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Old 02-11-2019, 11:29 PM   #1
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Puget Sound Boating

I live near Everett in WA, but I have never boated in this area. I don't have much boating experience and I do not yet own a boat. In thinking about what kind of boat we might want, I'm hoping some experienced people in this area can offer some advice.

If we had a trawler in a slip in Everett, what kind of cruising would be available to us for 3-5 day outings? Is it realistic to consider a 6-7 knot boat for trips of this length or do we need to lengthen our trips or plan for a faster boat?

It looks like our local ferries travel at 15-18 knots, so I assume I can get anywhere our ferries go, but taking 3x as long to get there. Not sure if that is a reasonable generalization, though.

It's hard for me to get a sense of distance over water and level of difficulty to boat to some of the places I have traveled by car. It's not clear to me how many "go slow" people are full-time cruisers vs weekenders in this part of the sound.

I'm sure with a chartplotter, I could get easier answers to this question. Are there online resources that can help me plan/visualize (hypothetical) local trips to better educate me about my options?

This is my first post. I hope it is in the right place and sorry if I am asking a strange question.
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:43 PM   #2
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For a sense of the area, I suggest you download Aqua Maps and the charts for Puget Sound. Also download Active Captain for the Aqua Map app that will describe marinas and anchorages. That will give you some good info.
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:34 AM   #3
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You are correct about boating from the Everett area. It is several hours cruise to south Puget Sound and several hours north to the San Juans. So my advice would be to find a boat for sale with moorage in Anacortes or La Conner. Now your close to lot's of places to go and only about 1.5 hour drive from Everett.

I'm not sure how far along in your search you are but if you don't know about Yacht World you need to check it out. Any boat that is for sale thru a brokerage will be listed there. ( No boats for sale by owner on this site). Also remember that if you buy a boat thru a broker that the seller pays the brokers commission, not you.

Cap Sante marina in Anacortes is a good place to look at boats as the docks are not gated so you can walk the docks and see lots of boats for sale.
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Old 02-12-2019, 02:26 AM   #4
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Here's a cool little resource that can give you some ideas.

https://nwcruising.net/

Scroll down and pick a location to start from (Everett) and click the funky looking box to the right of it... That brings up a list of destinations and the time it takes to get there - the site is default set at 7 knots. But once you select a destination, it brings up an overview chart as well as a table showing times to get there at faster speeds.

Combine that resource with some cruising destinations you might be interested in and you might start forming some initial thoughts on what you could do.

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Old 02-12-2019, 11:38 AM   #5
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We lived aboard and cruised out of Everett for about 3 years on a 6 knot sailboat. There are plenty of places to go for a weekend trip. Some of our favorites:


Anchoring out:


Hope Island/Skagit Island
Port Ludlow
Mystery Bay
Poulsbo
Port Madison


Tie to Docks:


Oak Harbor
LaConnor
Anacortes
Port Ludlow
Port Townsend
Kingston


In an 8 knot trawler you could make the San Juans in a day if you timed Deception pass right, so a three day weekend there is a possibility. There are also a lot of destinations around Seattle.
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:35 PM   #6
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Loop, welcome to TF. We've cruised a couple of times in the San Juans and I was surprised at how close together things seemed to be. I was on a variety of boats from a chartered Grand Banks 32' at 6-7kts to a 45' Bayliner and my own 33' Sea Ray Sundancer.


Having the ability to go a bit faster when you want to is a big advantage in my opinion. When you can up your cruise speed from 6-7kts up to about 22kts, most everything in the San Juans is an hour or two away. I agree the best part of the journey is the trip itself, but if you want to extend your cruising range the ability to go faster allows that. Being able to go faster also allows you to go against the tidal flows and still get to your destination in decent time.
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:49 PM   #7
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Welcome!

I would suggest that you don't do what I did.


What I did:
I went through 5 different boats before finding the boat that did what we were looking for, wasting literally thousands along the way. And now that I have it, I have found that driving the dinghy around all weekend long has made me a MUCH better helmsman than the previous 15 years of bigger boats that I took out once a month at most.

Instead:
Buy something small and cheap that you will use. Learn to pilot a boat, and learn the waterways. Go fast. Go slow. Add equipment. Make repairs. Anchor. Rent transient slips. All the while save up for the exact boat you want.

Then, when the time comes, don't skimp. Get exactly the right boat for you -- and you'll know what is because you've done a bunch of stuff on boats.
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Old 02-12-2019, 01:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infinite_loop View Post
I'm sure with a chartplotter, I could get easier answers to this question. Are there online resources that can help me plan/visualize (hypothetical) local trips to better educate me about my options?

Apologies, in my long rant, the one thing I didn't do was answer your question.


When planning a trip, google maps is the easiest tool I have ever found. Just now I made up an imaginary trip from my marina to Eagle Island, a favorite stop of ours in the south sound.

Open google maps. Put in the address to my marina. Zoom out. Right click where my marina is, and select measure distance. then start clicking the path. At the end, it says how far I've traveled. In this case, about 22 miles.

At 7kts, ignoring weather, tides, etc, that's a 4 hour run.



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Old 02-12-2019, 01:11 PM   #9
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Welcome!
Instead:
Buy something small and cheap that you will use. Learn to pilot a boat, and learn the waterways. Go fast. Go slow. Add equipment. Make repairs. Anchor. Rent transient slips. All the while save up for the exact boat you want.

Then, when the time comes, don't skimp. Get exactly the right boat for you -- and you'll know what is because you've done a bunch of stuff on boats.
Good advice. We sort of followed this path buy buying a good used "starter trawler" that was 1/3 the price we expected to pay for our "boat list" (the list of must haves you create after going to boat shows, walking the docks and touring many, many boats). Doing it this way got us out on the water, navigating, repairing, replacing, anchoring, docking, etc. and minimized the risk of either of us not liking boating but owning and now needing to sell a large boat.

Now we're much more confident in our abilities to both cruise and maintain a vessel (we're DIYers) and when we're ready to move up we'll know exactly what we want and won't be in a world of hurt financially.
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Old 02-12-2019, 01:12 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by GFC View Post


Having the ability to go a bit faster when you want to is a big advantage in my opinion. When you can up your cruise speed from 6-7kts up to about 22kts.....

I'm not being snarky as much as trying to lead in to a story, but my idea of "a bit faster" in a trawler is 10 knts, not 22.


When we lived in Everett, I did some electronics installations for a broker that sold small sport fishing catamarans. As partial trade for the work, I used one of their demo boats to take my wife to Rosario Resort in the San Juans for her birthday. Clear, calm weekend with a 50+ knot boat means we made it from Everett to Orcas Island in under an hour. It was really fun, but we burned more fuel doing that trip than I used to get our current boat from Seattle to Sitka, AK.
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Old 02-12-2019, 01:15 PM   #11
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Navionics for your iPhone/iPad or Android device is a great way to run "time to destination" scenarios. You put in your vessel info (speed, fuel burn, etc), pick a start location and end location and it will auto-route a course, calculating speed, distance, time and fuel burn. Great for playing "what if" routes and pre-planning a route.

https://www.navionics.com/usa/apps/navionics-boating
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Old 02-12-2019, 02:58 PM   #12
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Thank you. I appreciate all of the help.

I will look into Navionics and Aqua Maps. Those look like great resources.

I suspected that having a boat further north (such as Anacortes) might offer some better options, as Russell suggested. Actually, La Conner is one of our favorite weekend destinations (by car).

I took a quick peek at https://nwcruising.net and that looks like a great place to poke around!

Stripper, I'll plug in some of the destinations you mentioned in the tools above to get me started. Thanks.

With regard to the "starter trawler" idea, that is kind of what I am trying to work through now. It's not too hard to find boats of various sizes that are amazing and expensive. Because of the hefty price tag, I figured a boat purchase would still be a ways off for us. I'm trying to get a bit more practical and figure out just how small, how old, how simple we can go to _get started_, while still getting an experience that my wife is willing to participate in.

Thanks again for all the advice.
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Old 02-12-2019, 05:24 PM   #13
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+1 on the idea of getting a "starter" boat and learning with it. Have to say a few years with a starter boat changed some of my earlier preconceived notions of what the ideal boat would be.

Also, we are currently in the Everett Marina and we can get to our boat in 20 to 25 minutes. So when ever we get a notion for a quick cruise or dinner on the boat, it's easy. Have been thinking about moving the boat north, but can't get past the ease of getting to her.

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Old 02-12-2019, 07:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infinite_loop View Post
I live near Everett in WA, but I have never boated in this area. I don't have much boating experience and I do not yet own a boat. In thinking about what kind of boat we might want, I'm hoping some experienced people in this area can offer some advice.

If we had a trawler in a slip in Everett, what kind of cruising would be available to us for 3-5 day outings? Is it realistic to consider a 6-7 knot boat for trips of this length or do we need to lengthen our trips or plan for a faster boat?

It looks like our local ferries travel at 15-18 knots, so I assume I can get anywhere our ferries go, but taking 3x as long to get there. Not sure if that is a reasonable generalization, though.

It's hard for me to get a sense of distance over water and level of difficulty to boat to some of the places I have traveled by car. It's not clear to me how many "go slow" people are full-time cruisers vs weekenders in this part of the sound.

I'm sure with a chartplotter, I could get easier answers to this question. Are there online resources that can help me plan/visualize (hypothetical) local trips to better educate me about my options?

This is my first post. I hope it is in the right place and sorry if I am asking a strange question.
Wifey B: Go to a golf forum and ask if you should take up tennis or golf and see what answers you get.

The last few weeks we've been limited to weekends and oh my thank god we had speed.

I'd suggest talking to some others, for instance maybe find a Sea Ray group or something and talk. Compare notes. There's a reason most weekend boaters, especially those with kids, don't have trawlers. They're still living life in a way that time is even a more precious resource than money. Then when they retire, it reverses.

How old are you? Who will be with you? Look at what others similar to you have. The "starter trawler" arose in this discussion. I'd suggest think "starter boat" and it's likely smaller and faster. You don't need the same space and amenities for 2-3 day cruises that you do for 6 month cruises. Don't need to carry as much with you. Can live a little more cramped because when you reach the destination it's going to be "run wild" time.

You can get like a 30' Sundancer for $50k and people will tell you gas engines and stern drives won't last as long, but how many hours a year will you actually use it and it can be kept perfect in dry storage. Or older Sedan Bridges for half that or 34-35' for double that and then into diesel inboards. A ton of Bayliners in your area since they were built nearby.

Go to Yacht World and play around. I just found a 30' Apreamare for $75k. Twin DD's. Detroit Diesels guys.....there's more than one type DD. Cruise at 23 knots. Some Nordic Tugs cruise 7-12 knots with WOT of 15-17. Bayliner 3288's, a great place to start.

Don't think type boat or label, but think of you and your use and your experience. This isn't your retirement boat to cruise the world. This is your boat to get out on the water and enjoy and learn and then dream of the retirement boat but know what you want by the time you get there.

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Old 02-12-2019, 07:48 PM   #15
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Loop,
No one has mentioned taking some courses such as Power Squadron, or some "hands on" boat training (actual docking, anchoring, etc.) Another idea would be to charter a few different types of boats (true go slow trawlers (top speed 8-10 knots wide open)), and/or a semi-displacement like a Nordic Tug (many others), and/or a more "go fast" boat like a Carver, SeaRay, etc.

In my opinion, this would be potentially less expensive than buying "to learn". Buying and selling can be expensive as others have stated. Taxes, brokerage fees, registration fees, to say nothing of not being able to sell for what you paid and put into the boat to "make it your own" and bring it up to shape.
I agree whole heartedly with the poster on your other thread where he says: "buy your second boat first!"

Take your time, listen to the advice given by experienced boaters (if what they are saying makes sense to you), take some training and you will be more likely to have the best experience possible.
If it were me, I would look to moor your boat at Anacortes (area) or north (a bit), yet not too far from home (for short trips up to check on the boat, maintenance trips, etc.). From those locations, you are close to the San Juans and the southern Gulf Islands and this would give you more choice for short trips.
Take it one step at a time! First figure out what kind of boat you think you would want. For example go fast, semi-displacement, or full displacement trawler. They are each quite different from each other (with the semis being somewhat a blend of the other two). Once you get that far, then start narrowing down to the makes/models that you think will best meet your needs.

Good luck,
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:52 PM   #16
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A lot of great advice so far, wish we had sought out a resource like this when we were in your shoes...that said we enjoyed our path getting to our current boat.

We moved to Everett, WA from Minnesota a few years back and brought an old 26' SeaRay Amberjack with us that we had on Lake Superior. We quickly realized it was not going to be the boat we wanted for this area - accommodation space was not well suited to any sort of extended cruising (in our opinion of course, as some might have found it perfect).

We thought we wanted speed and some level of efficiency, so we ended up purchasing a used power catamaran (ArrowCat). We loved the ArrowCat for the speed and relative efficiency (twin 175hp outboards allowed cruising at 27kts while getting better than 1nm/gallon), but ended up finding the accommodations too cramped for more than a weekend. The ArrowCat did help us fall in love with cruising, crabbing, and just getting out on the water...the PNW is an amazing place to boat!

We joined a yacht club, which assisted greatly in learning the area and the basics of long distance cruising. The yacht club also provides a opportunity to see lots of different boats and hear everyone's opinion. However, most yacht clubs require that you already own a boat to join...

After just a year and half with the ArrowCat we decided to move up to a bigger cruising boat. At the time we thought we wanted to retain the ability to go fast, which informed our search significantly. We ended up purchasing a 2008 Meridian 490 (newer version of Bayliner 4788), which seem to be good bang for the buck (as 50' boats go that is). 4788/490s are capable of cruising at around 17kts, but burn a lot of fuel doing it.

In the end, we love our Meridian 490, but rarely run the boat above hull speed (~8kts). We have just found that it is a much more enjoyable trip at 8-9 kts, and the boat only burns about 5 gallons an hour! The ability to cruise comfortably at 17kts has come in handy once in awhile, but we wouldn't miss it if we didn't have it.

If there is a next boat, it will likely be a true trawler with long distance capabilities.

That is our story, hope it provides a perspective.

In the end, you will need to determine your personal priorities and then find the best compromise.

Cheers,

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Old 02-12-2019, 07:54 PM   #17
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Buy Waggoner's Cruising Guide. Available at any boat store. It tells you many useful boating things for the Puget Sound and beyond areas. Make friends with a serious boater, take a few trips as may be available. Wear out some shoe leather, forget about trying to learn it all from a smart phone. It is a fun hobby.
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:06 PM   #18
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Thanks for all the advice.

Wifey B, thanks for the encouragement. I've been poking around Yacht World for a few years, but definitely with an eye towards that future dream boat. The wife and I are just starting to talk about something we could use sooner. As you pointed at that may look a lot different from what I have been looking at so far. It's easy to find boats I know about on Yacht World, but harder to know what is worth looking at if I have not read about them already. Thanks for the specific search suggestions.

Tom, I am signed up for "America's Boating Course" in Everett. I figured that was a sane first step and that I could branch out from there. It was supposed to start yesterday, but it was postponed due to the snow! I've also started looking into local charters and saw that some of the charters do group cruises, which looks promising. I've spent a lot of team reading about the subject, but not a lot of time actually applying that or getting hands-on. I am hoping to change that this year.

Greg, thanks for the thoughtful post. Very interesting and great food for thought.

Sunchaser, I had heard of "Waggoner's Cruising Guide" before, but I didn't do anything about it. Thanks for the nudge. I will pick that asap.

So nice to get all of this useful advice. Thanks, everyone!
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:32 PM   #19
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Buy Waggoner's Cruising Guide.
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Old 02-12-2019, 10:10 PM   #20
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Boater training is state required now I think below a certain age group. Not sure other than that I am exempt! Besides having once been CG licensed I did take a BoatUS safety course once.
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