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Old 05-12-2019, 04:55 PM   #1
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Engine Room for Claustrophobic Captains

Starting my hunt for a Trawler/Pilothouse in the 38' range. 1998 and newer with a flybridge. Interested in the Great Loop and family cruising. No boat shows in the near future, so I'd love to get 1st hand recommendations on what boats have more spacious engine rooms. I've seen videos of the Kadey-Krogen 39 and that looks great, but other's like the Nordhavn, American & Nordic Tug, Helmsman, Selene etc... look very cramped. Maybe it's just the video/pics. I'm somewhat handy in reasonable spaces, but useless in tiny quarters. Many have large top hatches, but I'm not sure they allow enough room for me to get around the sides. At 6' tall and 230 I don't want to get corked when I check the oil or do maintenance. I've been boating for over 30 years in sub 30 footers with I/O and outboards only. Thank you...
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Old 05-12-2019, 05:03 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard. Our deck in the salon mostly lifts out to access the engine room but it can still be challenging to get to the very back. We had a 46’ that I could crawl all the way around the engines and lay outboard of them but that boat had a 16’ beam. Our current boat isn’t as big and is tight in places. The starboard engine water pump is mostly sight unseen whan you work on it.
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Old 05-12-2019, 05:29 PM   #3
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Boats vary greatly in how accessible things are downstairs, both single and twin engines. When you have a shortlist of boats you're interested in, find one for sale in your area, pop the hatches and see if you fit. Bear in mind that some ER areas will likely be tight in most all the boats you look at. It's almost like boat designers have a code.....'if it isn't a little snug, you've wasted space'.
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Old 05-12-2019, 06:37 PM   #4
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Hi levrac68,
Yes the KK 39 ER is spacious compared to a lot of boats in this size range. Usually twin engines will be cramped compared to single engine configurations. Makes sense, double the engines. Usually accessing the outboard side of each engine is often difficult to very challenging.
Just for info, the ER in my Nordic Tug 37 with a single Cummins 6bta 330 hp engine allows fairly good access to both sides and the front of the engine. However, it is NOT a standup ER, and it has sit down or kneel headroom. According to my mechanic (who sees lots of various ER's), the Tug's ER allows for comparatively easy access.
I do most of my own maintenance, and I am 6'2" tall and weigh about 200 lbs, so similarly sized to yourself.
When we were boat hunting, I came across a number of boats with way smaller ER's than the NT 37.

For our budget, the KK 39 (as they are relatively new) were priced outside of our budget, but maybe you can find one to fit yours.
Good luck with your hunt,
Tom
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Old 05-12-2019, 06:56 PM   #5
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From our shopping, this is what we saw: Californians in the 40+ range have huge, walk-in engine rooms. Big Defevers (47 & 49) have cavernous engine rooms. Lots of the Taiwanese 80's and 90's vintage - mostly single screws - have pretty good access through lift out floor panels. The Caver 47xx trawler have small engine rooms. You will do some belly crawling, but the floors do lift out and it does help some. Newer SeaRays and Regals (technically not trawlers) have extremely small engine spaces. Our Navigator has a meduim space. There is a little crawling, but once I am in, I have plenty of space.Most of that, however, is due to our 15' beam.



Good luck with your search.
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Old 05-12-2019, 07:04 PM   #6
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Generally speaking for smaller boats (under 44-feet?), single-engine boats have better engine access compared to multi-engine boats.
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Old 05-12-2019, 07:05 PM   #7
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The engine room on the Helmsman 38 and 43 are almost like having a 3rd stateroom. More than enough room to perform any inspection or task. There is also what we have dubbed the basement under the Saloon which is just a massive equipment and storage space. The Lazarette is also beam to beam offering easy access to running gear and storage.
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Old 05-12-2019, 07:19 PM   #8
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Thanks for the quick replies. There is zero chance of me crawling around. I am a bit claustrophobic. Not with elevators, but I can't do crawl spaces under houses unless they are high enough where I can sit in a mechanics chair and scoot around. Mike Rowe's Dirty Jobs has had a few episodes that I've turned off. Can't even see it on camera.
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Old 05-12-2019, 08:03 PM   #9
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Take a look at the Great Harbour N37 - a stand-up engine room you can walk around both engines.
https://www.greatharbourtrawlers.com/n37.html
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Old 05-12-2019, 08:07 PM   #10
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Levrac: This seems like a real issue for you. You should consider a bigger boat then. The only way to get a bigger ER is to have more breadth (beam) and a single motor.
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Old 05-12-2019, 08:09 PM   #11
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From previous boat w/ twin gassers I feel like I'm in heaven when in our MS ER.
It's a single and I've had 3 Lg guys down there when we were adjusting valves.
Here's a few shots of the space. It's not stand up but plenty of room on hands & knees and I have used a stool at times but usually just as easy on knees w/ knee pads.
If that would bother you I'm guessing you will be in need of a stand-up ER?
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Old 05-12-2019, 08:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by South of Heaven View Post
Levrac: This seems like a real issue for you. You should consider a bigger boat then. The only way to get a bigger ER is to have more breadth (beam) and a single motor.
Yes it is.... Unfortunately. I don't want to go too big because of the loop and also the expense.
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Old 05-12-2019, 08:46 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by AdmiralS View Post
The engine room on the Helmsman 38 and 43 are almost like having a 3rd stateroom. More than enough room to perform any inspection or task. There is also what we have dubbed the basement under the Saloon which is just a massive equipment and storage space. The Lazarette is also beam to beam offering easy access to running gear and storage.
I do like the 38E. I'll have to find one to look at close by.
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Old 05-12-2019, 09:21 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by levrac68 View Post
At 6' tall and 230 I don't want to get corked when I check the oil or do maintenance..
The video I'm enclosing is of a 2019 Mikelson 43. All Mikelsons, both old & new, have large hinged hatches that open up the entire cockpit for engine maintenance. I suggest you call Mikelson Yachts, PJ Sullivan and enquire about older used 43s. (Note
Even the older Mikelsons (1997 & up) have the cockpit hinged hatches, fishing rod holders in the salon overhead, molded in bait tanks in the transom, etc.

https://mikelsonyachts.com/2019-mike...ach-boat-show/
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Old 05-12-2019, 09:43 PM   #15
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I do not know if this boat is still for sale, but at $250K, it's a bargain. Note the spacious, room-size ER on the DD 382.
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Old 05-12-2019, 10:36 PM   #16
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Wow... That's some Engine Room... I just don't think she's getting under that 19' Bridge on the loop. Thank You
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Old 05-12-2019, 10:40 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by levrac68 View Post
Starting my hunt for a Trawler/Pilothouse in the 38' range. 1998 and newer with a flybridge. Interested in the Great Loop and family cruising. No boat shows in the near future, so I'd love to get 1st hand recommendations on what boats have more spacious engine rooms. I've seen videos of the Kadey-Krogen 39 and that looks great, but other's like the Nordhavn, American & Nordic Tug, Helmsman, Selene etc... look very cramped. Maybe it's just the video/pics. I'm somewhat handy in reasonable spaces, but useless in tiny quarters. Many have large top hatches, but I'm not sure they allow enough room for me to get around the sides. At 6' tall and 230 I don't want to get corked when I check the oil or do maintenance. I've been boating for over 30 years in sub 30 footers with I/O and outboards only. Thank you...
Welcome Levrac,
May be a little more boat than you're thinking, but you'd be hard pressed to find a friendlier engine room on a commonly available trawler than a DrFever 44. I'm 6'3" and the Admiral keeps me locked down there most days!🤣Click image for larger version

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Old 05-13-2019, 05:24 AM   #18
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Another suggestion, the American Tugs in the 42ft range.
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Old 05-13-2019, 12:00 PM   #19
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Like Henry says above, it would be difficult to imagine an ER anything close to the Great Harbour N-37, but I’d give the KK-39 a second and honorable mention to the Selene 36. Consider that a single engined vessel with ample removable hatches is a very good alternative, since guys like us can stand and work around a single with no major issues. Pictured below is a KK Manatee 36, repowered with a 140 Yanmar. Even with a huge air compressor and bulkhead mounted filters, most maintenance work is easy peasy. House batteries are maintenance free and slide beneath the sole on either side. ER’s “can” be cleaned up.
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Old 05-13-2019, 03:24 PM   #20
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Definitely think opening top hatches would help.
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