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Old 06-24-2012, 01:29 PM   #1
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Before We Buy

As part of our prep for buying a trawler within the next couple years, my wife and I want to increase our knowledge and hone our skills. I doubt we'll end up as permanent live-aboards, but we do plan to do some extensive cruising, including the loop most likely at a leisurely pace over a period of a couple years.

I've been boating for the better part of 50 years, with experience on cabin cruisers up to 30 feet (earlier in life) and sail up to 76 feet. My wife's experience is about 20 years, mostly with 20-foot skiffs and up to 46-foot sail. (That's her on the helm in my avatar.) Long-story short, neither of us feel qualified yet to deal with a 40-foot plus trawler, so we plan to take some courses, do some charters and read, read read.

We would appreciate any recommendations on the most useful boating courses to take, especially if anyone knows of such in the Philadelphia/Valley Forge area. Also, if we could get some recommendations for good places to charter a trawler in the same vicinity -- including the Chesapeake -- that would be fabulous. Finally, we're reading this and other online trawler sources, but I'd really appreciate any book recommendations you might have.

Thanks very much.
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Old 06-24-2012, 03:27 PM   #2
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Solomon's Island Trawlerfests are a great way to see lots of the right boats and take some classes in a very relaxing atmosphere. Annapolis also has a boat show with a trawler section and some classes. Both are in the early fall.
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Old 06-24-2012, 03:30 PM   #3
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As part of our prep for buying a trawler within the next couple years, my wife and I want to increase our knowledge and hone our skills. I doubt we'll end up as permanent live-aboards, but we do plan to do some extensive cruising, including the loop most likely at a leisurely pace over a period of a couple years.

I've been boating for the better part of 50 years, with experience on cabin cruisers up to 30 feet (earlier in life) and sail up to 76 feet. My wife's experience is about 20 years, mostly with 20-foot skiffs and up to 46-foot sail. (That's her on the helm in my avatar.) Long-story short, neither of us feel qualified yet to deal with a 40-foot plus trawler, so we plan to take some courses, do some charters and read, read read.

We would appreciate any recommendations on the most useful boating courses to take, especially if anyone knows of such in the Philadelphia/Valley Forge area. Also, if we could get some recommendations for good places to charter a trawler in the same vicinity -- including the Chesapeake -- that would be fabulous. Finally, we're reading this and other online trawler sources, but I'd really appreciate any book recommendations you might have.

Thanks very much.
If that's your sailboat in the pic...and you have taken some substantial cruises on her...you are already there.

The good news is you don't have to stand out in the rain anymore!

Really..very few course I could recommend as they are either taught by marginally qualified instructors or are set up to teach the test.

Again I think you are past the basics so what's left is something like a captain's licensing course...lots of money...teaches to the test...but something that's past the basics...

Gotta run...have an ungrounding to preform up the intracoastal...maybe i'll add more later!!
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Old 06-24-2012, 03:50 PM   #4
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In the Baltimore/Annapolis area, I can personally vouch for the excellent training I received from Bill Shermer (aka Mother Goose) of Blue Goose Trawlers. His biggest boat is 36', but the basics scale.

I for more comprehensive training, I would talk to the folks at the Annapolis School of Seamanship. I cannot address their training personally, but it appears they can really give you a good passagemaker education.

- Paul
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Old 06-24-2012, 04:23 PM   #5
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Solomon's Island Trawlerfests are a great way to see lots of the right boats and take some classes in a very relaxing atmosphere. Annapolis also has a boat show with a trawler section and some classes. Both are in the early fall.
I thinks this is good advice. You seem to have more than enough on the water experience so learn more about boat systems. No sails to raise if your engine dies. We have friends who went to Trawler Fest last year. As a couple, they took a few classes and said they were great.
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Old 06-24-2012, 05:30 PM   #6
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Great ideas, all. I should have been more specific that we'd like to learn more about trawler systems, navigation, docking maneuvers and such. The captain's license is intriguing. I'll check it out and see if it makes sense . . . Blue Goose and the Trawlerfests, as well.

Thanks again.
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Old 06-24-2012, 06:36 PM   #7
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Angus,

Don't sell your self short on your ability to handle a trawler in the 40' or more range. Today, virtually all trwalers, at least up to about 65', are designed to be handled easily by 2. We are 58' and started with much less than your knowledge and experience. We had no trouble learning to handle the boat. It did not take us long to feel we are pretty competent in almost any situation. As for systems, etc., there is not much difference to me directly related to size. We do virtually all our own work and actually enjoy it! Find the boat you love and go for it!
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Old 06-25-2012, 03:13 PM   #8
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Thanks for the votes of confidence and good ideas. I was really stoked about Trawlerfest in Baltimore, until I recalled that we'll be on Kiawah Island that exact week (cue violins). But we'll definitely be at TF next year.

I'd still appreciate some recommendations for books and online sources in addition to this excellent forum. I'm most interested in systems, boat maintenance, piloting skills and boat evaluations. (the next best thing to being on a boat is reading about them.)

Someone recommended "Trawlers and Motor Yachts" in another thread, but the only title I could find at Amazon near that description had just one review and it was pretty negative. That may not be a fair evaluation, so anyone who's read it, please chime in.

Thanks again
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Old 06-25-2012, 05:02 PM   #9
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Hello, After reading the thread I would think you already know all you need.
I think a class would be a waste of time sort of like taking 5 th grade classes again.

Just find the boat you want and Practice.

Handling a boat can't be learned in a class.

Hire a skipper to show you the ropes.

You will learn much more that way.

Boat handeling is all about practice you will learn more handeling your own boat than a class on boats in general.
Each boat handles differently. Twin, single, outdrive, Like apples oranges and banana's.

Learn how to handle the boat you want. Your boat.

Heck every spring it is the same thing. After a 5 or 6 month lay up it still takes a few turns to get back into the swing of things once again.

Go slow. Don't go any faster than you want to hit something.

You will learn.

Sd
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Old 06-25-2012, 07:46 PM   #10
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Hello, After reading the thread I would think you already know all you need.
I think a class would be a waste of time sort of like taking 5 th grade classes again. Agreed

Just find the boat you want and Practice. Agreed!

Handling a boat can't be learned in a class. I don't think 90 percent can be learned in a class...as in docking...but offshore running, heavy weather, breaking inlets, etc..etc aren't usually learned all at the helm either...takes some of both...

Hire a skipper to show you the ropes. Absolutely...and the less he brags...the better the instructor...usually..

You will learn much more that way.

Boat handeling is all about practice you will learn more handeling your own boat than a class on boats in general.
Each boat handles differently. Twin, single, outdrive, Like apples oranges and banana's.

Learn how to handle the boat you want. Your boat. At all levels of instruction you can afford...when into the heavy weather stuff...most captains are dangerous and using your boat is a gamble....there's a few out there...choose wisely...

Heck every spring it is the same thing. After a 5 or 6 month lay up it still takes a few turns to get back into the swing of things once again.

Go slow. Don't go any faster than you want to hit something. But sometimes aggressive throttle wil be the only way to do it...and it needs to be worked up to that level...

You will learn. Very good advice!!!!

Sd
Good advice here !!!
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Old 06-27-2012, 08:48 PM   #11
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If you're going to be in Phila. this weekend or next weekend we will be at Penn's Landing this Saturday and Sunday and from next Wednesday (July 4) through the following Sunday. I'd be happy to show you around a 390 Mainship (it's not for sale)
look for Dreamers Holiday or ask Rich (the dockmaster) where we are. he has my cell
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Old 06-27-2012, 09:14 PM   #12
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I really appreciate the offer, John, but I'm heading back to Tennessee for a week. (We're moving a load of furniture up here to Valley Forge.) Great looking boat. Can I get a raincheck?
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:21 PM   #13
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Sure, we're normally at Riverside Marina, Riverside NJ. slip E31
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Old 06-28-2012, 01:03 PM   #14
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Like you I had sailboats before having a trawler and I can tell you I find it a lot easier to handle. It's less responsive, slower and bigger but bottom line you have a lot more control when docking, especially if you have twin engines and/or a thruster. As others have said, charter one for a week or hire someone to teach you a few tricks and that's it. I think that once you know how to handle A boat, you can adjust very easily to other boats.
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Old 06-28-2012, 09:13 PM   #15
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How to prepare

I recently brought my 45 footer from Grand Traverse to Hamilton Ontario. About 800 miles. Previously I had a 30 foot Trojan. I was not sure I could drive that big boat but I figured it out in three or four days.

My point... Just do it. There isn't any other type of effective training.
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Old 06-28-2012, 09:46 PM   #16
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[QUOTE=MichaelHHowes;92096]I recently brought my 45 footer from Grand Traverse to Hamilton Ontario. About 800 miles. Previously I had a 30 foot Trojan. I was not sure I could drive that big boat but I figured it out in three or four days.

My point... Just do it. There isn't any other type of effective training.[/QUOTE]

Absolutely false...there are boating trainers out there worth their weight in gold...and while it's not free usually...there are guys who regularly deliver boats while training the owner and sometimes more crew during the delivery. The guys that are that good can usually give a bunch of references that would prove my point.

I'm not saying don't go for it...but there ARE alternatives...
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Old 06-28-2012, 10:41 PM   #17
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Years ago when we decided to move up to a larger boat a decision was made to hire a local Pro. As we look back, Vickie and I often say that it was the best money we ever spent on the boat. We learned methods and tricks that our instructor spent years learning himself. The most valuable was close maneuvering, proper use of lines to get into tight spaces, anchoring techniques, etc.

I remember our last lesson. The wind was blowing across our slip at about 25 kts with current pushing us around a bit. I stuck her right between the fingers, Vickie casually stepped off and fixed the forward springs followed by the bow and stern lines without even looking at me. A dock mate walked over and said, "how did you do that?". I just pointed to our teacher. Our instructor began teaching the dock mate about a week later. Very valuable for us. As a bonus, our instructor has become a very good friend...
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Old 06-28-2012, 11:12 PM   #18
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The wind was blowing across our slip at about 25 kts with current pushing us around a bit. ...
Ray, it's nice having a low profile (compared to Mahalo Moi). Don't like to be pushed around.



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Old 06-28-2012, 11:34 PM   #19
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As a teenager, I found it much easier to dock my Dad's 28.5-foot, 4-ton sloop than my current 14-ton boat as a senior citizen.






Will continue to practice.
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Old 06-28-2012, 11:59 PM   #20
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Mark, I'm pretty sure that after we practice maneuvers about 5,000 times, we'll be half-way decent!
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