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Old 05-21-2013, 10:37 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 8
How long did it take you to find and purchase your first trawler

Hi all,

Thanks for all the great reading on this forum. I've learned a lot with still way more to go. I was wondering, how long has it taken you guys to find and purchase you're first trawler. My SO and I are planning on breaking free of landlocked Boise, ID in about 3-4 years. We've been looking and drooling on boats for about three years now and feel like we're getting a pretty good idea of what we want, but...

Our boating consists of inland waterways with a lot of river running and lakes. We're tentatively planning on starting in the PNW because of its proximity to us, great selection of boats, great cruising grounds and its pretty familiar to us. We plan to cruise the San Juans, working into Canada and the IP to AK, then working our way south to who knows where.

Best to everyone.

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Old 05-21-2013, 11:38 PM   #2
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City: Gig Harbor
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Selah
Vessel Model: Ocean Alexander 40
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 173
We spent almost three years seriously looking for the boat we now have, a 40' Europa-style sedan cruiser.
We had a small planing-hull cabin cruiser that we had spent years cruising in the San Francisco Bay area and then the Pacific Northwest. Spending 72 nights on the 28' prompted us to start looking for a bigger boat, and by that time we had pretty strong ideas about what we wanted. We spent a lot of time looking at Yachtworld (boat porn, a friend calls it) and many weekends looking at and crawling around on boats of several different styles and interior layouts. There are lots of boats out there and you have to spend some time to see what you like and what you don't.

A long-term member of the forum has recommended chartering as a way to try out the boat or the style you might be interested in, in the areas you might cruise. The PNW has lots of boats, lots of charter operators, and lots of brokers and is a pretty good place to start. Anacortes has a lot to offer with good charter operators and brokers. If you haven't found them alrea!dy, look at Anacortes Yacht Charters and Banana-Belt Boats on the web.

Look at lots of boats, and have fun!

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Old 05-22-2013, 09:15 AM   #3
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City: New York, NY
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Dauntless
Vessel Model: Kadey Krogen 42 - 148
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,905
We spent about 6 years, looking, reading magazines and books about the cruising lifestyle.
Going to Yachtworld almost every day.
The last three years actually looking at possibilities (a few dozen in Holland, but only about 10 in the US)

Finally closed in March 2013. And basically it has been pretty much what we envisioned.

M/Y Dauntless, New York
a Kadey Krogen 42 Currently in Western Europe
Blog: http://dauntlessatsea.com
Find us: https://share.delorme.com/dauntless
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Old 05-22-2013, 10:20 AM   #4
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 741
One year..and this was our first boat. We decided we wanted the best configuration for a live aboard (summers) and a potential looper boat. That was an aft cabin/sundeck with cockpit (yacht fish)....boarding from a dink, unequaled outside and inside space. Factor in price for a given size and location, and the field narrowed fairly quickly to four boats east of Texas....one '44 Tollycraft, two Ocean Alexander 44's and a 48 OA. We bought the 44' OA in Austin, Texas and had it trailered to the Great Lakes. Zero regrets. Very straight forward if you know exactly what you want.
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Old 05-22-2013, 10:42 AM   #5
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City: Longboat Key, FL
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Bucky
Vessel Model: Krogen Manatee 36 North Sea
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 3,833
From the idea to the purchase, it took 2 years of research to get down to a select half dozen or so qualified, affordable boats for us to consider, and another 6 months for our boat to find us. I began with a million + dollar custom build design, but when we whittled it down to a responsible choice, everything we needed could be had for under 150K. Don't miss making it a fun, exciting time in your life, because owning a boat is another experience altogether different. Good luck.
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Old 05-22-2013, 10:48 AM   #6
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Country: US
Vessel Name: Just a Tinch
Vessel Model: Gulfstar 44 MC
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 595
After selling the sailboat...we spent about two years looking at all the different trawlers on the market.... Even got frustrated to the point of well...disgust at the prices being asked for boats in very poor condition...thought we were going to end up being permanent dirt dwellers again...til we looked at the boat we finally bought....
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Old 05-22-2013, 11:10 AM   #7
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City: Seabrook
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Knot Enuff
Vessel Model: Atlantic 47'
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 30
It took us only six months, a little different than the others who took years. But, I've grown up on the water and been on and enjoyed a number of power and sail boats. I too, did the everyday Yachtworld search but what I found was that looking at a boat, on line, was very different that stepping foot on a boat. It was hard to look on line and see boats in other areas of the country but not be able to physically see the boat due to the expense of travel, so I stuck to local boats I could see. The only thing I would sugggest is to be prepaired to buy. If you find the boat and it really fits your need, make an offer. I got what I believed to be a great deal because I was in the right place at the right time and was in a position to make a cash offer. Do some homework on your boat to narrow down your search. Good luck shopping.
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Old 05-22-2013, 11:18 AM   #8
City: Tri Cities, WA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Beachcomber
Vessel Model: Sea Ray 550 Sedan Bridge
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,146
I don't have a trawler but I do have a couple of pieces of advice for you.....
#1--fools rush in. Don't be in a hurry to buy your boat. Many people get the bug and rush out and buy the first boat that stirs their heart without really considering if it will suit what they want a boat to do for them. They own it for a couple of years then sell it, often taking a big loss on it because they paid too much for it in the first place.

Take your time, go to the boat shows in Portland and Seattle and look at boats. Hundreds of boats. Try to picture you two on board and see if you think that design boat will do what you want it to.

#2--Buy your second boat first. This ties in with #1 and if you can do this you'll avoid the financial pitfall of buying that first boat just because you think it's pretty. Take your time, take good notes as you look at boats. Find what you like and don't like about certain designs. Then after a year or two of looking at boats, take your list of what you liked about them and try to find the boat that has the most items from the list.

Keep in mind that every boat is a compromise. There isn't a boat built that will offer everything you want so decided which one has the majority of items you like and the things it doesn't are items you're willing to give up.

BTW, I spent two years buying my first "bigger" boat and I did buy my second boat first.
Mike and Tina
Beachcomber 1995 Sea Ray 550 Sedan Bridge
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Old 05-22-2013, 11:21 AM   #9
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City: Seattle, WA
Country: Good Ol' US of A!
Vessel Name: Pau Hana
Vessel Model: 1989 PT52 Overseas Yachtfisher
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 1,479
Like many others, I've been boating nearly all my life, and have had a fair number of small craft and sportfishers (a true passion of mine). After I went thru a divorce, I decided to fulfill another dream and become a liveaboard.

When the decision was made, it took all of 3 weeks to source and purchase my 3870 Bayliner. In the past 3 years, I've moved up to a 52' yachtfisher, and like skidgear, find the design the perfect balance of form and function.

As I'm in the marine business, the search was, in a way, ongoing
Peter- Marine Insurance Guru & tuna fishing addict!

1989 52' PT Overseas yachtfisher
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Old 05-22-2013, 11:36 AM   #10
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City: Powell River, BC
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Northern Spy
Vessel Model: Nordic Tug 26
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 2,317
Ten or so years ago I was the project manager for re-configuring the floating breakwater comprised of floating concrete ship hulks (picture 1). While I was on one of the ships around Christmas time, I noticed a boat out prawning and trolling nearly every day during the calm weather. I really admired the boat and took a picture of it (picture 2). At the time, I was on a waiting list for different size slips in the local marina (there is only one).

One day, years later, the wharfinger called me up one day and said I had a spot for a 27' boat if I wanted it. I paid for it immediately with the promise of putting a boat in there within a few months. I had always been dreaming and shopping, but the pre-recession market was actually pretty slim at the time. That weekend I went down to Sidney, BC to look at a North Sea 26. It turned out to be a wreck. I was very disappointed, but figured I might as well stay the weekend and look around for boats. I went to a coffee shop and opened up my laptop to see that a little Nordic Tug 26 was just listed nearby. Out of my budget (or at least my wife's budget), but what the heck, no harm in looking, right? I bought it in my head when I stepped on board, and finished the transaction a month or so later. I got home and dug through my old work photos, and was amazed to find it was the same boat I had admired years ago.
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Old 05-22-2013, 11:59 AM   #11
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City: Vallejo, California
Country: United States
Vessel Name: Mahalo Moi
Vessel Model: Grand Banks 42 Classic
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,325
We spent about two years looking and educating ourselves about different makes and models of what we wanted in a boat. For us, the Grand Banks Classics worked best. Then we spent about two years looking for "The" boat before finding Mahalo Moi. We paid more for her back then than we would now for the same boat. However, we have always held the belief that "those who snooze loose".... We didn't want to have the grand kids catch us on the porch talking about the adventure we should have done.
"Mahalo Moi"
1986 GB-42 Classic
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Old 05-22-2013, 12:12 PM   #12
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City: San Jose, CA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Tropical Blend
Vessel Model: Nordhavn 43
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 35
We spent about two and a half years, but not always active. We have had coastal express cruisers since 1999. As we approached retirement, we knew we wanted to have boating as part of our life, but we weren't planning to stay in the Bay Area. We bought property in Hawaii (Kona), but that state is probably the most boater-unfriendly state in the nation. So, our initial thought was to have a boat in the Caribbean for the winter and spring, moving back to Hawaii for 7 or 8 months.

For some time, we vacillated between power and sail, eventually deciding to stay with power. Our first real focus on trawlers was at the Boats Afloat show in Seattle in the fall of 2011. We were aware of the main brands, but at that time, we decided that Nordhavn, Selene, and Krogen were too pricey. We started to focus on Defevers. We didn't have a very active search in the first half of 2012. By summer, we had modified our plan, deciding to go cruising full time, starting in late 2013.

We preferred to buy the boat on the West coast, as we wanted to cruise down the Mexican and Central American coast. Plus, having the boat here meant we would have time to outfit it and get acclimated. I preferred to buy an older hull, and conduct a full refit to get it the way we wanted. No surprise, the Admiral didn't like that idea, preferring to get a much newer hull. We ended up looking at about a dozen different Defever models, and a handful of other brands. One issue with the Defever was range - it was really limited to coastal cruising, without the range to cross the ocean. We also figured out that the refit cost of a 80's vintage boat was really prohibitive, and there are very few 90's and early 00's vintage Defevers on the market.

Early this year, we contacted PAE to look at a couple of 46's they had in Dana Point. Although they were a little beyond our budget, we really liked the build quality, range, and reliability. We weren't too big on the aesthetics of the 46, and our broker encouraged us to look at the 43. Although it really broke our budget plan, we could afford it, and to us, it was a no-brainer compared to the 46. We closed on the former Island Magic (hull # 4301) at the end of March, and we have been getting some refits done in Dana Point. We are planning to cruise the Tropical Blend up to Alameda at the next good weather window.

Moral of the story - be patient, be flexible, and be sure. Have a solid idea of what your cruising plans are, figure out which boats fit YOUR plans, and have some rreasonable wiggle room in your budget. And don't forget that even with a relatively turn-key boat, you'll want to make some modifications, so be prepared to make that extra investment.
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Old 05-22-2013, 12:18 PM   #13
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City: Everett Wa
Country: US
Vessel Name: Eagle
Vessel Model: Roughwater 58 pilot house
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,879
We looked until my wife said “This is the boat!” which was about 2 years, and then it took another year before we closed on the boat, because I did not like/want to buy the big ugly trawler. My advise is to let the wife/SO have 75% of the say in the boat and has the final final final OK. We still had a 5 bedroom dirt house and children living with us so the plan was to look for bigger boat. If we found a good/great deal we would buy a bigger boat, and when the children moved out to down size to a condo.

We were looking for a dock queen condo to be moored on Lake Union in the down town Seattle. We where not planning on being a live aboard it just happened, and we were not planning to cruise/leave the dock as we had 2 other boats, 28 ft and 19 ft, plus a motor home at the time. The driving factor was not boating, but a place to get away/crash. I still have no driving desire to leave the dock.
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Old 05-22-2013, 12:20 PM   #14
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City: Vashon Island, WA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Island Breeze
Vessel Model: 1974 Grand Banks 36-427
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 531
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My wife and I have worked our way into our boat after 6 years of going aboard a lot of boats every time we were near water and shopping Yachtworld almost everyday. We started with an Albin 25, a great pocket trawler, moved up to a Willard 30, another great boat and recently purchased a 36 Grand Banks Classic that will give us the room we want for guests and the space we want without guests for extended cruising. We too live on the dry side, Yakima area, and cruise the SJ's, and B.C. Coastline. I know of another member that did the Albin to Willard move, Eric "manyboats",and he is very knowledgeable about many facets of this journey. Take your time, but be ready when the right boat appears. I am a rookie even after 6 years of extended cruising. Much to learn from people on this site.

Good Luck. We are driving by Boise tomorrow on the way to Rupert for our granddaughter's High School graduation. We'll wave as we go by.
Keith Olive
1974 Grand Banks 36-427
Vashon Island, WA
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Old 05-22-2013, 03:32 PM   #15
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City: St. Catharines
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Delia Rosa
Vessel Model: C & L Sea Ranger 47 Raised Pilothouse
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 378
We had owned our sailboat - an Alberg37 -for about 10 years when we decided that we wanted to move over to powered cruising. We had spent a couple of years reading, but only started actively looking for our trawler about 5 months before we found Delia Rosa. Because of the particular requirements that were important to us, it was pretty easy to create a list of potential boats. We've owned Delia Rosa since September 2008 and haven't seen another trawler (in our price range) that we would rather have!
Susan and Dan
"Delia Rosa"
Point Breeze, N.Y.
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Old 05-22-2013, 04:15 PM   #16
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City: Austin
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Spanish Moon
Vessel Model: Roughwater 44' Pilot House
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 53
I spent five years looking at trawlers, yacht fishers, and cruisers on yachtworld, and other sites. After 3 I had pretty much narrowed my search to trawlers, and motor yachts. 2 more years of study and research finding the pros and cons o f various builders and lurking on this site and others, I finally defined the boat I wanted as being a single screw with a relatively large engine, over 40' dual stateroom, dual head, galley up. I narrowed my search to Defever, and Monk designs. And went and looked at 4 or 5 boats. One got sold out from under me, I made an offer on another one, that was rejected, and I ended up buying the first boat I had ever gone to look at.
I couldn't be happier with the way things worked out. And as it turned out, I was flagged down on the ICW last weekend by a guy that said I beat him to this boat by a week. So my advice is do your homework, get a clear idea of what you want, and once you find it, be ready to pull the trigger. My broker Mark Bowerman was a huge asset in helping to research the boats I found, and was instrumental in negotiating the final deal, helping with closing, and continues to be a source of advice long after the sale took place. As a buyer your broker will not cost you anything as all fees are paid by the seller.
Good luck
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Old 05-25-2013, 12:01 PM   #17
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 14,908
Looked at them all and decided it would be better to "roll my own".

Original plan was to purchase a Navy Utility and install a 30 ft Airstream , build a side deck and aft cockpit and be done.

After 2 years of looking LUCY was found in Boats and Harbors , a surveyor was sent to look and she was purchased (middle of winter we were in FL)

Delivery from ME to CT was in May , so the water was cool, but the breeze was on out tail.

No interior , just a head , mattress and std engine and steering stuff (ex lobster supply use) .

Works for us , tho we have simpler lifestyle than most.

For sure the air stream would have been far less work to create than to rebuild glass on ply Maineiac construction.
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Old 05-25-2013, 12:45 PM   #18
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City: Trenton
Country: USA
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 672
About 6 months when we finally decided on a trawler. Spent almost as much time looking at larger sailboats but none were what we wanted. Then we saw an MT at a boat show and started looking at them. We actually bought the first boat we looked at but not after looking at everything else within reasonable driving distance.
Al Johnson
34' Marine Trader
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Old 05-29-2013, 07:13 PM   #19
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 511
We looked for over 3 yrs. Started off in the liveaboard market as we were in the Keys and housing was out of range. So were the boats we were willing to liveaboard! After a couple of Shamrocks (still want a 17'er!). We finally bought a house when the market bottomed-luckily we'd been saving our pennies during the market&housing madness. That allowed us to still Purchase a smaller trawler. We'd narrowed our list to early Mainships and GulfStars (if we could find a rot-free specimen) and the 29 Prairie (if we could find a nice one). We travelled from S Florida to Mississippi to Jxville Fla to Key West. and EVERYwhere between.

We finally got a 34 MS III despite several maintenace issues that I've been remedying from the P.O. she gives us smiles everytime she leaves the dock!
TIME well wasted
34' Mainship III
Cape Coral, FL
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Old 05-29-2013, 07:26 PM   #20
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City: Vallejo CA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Carquinez Coot
Vessel Model: 2011 Seahorse Marine Coot hull #6
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 9,113
About two months (July and August of 2010). Quickly defined, after a couple of decades of auxiliary-motor sailboating experience, the desirable boat attributes and the budget, and finding the fitting boat.


Kar-KEEN-ez Koot
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