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Old 07-19-2019, 01:50 PM   #1
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Graduating from a Sailboat to a Trawler

Hi All,

I am new to this forum. As a spectator the last couple of weeks, I am in awe of the extensive knowledge possessed by this group. I am ever so thankful to find you and excited about all that I can learn as we transition to the next chapter in our nautical lives.

My wife and I have recently sold our sailboat and are looking at trawlers. Our intent is to find one that will adequately carry us up north in the summer to escape the Florida heat and provide us the capability for an excursion to the Bahamas in season. We were hoping to stay around 34-36 feet, twins would be nice and a flybridge/lower helm a must. We prefer a cockpit with room to lounge, and one that also serves as an extension of the salon. Thus, for now, we are not looking for an aft stateroom. We would want only one head and a separate shower stall. Basically, we are looking for the perfect couple's trawler for us.

Seaworthiness is a huge priority. We prefer to go outside when possible. And since weather happens, we would like a vessel that can handle sloppy conditions and climb mountains on occasions. Hopefully, we can find a boat that is year 2000 or newer.

We have looked at 3 boats thus far that we are seriously considering. A 2006 Mainship 34, a 2000 Sabre 34 fast trawler and a 2009 Integrity 346 Europa Sedan. We have not sea trialed any of them.

I am anxious to hear your comments on how you feel these 3 stack-up to our desires, especially seaworthiness. It may be that I have unreal expectations of them. I then would so welcome any other recommendations you might have.

Thanks for your thoughts.

JimP
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Old 07-19-2019, 04:05 PM   #2
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Welcome! I can't comment on the seaworthiness of those specific models, but I hope the right boat for your transition finds you. Others here will be more helpful. If those boats have ads, you might post links to them to get the experts poring over the details and giving their thoughts.

Keep us posted!
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Old 07-19-2019, 04:17 PM   #3
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Welcome aboard!!!

I owned one of the three boats that you mentioned, the Mainship 34T. It was the transition boat that got us from sail to power.

I consider it the perfect couples boat. it has a huge beam for its length and that gives it a huge salon as well as a huge full beam fly bridge.

I have posted to dozens of threads about this boat, so do a search. It would fit the needs you outlined perfectly.

David
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Old 07-19-2019, 05:25 PM   #4
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I'd recommend looking at a variety of boats before narrowing too quickly. Look at where they're built as well, what the power system is, and maintenance of the boat you're looking at. Make sure you research the engines that are in the boats to make sure you know what their problem areas might be. Unlike a sailboat you're totally dependant on the engines.

Of the three boats you mention Sabre is the most 'high end' brand, still built in Maine as I understand. Mainships of that era were US built as I recall, they aimed at being cost effective cruisers with good quality. You might ask why the location of construction matters, well as the boat ages you'll need to replace things. The US makers are pretty good about using standard hardware. In addition I believe there is an inherent advantage to having a boat designed and built where people have a history of building pleasure boats. I've seen things on some boats that were obviously designed by someone who never actually boated themselves - these were almost always Asian boats.
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Old 07-19-2019, 06:03 PM   #5
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Welcome to the forum. I can not give you any opinion on your choices... but you will be given lots of advice here, for sure.
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Old 07-19-2019, 06:03 PM   #6
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I'm making the switch as well and like the Beneteau Swifts take a look
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Old 07-19-2019, 06:38 PM   #7
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I'm making the switch as well and like the Beneteau Swifts take a look
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Old 07-19-2019, 11:56 PM   #8
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I am biased of course but have you looked at any of the Tugs (Nordic, American, Ranger)?
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Old 07-20-2019, 12:05 AM   #9
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Graduating from a Sailboat to a Trawler

Thanks Greg and David. There seems to be a number of MS34s on the market and a few Sabreline 34 fast trawlers. I am also looking at a 2004 Sabreline 36 Sedan this week. I'm not sure if the S36 Sedan with a full cockpit and twin 370 HP diesels is technically a trawler? Plus, my wife and I were lucky enough to be guests of a gracious TF member couple on their Integrity 34 last week. Their vessel was spectacular and sets a very high bar.

The 2006 MS 34 we inspected checked most of our boxes and was darn good looking as well. I will check out your posts. I have not been to sea on one, but was wondering if the amount of superstructure and generous beam hindered seakeeping abilities? Again, coming from a very seaworthy sailboat, am I expecting too much from a trawler?

Slowmo, great point about readily available replacement parts for USA built vessels. And you are right about the engines. I had a Yanmar in the sailboat and loved it. And I have a good certified Yanmar repair person that I trust. The MS, Integrity and both Saberlines have Yanmars. I agree Sabre boats have a great reputation. However, I have heard there were some gelcoat crazing problems at one point. Does anyone know what year or years this occurred?

Thanks Capitaine R. And Lipets, nice to hear we are in the same boat (so to speak)! The Beneteau looks like a great trawler. However, I would need for them to get a bit older to dip below my price constraints. Let's continue to share thoughts as we shop.

Speaking of age of boats, contingent on a good survey, does anyone know how many years a lender will give you on a 10 year old boat? How about 15 years old? I will probably be putting 30% to 40% down.

Thanks for your counsel folks and I welcome your recommendations.

Jim
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Old 07-20-2019, 12:18 AM   #10
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I have not looked at the tugs. There is a 37 ft. Nordic Tug in our marina. It looks nice and is for sale, but out of my price range. The admiral wants a decent size cockpit with a salon on the same level and I wanted twin engines and a flybridge. But hey, we are just embarking on this journey. Are smaller tugs just as capable of making a run to the islands? I am guessing many have thrusters for close quarter maneuvering? Are they more seaworthy than say a 36 foot trawler?
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Old 07-20-2019, 12:19 AM   #11
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I made the switch and ended up with a Grand Banks 36 with twin Lehmans. She came with low hours on the engines and she is a very well maintained boat - which of course fits exactly what we were looking for.



My previous boat was a Westsail 42 and before that an Ericson 27. My wife and I got to the point where man-handling 1000 square feet of cloth in a stiff breeze was more for the younger set than us (we're both over 65 but that hasn't slowed us down).


Look at each boat that you want to buy and assess her in terms of not what you want right now but how you plan to use her 10 years from now. Look far into the future as you go over to the dark side from sail to power. Pay attention to the fact that your only means of propulsion is your engines - make sure it's a twin. Above all - drive the boat. Make sure you're comfortable driving the boat. I can't stress this enough.



I ended up with a boat that fit both me and my wife perfectly. Make sure that your gut instinct says this is the right boat - then do a very complete survey and make sure that she is ready for you to buy her. You can't go wrong if you trust your instincts.


Just my $0.02
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Old 07-20-2019, 12:47 AM   #12
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Popeye...prudent thoughts worth significantly more than $0.02!

We know the feeling hoisting sails and grinding winches. We just hit the big seven-0, and it can be limiting to say the least.

The Grand Banks 36 would be my dream boat. The wife does not want an aft cabin or a second head. I am forced to compromise. I think GB makes a 36 without the aft cabin, but I rarely see them on the market. The only other issue would be the amount of teak. The Florida sun is a notorious teak killer. Now, if I could find one with Everteak...
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Old 07-20-2019, 06:12 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim.P View Post
Hi All,
It may be that I have unreal expectations of them. I then would so welcome any other recommendations you might have.
The biggest difference you will find is the motion at sea due to the absence of keel and sail. In return, you get more light in the babin and more space for a given length. In fast trawlers (capable of 14+ kts), you can push the speed up to somewhat counteract the roll in a beam sea. In full displacement and semi displacement hull forms at 6-9 kts, you may find the ride in abeam sea disquieting. I also find that smaller twin engine trawlers (like the GB36 that were originally designed for single engines) are a PITA to service anything outboard of the engines. I sold my '98 GB36 for these reason. YRMV.

The perfect boat for me would have been a 36' Europa style single engine GB36 with stabilizers. Only have seen one, and it sold before I could sell mine. Look very carefully at the Fit & Finish quality of each boat. Big difference between a Bene Swift trawler and a Sabre - reflected in the prices usually.
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Old 07-20-2019, 07:53 AM   #14
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I had never heard of one before, so I looked at the listing for the Integrity 346ES on Yachtworld. I was impressed.

My general sense from looking at the pictures is that it is built with a higher level of fit and finish than the MS 34T, more like the Sabre. The forward berth and the salon looks gorgeous. It is a narrow boat and at 12' makes the salon- especially with its galley up layout and fly bridge tighter.

Whoever took the pictures of the engine room was a genius. I couldn't believe the room down there, but I suspect they were taken with a selfie stick from above. A 12' beam is very difficult for a 34' boat with twins.

The displacement at 24,000 lbs is shocking. The MS 34T is 20,000 lbs. If it really is that heavy (or is it the MS that is light) then it won't cruise very fast with 360 total hp. So check that out carefully. You might just have to run it at displacement speeds if it can't get up over the hump and cruise at 12+ kts with the engines running at 2,800 or so.

David
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Old 07-20-2019, 08:15 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Jim.P View Post
I have not looked at the tugs. There is a 37 ft. Nordic Tug in our marina. It looks nice and is for sale, but out of my price range. The admiral wants a decent size cockpit with a salon on the same level and I wanted twin engines and a flybridge. But hey, we are just embarking on this journey. Are smaller tugs just as capable of making a run to the islands? I am guessing many have thrusters for close quarter maneuvering? Are they more seaworthy than say a 36 foot trawler?

I was pleasantly surprised after our recent trip to bring the new to use boat home from Connecticut to Laishly Park in Punta Gorda when my wife took all the hardware out from the cockpit and stored it in our house garage. The past owner had stored a large cooler, 4 of the regular style fenders and 2 of the large round fenders, 11 rolled up 5/8" lines, and 1 25# CQR anchor in the cockpit (with another CQR in the lazerate). After it was all cleaned out It looked much bigger, comfortable even.

You can find a few Nordic tugs with fly bridges but you would have to go with a single prop and a few steps down to the saloon.



Good luck with your search.
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Old 07-20-2019, 09:10 AM   #16
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The tugs are easily capable of the type of cruising you have in mind. I have had a series of boats and this is the first with no flybridge and I love it (Nordic 32). You mentioned age and while you have a few years on me I am not too far behind. I love the comfort and safety of the pilot house and the dual side doors makes docking a breeze. Mine does not have a true side deck but it is easy and safe to pass through the saloon to get to the stern lines. I often am cruising alone including 70 mile trips from San Diego to Catalina. I just returned from a delivery trip San Francisco to San Diego on a Mainship 390 to assist a friend. Great boat with 2 useful cabins if you want to have guests overnight. It does not have a very useful lower helm thus all 3 days were on the flybridge. That was not very comfortable even though we had decent sea conditions. A lot of movement and the nights get very cold on the pacific. 3 hours was about all you could tolerate. Also even though it has stairs and no ladder getting up there was always a challenge with the motion. For an east coast boat I think having a true pilot house would be even nicer whether for nearshore or ICW cruising. AC and heat and stay out of the UV light! The wife can do whatever in the saloon or cabin without interfering with the piloting.
The cockpits on some of the tugs are not as large so that is a tradeoff. We have enough for 4-5 for socializing but not with deck chairs. Seating is on padded locker and cushions on the large ice chest. However when the weather is nice and we have a large guest list it flows well and the upper deck (at anchor) and bow areas are popular as well.
There is no perfect boat and as mentioned before try to get on as many boats as possible. Slip cost and size is also a consideration. Not only is a jump from 32/34 feet to 40ish more expensive to operate but it is much more to handle in close quarters. Before anyone jumps on that comment...for years I had a 58 ft Hatteras and did a lot of single handed trips but I was also younger. I would love to have the space of a larger boat but we have found we are very comfortable with the Nordic 32 and I will take it off the dock at the drop of a hat because it is so easy to handle. If it were much larger I am 100% sure it would spend more time at the dock.

Here were my key criteria for this last boat. Note that I have owned 8 boats over the last 35 years and needs and desires change over time.
1) Pilot house (non negotable)
2) single engine
3) full size queen but preference was twin beds or large v berth where you dont have to use the insert cushion to be comfy
4) generator
5) fits in 36 foot berth
6) $100k +/-

I am sure you will find a great boat. I love finding the best deals and there are many of those available if you take your time.
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Old 07-20-2019, 09:24 AM   #17
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Nice to meet you this past week Jim! Good luck with the search...
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Old 07-20-2019, 09:43 AM   #18
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Having worked on and driven both Mainships and Sabres, I have to say the quality of the Sabres are quite a bit higher.

Mainship was mass produced and Sabre was more of a semi-custom builder.
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Old 07-20-2019, 10:27 AM   #19
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Look at a lot of boats before narrowing your search. Decide on features not brand then go look for those features. Powerboats are different than sailboats. while that seems obvious it allows for very different living area layout but many powerboats too strongly resemble sailboats in interior layout. Form follows function so give up the sailboat ideas and look for powerboat features. Trawler is just a marketing name intended to lure ex sail boaters. Trawlers mostly don't offer benefits over other powerboats, including fuel use.
We never wanted to get on another similar class boat and say we wished we had seen that boat before we bought ours so we looked a lot. Decided we wanted wide side decks, comfortable reading and lounging spaces. Full queen bed, preferably out of the bow, without the need to climb over, twin diesels, no interior helm because it takes up so much space unless the boat if over 50' and no ladders. A reasonable hull design for stably, roll resistance, some speed.
Optional speed is nota bad feature to have and if you plan on spending a lot of time aboard bigger makes for easier living.
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Old 07-20-2019, 01:07 PM   #20
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Steve, it was a pleasure to meet you as well. I knew I didn't want my wife to see your boat. Now she is saying we should look at Cape Dorys. The teak doesn't bother her...she expects that I will take care of it!

Syjos, thanks for the input on the Sabres. I was hoping to get more endorsements of this Maine builder. I know they look nice, but wasn't sure how they handled. Do you know what years or hull numbers had the crazing problems? The Sabre 36 Sedan we are going to see has twin 370s and cruises at 20 kts. I wonder if it is possible to pull back on the throttles to attain trawler economics? It probably depends on the hull configuration, semi-displacement or modified V.

Bayview, all great points. Yes, many of those are personal preferences. I'm curious, what boat did you end up purchasing?

Has anyone had any experience with the Grand Banks 32? She sure is pretty. I know, I'm looking at teak again!
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