 100 boaters from around the Northwest are scheduled to attend the event, which provides a crash course for anyone who wants to learn about how to cruise safely and efficiently.

According to the sponsors, the symposium is an innovative blend of interactive lectures, panel discussions, hands-on workshops and opportunities to network with other boaters and experts in an intimate and engaging environment, according to the sponsors.

The cost for the full symposium is $275 for maritime center and Wooden Boat Foundation members, and $295 for nonmembers; attending all day through evening Saturday will be $195.

Special speakers

But two special talks, by speakers who program co-director Barb Trailer said rarely come to the Pacific Northwest, will be offered for $20 each.

At 7 tonight, Beth Leonard will share her experiences in words and pictures to explain why she circumnavigated the globe twice and hopes to do so again.

In “Cruising Treasures: Shared Insight,” Leonard will tell how she and her husband, Evans Starzinger, logged more than 110,000 nautical miles and completed a 10-year eastbound, high-latitude circumnavigation in 2009.

This voyage took them as far north as the Arctic Circle and as far south as Cape Horn.

Along the way, they passed under the Great Capes and completed a two-month, 9,000-mile nonstop passage through the Southern Ocean.

At 7 p.m. Saturday, Matt Rutherford will relate his experiences about his nonstop circumnavigation of the Americas last April in his presentation “Around the Americas Solo Nonstop.”

Record-holder

Rutherford holds the record for piloting the smallest-ever craft single-handed through the Northwest Passage and became the first person to solo nonstop around the Americas, the Northwest Passage and Cape Horn, spending 309 days at sea.

Trailer called both speakers “world-class” and said she hopes people with an interest in boating and adventure will attend the lectures, which will be held in the Northwest Maritime Center.

Classes are available for $50 each. They include a sailors' splicing clinic, heavy weather basics and handling a vessel in emergency situations.

Trailer said the symposium teaches techniques that are important for those who want to go cruising, which she defines as an extended boating excursion “sort of like a car trip on a boat.”

This can last any duration, she said, from a few days to a few years.

Many of the sessions can provide help in small but helpful topics such as navigating using an iPad and building a fire — and putting one out.

Other topics include rigging, radar and refrigeration.

Trailer said the symposium brings people to Port Townsend who might not normally visit, enhancing the economy by bringing business to local hotels and restaurants.

She said the symposium already has garnered a good reputation among boaters, which has led to the creation of spinoff events, including one planned this fall that will educate participants about modern piracy and how to protect themselves from those dangers.

For more information, phone 360-385-3628, ext. 104; or email symposium@nwmaritime.org; or visit http://tinyurl.com/a2mwrax.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: March 14. 2013 4:14PM
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