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Old 08-19-2017, 07:59 PM   #1
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Expectation vs Reality...

This year we made a huge change in our lives. We traded in our sailboat for a trawler. When we began this journey each of us had expectations about the new boat. We rationalized our decision to move to power based on these expectations.
We even had opportunity to participate on a couple of deliveries of a sistership of the boat we were interested in before committing to the design.
In the end, there is realty. Reality is well...reality.
I feel like we did a good job of realizing expectations, in other words our boat has met our expectations pretty well. If I were to be critical of the design it would be for noise at high speed. However, my own measurements are essentially the same as those published by the manufacturer so... maybe our expectations were a bit optimistic on that level.
I am curious though. How many of you feel that you achieved your goal when you purchased your boats?
Bruce
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Old 08-19-2017, 08:31 PM   #2
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Mine is a semi-custom built for me. The commissioning was a disappointment. My fault for accepting delivery before everything was the way it should be. My complaints are largely as to cosmetic issues -- fit and finish type stuff. The functional issues are far fewer (and almost all rectified -- though some remain, for example, the teak cockpit deck doesn't have enough slope to drain), but I am pleased with the overall functionality of the boat.
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Old 08-19-2017, 10:18 PM   #3
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I bought my boat last year. Out initial plan was to buy our boat 5 years later when hour home will be paid. But we started looking anyway just to get an idea of what we would like to get. Long story short we found our ride and decide to go with our plan but 5 years earlier. We loved it even if far from perfect, things to fix, things to change, some moment of glory and some of disappointment. But at the end we will never have any regret and we are so happy of our decision. The moment of pleasure we have are just so incredible. Yes we have some (a lot) of things to fix, but our boat is so much pleasure and such a pride in many ways that it is far beyond anything I would have expected. Many people would think that our boat is just an old piece on the river but her history, the way she was born and what she is made of is just what makes us happy.
How can seeing this cannot go beyond expectations ( taken tonight at the anchor )

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Old 08-19-2017, 10:23 PM   #4
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Curious about your comment on noise at high speed. Is it noise emitting from the ER directly or resonant noise from vibration of the rest of the boat, or maybe noise from water against the hull? There's a lot that could be done about the first two.
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Old 08-19-2017, 10:31 PM   #5
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What is high speed for a trawler? 6 or 7 knots?
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Old 08-19-2017, 11:33 PM   #6
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Reality of what our Tollycraft is and will do and has done for us since purchase in 2008 has nothing to complain about. It's a cool boat! Reality of family and business and investment and real estate and unexpected happenings regarding health needs have made us personally in position[s] we had not anticipated for this time of life.

No complaints... just is as it is. Planning for more fun future!
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Old 08-20-2017, 12:41 AM   #7
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Curious about your comment on noise at high speed. Is it noise emitting from the ER directly or resonant noise from vibration of the rest of the boat, or maybe noise from water against the hull? There's a lot that could be done about the first two.
The noise is engine noise but I am not entirely sure if it is direct or resonant.
Tomco does an awful lot to the boat to abate things from excellent Sounddown insulation everywhere in the engine room to snaps that hold hatches tight, to special mounts etc. All you have to do to verify that things are working is to open an engine hatch while underway...wow, what a difference!
I believe that much of the noise is simply a result of the fact that the engine is directly beneath your feet.

We recently took a fellow American Tug 34 owner for a ride and he felt pretty strongly that our boat was quieter than his at speed. I know that boats with hardwood floors like ours are noisier than carpeted boats and I suspect that this is an indicator of higher frequency, reflected sounds but I am not 100% sure. Open the windows or get to the flybridge and you get a lot of water noise at speed too.

Our boat is noticeably quieter than the same model we got to sea trial last year before we committed to ordering. Custom Isoflex motor mounts and the Veemstar 5 blade propeller have combined to eliminate harmonics and vibration I was aware of on the other boat. Still, for long periods of time, our boat is happiest at 1800 RPM's or less. That translates to just under 9 knots for us.

Even on the flybridge where you are isolated from engine noise, wind and water noise rise at speed. We have run at 16 knots fot an hour or so but it is not something you want to listen to for a long day...
The hull really likes about 12 knots when it gets choppy out so we do push it up if conditions warrant. The other day, we ran from Rockland ME to Boothbay Harbor in a choppy, messy sea with ocean swells and we ran for about 70 minutes at 16 to 17 knots. It was fun and the boat was incredibly stable... but when we turned the corner and conditions abated, we slowed down.

Back to my question about expectations vs reality. I'd say that in our case, although our boat is a bit quieter and has fewer detectable resonances than the boat we sea trailed, we are tending toward slower speeds than we expected we would. We still cruise far faster than our sailboat did and in much greater comfort so we are not disappointed.

Speaking of comfort, we simply had no idea just how comfortable a living space this boat would provide...especially in comparison to our sailboats. This is a case of reality absolutely blowing expectations away! Who knew a boat could provide such nice living space? We moved aboard in June and haven't left the boat...it's awesome!

Other expectations vs reality?
This hull feels far better in rough conditions than I expected it would. I know its roots are of Alaskan fishing boat but still...
Electronics are better than I'd expected. There is far more boat to clean and wax than I estimated. The boat is more stable at anchor than I suspected, unless you get sideways to waves...but even then it doesn't continue to roll. The washing machine is like a gift from heaven! It is way better than we hoped.
There are lots of these little revelations.

Bruce
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Old 08-20-2017, 01:14 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bruce B View Post
This year we made a huge change in our lives. We traded in our sailboat for a trawler. When we began this journey each of us had expectations about the new boat. We rationalized our decision to move to power based on these expectations.
We even had opportunity to participate on a couple of deliveries of a sistership of the boat we were interested in before committing to the design.
In the end, there is realty. Reality is well...reality.
I feel like we did a good job of realizing expectations, in other words our boat has met our expectations pretty well. If I were to be critical of the design it would be for noise at high speed. However, my own measurements are essentially the same as those published by the manufacturer so... maybe our expectations were a bit optimistic on that level.
I am curious though. How many of you feel that you achieved your goal when you purchased your boats?
Bruce
We've never done something as much a change as sail to power. Nearest is lake to coastal. Every boat the reality has equaled or topped the expectations. That's true because we've been very familiar with the boats, having been on identical or been on the one purchased before buying. That's meant knowing those things we didn't find to be perfect. They are all compromises in some way.

Now, you mention sound. What is your decibel level? I can tell you when we first looked, some of the decibel levels shocked us. Hatteras uses mainly CAT engines and it seems like everyone loves CAT over MTU and MAN. Well, a Hatteras 60 with CAT is 80 decibels at cruise and 83 at WOT. All their boats I've been on have been loud, whether the fault of engine or boat. By comparison we have MTU in a similar size and never topped 70 and similar with MAN and not topped 75. That to me is a huge issue. I'm sure you don't come close to that and you're bothered. I would look at some additional soundproofing if it was bothersome although yours may just be sail to power as the issue. I'm not sure even knowing decibel levels tells us enough as it's not just the loudness but the tone and pitch that are bothersome.

Trying to think of things that would have surprised me had I purchased as soon as we moved, without trials and charters.

-The time involved in buttoning up and removing full canvas.
-The time it takes fueling and the wide variation of fuel hoses and pumps at marinas. Have a friend on a trawler at the moment which will only take a small nozzle, so slow speed only. I'd never put these quantities of fuel in anything.
-Height of antennas
-Lousy mattresses (not a surprise but still. We have replaced them. Last boat would give no discount shipping without so we found an owner who had an older model and gave them the ones that came in it.
-Interior height. I had never been on or in anything that had ceilings I couldn't walk under. That eliminated many for us and still difficult to adjust to my hair brushing against a ceiling. Saw several boats that were primarily 6'3" or 6' 4" and that would have been miserable.
-This one is definitely lack of knowledge but I was shocked to find that all boats didn't have permanent and open steps to the ER and required the use of hatches and that hatches aren't all hydraulic or electric.
-Ladders to flybridges as opposed to stairs.

A couple that we had to live with and really are annoying. Our Sunseeker Manhattan 65 on which we normally have around 6 people, only has a 36 gallon holding tank. At least they increased it to 49 gallons on the 66 they replaced the 65 with.

That leads to a lot of pump outs. And our Jet Ribs with 11 gallons or 14 gallons of fuel capacity.
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Old 08-20-2017, 03:39 AM   #9
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When shopping for my present boat, my requirements were somewhat different from most on the forum.

I was open to brand, size, flybridge or not, galley up or down, single or twins, type of anchor etc.

What I wanted was a boat that was seaworthy in local waters with a 3-4 metre (10-12 foot) swell. I didn't really want a sailboat, with claustrophobic living quarters and uncomfortable piloting in wet weather. My budget was limited about AUD$75,000 (USD$50,000)

I managed to find a boat well under budget, although it had a tired old raw water cooled Volvo. After re-powering it with a new Vetus and replacing the fuel tanks, I have the perfect boat for my needs. The steadying sails, flush deck and the hull form handle the rough water beautifully which is commonly encountered getting to some of the remote South Australian coastline.
4 and a half stars!
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Old 08-20-2017, 06:13 AM   #10
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Personally, I think Art summed it up perfectly.

Out of all the decisions, options, important considerations you have made enjoying your boat ( and commissioning a new boat has always been fraught with your description of experiences) your health and ability to enjoy your new boat trump all else. Good luck as you finish getting the bugs out.

The water will be smooth, the sound of the wind, waves, and the 'iron gennie' will all become the new normal after a while.
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Old 08-20-2017, 08:43 AM   #11
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For us, reality intruded mostly on the boats we didn't buy. Like many, I suppose, we started thinking about a particular model because we'd seen them at a dock or underway or pictured in blogs or ads. I had gotten pretty far down the road in deciding from my armchair that "this is the one"! Well, actual experience proved otherwise. A simple visit to one in the mid-30-foot range proved that it didn't have the room we needed. Later, a week chartering a certain 40+ footer demonstrated that my wife would not leave the dock on a boat with a pullman berth.

As for the boat we ultimately bought, I have consistently underestimated the time and cost it would take to update certain systems and truly make her our boat. But the overall design, space and robustness of our boat have consistently exceeded expectations.
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Old 08-20-2017, 09:37 AM   #12
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Have you spent any time on Express Cruisers in the 40 to 45 ft range? Our current boat has poor insulation of the engine room, and after running for 8 hours my ears are ringing. It appears your DB numbers are not too bad, but not having spent any running time on your boat, I can't make any pertinent comments.
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Old 08-20-2017, 10:02 AM   #13
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Our path to our present boat has been an interesting one. This thread speaks of "expectations vs reality." My expectation on our first boat was to do a lot of cruising in Mexico. To date, we have done almost none! My expectation for the second boat was to go on the bill fishing tournaments so I bought a sport fisher. To date, I have not participated in any tournaments! We then decided that a small trawler would be ideal for us & had one for 8 years but the places we wanted to go and the people we wanted as crew didn't fit! The boat (although a terrific boat) was too small (32') and too slow. (8.4 knots.) Our present boat really fits what we actually do, cruise to Catalina, occasional fishing offshore, bay cruises with dock mates & just plain hanging out on the boat. (Reality!) She is really comfortable, relatively fast, has 2 staterooms & 2 heads & we now feel that our "expectations & reality" have been met.
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Old 08-20-2017, 10:05 AM   #14
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Have you spent any time on Express Cruisers in the 40 to 45 ft range? Our current boat has poor insulation of the engine room, and after running for 8 hours my ears are ringing. It appears your DB numbers are not too bad, but not having spent any running time on your boat, I can't make any pertinent comments.
We wore headphones...
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Old 08-20-2017, 10:26 AM   #15
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Our Tolly has a pair of real nice running 255 hp. gas engines. With a good exhaust system and insulated engine compartment as well as sound deadener filament under the salon carpet.


At 7 knots the rumble is negligible. At 17 knots the twins purr together and standard volume conversation works well in salon. On bridge the synchronized pulse of both engines is a pleasure at any speed. At WOT they roar... but... we sure don't do that rpm very often!
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Old 08-20-2017, 10:43 AM   #16
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We've just made the change from sail to power recently ourselves (we've gone back and forth before over the years).

We traded from a Catalina 42 sailboat to a Bertram 42 Motoryacht.

Pros:
1. The room!. It's hard to believe the difference in room and accommodations between a 42 foot sailboat and 42 foot motor cruiser. The Bertram feels like a floating apartment.

2. Going upwind!. Being able to just point the boat in the direction you actually want to go is pretty nice. Likewise, just pushing levers instead of hauling on lines to move forward (but, we will have to start going to the gym again, now!).

3. Entertaining (relates to number 1). So much nicer having people on board and not having to crawl all over each other in the cockpit. And, I actually walk around upright now everywhere I go on the boat.

4. Speed. Being able to get up and go when safety or some other consideration makes it the better way to go.

5. Handling. The Bertram, with twin inboards, is a dream to dock compared to the single screw Catalina sailboat.

6. Air draft and depth. It's nice to be able to boat in 5 feet of water and go under 20 foot non-opening bridges. It opens up a lot of cruising ground.

Cons:
1. The noise. You just can't make twin turbocharged diesels quiet when they are revved up. We go as slow as we can to avoid this.

2. Fuel cost. We have bought more fuel for the Bertram in two months than we bought for the Catalina in eight years (and we took the Catalina to the Bahamas twice). And, we haven't really gone that far in it, yet. Every dollar spent for fuel is a dollar that can't be spent on entertainment (or something else).

3. More systems to maintain and repair. Twin engines mean twice as much work when it's time to change oil, zincs, belts, etc. And, these are bigger and more sophisticated engines. And, while I was slightly concerned about the idea of having to replace a 4 cylinder, non TC'd sailboat engine, I lie in bed at night thinking how bad it would be to have to write the check for two more engines for the Bertram (one of the reasons we selected this boat was the pair of almost new six cylinder Yanmars she had).

But, on the whole, we are very happy for the switch. We are about to turn 60 and frankly, we were just getting tired of the physical effort that went along with couple sailing a 42 foot boat. We can do it now, but we have no doubt the day was coming where we couldn't. This should extend our boating and cruising by a lot of years.
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Old 08-20-2017, 11:31 AM   #17
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We had pretty much no idea of what to expect when we bought our boat four years ago when I was 53 years old. That'll take a bit of explaining.

My wife and I were sea kayakers until my wife's Honda Civic was t-boned just behind the drivers side door by a hard drinking, chain smoking driver of a Dodge Ram pickup who suffered a seizure (his foot pushed the gas peddle to the floor and didn't stop until he got high centered on a cement road divider) who was partially paralyzed from a previous stroke.

The rules to life had changed. To get back out on the water, and to introduce our young daughter to how amazing the north coast of British Columbia is, we had to buy a boat. Our first choice was a trailerable 23' pocket cruiser. About the smallest boat you can get with an enclosed head. The deal, however, fell through.

Then there was Badger, which had been advertised in the local paper for about three years but I'd never even thought of going to look at it...until my wife suggested we do just that.

She had fallen in love with the idea of trawlers 22 years earlier when we were half way across a 3nm crossing of Smith Sound in our kayaks and were taken aboard a Nordic Tug (I believe that's what it was) for tea by the Douglass' of Fine Edge Publishing fame.

I say she fell in love with the 'idea' because we knew we'd never be able to have a boat like that. We had chosen a long time ago to be 'happy & humble'...meaning we'd lead a simple life as free from money and/or job related stresses as possible.

One day she said, "we should just go take a look at that Sundowner Tug". For the life of me, I couldn't figure out why, but went along with her anyway.

She fell in love, I fell in lust, the owners liked the idea of a local family with a child owning their boat, they were going into the 4th winter trying to sell it, the bank and housing market had crashed in the US which squeezed prices low in BC, our house (duplex) and vehicle were payed for, so we bought ourselves a boat!

We had no clue about anything to do with boats, but did know from our sea kayaking what to expect in the way of weather and navigating. That's when I joined this forum, found out which books to buy, and we started our journey up the learning curve.

Ours is a Taiwanese trawler of 1980's vintage, so the hull is ridiculously solid but has issues topside. Badger's heart & soul, a Yanmar 4JH2-UTE, has been solid.

Our initial hopes of having our daughter know in her bones what an amazing place the north coast of BC is, have been met fully. She's turning 16 soon and didn't want to come home from our recent 2 1/2 week trip to Pruth Bay on Calvert Island.

Now we dream of exploring the north and central coasts of BC in all seasons for months at a time (which will require many changes to Badger) and bring back photographs to share through magazines and art galleries. My wife is very interested in wildlife photography, and the fine art fires which have been latent for the last 10 years or so are growing in my belly.

So, our expectations have grown as experience and time reveal more possibilities.

Life is good
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Old 08-20-2017, 12:26 PM   #18
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I think most who responded on this thread see their boat as more than a car or an RV, maybe closer to a vacation home. As such, you focus more on the likes and dislikes with an eye to improvement versus replacement.

My boat has pretty much met expectations. I find myself wanting a smaller (shallower draft) or a larger boat or a different style of boat at times, but that's me and not the boats failing. Have been cruising for 5 months and developed a list of changes and have some nagging electronics and a minor engine problem that won't be able to get addressed until I'm home. My dinghy and outboard motor continue to be a very frustrating issue. Storage space for clothing and galley continue to be a disappointment that was only fully realized in preparation for departure.

In some ways I feel like a naval vessel nearing the end of a deployment. There will be a lengthy list of things to be addressed before the next extended cruise. Probably my greatest disappointment was that this first cruise wasn't more trouble free for all the refit work I did.

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Old 08-20-2017, 12:49 PM   #19
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For me, I think that in general our expectations have been surpassed in most ways. We too went from sail to power last year.

The boat is really very comfortable. I was expecting it to be more comfortable than my sailboat, but had no idea.

The boat has been as quiet or quieter than I anticipated. Right now running at 1490 rpm, 8 knots (with some help from the current) about 27% load, it is about 50db in the pilothouse. This is lot quieter than our sailboat cockpit running at 6 knots.

I am disappointed with the bed. The mattress isn't very comfortable and I will do something about that this winter most likely.

Storage has been great. We are out for two weeks and will take home lots of uneaten food. Two of us have been on board and we still have 1/2 of our 350 gallons of water after 9 days.

There has been a maintenance disappointment as most will recall from my engine woes. However, that was not an issue with the boat itself and I can't believe how well the engine went.

So all in all, both the boat and our experience with it have met or exceeded our expectations.
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Old 08-20-2017, 01:25 PM   #20
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I entered the search and buying of a bigger boat almost totally blind. I'd had boats for 25 years and my last boat was a 33' express cruiser.


When we first looked at a boat like ours I was amazed at the interior room, but petrified by the diesel engines, about which I knew almost nothing.


I met with both surveyors over breakfast prior to doing the sea trial and explained my situation and lack of knowledge and let them both know that I was counting on them to keep me out of trouble.


The end result was that we bought the boat and I'm still learning it. The expectations that were met:
--the boat is very comfortable to cruise on, entertain on and spend a week or two on board. We haven't had the chance to spend more time on it but will in the future.
--the fuel economy is a bit better than I expected. We found that cruising at hull speed is quite economical. Going slow was a big change from always being on plane in my express cruisers.
--maintenance and oil changes are easy to do albeit on the expensive side. I was a bit shocked by the amount of oil it takes but I guess that comes with the diesels.
--access to both sides of the engines is fairly good, even for an old gummer like me. My wife changes the impeller on the genset, I do the engine impellers. I just take my time and wiggle my butt into position to do them.


Expectations that were exceeded:
--this boat is a dream to handle, dock, back into the slip, etc. A slight bump in and out of gear is all it takes to give the boat a 'command' and then it responds well. Large props and tons of torque are what make that happen
--the boat is much quieter in the salon/saloon area when running in plane. The engines are turbo'd but conversation in the salon is still easy at planing speeds.
--the boat handles much better in large waves than I expected. Check YouTube for "Umatilla Days 1" then 2, 3, and 4.


Things that didn't meet my expectations:
--the mattress in the main stateroom is horrible. The forward end of the bed is lower than the aft end and that makes sleeping bad, so I sleep with my feet in the bow end. All beds are a PITA to make but I guess that's standard on boats unless they have a midship stateroom.
--this thing is a PITA to wax. It takes me about 5 days at 4-5 hours per day to do it, and requires an 8' step ladder to reach the underside of the bow, and that's with me standing on the upper part of the ladder. By the time I get the waxing done my back is letting me know I overdid it.
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