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Old 01-14-2016, 07:24 PM   #1
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'88 Chung Hwa 44' Trawler - input?

We are starting to plan for retirement. We've been boaters all our lives. Sailors since in our teens, and powerboats and jetski's lately for our teenagers. But now we are 4-5 years from retirement and like so many, we have "Great Loop" on the brain! While I'm new to looking at trawlers, and am just now starting to read Skipper Bob and other books, I'm looking for the boat we can afford, afford to run, and will be comfortable on for long trips (1+ years??).

I saw this trawler and I know others on her have looked at, and own, these thaiwanese boats. This one looks well maintained, gorgeous interior, but of course we need to get serious and have a survey. Before I go that far, travel, etc., what are the forum thoughts, key word searches, to learn more about Thai built trawlers?

1988 44' CHUNG HWA Seamaster Trawler, Sarasota FL FL, Listing 100717937
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Old 01-14-2016, 11:19 PM   #2
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Greetings,
Welcome aboard. ER pictures should show you the REAL maintenance regime. None in the listing. And....Volvo diesels (don't like them personally). Are they built in Thailand or China (Taiwan)? I don't know anything about Thai boats.
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Old 01-15-2016, 07:10 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forum.

The Chung Hwa's were built in Taiwan. Chung Hwa Boats is more famously known as CHB. CHB's were later made in China. I suspect the name is no longer used and they have morphed into some other brand.

Be leery of the Volvo engines. There is a CHB Seamaster 44' in Stuart for sale and one of the Volvo engines is toast. I think the owner blew a rod and ruined the engine.

The pics of the boat you are looking at look like it is a well cared for boat but having good hull and engine surveys are the acid test. It is a real plus not to have teak decks on these 30 year old boats. Check for leaks around the windows.

If the surveys come out clean, you should have a real nice boat at a good price.
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Old 01-15-2016, 11:03 PM   #4
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Ok. You asked. So here goes. I have no experience regarding whether you should be aware or concerned about Volvo engines or any other particular engine, but I have had many years of experience with Taiwanese boats. I have owned both an Albin 49 and Marine Trader Tradewinds 43 and these boats and others such as CHB, Island Gypsy, etc give many of us an opportunity to own a tremendous boat for a reasonable amount of money. They are roomy, comfortable, and as tough as you probably need along the coast and certainly for the great loop. They will take a lot more in snotty weather than the captain and his crew wants to endure.

As I understand it, there were several boat yards that built what I will refer to as the Asian boats. Marine Trader, by itself, used multiple boat yards. The reason we can get quite a bang for our buck with these boats is due to the less expensive (but, still very skilled) work force in Taiwan. The concept was to make solid, semi-planing (or semi-displacement) boats using American suppliers for many of the systems. Taiwanese builders did not spare on the fiberglass. They usually have very solid and adequate hulls. And they did not spare on the interior wood products. The skilled labor and teak was in abundance. The stainless steel that was used for fittings could have been better and the electrical wiring systems and materials could have been better. The common failure of the black iron fuel tanks still give us all nightmares.

But, the boat you are looking at, for an asking price of $139K, is a fair place to start negotiations. The photos that were used indicate a couple things to me. First, of course, the boat was staged for sale. But more important, the condition of the boat and the recent improvements made to the boat convince me that the owner had a lot of pride in the boat and it seems to me that the maintenance has been on-going, not just done for the sale.

If an owner wants top dollar for his boat, you might expect him to buff and wax the boat, re-finish the wing doors, maybe even do a topside paint job and certainly paint the bottom. If his enclosure looked like crap, he may be forced to replace it. But, he would not have had to go to the measures that he did. He would certainly not have to install a new water maker. The soft goods such as drapes, furnishings, headliner, carpet and bedspreads are fresh and clean. The appliances and furnishings are of good quality and in good condition. You don't have a lot of ceiling above the engines and in these boats you will not find the neatness and organization of some of the better boats regarding wiring harnesses and running of hoses.

I will leave you with my recommendation that you should consider these Taiwanese boats. Unless you have an extra couple hundred thousand dollars that you could dig up to get you to the next step up the ladder in quality.

DON'T find a surveyor to survey your boat and engine. If you do that, in the end, you will only have a list of things that may or may not mean anything at all. First , you need an engine consultant. How do you find that consultant? Investigate in every way you can. Get the best. A surveyor with specific knowledge of the engines you are buying. Don' t leave his side during the survey. If it takes compression tests or tearing apart some of the systems of the engine, pay for it. Be sure. Then, do the same research to find a consultant for your boat's survey. They are two different birds. Also stay with him the entire survey. Make sure he understands that you need to be educated on this boat and that you are willing to pay for whatever extra time is required to get you to that point. Take notes. Ask questions. In fact, get a list of questions together from your walk through before sea trial or the engine survey.

One more suggestion. Ask the boat's broker very specifically if there has been a survey done of this boat in the last two or three years. If there has, ask him if you might review it. If he or the owner is not willing to share the survey, that may be your first red flag.
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Old 01-17-2016, 06:46 AM   #5
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"They usually have very solid and adequate hulls. And they did not spare on the interior wood products. The skilled labor and teak was in abundance. The stainless steel that was used for fittings could have been better and the electrical wiring systems and materials could have been better. The common failure of the black iron fuel tanks still give us all nightmares."

The usual TT hassle is "Chinese composite" , decks and deck house made from house plywood with a thin slather of glass over .

Add hundreds of screw holes for the "teak deck" overlay or PH window trim and the real long term problem shows up.

Black iron has few problems except when rained on for 30 years from sad decks.
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Old 01-17-2016, 10:41 AM   #6
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That is the same boat i have. Mine has cat 3208t motors. more accurately referred to as the sundeck motor yacht rather than a Trawler.
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Old 01-17-2016, 12:18 PM   #7
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What Cuttyhunk says!

As for the Volvo engines, you will find that there are some on this forum who will always advise to avoid Volvo engines. Their reasons may vary, but often relate to the high price of parts. My boat has Volvo engines. First TMD40s, then TAMD41s. I repowered 16 yrs ago for reasons other than engine reliability. I have not had any difficulty getting parts on the rare occasions that I have needed them, nor have I been offended by their price.

Those TAMD61s are the same generation as my 41s, so parts should follow the same availability and pricing, more or less. You need to follow Cuttyhunk's advice on assessing their quality before purchase.

Good looking boat! Good luck with it.
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Old 01-17-2016, 02:01 PM   #8
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The good thing about buying one of these Taiwanese boats in 2016 is that they are nearly 30 years old. Seems counter-intuitive, but by this time all of the problems have appeared and it will not be rocket science for you and a good surveyor to determine if the issues have been addressed.

Especially if you find a boat that has been used and cruised and improved over the last couple years. There is a cycle of maintenance with boats. I get a kick out of the YachtWorld ads that list "New saloon a/c 2006!" or "New Eisenglass 2000" I'm sorry, but the maintenance cycle for items like that should not allow you to refer to those items as "New" after 9-16 years. You can get a good sense if the owner has actively and on a timely basis has addressed the maintenance issues. If you find a boat who's owner has really kept up the electronics, the appliances, the a/c, the canvas and enclosures and maybe installed an inverter system, for example, the systems that are easier to check out, he has probably already addressed the teak decks and potential of rusting fuel tanks and wiring issues.
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Old 01-17-2016, 02:21 PM   #9
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Look at this, and the others. I have a Present 38, (Tiwan) Good boat but I feel this is better, stronger in every way. AND the refit is done as best I can tell. If the tanks are good then OK. Even at $4 diesel, in the big picture that is not significant.

The 453 Detroits will run forever. Work on em is pretty cheap. I was told that a major overhaul for a 453 is $8k by the dealer in the boat. Unlikely they need any major work with the low hours what with no turbo to stress em.

Hatteras, the company is one of the rocks of American Yacht building. They have supply with part numbers for you even 30 years+. That is a very big deal. This one is a little out of the way for you, but......

1981 Hatteras LRC MK II Power Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
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Old 01-17-2016, 03:20 PM   #10
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Great find as an example! The past owners have spent some big bucks on appliances, inverter, washer/dryer, water-maker, counters, flooring, wine cooler. You can tell that the boat is set up to cruise, not be a dock queen. look at the anchor, the enclosure, the bow thruster and the boat's name is "Traveler" for goodness sakes!

You have some indications that the boat has been cared for. You can be pretty sure this owner would not have tried to save money on his engines, trannies and running gear.

A buyer should convince himself (through survey) that the hull and engines are sound and that the tanks are sound and that everything that we see in the photos work. And he could be fairly sure there will be no major surprises. Good find.
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Old 02-19-2016, 08:02 PM   #11
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I can't thank everyone enough for their valuable advice and opinions! I've printed them, compiled my lists of questions to ask by category, steps to take if I get serious. We have not opted to look at this particular boat yet, mainly as the more we contemplate what we want in a boat, right now, we just think anything over 40' is more than we need/want. Cuttyhunk47, some great advice on seeking out an engine surveyor AND a boat surveyor...and your point that they are not truly one in the same. While we continue to search, we also continue to read. Books on others experience living aboard, traveling, etc. And we are starting classes offered via USPS. We joined last year when we took the ABC's of Boating course and found the group in our area to be friendly and knowledgeable. We even had both our teenage children take the course! Anyway, my nightly routine includes searches on this forum on topics to continue to read about experiences of others. I mean, I'd rather learn from someone else's mistakes than my own!
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Old 02-19-2016, 08:15 PM   #12
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Greetings,
Re: Post #9. Not ONE single picture of the mechanical spaces! I wouldn't even call. Bedding, galley, sink, even outdated electronics. Rubicon Yachts? Hmph....Poor, poor presentation IMO.
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Old 02-19-2016, 08:35 PM   #13
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"we have "Great Loop" on the brain!"


With the great loop on your brain how does the air clearance and ability to board easily from various docks seem to be with this boat?
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Old 02-20-2016, 04:07 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RT Firefly View Post
Greetings,
Re: Post #9. Not ONE single picture of the mechanical spaces! I wouldn't even call. Bedding, galley, sink, even outdated electronics. Rubicon Yachts? Hmph....Poor, poor presentation IMO.
Contra-guy here. I love a clueless broker and poor presentation! Keeps everyone else away.


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