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Old 11-20-2011, 01:02 PM   #1
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Any Houseboat Owners on Here?

The reason I asked is because I am also on a Houseboat forum. I have mixed feeling about which to buy and many questions to ask people on this forum.

It seems that houseboat people are fixated on high HP. It is not uncommon to see a 42 footer with twin 350 HP engines. I understand the windage thing, the little to no keel thing*and the not as efficient hull on a houseboat thing. I was wondering if anyone on this forum has a differeing opinion as to how much power is actually necessary on a lake or river.

I also notice that on here most prefer single engine and on houseboats, twins are preferred.

Is this all just a different mind set between two different cultures or is having the ability to do 20+ knots and dock in a cross wind all that important on a lake or river.

I just got back from Kentucky Lake and I noticed very few trawlers and lots of houseboats.

I have looked inside a few and right now I think I can go either way in a purchase because the pros and cons seem to balance out.

Anyone here have a decent amount of experience on both?


-- Edited by Tony B on Sunday 20th of November 2011 02:55:54 PM
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Old 11-20-2011, 04:44 PM   #2
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RE: Any Houseboat Owners on Here?

You won't find more space for the money than a houseboat. You also won't find a boat that is more "unboat" than a houseboat.
Depending on where and how you plan to use it though they are absolutely great for their intended purpose....all one level, no steps, tons and tons of space, great for entertaining, family friendly, awesome for hanging out on the docks, etc. Pretty much they excel at everything over a regular boat except in the realm of handling.
Twins and high hp are just about necessary due to terrible, terrible handling. Most have little stern drives and gasers and they truly are the most unresponsive boats you'll pilot. Many don't leave the docks except for in ideal conditions due to the poor handling. Without the high hp it can be virtually impossible to maneuver them and you will be giving them a lot of gas to get any response. Reality is that probably 90% of boaters could get by with a houseboat. A comprimise of sorts would be the harbor master coastal with it's pointy bow or the very high end pluckebaum houseboats. On the TN River we actually have a number of houseboats that are diesel powered so they get a lot better handling. If the harbor master coastals were made more with diesels they would be just about the perfect inland river/coastal boat.
If you aren't doing the loop or serious long range cruising houseboats are a great option but don't underestimate how terribly they handle in any kind of a wind, current, etc.
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Old 11-20-2011, 05:44 PM   #3
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RE: Any Houseboat Owners on Here?

While I've never owned one, I have had a lot of expierience with them.* Many friends have had them.* I have cruised and helped work on them.* In fact, one friend had a 60' one that scared him to pilot it.* When it left the dock another friend of mine or I was at the wheel.* They are lite, shallow draft, and have a lot of windage.* In tight places you drive them by putting on the power and "scooting" the stern around to steer.* The big 454 Chevys can make a terrible roar getting one of those monsters in duing windy situations.* There is little room for error.

In any kind of offshore sea most would come apart like a cheap suit. The thin layup schedule and large windows of the cabin sides just won't take much of a pounding.* If you want a floating condo to go around the corner to a near anchorage in calm water, a house boat can be for you.** Serious cruising calls for a sturdier craft.
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Old 11-20-2011, 05:49 PM   #4
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RE: Any Houseboat Owners on Here?

I have a 46' catamaran cruiser houseboat as well as my 32' GB trawler. The main problems I see with the houseboat is the seaworthyness and the economy. Anything over a 3' wave gets dangerous. I get about 1.3 mpg with a single 115 hp outboard. I have no problem with wind but need to be careful during high wind docking. It helps that I have been on the water for 46 years on commercial shrimp boats, coastal tugs, and many recreational boats. Except for the tug and one cruiser all have been single screw.

I second most of what woodsong said except in my experience i have learned to deal with the terrible handling.
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Old 11-20-2011, 06:01 PM   #5
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RE: Any Houseboat Owners on Here?

Had a 36ft Gibson for twenty years on the Sacramento Delta,loved it.If you are in a protected waterway HB make a lot of sense, you don't get more useable square footage for the money, and typically don't need the protection found in trawlers. So it all about where you are going to boat.
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Old 11-20-2011, 06:27 PM   #6
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RE: Any Houseboat Owners on Here?

Thanks to all for the relatively quick response.

Windsongs opening statement "You won't find more space for the money than a houseboat. You also won't find a boat that is more "unboat" than a houseboat." pretty much sums up what I had come up with as the biggest pro and one of the biggest cons. Also, I was*curious about*as most have stated, the lousey handling qualities.

The only one I saw with a diesel was a 41' Gibson with a single 130HP Volvo with the dual prop. The admiral and I discussed the fact that we will probably never see open water again, just inland rivers/lakes. Would this be adequate for cruising the eastern US inland waterways such as the Tenn-Tom, Ohio, Illinois, etc or will this be too underpowered?************************** This is why I still am looking at trawlers.

Nothing is off the table yet.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-20-2011, 06:54 PM   #7
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RE: Any Houseboat Owners on Here?

Who is this person "Windsong" of which you speak??? *

This would be a very good river boat if she is in good shape:

http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1980.../United-States
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Old 11-20-2011, 07:29 PM   #8
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RE: Any Houseboat Owners on Here?

Sorry about that LMAO.

That particular boat will be out of my price range.
I would like to spend about $40K however I come to the realization that I might really have to spend closer to $60K and really would not like to go beyond that.


I have been looking at some of the 42 and 51 footers on Yachtworld. The Blue Waters that I looked at all have gas engines and I could live with that since I finally come to the realization that I will just have to accept 1.5 miles/gal and live with it.
Do you think the 130HP Volvo would be too underpowered on the 41 Gibson?

Thanks again Woodsong.
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