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Old 09-13-2010, 09:15 PM   #1
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First post, and yet another "what boat" post

I am sure you all are sick of these kinds of posts, but I'm going to stick it out there anyway.*

Thinking of living aboard. Nope, never done it. Probably a year or two away from making the jump, and am sure will do some charters beforehand to make sure its something my wife and I feel we can do.


Little bio - i'm 39, she's 41. looking to start off easy, some ICW, perhaps more of the great loop, ultimately*Caribbean, bahamas, and who knows after that if the lifestyle is for us.


Searching around yachtrader is making my head explode. the options are endless from trawlers to motor yachts to powered cats to ????


We are all about quality of life. Not to be snooty, but camping to us is being in our 40' diesel pusher RV. Sailing looks halfway enticing,*until*i think about the work involved. call me lazy.


When i started looking at boats, i thought the 35-40' range was it. now thinking 40-45', and the 50 footers arent necessarily scaring me off. but again, way too many options.


So, with the above info, and a 200K budget, what do you buy?*


Go!
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Old 09-13-2010, 09:23 PM   #2
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RE: First post, and yet another "what boat" post

40' plus range is good. Living aboard is a lot of fun, whether you travel or not. Boating is a much more social activity that I ever realized until I got my first "big" boat. If you have a woman that can live in that very restricted space, you're very fortunate! Just make shure she really can, vs. says she can. Try it out, you'll like it!
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Old 09-13-2010, 09:31 PM   #3
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First post, and yet another "what boat" post

I came back to edit my post, but saw you already responded so i'll just respond.

Living cramped may or may not be an issue, we don't know. we enjoy the hell out of our RV and don't seem to mind the cramped quarters, though at this point, the most we have spent in it is about ten days. the biggest issue now with the idea of this is blue water. she's not so crazy about it, but i feel it's more large waves than anythign else.

The other thing exploding my brain is the type of boat. trawler vs others (semi displacement? these terms are new to me) but we both agree speed is not an issue. when/if we do this, we will not be in a hurry to get anywhere anytime soon. After reading many blogs, it seems the weather is the biggest deciding factor on when/if you go somewhere, and I am not a risk taker when it comes to our safety. having plans delayed due to weather and not rushing things definitely wont be a problem.

-- Edited by syf350 on Monday 13th of September 2010 09:33:13 PM
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Old 09-13-2010, 09:52 PM   #4
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First post, and yet another "what boat" post

Quote:
syf350 wrote:

*


So, with the above info, and a 200K budget, what do you buy?*
Rather than write something new I'm going to copy and paste a reply I gave to someone who asked the same basic*question quite awhile ago-- what kind of trawler should I get?* It's long answer*(like most of my crap) so other forum members should skip it.* But you might get something out of it.*

---------------------------

I suggest you approach selecting a trawler the way you would a computer. Figure out what applications you want to run, then find out which computer will best run them.

So for now, forget about boat brands. First define everything you want to do with a trawler. How many people to you want or need to accommodate? How often will you have guests?* Will there be kids, grandkids, friends' kids involved?* Where are you going to cruise? Do you want to live aboard full time? What kind of galley do you want, electric or propane? How many heads do you need? Is the climate where you''re going to boat conducive to spending time outside or is it rainy more often than not?

How is your mobility, and how do you expect it to be in the future? (In other words, how adept are you at climbing stairs or ladders?) What are the docks like in the area(s) you anticiapte cruising? Is easy deck access (low freeboard) or a full walkaround deck (or both) important or not?* Will you ever be single-handing the boat?* (This can help define the ease of deck and dock access.)* How much time will you have to get from Point A to Point B? Will you need a relatively fast boat or will a slow boat suit you okay?

*Are you going to spend most of your nights at docks in marinas and the like, or are you going to be anchoring out most of the time? (This will help determine the boat's electrical needs, like a generator.)* How often will you be using the boat's dinghy?* Will you ever have to launch it by yourself?* (This determines how easy it needs to be to launch it unless you elect to tow it.)

And on and on and on.

Once you have asked and answered every question you can think of, the answers will largely define what sort of boat you're after.

On top of this, of course, is what sort of boat you like from an aesthetic aspect. Not much point in getting a boat that meets all your requirements but has a design that, to you, sort of sucks. I see a lot of boats in our marina that would fill our requirements, but I look at them and think, "What the hell was the designer thinking? And who in their right mind would buy such an ugly thing?" Actually, I find myself saying that a lot--- I have very specific aesthetic requirements and most production boat brands don't some anywhere near meeting them. In fact there are only four that do.

I am willing to sacrifice some functionality or objective-requirement-meeting for aesthetics. Other people don't seem to care what the boat looks like as long as it meets their objective requirements. For example, they will happily buy what to me is a staggeringly ugly boat that is staggeringly ugly because it has a ton of interior space. But I think it's important that you like whatever boat you choose on a gut level or you'll never be happy with it no matter how well it meets your objective requirements.

One last thing.* [The original poster] said in a previous post, ".... maybe up to a 42'."* A piece of boat buying advice I first saw as a little kid in a story in Boy's Life magazine a long, long time ago and never forgotten is..... "Buy the smallest boat you can afford."* This was given by the main character in the story to another fellow who wanted to buy a boat but knew nothing about them.

What this means is that for x-amount of dollars, the smaller a boat you buy, the better shape it will be in, or the newer it will be, which usually amounts to the same thing.* If you have x-amount of dollars and buy the biggest boat you can find for that amount, it will be older or in worse condition than the smaller boat.

This does NOT mean to buy a boat that is too small for your requirements.* Which is why it's important to define all your requirements very carefully and very objectively.* If you find that a 42' boat better meets your boating requirements, then get a 42' boat.* But if you find that a 36' boat, or even a 32' boat, meets your boating requirements, spending your x-amount of dollars on a boat that size will almost always get you a boat in better shape, needs less work, etc. than if you spend that same x-dollars on a larger boat.

Soon after we bought our GB36 we both began wishing we'd bought a GB42 or, even better in our minds, a GB46.* Since we have to walk past the GB dealer's dock every time we go to our boat, it was easy to convince ourselves that bigger was better.* At one point we came very close to trading up to a GB46. Today, having lived with a GB36 for twelve years now, we would not want a boat one inch longer unless money was absolutely no factor whatsoever in which case we'd buy a Fleming.* The GB36 has proved perfect for our needs in the waters that we cruise in.* We have learned that neither of us wants the additional work of maintaining one inch more of boat.* (If we could afford a Fleming we could afford to have someone else maintain it.)

So it can be beneficial to keep that rule in mind---- Buy the smallest boat you can afford.
--------------------------


*To the above I will add that you should not forget to take into account ownership cost in your calculations.* By which I mean moorage, insurance, registration fees if*your state has them, fuel, propane if you use it,*electricity, servicing,*maintenance, repairs, modifications, and upgrades.* If you are financing*the boat*your boat payments are not considered to be part of the ownership costs, at least not in discussions I've seen about them.

The VERY rough rule of thumb for calculating ownership cost is ten percent of the purchase price (some people prefer value) of the boat per year for as long as you own the boat.* Some years it will be less, some years it will be more, maybe much more if you have to have major work done--- new prop shaft(s), motor mounts, exhaust systems, major surgery on the structure to fix a leak, whatever.* But over time that ten percent per year figure seems to be pretty accurate.* You can help keep ownership costs as low as possible by doing as much of the work on your boat as you can, but that will depend on your ability, capability, and willingness to take on these kinds of tasks.* Some people like doing it and have a talent for it, other people hire almost everything out.* We do everything we can ourselves but hire out the critical stuff, like engine work (but not routine servicing), exhaust work,*prop shaft replacement, etc.

So don't forget about ownership costs or you could be in for a*nasty surprise when you get the boat and the bills start rolling in.* Trust me, they never stop and the only thing that makes them bearable is the enjoyment you're getting from the boat.* We filled two*of our five fuel tanks*on Saturday and the*bill was $500 and change.* Fuel used to be a minor*component of ownership costs and it still is, but it's not as minor as it used to be.* After 12 years we're not surprised by this sort of thing anymore*but it can rock someone who's new*to power boating back on their heels a bit.


Which is why it's real important to get the right boat for the right reasons.*


-- Edited by Marin on Monday 13th of September 2010 10:14:32 PM
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Old 09-13-2010, 10:12 PM   #5
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First post, and yet another "what boat" post

SYF*

Questions:
--What is your previous boating experience?
--Do you like waxing, changing oil and getting your hands dirty
--Are you mechanically inclined and a gearhead?

You say you are lazy, hummm



-- Edited by sunchaser on Monday 13th of September 2010 10:13:33 PM
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Old 09-14-2010, 06:05 AM   #6
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RE: First post, and yet another "what boat" post

Short "new boater" story.
One of our long time marina mates sold his boat (30 ft) 1 month ago to a fellow who decided to live on a boat during summers in New England. First trip out for a quick ride he came back got flustered, and decided to sell the boat because he was too nervous. Kept thinking the boat would float away from the marina in the night, boat would sink, etc.
Bottom line he owned the boat for 3 weeks total. Sold it for a $10K loss to get away.
*So make sure you will be comfortable on a boat before you make a purchase.
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Old 09-14-2010, 08:35 AM   #7
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RE: First post, and yet another "what boat" post

Quote:
Thanks for the reply. Lots of questions. Some I have thought about and didn't include in my first post for whatever reason, and some I hadn't thought about. As I am really hoping for some good advice here, I'll try to answer the concerns as best I can.

Marin wrote:


*
syf350 wrote:

*


So, with the above info, and a 200K budget, what do you buy?
Rather than write something new I'm going to copy and paste a reply I gave to someone who asked the same basic*question quite awhile ago-- what kind of trawler should I get?* It's long answer*(like most of my crap) so other forum members should skip it.* But you might get something out of it.*

---------------------------

I suggest you approach selecting a trawler the way you would a computer. Figure out what applications you want to run, then find out which computer will best run them.

So for now, forget about boat brands. First define everything you want to do with a trawler.

Looking to live aboard (fulltiming is the expression us RVers use), travel the ICW and parts or all of the loop getting our sea legs. Then hopefully on to Caribbean, Bahamas, and island hopping.

How many people to you want or need to accommodate? How often will you have guests?* Will there be kids, grandkids, friends' kids involved?*

It will be just us the majority of the time. I have a 14 year old son who lives with his mother. My step son is 21 and just made us grandparents about 6 months ago. We both have siblings with spouses. I am sure between all of these people we will look forward to having them with us for a few days here and there when they can afford the time, but ultimately don't need to plan a boat around having guests. Funny side note. Our second RV was a fifth wheel that had bunks in it. Between the bunks, convertible dinette, and futon style couch, the listing was to sleep 11 people. 11 is kind of ridiculous, but 7 was doable. We found that having the space meant we had more friends wanting to use the space. When we got into our motor home, we only have the fold out couch and less people try to impose in coming along. We have had a couple on the couch and maybe one person on the floor, all with only one bathroom. It seems to work out fine. So if we have to put guests in less that immaculate accommodations, it doesnt break our heart.

Where are you going to cruise?

Answered above. If all works well and we don't want the journey to end, I could see the Panama Canal, Alaska, etc. My wife is leary of the blue water, and to be honest, my biggest fear is being pirated.

Do you want to live aboard full time?

Yes

What kind of galley do you want, electric or propane?

Don't know the pro's and cons of either. We are on our 4th RV and all have been propane.

How many heads do you need?

We have always gotten by with only one, so a second would be a luxury, and not something we would mind having.

Is the climate where you''re going to boat conducive to spending time outside or is it rainy more often than not?

Hopefully the climate will be nice! Another side note. We have a 40' RV now that we absolutely love. With the slides out it is very roomy. I can count on teh fingers of one hand how many times I have actually sat at the dining table, or on the couch to watch TV. We entertain ourselves outside mostly. I tease my wife that we could get a small bumper pull RV that has a kitchen, bathroom and bed and thats all we would need. W basically only sleep and shower inside. The rest of the time we are outside under the awning. Having said that, a nice cockpit is a must, and I really like the large flybridges that have plenty of seating. I also like the cockpits that we can walk out of at dock level, and that are open. I don't want to have to climb a ladder from a swim platform up to the cockpit. Stairs maybe, but I have seen some that literally have a ladder to go up and over the transom.

How is your mobility, and how do you expect it to be in the future? (In other words, how adept are you at climbing stairs or ladders?)

I'm 39 (though I fractured 3 vertebrae a few months ago) but get around fine. Ladders don't scare me, though I'd rather steps. Just personal preference

What are the docks like in the area(s) you anticiapte cruising? Is easy deck access (low freeboard) or a full walkaround deck (or both) important or not?

No Clue

Will you ever be single-handing the boat?

No plan to be on it by myself.

(This can help define the ease of deck and dock access.)* How much time will you have to get from Point A to Point B? Will you need a relatively fast boat or will a slow boat suit you okay?

As much time as it takes. Definitely will not be on anyone's schedule but our own. Slow is just fine.

Are you going to spend most of your nights at docks in marinas and the like, or are you going to be anchoring out most of the time? (This will help determine the boat's electrical needs, like a generator.)* How often will you be using the boat's dinghy?* Will you ever have to launch it by yourself?* (This determines how easy it needs to be to launch it unless you elect to tow it.)

In the RV world we call it dry-docking, when we are without powr and hook ups. Most of what we do is like that. I would imagine we would like to be on the hook more often than not, but also will probably docking till we get comfortable with it all. Definitely do not want to tow the dinghy. Would rather it be up and out of the way.

And on and on and on.

Once you have asked and answered every question you can think of, the answers will largely define what sort of boat you're after.

On top of this, of course, is what sort of boat you like from an aesthetic aspect. Not much point in getting a boat that meets all your requirements but has a design that, to you, sort of sucks. I see a lot of boats in our marina that would fill our requirements, but I look at them and think, "What the hell was the designer thinking? And who in their right mind would buy such an ugly thing?" Actually, I find myself saying that a lot--- I have very specific aesthetic requirements and most production boat brands don't some anywhere near meeting them. In fact there are only four that do.

I am willing to sacrifice some functionality or objective-requirement-meeting for aesthetics. Other people don't seem to care what the boat looks like as long as it meets their objective requirements. For example, they will happily buy what to me is a staggeringly ugly boat that is staggeringly ugly because it has a ton of interior space. But I think it's important that you like whatever boat you choose on a gut level or you'll never be happy with it no matter how well it meets your objective requirements.

I have to admit, the lines and tinted windows of the convertibles and fishing style boats are very attractive to me, but so are the trawlers and full displacement hulls. I could go either way for the right boat.

One last thing.* [The original poster] said in a previous post, ".... maybe up to a 42'."* A piece of boat buying advice I first saw as a little kid in a story in Boy's Life magazine a long, long time ago and never forgotten is..... "Buy the smallest boat you can afford."* This was given by the main character in the story to another fellow who wanted to buy a boat but knew nothing about them.

What this means is that for x-amount of dollars, the smaller a boat you buy, the better shape it will be in, or the newer it will be, which usually amounts to the same thing.* If you have x-amount of dollars and buy the biggest boat you can find for that amount, it will be older or in worse condition than the smaller boat.

This does NOT mean to buy a boat that is too small for your requirements.* Which is why it's important to define all your requirements very carefully and very objectively.* If you find that a 42' boat better meets your boating requirements, then get a 42' boat.* But if you find that a 36' boat, or even a 32' boat, meets your boating requirements, spending your x-amount of dollars on a boat that size will almost always get you a boat in better shape, needs less work, etc. than if you spend that same x-dollars on a larger boat.

Soon after we bought our GB36 we both began wishing we'd bought a GB42 or, even better in our minds, a GB46.* Since we have to walk past the GB dealer's dock every time we go to our boat, it was easy to convince ourselves that bigger was better.* At one point we came very close to trading up to a GB46. Today, having lived with a GB36 for twelve years now, we would not want a boat one inch longer unless money was absolutely no factor whatsoever in which case we'd buy a Fleming.* The GB36 has proved perfect for our needs in the waters that we cruise in.* We have learned that neither of us wants the additional work of maintaining one inch more of boat.* (If we could afford a Fleming we could afford to have someone else maintain it.)

So it can be beneficial to keep that rule in mind---- Buy the smallest boat you can afford.

That has definitely crossed my mind, and I figured newer would be more hassle free. Apparently after doing some reading on this and other forums, that's not always the case. a sound reliable boat is what is needed.
--------------------------


To the above I will add that you should not forget to take into account ownership cost in your calculations.* By which I mean moorage, insurance, registration fees if*your state has them, fuel, propane if you use it,*electricity, servicing,*maintenance, repairs, modifications, and upgrades.* If you are financing*the boat*your boat payments are not considered to be part of the ownership costs, at least not in discussions I've seen about them.

The VERY rough rule of thumb for calculating ownership cost is ten percent of the purchase price (some people prefer value) of the boat per year for as long as you own the boat.* Some years it will be less, some years it will be more, maybe much more if you have to have major work done--- new prop shaft(s), motor mounts, exhaust systems, major surgery on the structure to fix a leak, whatever.* But over time that ten percent per year figure seems to be pretty accurate.* You can help keep ownership costs as low as possible by doing as much of the work on your boat as you can, but that will depend on your ability, capability, and willingness to take on these kinds of tasks.* Some people like doing it and have a talent for it, other people hire almost everything out.* We do everything we can ourselves but hire out the critical stuff, like engine work (but not routine servicing), exhaust work,*prop shaft replacement, etc.

So don't forget about ownership costs or you could be in for a*nasty surprise when you get the boat and the bills start rolling in.* Trust me, they never stop and the only thing that makes them bearable is the enjoyment you're getting from the boat.* We filled two*of our five fuel tanks*on Saturday and the*bill was $500 and change.* Fuel used to be a minor*component of ownership costs and it still is, but it's not as minor as it used to be.* After 12 years we're not surprised by this sort of thing anymore*but it can rock someone who's new*to power boating back on their heels a bit.

*

noted...thanks!


Which is why it's real important to get the right boat for the right reasons.


-- Edited by Marin on Monday 13th of September 2010 10:14:32 PM
*



*
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Old 09-14-2010, 08:51 AM   #8
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RE: First post, and yet another "what boat" post

Quote:
sunchaser wrote:

SYF*

Questions:
--What is your previous boating experience?

Not alot. I had a 24' pontoon and now have a 17' fish and ski boat that we use on a small lake.


--Do you like waxing, changing oil and getting your hands dirty

It's not on the top of my list for relaxing things to do. With thr RV's, I do the typical needed stuff, dumping, filling, tightening loose screws etc. When it comes to engine service i Hire it out. Anything major and I hire out. "major" is definitely subjective from my opinion to someone elses I know.


--Are you mechanically inclined and a gearhead?

I understand engines and in a pinch could probably get by doing most stuff if needed. Just depends. I actually had an A&P license at one point when I was younger. I am more elecrically and electronically inclined as that is my business.



You say you are lazy, hummm

*

Call it selectively active. I don't pretend to fool anyone, especially myself. I put up a tv mount last night in the house that has been sitting there for 2 months. I put up a couple ceilign fans last weekend that had been sitting for several months. And not to make any excuses, we work a lot. I am not big on getting off work and going home to work more. After my stepson graduated and moved out teh backyard grass got replaced with synthetic maintenance free grass. I have a pool guy to handle the pool. The fornt yard is rocks. you get the picture. That's nto to say when we are doing this and not working our tails off that I will have quite the same attitude.



-- Edited by sunchaser on Monday 13th of September 2010 10:13:33 PM
*
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Old 09-14-2010, 08:53 AM   #9
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RE: First post, and yet another "what boat" post

Quote:
I could see it happening. We will definitely be chartering some to learn the ropes and see if the lifestyle is for us, or just a crazy dream.

jleonard wrote:


Short "new boater" story.
One of our long time marina mates sold his boat (30 ft) 1 month ago to a fellow who decided to live on a boat during summers in New England. First trip out for a quick ride he came back got flustered, and decided to sell the boat because he was too nervous. Kept thinking the boat would float away from the marina in the night, boat would sink, etc.
Bottom line he owned the boat for 3 weeks total. Sold it for a $10K loss to get away.
So make sure you will be comfortable on a boat before you make a purchase.
*
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Old 09-14-2010, 09:58 AM   #10
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RE: First post, and yet another "what boat" post

"Buy the smallest boat you can afford."

That is sound advice. To wich I would add: Buy the smallest boat that will fit your needs. Anything more is a waste of money and time (i.e. maintenance).

From what I understand, something in the range of 36-42 would probably be right for you. Also, it's not easy to handle a 50-footer... And some marinas simply don't have enough space to accomodate a boat of that size. If you plan on travelling the last thing you want is to be limited because your boat is too big.

My two cents.
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Old 09-14-2010, 11:20 AM   #11
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First post, and yet another "what boat" post

Well, I didn't necessarily mean you needed to answer all the questions to us . You need to ask and answer them to yourself because only you can evaluate the direction the answers will steer you.* Any question, by the way, that you answer with "no clue" is a question you need to find the answer out to because not knowing will deprive you of information that's important in your "what boat should I get" answer.* My opinion, anyway.* There are enough variables and surprises in boating as it is.

Given that your boating experience is limited to a pontoon boat and a runabout, I would strongly suggest that, once you figure out what sort and size of boat you think will work for you that you then charter one a few times to find out if you even like this kind of boating. A lot of people think they will and then try it and find out they really don't, like the person jleonard described.

-- Edited by Marin on Tuesday 14th of September 2010 11:23:13 AM
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Old 09-14-2010, 01:45 PM   #12
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RE: First post, and yet another "what boat" post

I figure the more info i can give the pros, the better the advice coming back will be.

Thanks for the info thus far, by the way.
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Old 09-14-2010, 02:01 PM   #13
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RE: First post, and yet another "what boat" post

I don't remember who said it, but he said simply that a 36' boat is at the limit of practicality as to finding moorage on your travels. Beyond that size, and you may be forced to anchor when you'd rather be at the dock.
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Old 09-14-2010, 02:19 PM   #14
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RE: First post, and yet another "what boat" post

Here's a good article on the subject:
http://www.soundingsonline.com/featu...e-trawler-code

This article also speaks to the issue of speed, and how some people may say they don't care how slow they go but most would like to go faster.

The print magazine actually had a "decision tree" which led you through all the options: twin/single, keel/shallow draft, galley up/down, etc.* I'll see if I can find it.
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Old 09-14-2010, 11:49 PM   #15
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RE: First post, and yet another "what boat" post

I'm going to through my 2 cents worth in here because I was in a similar situation a few months ago. I just sold my sailboat and came to the good folks here to get advice on a trawler/motor yacht. I found this forum to be the friendliest and most helpful of the several I frequent.

I first started looking at the mid 80's Asian built trawler displacement hull boats as there were many in my area of SW Florida, and they were in my price range of 50 - 75k. Someone also suggested the Bayliner 38's of the same vintage. After sailing for 20 odd years I didn't want something fast, I wanted economy. What I discovered after looking at perhaps 20 boats is that most were in need of significant cosmetic repair and some were downright horrible. I also found that most had not been used in some time and that added to their worn look. After looking at a 40 Mainship that had been neglected for some time my wife was about to give up until the listing broker suggested we look at a late 90's 34 Mainship, suggesting that the newer boats being computer designed have more room for their size compared to the older generation of boats. Though these newer boats cost more, the broker mentioned that by the time you spend the money to get the older boat up to speed you may very well be close to the cost of the newer ones. Well that's all it took, my wife was sold and we started looking at a completely different type boat. All these newer boats were fast boats something I did not really want to consider because of the economy. However I soon realized that the most important aspect of choosing a boat is having the wife's approval, so out went the economy and in came speed and lots of horse power.

We finally settled on a Carver that get's 1 mpg and my wife is thrilled. Not what I thought I wanted, but like several have said before, once you get a taste for speed, you'll never go back. Cruising at 20 kts opens up a lot more options in terms of cruising areas that just don't exist at 8 kts.
But it's not just as simple as that, there are other considerations when choosing a fast boat over a slo boat. My Carver has 660 HP between it's 2 diesel engines and they can be temperamental. They ain't cheap to fix either, just paid $1150 to have a raw water pump replaced on my port engine. Throw in the tubo charger and after cooler and it gets complicated, nothing like the normally aspirated Lehmans and Perkins installed on many of the true Trawlers.
I would never consider purposely motoring in seas of 4 ft. This is not the place for a planning hull, so a fast boat is a coastal cruiser not a blue water boat. And lastly don't forget the single vs twin argument. That's always good for a heated debate.

So if economy is your thing, find a single engine boat with a simple engine and learn how to keep it running and carry the right spares. But don't listen to me, I started on a very different path kinda like you and look where I ended up. But hey, the admiral's happy and I'm kinda getting use to 20 kts. My sailboat buddies are kind of envious cause I start happy hour several hours before they do, that is until I pull up to the fuel dock.
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:13 AM   #16
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RE: First post, and yet another "what boat" post

The advice in this forum is great, and there have been several super responses to your post.* The SOUNDINGS article mentioned was excellent and will be helpful.* Wish I had been on this site when I bought my boat, but it probably would have given me even more to fret about as I searched.*

What we found in our search was that it was all about compromises, and I still feel that way.* I didn't get exactly what I wanted, but I'm pretty damned happy with what I got.

My budget was quite a bit tighter than what you are talking about.* I could have gone as high as you are talking, but I purposely limited myself to less than 100K.* I did this because I knew I was going to have to put money into whatever I bought, and I was also worried about being "boat poor" since I was taking out a loan.* I wanted something I could easily afford following my upcoming retirement from the military, with plenty of income to spare for maintenance, repairs and living expenses.* My friends with newer boats seem to be dumping a ton of money into theirs, so I*decided to go with a small initial outlay of funds.

My size range was 36 - 50 ft.* Like you, I was looking for something economical, and I was looking for something that I wouldn't be "roughing it" in.* We were making the jump from a Catalina 36 sailboat, and moving aboard, and I wanted to be comfortable.* What's funny in my case, was that my wife was really pushing the liveaboard thing, not me, and so comfort was more of a key for me than her.*

We found as we looked that 36 ft was too small for us.* Our kids are grown and gone, but we have them over from time to time, and we get lots of friends visiting for the weekend.* We also have a large dog and two cats.* When you have visitors, privacy is very important, so two decent cabins, fore and aft, with their own heads was key.* If we were hermits, we could have gotten away with a 36 footer.* We wanted a full walkaround queen bed, so that was a key, particularly after sleeping in sailboat Vee-berths for years.* I wanted a real shower, and not a sailboat one where the entire head was the shower.* I also wanted a decent sized saloon with galley down plus an eating area, and we found we needed to be over 40 ft for that (at least in our search).*

Now that I have it, I will tell you that our 46 footer (around 50 ft LOA) is bigger than I'd like.* It has all the interior amenities we want, but it is tough to find dockage for it, and when we do, it is expensive.* We'll eventually anchor out more, but the generator needs work, and everything is powered by AC on the boat.* This is something I will definitely change over time, and if I had really thought about it when I was searching, this would have been a factor.* I have no desire to run the generator all the time, so I'll be adding an inverter, increasing the house bank, and probably going to propane for at least the stove, and maybe the fridge.* I may also add some solar charging capability, and I'm going to improve the DC lighting.* I'll also plan on getting the heck out of Florida in the summer, so I don't need to run the A/C 24/7.* Right now I'm trying to figure out what to do with a new dinghy, and adding an extra few feet for davits is not something I want to do, but may have to.* That will make finding slips even harder.* 40 - 42 would be ideal I think.

I was very focused on fuel economy as we were coming from a sailboat background, and looked at alot of boats with smaller diesels or single diesels.* At first I said I only needed to go 8 kts.* I ended up with a boat with two CAT 3208s.* I've found that I like having the power, both to get from point A to point B, and also to get out of weather quicker.* I generally still cruise at about 7 - 9 kts*for fuel economy, but I can go 15 -*17 if I need to, or if I feel like throwing away my money.* I also like the maneuverability provided by the twin engines.* It is a breeze to dock in virtually every condition.* I have been docking ships my whole career, and am comfortable with twin and single screw, but I'm glad I went with twin screw.* Engines are an area where I'm glad I compromised.

The hull trade-off is something you need to think about.* I looked at everything from planing hulls to full displacement.* I wanted something full-displacement.* As I said, ended up with a semi-displacement hull, and I'm pretty happy with the*choice as I have learned to like the ability to go a little faster.* I'm concerned however with the fact that I have no protection for my props and rudders that*I would have with a full displacement boat.* Will just have to be careful with watching my depth, but worry about logs and flotsam in particular in inland waters.* Stability is another factor here.* My boat is definitely a coastal cruiser (which is what I'll be doing), and is actually very stable since I looked for a relatively low profile.* It wouldn't be as good in a seaway as a full displacement boat, but it beats the heck out of the newer, faster,*top-heavy boats I see around this area.* Stability is an area I thought long and hard about, and decided I wouldn't be offshore enough to need a full diplacement hull, but I still didn't want to roll.

I got a boat with a flybridge and lower helm.* I've seen lots of opinions on this on this forum, but I've found that I don't like the visibility forward from the lower helm.* I also have zero visibility aft from the lower helm, which is dangerous in a channel.* I've been in all kinds of crappy weather on the flybridge, and a decent enclosure is all you need.* Out in the ocean, I could see using the lower helm, but in coastal or inland waters, I don't like it.* I*felt I needed a lower helm during my search, but if I had it do over again, I wouldn't insist on one.

My boat is a sundeck model with no cockpit.* The topside living space is phenomenal with a wonderful sundeck, a huge flybridge, and a correspondlingly large aft cabin and saloon.* Two things I don't like with this setup - 1.* I can't see anything when backing down into a slip, which is made more difficult by the Admiral's trouble with port and starboard as she is acting as my eyes aft; and 2.* line handling and getting on and off the boat at anchor (especially with the dog) are a bear.* If I had to do it over again, I would like a cockpit aft.* I would lose interior living space, but it would be worth it.

Last item - Get a boat with wide side decks and good railings for safety, with plenty of handholds inside and out.* This was a must for us, and I'm glad we did it.

As far as condition goes, that all depends on how much work you are willing to do and how much money you want to drop.* Mine needs alot of work, and I'm slowly working through it.* It would be much easier if I didn't live on it, and it would also help if I didn't have to go to work every day.* Whatever the boat needs*has to be figured into your budget - both time and money.* In the first month, I dropped 10K replacing every hose and*belt, exhaust mixers, flushing engines and heat exchangers, replacing engine mounts and realigning the engines, and other mechanical things.* I still need to do*work on the plumbing and the wiring, fix or replace the GENSET, paint the bottom, pull and straighten a slightly bent rudder, fix some window leaks, repair damage to some of the gelcoat, properly bed the hardware on the foredeck, replace some seacocks, replace the aft fuel tanks, and assorted and sundry other more minor repairs.* After I've done all that, I have some work to do on interior woodwork that was damaged by water leaks, complete topside cosmetic work, and upgrade the electronics to something from this century.* Sounds daunting, but it's all good.* I like doing the work, and I got the boat for less than 50 percent of market value.

I saw on an earlier post that someone recommended making a list with pros/cons to help decide which way to go on different features.* I think this is a good idea and my wife and I did it mentally, and discussed every one.* I also recommend you talk to people at marinas, and if you could afford to charter a trawler, do that to determine what you want and need.

Hope this helps.

Glenn
M/V SYREN
Jefferson 46
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:30 AM   #17
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RE: First post, and yet another "what boat" post

Carey
In cruising the PNW* ( to Glacier Gay) this past summer, there was zero difficulty in finding moorage at docks for vessels much larger than 36' Docks in the 50' to 60'*range were plentiful. Most of the fishing boats were in this size range too. That is, if you are looking for a dock vs anchoirng which we did about 1/2 the time.
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Old 09-15-2010, 11:16 AM   #18
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RE: First post, and yet another "what boat" post

Tom,It was wonderful to have you here in Thorne Bay But now I realize how much we've missed you here on the forum. Glad your'e back.
That's interesting about the moorage. Amazing. Perhaps the reduction of yachts cruising Alaska is much more extensive than I thought. And of course I've never needed 40 or 50' moorage myself and I generally don't notice * * ..I suppose. I suppose that's a good thing for cruisers but low fuel prices would probably be more popular than more space at the floats.
I'm unhappy with myself that I propagated an untruth on the forum. Please forgive me.
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Old 09-15-2010, 11:39 AM   #19
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RE: First post, and yet another "what boat" post

TomThat's good to hear. I'm sure that paraphrased quote concerning 36' as the max is attributed to one of our (famous in the NW authors). However, as larger has become more of the norm with pleasure boats, and the with the fishing fleets downsizing, the rule may no longer be true. I do know that while visiting Friday Harbor a couple times this year, many larger boats without reservations were turned away. For me it's not an issue, as I don't intend to upsize. I guess the better recommendation for someone making the decision would be to investigate available moorage throughout their desired cruising grounds.
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Old 09-15-2010, 11:49 AM   #20
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RE: First post, and yet another "what boat" post

While moorage for larger boats may be more readily available farther north in BC and SE Alaska, I tend to concur with Carey with regards to moorage in the San Juans/Gulf Islands. A lot of the marinas, particularly in the Gulf Islands, don't have a lot of guest dockage to begin with, so the space fills up pretty quickly. They can sometimes fit in one more 36' or less boat, but anything bigger is often turned away. And the marine parks throughout the San Juan Islands have a length limit of 46 (I think) feet for the park mooring buoys. Anything larger has to anchor and in many areas anchoring restrictions are tightening up because of concerns for the eelgrass beds which provide habitat and food for crabs, young salmon, etc.

In the Seattle-Everett area, with the greater wealth supporting the purchase of larger boats, some of the marinas have added slips specifically aimed at the bigger-boat crowd. Everett has done this recently and the Port of Bellingham is in the planning stages to do the same thing using a disused settling basin for the now-defunct Georgia Pacific pulp mill on the waterfront. So a home slip for a larger boat can sometimes be quicker to get than a slip for a 40' or less boat. (Slips for smaller boats, say 20-26 feet is also easy to get).

But in the islands the situation can be as Carey describes, particularly during the popular boating season, July 5 through Labor Day, when it rains only 12/7/365.
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