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Old 09-22-2015, 08:08 PM   #1
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70' and 80's tri-cabin cruisers?

Being honest with yourself is hard, lol. I'm kind of rethinking trying to find a live aboard forever boat and looking more towards what could/would be enjoyable for the next 4-6 years living aboard and getting out on the water.

While I could technically afford $100k, I don't want to be a slave to a mortgage. The same size boats I've been looking at in my budget range need work and updating. . .and the more I think about it, I don't want to be a slave to the boat. Been there, doing that with my sailboat

Trojan 36 tri-cabins, Catalina 350's, Tolley Craft 34's are the ones I can think off the top of my head. They look nice and have a nice layout (from what I can tell in the pictures), mostly small block powered, and very affordable. I imagine they would be cheap and easy to maintain too. Looks like you could mount some rod holders in the back and do some semi serious fishing on the bay as well

Something like this one:
1979 Trojan Tri Cabin, Deale, Maryland | boats.com

Anyone have any experience with this style and size of boat? Are they as roomy as the pictures suggest? How is the engine access? GPH cruise and puttering around? And similar brands I might be missing?

Might not exactly be considered a "trawler", but I'm asking yall because there i a lot of experience and knowledge here. Thanks!
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Old 09-22-2015, 08:25 PM   #2
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I bought a 83 ocean alexander 43' tri cabin. This ones been sitting for many years and needs lots of refurb. But I am willing and able LOL. I am actually considering taking the two front cabins out and replacing them with a down gally. Doing that will give the main cabin tons of living space.

The PO and his wife lived in the boat as they cruised the caribbean for 10 years. It had everything oversized in order to get longevity out of it. I intend on keeping the "over engineered" equipment as it seems wrong to downsize the stuff. So consider that as a cost if you intend on long term ownership.

As for fishing off of it, it has 3 rod holders and 8 gafs. I kid you not, 8 gafs. The PO told me when they would hit a school of dolphin he would just gaf it aboard and let it be as he reeled the next close enough to gaf. He said it wasnt hard to run out of gafs.

This is the boat I bought, click the picture and theres more.
1983 Ocean Alexander Double Cabin Used Boats For Sale By Owners BoatsFSBO

The big risk with old boats is engines with too many hours and fuel tanks with way too much rust.
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Old 09-23-2015, 12:14 AM   #3
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There is a lot of experience here, but probably not as much with that style of boat as you'll find on The Hull Truth (THT).

Have you been aboard a live aboard in the "off" season?

Keeping the rain out...keeping the humidity down...trying to do any project when you are using all of the spaces every day. Carrying your groceries down slippery dark docks. Carrying your moldy laundry to a laundromat. Trying to "cook" anything more than a can of soup. Trying to heat and live on 30amp when it's below freezing. Having to get your too small holding tank pumped. It just goes on and on and on.

I suggest you do a lot more research before committing to that lifestyle.


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Old 09-23-2015, 12:38 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by refugio View Post
There is a lot of experience here, but probably not as much with that style of boat as you'll find on The Hull Truth (THT).

Have you been aboard a live aboard in the "off" season?

Keeping the rain out...keeping the humidity down...trying to do any project when you are using all of the spaces every day. Carrying your groceries down slippery dark docks. Carrying your moldy laundry to a laundromat. Trying to "cook" anything more than a can of soup. Trying to heat and live on 30amp when it's below freezing. Having to get your too small holding tank pumped. It just goes on and on and on.

I suggest you do a lot more research before committing to that lifestyle.


Keith
You make some good points, Keith- and they're all part of the lifestyle. FWIW, we've been living onboard for 5 years, and have never experienced anything as horrific as the picture you paint.
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Old 09-23-2015, 06:49 AM   #5
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Back in the early 90's my Father had a Trojan Tri-cabin. I believe it was a 76-77. It did have a usable cockpit unlike the later ones. It was one hell of a roomy boat for 36 foot. She handled well and was built like a tank. Access to the out board of the engines sucked, I remember having to change a water pump out on the port engine, not fun. I also did not like to 2 separate aft bunks. I did liveaboard for 3 weeks one year while working in southern MD. I had no issues.
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Old 09-23-2015, 07:20 AM   #6
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If you buy a boat of that vintage and have even average standards for seaworthiness and comfort and cosmetics, it will require work, and plenty of it.

I'm with Pau on disagreeing with Keith. We lived aboard extremely comfortably, full time for 6 years. Admittedly, on a big fancy boat (which in turn was much much smaller than any house we had lived in, save one). But having chartered much smaller boats for a week or two at a time, and knowing couples who lived on 35-40 footers, know it can be just fine, warm and dry and mildew free, with nice dinners on the table, in something much smaller.
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Old 09-23-2015, 10:41 AM   #7
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I think it boils down to what one is willing to compromise on- I (then we) chose to live onboard. I bolded "chose" because it was a conscious decision and not a reactive decision.

Having made that choice, we knew that compromise would be part of the game. Our current vessel is very self contained- except for a watermaker, we could live onboard thru the Zombie apocalypse. Now, on out previous boats, we lived thru and with:
  • replacing carpet
  • weekly trips to the laundromat (in all weather conditions)
  • The "red light of death" (holding tank light) coming on 4 days before our scheduled pumpout
  • The power load share dance
  • Running out of propane during dinner prep
  • painting interior spaces
  • and on and on......

Living in a terrestrial home isn't much different- just a different list of challenges to overcome or adapt to.
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Old 09-23-2015, 10:51 AM   #8
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And the benefits you get out of your choice in lifestyle...

Kayaking every day if you want
Seeing the sea life out your window
Freedom from the time and financial commitments that come with a home and a yard.
The ability to move your home with the seasons, providing an endless summer.

Now...

If I could only convince the wife.
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Old 09-23-2015, 10:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caltexflanc View Post
I'm with Pau on disagreeing with Keith. We lived aboard extremely comfortably, full time for 6 years. Admittedly, on a big fancy boat (which in turn was much much smaller than any house we had lived in, save one). But having chartered much smaller boats for a week or two at a time, and knowing couples who lived on 35-40 footers, know it can be just fine, warm and dry and mildew free, with nice dinners on the table, in something much smaller.
Sure you can live comfortably on a boat - I've done it year around in Juneau and Seattle. But you guys are not offering fair comparisons to the type of boat the OP is looking to acquire. 50'+ boats with diesel heat, laundry, insulation, extensive tankage - that's not going to be what the OP experiences.

Look at the brokerage photos. Narrow half pier, no lights, awkward access. Now imagine doing that on and off in the dark, in the rain (or snow), carrying stuff and / or dressed for "work". That is going to suck in the winter.

I see two electric space heaters in the ends - not sure what that grill in the companionway steps is for or how the saloon is heated. But that's also an electric range. And, presumably, water heater. You're not going to run all that simultaneously on a single 30amp outlet - possibly at a marina where the power sags in winter when everyone else is maxing out their power usage.

So now let's talk about ventilation. I think you could keep that companionway open in winter (losing a bunch of heat), but I don't see a single weather protected opening.

Every time someone takes a shower - or boils a pot of anything - all of the windows are going to steam over. How quickly can you exchange that moist air with other air at a lower relative humidity is going to determine if you live in a moist or dry environment.

How many people would be living on the boat? Remember, people generate moisture too - that's why there are so many "solutions" for airing underneath bunk mattresses.

Care to add a wet dog to the mix? <grin>

What's your plan for supplying water to that 70 gallon water tank? And how are you planning to clear that 40 gallon holding tank? In winter with the dock water off? With (possibly) ice in the water to make a roving pump-out boat
inaccessible?

Now let's talk about what happens when the power goes out...
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Old 09-23-2015, 11:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pau Hana View Post
Now, on out previous boats, we lived thru and with:
  • replacing carpet
  • weekly trips to the laundromat (in all weather conditions)
  • The "red light of death" (holding tank light) coming on 4 days before our scheduled pumpout
  • The power load share dance
  • Running out of propane during dinner prep
  • painting interior spaces
  • and on and on......

Living in a terrestrial home isn't much different- just a different list of challenges to overcome or adapt to.
Well, actually it is different on land. You have essentially 100% guaranteed delivery of power, water, natural gas, and sewer. You live in a house that - via the building code - almost certainly has insulation, provision for air exchange, multi-pane windows, and is "under cover" via a roof. And you can step out the front door (or into the garage) to get in your car.

Running out of propane wouldn't be a problem on the all-electric boat the OP pointed too. But other than that, I think your list mostly parallels the "challenges" I initially brought up. Yes, it can be done. But it's probably going to take at least a couple of years to get these things all figured out.
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Old 09-23-2015, 11:08 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by refugio View Post
Sure you can live comfortably on a boat - I've done it year around in Juneau and Seattle. But you guys are not offering fair comparisons to the type of boat the OP is looking to acquire. 50'+ boats with diesel heat, laundry, insulation, extensive tankage - that's not going to be what the OP experiences.

Look at the brokerage photos. Narrow half pier, no lights, awkward access. Now imagine doing that on and off in the dark, in the rain (or snow), carrying stuff and / or dressed for "work". That is going to suck in the winter.

I see two electric space heaters in the ends - not sure what that grill in the companionway steps is for or how the saloon is heated. But that's also an electric range. And, presumably, water heater. You're not going to run all that simultaneously on a single 30amp outlet - possibly at a marina where the power sags in winter when everyone else is maxing out their power usage.

So now let's talk about ventilation. I think you could keep that companionway open in winter (losing a bunch of heat), but I don't see a single weather protected opening.

Every time someone takes a shower - or boils a pot of anything - all of the windows are going to steam over. How quickly can you exchange that moist air with other air at a lower relative humidity is going to determine if you live in a moist or dry environment.

How many people would be living on the boat? Remember, people generate moisture too - that's why there are so many "solutions" for airing underneath bunk mattresses.

Care to add a wet dog to the mix? <grin>

What's your plan for supplying water to that 70 gallon water tank? And how are you planning to clear that 40 gallon holding tank? In winter with the dock water off? With (possibly) ice in the water to make a roving pump-out boat
inaccessible?

Now let's talk about what happens when the power goes out...
Keith, my first liveaboard was 1984 Bayliner 3870- no washer/dryer, no diesel heat, a small genset, small holding tank, single 30A power. On, and a large Golden Retriever lived with me. I loved it! And- I survived scar free.

Spelling out every doomsday scenario in the "what if" category could be helpful, but then again if we did that for every situation we'd stay in bed all day, sucking our thumbs while waiting for the world to end...or the zombies to arrive.

Reality- IMO, any situation can be overcome or adapted to. Is one half full on the way to empty, or half full on the way to overflowing?
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Old 09-23-2015, 11:18 AM   #12
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Well, actually it is different on land. You have essentially 100% guaranteed delivery of power, water, natural gas, and sewer. You live in a house that - via the building code - almost certainly has insulation, provision for air exchange, multi-pane windows, and is "under cover" via a roof. And you can step out the front door (or into the garage) to get in your car.

Running out of propane wouldn't be a problem on the all-electric boat the OP pointed too. But other than that, I think your list mostly parallels the "challenges" I initially brought up. Yes, it can be done. But it's probably going to take at least a couple of years to get these things all figured out.
Nothing's guaranteed, brother! While on land, I've lived thru sewer outages, water outages, power, outages, and natural gas disruptions (and yes, I paid my bills ).

Trees fall on houses and garages- and cars. Roofs leak. Oftentime, homes are cold and drafty despite the coded insulation and multi-pane windows. In short- different challenges, but the mindset will either prevail or collapse in times of stress or challenge.

I just don't see the challenges you point out as things that can't be overcome in short order.
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Old 09-23-2015, 12:26 PM   #13
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I just don't see the challenges you point out as things that can't be overcome in short order.
I agree, but we are lifetime boaters with extensive experience. I've seen newbies who think they're getting a cheap waterfront condo become disallusioned and frustrated, so I was simply providing some caveats.

Rereading the original post I see that the OP appears to be an experienced sailboater, so I'm ready to concede that he already knows about discomfort and inconvenience.


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Old 09-23-2015, 12:42 PM   #14
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Side tracked a bit, eh?

Hehehe. . .

I've remarked in other threads that I live aboard, I probably should have mentioned that here. 2 years, 3 months. . .heading into my third winter

70 gallon water tank? I can only dream! I have a 20 gallon on my boat. . .
40 gallon holding tank? Fantastic! I could only squeeze a 25 gallon onto mine. . .no pump out service at my marina, I have to untie and go next door. . .

Refugio, I haven't found it to be nearly as dreary as you mentioned. Even though I do have all the "been there, done that" t-shirts for living aboard, if it was that bleak, I can't imagine why anyone would do it

EDIT: Refugio posted before me. . .lol.

I live in a 33ft Ranger Sailboat. It's probably the smallest 33ftr out there. . .go checkout google images and then compare to the boats I mentioned. I'd definitely be movin' on up! And some of those Ranger boats have water heaters and showers. . .I don't, lol.

This is the whole reason I started looking at trawlers/power boats. I enjoy living on the water. The challenges in a way make it worth it. But I've got the "lived on a small boat for a couple years" t-shirt and I'm ready to move into something more comfortable.

I can share stories, tips, and tricks if interested. . .but that might be best for another thread.
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Old 09-23-2015, 12:49 PM   #15
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I feel for you guys living in small sailboats. There is a couple in our harbor doing it.

Then again this summer I met a couple from New Zealand that came all the way to Alaska in their 30 something foot sailboat. They stayed for a couple of weeks then boogied off on their next adventure.

I knew a guy that lived on a small sailboat in Whittier, Alaska. He bought a 32' bayliner and thought he was in heaven!
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Old 09-23-2015, 01:00 PM   #16
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Side tracked a bit, eh?

Hehehe. . .

I've remarked in other threads that I live aboard, I probably should have mentioned that here. 2 years, 3 months. . .heading into my third winter

70 gallon water tank? I can only dream! I have a 20 gallon on my boat. . .
40 gallon holding tank? Fantastic! I could only squeeze a 25 gallon onto mine. . .no pump out service at my marina, I have to untie and go next door. . .

Refugio, I haven't found it to be nearly as dreary as you mentioned. Even though I do have all the "been there, done that" t-shirts for living aboard, if it was that bleak, I can't imagine why anyone would do it

EDIT: Refugio posted before me. . .lol.

I live in a 33ft Ranger Sailboat. It's probably the smallest 33ftr out there. . .go checkout google images and then compare to the boats I mentioned. I'd definitely be movin' on up! And some of those Ranger boats have water heaters and showers. . .I don't, lol.

This is the whole reason I started looking at trawlers/power boats. I enjoy living on the water. The challenges in a way make it worth it. But I've got the "lived on a small boat for a couple years" t-shirt and I'm ready to move into something more comfortable.

I can share stories, tips, and tricks if interested. . .but that might be best for another thread.
So, how do you avoid boredom and claustrophobia on a 33' sailboat?
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Old 09-23-2015, 06:23 PM   #17
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I feel for you guys living in small sailboats. There is a couple in our harbor doing it.

Then again this summer I met a couple from New Zealand that came all the way to Alaska in their 30 something foot sailboat. They stayed for a couple of weeks then boogied off on their next adventure.

I knew a guy that lived on a small sailboat in Whittier, Alaska. He bought a 32' bayliner and thought he was in heaven!
Yeah, I fell in love with the "Cruising & Living Aboard" side and didn't realize I would be "Working & Living Aboard" which is a totally different experience A small sailboat is great for cruising. Living dockside, the novelty wears off pretty quickly I still love being out on the water, and living aboard is fun, I just want to be more comfortable while doing it.

Those 3288 Bayliners are pretty sweet! Not the roomiest vessel, but at least I wouldn't be sleeping on my table!

Quote:
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So, how do you avoid boredom and claustrophobia on a 33' sailboat?
I've started talking to myself a lot out there, seems to keep me sane

Seriously though, both didn't exist when I first moved aboard. I had owned the boat for 3 years prior to moving aboard and couldn't imagine anything bigger! A couple hours after work is easy. I'll read some, work on a model, play video games, go fishing off the dock, watch tv, etc. It's just a couple hours. Weekends though, unless I'm sailing the boat or working on the boat. . .I'm not at the boat. I have other interests and hobbies.

I can't do a whole day of sitting at the boat. The couple of snow days and a sick day or two drove me up a wall last year. But, that's not much different then when I lived at home. Only difference is at home I could veg out on the internet, but that gets boring too.
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