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Old 09-04-2018, 04:49 PM   #1
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Advise please

Hello!

Thanks for reading my post. My wife and I are dreaming about longer range cruises and am thinking about buying a bigger boat. We've had a number of boats, but all smaller runabouts or fishing boats. Our current boat is a 19' deep V fisher. I've been reading about and looking at trawlers until I'm dizzy. There is so much to figure out and learn... it's a bit overwhelming. I have about a 5 year timeline to sell my business and semi retire; then we could do some extended cruising. Until then it will be weekends, and probably a week or 2.

What I'm thinking, is to buy a smaller older boat for now. This would give us a chance to learn how to run and maintain a "big" boat, as well as figure out what we like and don't like. Then, when we have more time, we could buy the "retirement boat". I see it as a low risk way to figure out if we really like the lifestyle. On the downside we will be spending money that we could have put towards the "right" boat.


We live very near the St. Lawrence River and would dock there. There are always a multitude of older lower end boats for sale. Opinions? Thanks!
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Old 09-04-2018, 05:07 PM   #2
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Greetings,
Welcome aboard. Boat Search 101


One suggestion I have is to rent a "trawler". Even at $3K per week, you can spend $15K over the next 5 years, have exciting adventures in other parts of the country/world AND better equip yourself for making the best decision of what you do and don't want in THE boat. Heck, it may not take the whole 5 years...
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Old 09-04-2018, 05:09 PM   #3
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Welcome aboard. Lots to think about. The downside to buying a smaller trawler to learn on is that you will take a huge hit on buying, fixing up and then selling it in a few years. Personally I would go for the gusto and buy the boat you really want. Fix it up and learn how to handle it. The problem with this approach is insurance. Your insurance company may require you take some lessons and have a captain teach you how to handle the big boat. I would rather go that route since learning is always a good thing. I would book a trip to a Trawler Fest and maybe a Great Loop event to talk to other trawler owners and get to look at a lot of trawlers. Good luck with your search which ever way you go. You can also join MTOA. They have several rendezvous a year.
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Old 09-04-2018, 06:07 PM   #4
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I will strongly second RT's suggestion about chartering boats. That way you can try different configurations as well as explore vastly different geographies if you are so inclined. Much cheaper and more educational than buying one boat. Chartering was by far the smartest money we ever spent on boating. We ended up knowing what we had to have in a boat, would like to have, and would avoid; and where we wanted to go cruising full time.
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Old 09-04-2018, 06:24 PM   #5
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I agree with the others on chartering to get a cheap taste of what you like and don’t like about cruising boats.

I feel differently than ComoDave on buying a smaller boat first but he makes very valid points. It’s just hard for me to recommend buying the big boat before you have had a chance to determine what you want in a boat.

Those of us who came from sail boats had no issues with speed. Those of us who came from sport boats have had a harder time adjusting to desplacement speeds.

I don’t really think there is a bad approach but each of the three approaches has advantages and disadvantages.
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Old 09-04-2018, 06:35 PM   #6
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I think a three step process might work for you:


1. Charter for a couple of weeks, maybe a Camano 31 or a GB 32-36 and a Mainship 40 to get a feel of size and capability.


2. Then buy a 34-36' older trawler. That will give you a taste of what it is like to deal with old boat problems. Maybe you like it but maybe you don't. You can buy such an older boat for $25-50K and at worst sell it for 20% less (half broker fee, half whatever) than what you paid for it. This experience will be invaluable in selecting your retirement boat.


3. Then 4-5 years down the road, buy your "final" retirement boat. You will know a lot more about what kind of boat you want by then.


David
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Old 09-04-2018, 07:22 PM   #7
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Steve
Welcome aboard TF
You have one big plus in your favor - location!
The 1,000 Is provides some of the best boating IMHO as well as access to several other great boating locations.

I agree w/ the idea of renting - if your time available is in the 1-2 week range you might consider renting a cruiser on the Rideau Canal as a start - short travel and a few good opportunities to experience cruising -

I'd say skip the more common house boat rentals as they are not a good comparison to a larger cruising boat.
Aylings Boatyard in Merrickville rents ~ 30 ft cruisers - not a bad way for a couple to start to experience cruising.
Le Boat has a couple boats available - one about 37 ft that should be pretty comfy for a couple.

(our first serious extended cruise was a month - from NY Finger Lakes to Ottawa on the Rideau - we quickly learned we liked the cruising life style but our then current 24 ft'r wasn't going to make either of us happy.

You are in a perfect location to learn as well - visit marinas & boat yards - talk to owners about their cruising style, what they like / dislike about their boat. Keep a written list of musts / wants you think will suit your style of cruising.

You might also consider joining & taking a few courses from the St Lawrence Sail & Power Squadron see:http://www.uspsd6.org/Documents/Publ...ornMay2018.pdf
You will not only be able to take some well done courses but will expand your network of knowledgeable folks with similar interests.
The Antique Boat Museum in Clayton will likely have many members / volunteers that may have / had boats like what you are thinking about.

Find ways to make the search fun along the way - boat shows, Trawlerfest etc make for great learning experiences and a fun wkend excursion.
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Old 09-04-2018, 07:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
I think a three step process might work for you:


1. Charter for a couple of weeks, maybe a Camano 31 or a GB 32-36 and a Mainship 40 to get a feel of size and capability.


2. Then buy a 34-36' older trawler. That will give you a taste of what it is like to deal with old boat problems. Maybe you like it but maybe you don't. You can buy such an older boat for $25-50K and at worst sell it for 20% less (half broker fee, half whatever) than what you paid for it. This experience will be invaluable in selecting your retirement boat.


3. Then 4-5 years down the road, buy your "final" retirement boat. You will know a lot more about what kind of boat you want by then.


David
1000

You might find, like me, that the 34-38 range trawler is perfect for your uses and preferences.

I had a 19 Sea Ray for 7 years before stepping up to my 34 LRC. It was a huge leap but good training and good friends made it a smooth transition.

I love bigger boats but they would require more single-handling skills or crewmembers than I have today. I can take my boat out anytime I like...and I do that as much as possible. I like it that way.
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Old 09-04-2018, 09:39 PM   #9
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Wow some really good advice. I didn't even know that you could rent trawlers in my area. I'm going to see if we could rent one for a weekend this fall. There are always things like this for sale around here:

https://watertown.craigslist.org/boa/6660003807.html

Not a trawler, gas, and quite ugly, but a larger boat that I wouldn't get hurt to bad on when selling, and could take up the St. Lawrence and Canada canal systems. There are also a couple of Carver 3207's for sale; one looks lightly used. Another question; is it only here that there are so many old carvers? I've been visiting a lot of marinas in the area and 1 out of every 5 boats is an old carver. I've read David Pascoe's book, and know his disdain for carvers, but man they sold a lot of boats.

My thought process was dropping 20K on an experimental boat to figure out docking, anchoring, and running twin screws would be better than dropping 200K and not really knowing what we want. Also I have no doubt that I'll smack it up some before really figuring out how to run it. I'm very good with a single engine small boat, but I realize this is a whole different animal.

Thanks so much for your replies!
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Old 09-05-2018, 06:44 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Steve Wardell View Post
My thought process was dropping 20K on an experimental boat to figure out docking, anchoring, and running twin screws would be better than dropping 200K and not really knowing what we want. Also I have no doubt that I'll smack it up some before really figuring out how to run it. I'm very good with a single engine small boat, but I realize this is a whole different animal.

That is a good plan. You will love twin engines. A little learning curve, but the control you have at low speed is far superior to a single. After a couple of times out you will be docking like a pro.


I have a buddy who I helped learn how to dock his 45' trawler and the only boats he helmed before that were small sailboats. It took maybe 30 minutes of practice docking to have it down pretty well.



David
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