Seminar Speakers

Bob Bitchen 

Since the early 60’s, adventure has been a way of life for Bob Bitchin. He worked as a traveling companion and bodyguard for famous motorcycle daredevil, Evil Knievel. Then in the early 70’s he started sailing and for over thirty years he lived aboard sailboats and cruised most of the Pacific and Central America. In 1996 he created Latitudes & Attitudes Magazine. Currently Bob and his wife Jody are creating a new title, Cruising Outpost, which will launch this winter. . Bob has written seven books: Letters from the Lost Soul, The Sailing Life, Brotherhood of Outlaws, BIKER, Emerald Bay, King Harbor, and Starboard Attitude which was released in June of 2011.

Rich Boren founded Cruise RO Water after spending four years cruising Mexico with his wife and two teenagers. Using his experience to build and assemble a collection of cruising gear that makes sense in the real world of cruising has been a key to his company’s success.

Steven Bowden

Steven Bowden grew up sailing and scuba diving in his native Florida. He worked for charter companies as diverse as Caribbean Sailing Yachts and Windjammer. Bowden later began working with television and video production companies including the Scuba World TV Series, Sea Fans Video Magazine and TravelVision International. Bowden and his wife Pamela House lived aboard their 40 foot cutter "Narkosis" for five years. He is a volunteer navigator aboard the 1877 Barque "Elissa," the official tall ship of Texas. They founded SeaTech Systems in 1994 to design, build and market integrated navigation, communication and weather systems based on the personal computer. He became the first sales representative for The CAPN navigation software which is the official program of the US Coast Guard and Navy. Bowden and his wife also own NavCom Digital which is involved in wholesale distribution of marine electronics and software as well as manufacturing of accessories for satellite phones. They live near Galveston, Texas.

Lee Chesenau

Lee is a highly seasoned professional meteorologist with experiences on land & at sea (with over 70,000 miles under his keel), a retired naval officer, accomplished marine weather forecaster & vessel router, published author, & dynamic instructor and lecturer.

He has an ongoing distinguished and unique 40-year career, during which he received a number of awards and recognition. Lee’s career includes service with the US Navy, NOAA, the National Weather Service (NWS), & with the private sector (Oceanroutes, Inc.), specializing in commercial maritime weather forecasting & ship routing. This experience also extended to government service with the US Navy›s war ships and civilian merchant vessels under government contract, commercial fishing, & to the larger recreational cruising and sailboat racing community.

Lee’s accomplishments as an author of numerous articles in various trade magazines also extends to his international published book Heavy Weather Avoidance (Paradise Cay, Oct 2008), is a standard bearer for open ocean routing and forecasting at established maritime institutes worldwide. He is a key speaker at a number of Safety at Sea Seminar Symposiums (SASS), marine trade, & boat shows. As a certified approved U.S. Coast Guard instructor for 5 maritime schools, he teaches Standards Training Certification & Watch-Standing for Seafarers (STCW) for Basic and Advanced Meteorology, 5-day courses (each) to professional merchant mariners, and makes the same material available and tailored to the commercial fishing & recreational communities as well. Thus, today, Lee’s main focus is educating and training every seagoing mariner on self-reliance for their own marine weather & forecasting, strategic routing, emphasizing prudent decision making. He has his own company, Lee Chesneau’s Marine Weather

Nigel Calder

Nigel Calder got into motorcycles and sailing dinghies as a teenager, and has never been far from mechanical things and boats ever since. In a varied career, before becoming a full-time sailing writer he worked on an automotive assembly line, in a foundry and machine shop, and on offshore oil production platforms. He and his wife, Terrie, built a couple of 70-foot canal boats, on which they lived in Oxford, England, and a 39-foot Ingrid cutter, which they cruised from a base in Louisiana. They then sailed a Pacific Seacraft 40 for 5 years, following which they had a Malo 45 built in Sweden. This was replaced by the same boat but with experimental electrical and propulsion systems. It was used by the European Union HYbrid MARine (HYMAR) project, of which Nigel was the Technical Director, for extensive testing of hybrid propulsion systems. Nigel is a member of the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) Electrical Project Technical Committee. Nigel and Terrie have sailed in the North Sea, and extensively in the Caribbean, with Pippin (now aged 26) and Paul (25) augmenting the crew along the way. Nigel is best known for his Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual, and his Marine Diesel Engines, both in their third editions, and both considered the definitive works in their field. In addition to over 200 magazine articles, he has also authored a ’Cruising Guide to the Northwest Caribbean’, ’Cuba: A Cruising Guide’, ’Nigel Calder’s Cruising Handbook’ and ’How to Read a Nautical Chart’

Captain Dan Cantrell is the in-house Captain at MarineMax Houston. A native of the Clear Lake area, he is very familiar with the Gulf Coast waters. He is US Coast Guard 100-ton Master Licensed for over 35 years. Capt. Dan has a series of YouTube videos on various topics such as engine maintenance, docking and more. Capt. Dan loves to spend time with his grandkids and devotes a lot of his off time doing just that.

Liza Copeland

Liza Copeland, an award-winning, best-selling author, has written four books on cruising, three narratives and a ’how-to’. Just Cruising and Still Cruising recount their family voyaging around the world with Comfortable Cruising covering North and Central America. Cruising for Cowards, a current, practical A-Z for Coastal and offshore sailors, is co-written with husband Andy. In total, their Beneteau Bagheera has taken them 116,000nm to 114 countries with many more miles sailed together and separately both racing and cruising in other vessels. When not giving seminars at boat shows and for various other organizations, cruising with family and friends or leading groups worldwide, Liza enjoys life in Vancouver, BC.

Mickey Eastman

Mickey Eastman is a life long outdoors enthusiast and has been guiding on the Texas Gulf Coast waters full time since 1981. Mickey is also very active in tournament fishing. He founded the Gulf Coast Trout Masters Association in 1996, which became the nation’s largest speckled trout tournament.

Mickey has written numerous articles for the Houston Chronicle, Gulf Coast Trout Masters Magazine, and the Gulf Coast Connections Magazine. Mickey has also designed and illustrated all the lakes and bay maps for Texas Fish and Game Magazine including Galveston Bay.

Mickey graduated from Lee High school in Baytown and has been married to Rhonda Kaye McPherson Eastman for over 30 years. Besides spending time on the water fishing, Mickey enjoys golf, cooking "The best rib eye steak you’ll ever eat," and traveling.

Jim Hammond is a twenty year member of the United States Power Squadrons. The squadrons have been providing boating safety courses for 100 years. Jim is a past Educational Officer for Galveston Bay Sail and Power Squadron. He teaches public safety boating courses, seamanship, coastal navigation, and seminars on various topics.

Zack Smith

Zack Smith has spent a good part of his adult life researching how parachute sea anchors and drogues behave in changing seas. A well known inventor of drag devices, Zack is the author of a groundbreaking series of technical reports, manuals and video instruction on the effective use of parachute sea anchors and drogues. His research lead him to an industry first—his "Constant Rode Tension Theory", which states that "keeping the rode taut is the big secret to successful use of parachute sea anchors and drogues." Zack and his associate, Fiorentino, were given a team achievement award from NASA for providing never-before-published technical reports and counsel to the agency during drogue tests related to space capsule recovery.

Geoff Trott is the inventor of the first mobile diversion composting toilet, the "Air Head" who›s basic design has become the standard for all mobile composting toilets on the market today. Geoff has been single handling sailboats since his teens. Currently he sails a C&C 25 in Freeport, ME when his is not running his business and working on his 40’ pilothouse sloop.

Pam Wall

Pam Wall worked at the West Marine store in Fort Lauderdale for 20 years. Pam and her husband, Andy, built their own Freya 39, KANDARIK, and sailed it around the world with their two small children. After the circumnavigation with her family, Pam helps cruisers around the world get the products they need. Pam offers advice and friendship as well as supplies for the yachtsmen and women out there on their boats. Pam now is a Cruising Consultant and you can contact her through her web-site:

Capt Rick Weiler a successful, experienced Yacht Broker and licensed 100 ton USCG master captain. Capt Rick is currently working with the largest and most successful brokerage house in the Gulf area, Little Yacht Sales in Kemah TX.

Brenda Wempner

Captain Brenda Wempner learned to sail as an adult and now holds her U.S.C.G. license and teaches sailing. She works for American Sailing Association in the Education Department.

A native of Galveston, Kevin Wilson, has spent more of his life sailing. He has been rigging professionally since 1979 and opened Stix N Rign in 1989. The company services boats from 9’ to 86’. We are a full service rigging facility their main office in Kemah and our Mast shop in Seabrook Shipyard.