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Old 09-10-2013, 09:05 PM   #1
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Oldie but a goodie, the 30 Sundowner Tug

These old Sundowners seem to retain their popularity, even after 30 years. Sure, there will be some of the same "isms" found in most Asian boats of the era, but it's worth noting how well their general design remains appealing. With diesel routinely over $4 a gallon now (a couple of local docks are at $5-plus) more people will be turning to the fuel efficiency of trawlers.

Here's a look at one of these boats:

Pacific Nor
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Old 09-10-2013, 09:19 PM   #2
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(Chuck-- Sent PM on very rare model of the Sundowner)
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Old 09-10-2013, 10:26 PM   #3
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The most fuel efficient trawlers are full disp and the prices of FD boats have yet to go up. And smaller trawlers haven't become wildly popular either.

When fuel becomes too expensive fuel efficient boats will be harder to buy and since that hasn't happened yet I'm of the opinion that fuel isn't too expensive.

About a month ago they were telling about the upsurge in vehicle sales and that big PU trucks were leading the way. If fuel were too expensive they'd be buying small trucks or better yet small cars but they are not leading the sales surge.

People talk about riding the bus but drive their Avalon to work.

Fuel must be cheap.
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Old 09-10-2013, 11:04 PM   #4
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I always thought the sundowners were great looking boats! Wonderful salty look to them!


Many boats, it's not that fuel is too expensive, it's that time is nonexistent for the average working age family.

People are so busy making a living that they do not have the time to go slow. That and they do not have the money or inclination to get into a large boat.
Personally I think that they are spending their disposable income keeping up with the jones and their new 50,000 pickup trucks.

My kid is a case in point. He says he cannot afford a big boat, even though he wants one. Between him and his wife they take home well north of $10k a month after tax.

But, alas he and his wife both drive expensive, financed vehicles, and they go out to eat several times a week, etc...

I told him that for the price he's paying in car payments he could buy a really nice large boat, and in 10 years or so it would be paid off.

Nope, they'd rather trade cars every 18 months and have payments that never end.

I sea really nice boats sit in slips unsold, and at great prices. Nice comfortable trawler yachts. But there is always a line at the launch ramp with people and their aluminum go fast boats, and their fifty thousand dollar pickup trucks, while their admrial pees in a bucket on their boat.
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Old 09-11-2013, 01:15 AM   #5
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It's still true that "right after oil, fuel is the least expensive thing you will put into a boat".

That said, we just spent 38 days cruising north from Seattle and back. By the time we got north of Desolation Sound, we were primarily seeing three types of cruising boats. Some multi-million dollar yachts were around, and the people who can afford such boats don't worry much about the price of fuel. We did hear a funny story about the owner of one of these boats being hassled by Canadian Customs for trying to bring $17,000 cash into the country. His excuse? "I wanted to be prepared to pay cash for fuel".

The other two classes of boats commonly seen were cruising sailboats and trawlers of various descriptions. Seen only rarely, the twin engine "express cruiser" type vessels. I recently spoke to somebody from Anacortes to ask if they would be bringing a boat to the Seattle Boat Show (underway this weekend). He responded, "No, the boat we would want to show would burn $1000 in fuel to go round trip from Anacortes to Seattle."

In my opinion, a semi-displacement trawler will rival the fuel efficiency of a full displacement hull if operated at displacement speeds. We did fair on our summer cruise. We filled up in Oak Harbor on the way north, racked up almost exactly 100 engine hours on the cruise, and filled up in Oak Harbor on the way back. With some diesel burned in our hydronic heat system and some in the generator (neither operated all that much- we really try to avoid the noise of the generator when anchored), we burned 205 gallons between the fill ups. I'm not sure we would have burned dramatically less with a full displacement hull- but then again we generally run about 1600 rpm and around 8 knots. We could burn twice as much fuel and go 9.5 or even 10 knots, but we're not in that much of a hurry. I think that at displacement speeds we rival displacement fuel economy.
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Old 09-11-2013, 01:51 AM   #6
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Won't get much of an argument out of me
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Old 09-11-2013, 05:45 AM   #7
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Here in the Midwest (lower end of Lake Michigan) I am seeing a reduction in use of power boats which seems related to the price of fuel. There are not a lot of trawlers here but the story of my old Willard going from Michigan City to Chicago and back on 8 gallons of diesel is still told. There were 20 or so boats in a yacht club cruise. I had taken such a ribbing on being so slow that I pulled her into the fuel dock to fill up just to show off to the assembled after trip party on the dock. Several of those guys have since gotten out of boating as too expensive.

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Old 09-11-2013, 10:09 AM   #8
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We've been running Badger since mid March or so of this year, fuelled up a couple times, but haven't bothered to crunch the fuel burn numbers yet because it doesn't really matter to us. We consider it the price of admission to the show.

One thing strikes me about this fuel use topic; nobody makes direct comparisons to vehicles. A Honda Civic gets 50 km per gallon on the highway (at 100 km/hr) so it burns 2 gallons per hour, right? Of course you can go a lot further per hour in a car compared to a boat, but it's the fuel per hour I'm interested in here.

We haven't bothered to crunch our fuel numbers yet, but I'm pretty sure it's somewhere a wee bit above 1.5 gallons per hour. So, in the scheme of things, especially when you consider how much time is spent driving a vehicle compared to how many hours you're actually moving your boat through the water, people should lighten up a little!
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Old 09-11-2013, 10:52 AM   #9
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Marty,
Good chance that's the reason FD boats are not more in demand as people really do think SD boats are about the same. You comment;

"In my opinion, a semi-displacement trawler will rival the fuel efficiency of a full displacement hull if operated at displacement speeds."

Of course there are SD boats that are almost FD and many that basically are planing hulls. Many on this forum think the two types are about the same and also I've frequently heard guys say their SD boat is FD. Some even think if one dosn't go over hull speed they have a FD boat. Few trawlers are FD but most everyone wants to be known as the skipper of a FD boat as it is seen and thought to be .. more of a trawler.

If I get out of boating it will be because of high moorage rates.

And Murray's account of 1.5gph relative to my 1gph probably represents close to the truth about the difference between FD and SD fuel burn. But most FD skippers will run a knot below hull speed (as they should) while SD skippers will be running at HS or above. So if Murray and I slowed down to 5.5 knots he'd be burning twice as much fuel as I and if we both ran at hull speed Murray would be burning less than my Willard FD. Lots of variables but Marty makes a really strong point that it's the perception of the matter of buyers and owners that is the reason FD trawlers aren't in more demand.

Marty it could also be that the economy could have more to do w the downturn of boating in general (even sailboats) than the cost of fuel.

And Murray (re your lighten up comment) if we had 36GB twins that burned 6gph at a 50% load and we had a 9 hour run for the day we'd be look'in at a $200 fuel bill .. just fir one day. We'd be talk'in fuel burn too. And running at 25% load.
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Old 09-11-2013, 11:10 AM   #10
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Those of us with trawlers aren't horribly affected by higher fuel prices. My 200 gallons of fuel for the summer cruise cost me, with tax, about $800. We would have spent 1/3 of that on gasoline during the same weeks if we had stayed home and simply driven our cars around town.

Where the fuel thing is taking it's toll is in the less fuel efficient categories. Take, for example, a guy who buys a classic Chris Craft with two big block gas engines. Suppose, like most of us, he has to do some serious budgeting to even afford the initial purchase of a used boat. (The reality of the costs for moorage and maintenance don't really sink in for a lot of folks until *after* they start writing checks as an owner). At 80% of WOT, the commonly designed cruising speed for many such vessels, he could easily burn 30 gph, per engine, or 60 gph. Fuel for a 5 hour cruise, 300 gallons at $4.50, would be $1350. Suddenly, Mr. Classic Chris Craft, who owns a beautiful boat that may be in fantastic condition, voluntarily slows to 8 knots to control the cost of fuel. Problem is, many people who chose a boat capable of a cruise speed in the upper teens to low twenties are not content to cruise at or near displacement speed.

We belong to a large yacht club in Seattle. We have spoken to many members who are using their boats substantially less and/or staying closer to home port due to the cost of fuel.
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Old 09-11-2013, 11:25 AM   #11
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Just fueled up, had 47.5 hrs on the mains & 23.6 on the gen to top off tanks it was 138.5 gallons of diesel. By the GPS we had traveled 285 miles the last 90 towing our 17' center console with 50 hp Merc, nothing else provides as much enjoyment for the cost of fuel to cruise around on a boat.
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Old 09-11-2013, 12:10 PM   #12
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The high price of diesel has kept the larger sport fishers tied up at my yacht club. Long range trips down to Mexico are a thing of the past. Even the people on Catalina Island are feeling the pinch as fewer boaters are making the trip.
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Old 09-11-2013, 12:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Gould View Post
Those of us with trawlers aren't horribly affected by higher fuel prices............

We would have spent 1/3 of that on gasoline during the same weeks if we had stayed home and simply driven our cars around town.............

Problem is, many people who chose a boat capable of a cruise speed in the upper teens to low twenties are not content to cruise at or near displacement speed.
I've posted this opinion before.

It never ceases to amaze me at the effort people expend to drastically lower their fuel consumption on their boats. Small engines, 5mph cruise, etc. After securing the boat in the slip, they jump in their cars, apply a lead foot to the accelerator & never give that fuel consumption a second thought! ==================>
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