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Old 04-23-2014, 05:28 PM   #1
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City: San Rafael, CA
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Best Smaller Boat for Bay Area

I'm a newbie and this is my first post. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Seeking recommendations for a first trawler.

I'm a former small sailboat (Cal 20) owner who has moved back to the Bay Area after 20 years away and am considering buying a trawler, which is much more suited to my current age. I've never had a power boat and my knowledge of marine engines is limited to outboard motors. But I do miss being on the Bay.

I'd love to find something without a flybridge and ladder that has a good-size saloon and master suite. Fiberglass construction is important, as is good handling in the stiff breezes and chop of San Francisco Bay. I've been advised to get either twin diesels only -- for safety -- or a single diesel only, as it's more economical and one engine is sufficient. A cruising speed of 7 or 8 knots is fine, as i'm not contemplating any long-range cruising.

A handsome design from a respected maker would be a big plus. Is there an obvious choice that I should know about that also is a good value? Grand Banks yachts are beautiful but are out of my price range.

What size do you suggest? 36 feet, 40, 42?

Any guidance will help. I just started looking with a local yacht broker. He knows his boats but I don't.

Many thanks,

Richard
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Old 04-23-2014, 05:37 PM   #2
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Look around for awhile. Think hard about what you will use it for. I am a Bay Area native, spent the first half of my life, like you, mostly on sail boats. There isn't all that much to do with a power boat on the Bay proper, IMO, the real fun is up the Delta, with side trips up the Petaluma and Napa rivers. When I entered my power boating phase, we'd rent boats (various flavors of Mainship) out of Alameda and Sausilito and immediately head up north/east. Yes, a couple trips to Drakes Bay and Tomales. Lot's of present Bay Area boaters on this forum so you will eventual get more advice/opinions on boats and venues.
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Old 04-23-2014, 06:14 PM   #3
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What do you like and dislike about this?

2001 Nordic Tug 32 Power Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
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Old 04-23-2014, 06:18 PM   #4
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Hi Richard. Welcome to Trawler Forum and back home to the bay.

I think you'll find the bay experience in a trawler much more enjoyable that the old days in a 20 ft sailboat. In our 34 ft Californian LRC, we are undeterred by waves, spray or cold. We have a salon with great 360 degree visibility, protection from the elements and all the comforts of home. We can and do boat 12 months of the year in safety and comfort.

We have a flybridge with a ladder, but find that we use it more for storage and a location for our Honda generator operation. We love the FB in the Delta during the warm summer months...it's a great place to be for the sun, fresh air and the view over the delta levees. My point is that I wouldn't rule out a boat with a FB just because it has a FB. But steps to the FB are much easier to negotiate than a ladder, especially when underway.

We spent our first 5 years in the Delta and loved it! Lots of places to go and see. We were on the Delta Loop, right in the heart of the Delta with destinations to the north, south, east and west. It was fantastic and we'll probably return.

Last August we moved to Vallejo and love its proximity to new destinations and fishing grounds. Angel Island, Petaluma, Napa, Sausalito, Alameda, fishing the Mothball Fleet and all the bay...it's all great!

Not knowing your intended uses or budget, it's hard to make meaningful recommendations. I have twin diesels, but after a couple encounters with the bottom in the Delta, kind of wish I had a single with a bowthruster. I love the look of the exterior brightwork, but wish I didn't have to varnish it so much. (Got a batch of teak parts getting a few coats in the garage now!)

The mechanical integrity and physical condition of the boat is as important as its age and manufacturer. The size and layout are dependent on your intended uses and crew/passenger loads. Tell us more and, no doubt, we'll have both helpful and misleading suggestions for you. We try to cover all the bases here, so don't take any of it personally!!

Welcome aboard!!
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Old 04-23-2014, 06:22 PM   #5
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Where is Mark? Sounds like the description of the Coot to me.
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Old 04-23-2014, 06:26 PM   #6
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Define the mission first, after that boat selection is pretty easy. It took me nearly a year before the mission became clear though so go aboard as many boats as possible to help you define it.

Welcome to the forum. Bay and Delta cruising is a blast.
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Old 04-23-2014, 06:30 PM   #7
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Where is Mark? Sounds like the description of the Coot to me.
Out cruising the Panama Canal in a much larger steel boat.
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Old 04-23-2014, 09:03 PM   #8
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Thanks for your fast help!

You guys are amazing! Thanks so much for your quick comments. My wife and I are well retired and I want a boat that will be fun for us, not a chore, not a project. I'm not handy and don't intend to be.

I like the idea of not having to use a flybridge just because there is one unless it's a real help in navigating.

Smaller is better in most ways -- cost, maintenance, berthing and handling at close quarters. But still it needs to be big enough to be comfortable when aboard, both in the Bay and when spending several nights cruising.

I really like the open cockpit concept of the Grand Banks 32 except for the relative cost for size, all the brightwork and the Vberth.

As for budget, if I felt secure in the attractiveness of the purchase price, I could go into $70-80,000 range, knowing that there are significant costs ahead plus the inevitable cost of selling. Under $50,000 would be much more appealing.

I doubt we'd ever go out the gate but would use it only for day sailing with friends and for trips up the Delta. But at that point the onboard comforts become more attractive.

I have a lot of looking to do and it will be interesting for me to see what's out there.

Richard
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Old 04-23-2014, 09:43 PM   #9
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Nordic tug again. No I don't own one.
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Old 04-23-2014, 11:13 PM   #10
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Your fortunate to live in a place that has so many brokerages, and marinas between Loch Lomond Marina and Sausalito to dock walk, and inquire to owners and professionals.
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Old 04-23-2014, 11:19 PM   #11
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Nordic tug again. No I don't own one.
Sadly not for <$50k. Not even for <$80k really. Otherwise great.
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Old 04-23-2014, 11:48 PM   #12
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Richard, you sound as though you've gotta a pretty good bead on things to me. Californian 34 like FlyWright's is essentially an up sized Grand Banks 32 without the teak farm. I'd look at Bayliner and some Sea Ray's too as they are plentiful in this area.

We started with similar rough parameters as yours a couple years ago and wound up buying Bliss. We predominantly use it as a day boat and it serves us well. There are plenty of well maintained boats out there you just have to sift through the turds to find them. Don't get in a hurry and you'll do well.
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