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Old 05-15-2017, 09:07 AM   #1
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How seaworthy are early 80's trawler yachts

I am thinking of buying an early/mid 80's trawler such as a Marine Trader 38 or 44 for cruising in the Caribbean. Taking her from Florida to the Bahamas seems to be doable (have seen it on Youtube by Tula's endless summer) but can I go further? How do the Taiwanese production trawlers handle a blow and heavier seas? Currently I am sailing a 34 ft Beneteau sailing yacht but the liveable space of a trawler yacht appeals to me.

I am grateful for any comments.

Cheers Lars
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:32 AM   #2
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Greetings,
Mr. LK. Welcome aboard, if I've missed you. As has been mentioned many, many times, any vessel will usually take more than the crew. That being said, "seaworthy" is a very vague term. Watch the weather, pick your time for making passages and enjoy the Caribbean. As a general statement I think I can say that sailing vessels are better suited for snotty weather than power vessels simply by virtue of their design but as you note, "stinkpots" have more livable space. Apples and oranges...
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:33 AM   #3
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If the seaworthyness is very important I'd be think'in about sailboats.
So much more easily driven than trawlers they get by w much smaller engines. When I repowered the 36hp Perkins that I took out got sold to a man w a 40' sailboat.
And sailboats having sail have built in stabilizers. Sure the boat heels but dosn't roll. Should be much more comfortable. And there's the built in "get home" ... sails.
I think someone said there are many many more sailboats down there and the above is some of the reasons.
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:38 AM   #4
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You'll do fine if you pick your weather windows although I'd go with the 44'. The Caribbean can be a pain in the winter because of the prevailing wind and sea direction. That's one of the reasons you don't see many power boats less than 50' in relation to the number of sailboats.
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:38 AM   #5
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I agree sail boats are generally more stable than power. Keel, rig, hull form and sails reduce reaction to sea surface . Wind in sails adds greatly to feeling of stability.
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:41 AM   #6
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Just like sailboats, there are trawlers that are blue water boats and there are boats that are coastal cruisers. Most of the Taiwanese Tubs of the 80's are coastal cruisers.
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:49 AM   #7
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Best to confine a boat to waters it's designed for. Best to confine a crew similarly. That opined, you should not resist the opportunity to stretch your experience and skill set.

Pay attention to the differences in appearance between serious ocean-going craft and recreational boats. Glass area and size are good clues. Freeing ports (larger scuppers, some with doors) are too.

Of course, the most important element is the crew. Some folks get away with anything that floats and go anywhere. But folks are much more likely to succeed w/o undue adventure and enjoy the trip if they choose their passages and their weather, and have their craft in good shape.
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Old 05-15-2017, 01:26 PM   #8
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Storm cover can help with the big TT windows , but the scantlings are far below ocean rated vessels.

Look for a Euro A rated boat and you will have a better start,

although some folks with super care have gone offshore in a TT.

The built for offshore boat is about 300% more expensive than the usual lakes and bays boat and carries many handy caps for coastal work.

Bigger tanks tighter spaces , but the US dollar is still fairly high /.

If you can find a stranded boat , a Euro A in the USA that is still untouched , the hard to use in the US , Euro 240v electric system , you might find a deal.

I would look in the "dreams over" places like Panama or Trinidad.
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Old 05-15-2017, 02:56 PM   #9
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I come from a sailing background and I have to say that my TT is not something I would be comfortable taking in the open ocean for a long passage. When I take a wave head on, I have a lot of fun. But with a following or beam sea, the fun stops. They have a high centre of gravity and are just not meant to take a beating like sailboats are. But then again, some people will cross the Atlantic on a row boat...
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Old 11-19-2017, 02:32 PM   #10
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Smile Been there, done that

Previous comments seem relevent. My wife and I spent 15 years living aboard 2 sailboats in all parts of the Caribbean. Then 6 years ago we found our aging bodies wanted more comfort and space so we bought a 44 ft Marine Trader Sundeck, built in1985, in Jacksonville. A wonderful coastal boat for Florida waters but we wanted to return to the windward/leeward islands. St Martin and Martinique being out favorite haunts. Spending months at a time at anchor and not travelling a great deal. We took a year to fit Paradox ll out for such living. Solar panels, wind generator, large house battery bank, 90 lb. Rocna anchor, 220 ft 3/8 ths chain, led lighting, gutters around sundeck top for a rain catch, added foot pumps to sinks, had fuel tanks cleaned, painted out some exterior varnish work, removed teak decks from main deck, sunshades around after deck, fabricated and mounted a dinghy lift at transom and some other things I may have forgotten.
We had made the voyage from Panama to Florida along Central America and twice from Florida to the Windward/leewards on our sailboats. Now it was time for a trawler and we faithfully followed the advice in Passages South. We patiently waited for weather windows including a month at Rum Cay and a month at Luperon in the DR. Took our time through Puerto Rico, Culebra, U.S. and British Virgin Islands. Roughly 15 months to St. Martin.
This is our 5th year now in the islands. Several times back and forth to the Grenadines and St Martin. Just now arrived in Martinique from the summer in Grenada.
So, to answer the question, yes it can be done safely if you watch the weather, have time and patience. Is it always comfortable, no! The tradewinds and swell tend to be abeam when transiting between the islands down here, and that is not helpful. If you want to move between islands regularly a sailboat is a better choice. The other option is a trawler with stabilizers. Either fins or trawls. We have done the travelling and have been happy staying in our favorite anchorages. Here in Ste Anne are 100+ boats and only 2 of us are trawlers! Think of us as floating condos! Spacious, comfortable, and moveable. But tender!
Can you move in less than desireable weather? Yes, but it will be uncomfortable. You can reduce speed and change course, sometimes crabbing across open water, letting her make a lot of leeway, at a slow speed, drifting towards your destination.
Final comment... I saw a 44ft Defever with stabilizers for sale. A good choice, but she had some other less desireable features and was more expensive. There is a 42 ft trawler with added trawls they said made a great difference, down here. If you can afford a real Passagemaker it is a better choice.
We have been happy with Paradox ll as she has done what we have wanted to do. After 21 years in the islands though, we are ready to move ashore and she is for sale. (Apollo Duck and Yachtworld) Hope our experiences and opinions are of help to anyone wanting this lifestyle.
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Old 11-20-2017, 07:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donsan View Post
. Most of the Taiwanese Tubs of the 80's are coastal cruisers.
Having one such tub, I agree. A coastal cruiser in good weather.
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Old 11-20-2017, 09:42 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Capt. Steve View Post
Previous comments seem relevent. My wife and I spent 15 years living aboard 2 sailboats in all parts of the Caribbean. Then 6 years ago we found our aging bodies wanted more comfort and space so we bought a 44 ft Marine Trader Sundeck, built in1985, in Jacksonville. A wonderful coastal boat for Florida waters but we wanted to return to the windward/leeward islands. St Martin and Martinique being out favorite haunts. Spending months at a time at anchor and not travelling a great deal. We took a year to fit Paradox ll out for such living. Solar panels, wind generator, large house battery bank, 90 lb. Rocna anchor, 220 ft 3/8 ths chain, led lighting, gutters around sundeck top for a rain catch, added foot pumps to sinks, had fuel tanks cleaned, painted out some exterior varnish work, removed teak decks from main deck, sunshades around after deck, fabricated and mounted a dinghy lift at transom and some other things I may have forgotten.

We had made the voyage from Panama to Florida along Central America and twice from Florida to the Windward/leewards on our sailboats. Now it was time for a trawler and we faithfully followed the advice in Passages South. We patiently waited for weather windows including a month at Rum Cay and a month at Luperon in the DR. Took our time through Puerto Rico, Culebra, U.S. and British Virgin Islands. Roughly 15 months to St. Martin.

This is our 5th year now in the islands. Several times back and forth to the Grenadines and St Martin. Just now arrived in Martinique from the summer in Grenada.

So, to answer the question, yes it can be done safely if you watch the weather, have time and patience. Is it always comfortable, no! The tradewinds and swell tend to be abeam when transiting between the islands down here, and that is not helpful. If you want to move between islands regularly a sailboat is a better choice. The other option is a trawler with stabilizers. Either fins or trawls. We have done the travelling and have been happy staying in our favorite anchorages. Here in Ste Anne are 100+ boats and only 2 of us are trawlers! Think of us as floating condos! Spacious, comfortable, and moveable. But tender!

Can you move in less than desireable weather? Yes, but it will be uncomfortable. You can reduce speed and change course, sometimes crabbing across open water, letting her make a lot of leeway, at a slow speed, drifting towards your destination.

Final comment... I saw a 44ft Defever with stabilizers for sale. A good choice, but she had some other less desireable features and was more expensive. There is a 42 ft trawler with added trawls they said made a great difference, down here. If you can afford a real Passagemaker it is a better choice.

We have been happy with Paradox ll as she has done what we have wanted to do. After 21 years in the islands though, we are ready to move ashore and she is for sale. (Apollo Duck and Yachtworld) Hope our experiences and opinions are of help to anyone wanting this lifestyle.

This is a great first hand explanation of how the Caribbean can be done on an older TT. I see that question asked often on TF, but it seems very few have actually tried it in a TT (excluding the Krogen 42, but that’s a different boat altogether IMO).

However, I note that Capt Steve seems to be a very experienced Caribbean sailor who knew what to expect, and he outfitted the boat extensively for the journey. That’s a lot different that someone like me casting off to the Caribbean in an old TT.
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Old 11-20-2017, 10:07 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Capt. Steve View Post
We have been happy with Paradox ll as she has done what we have wanted to do. After 21 years in the islands though, we are ready to move ashore and she is for sale. (Apollo Duck and Yachtworld) Hope our experiences and opinions are of help to anyone wanting this lifestyle.
Just to let you know, for some reason, Yachtworld is not permitting reviewing your boat.
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Old 11-20-2017, 10:32 AM   #14
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I'm able to view it here: 1985 Marine Trader Sundeck 44 Power Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

Or here: http://stlucia.boatshed.com/marine_t...at-243105.html

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Old 11-20-2017, 10:58 AM   #15
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Hmmm. Thought it was the one listed in Grenada. That one doesn't display.
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Old 11-20-2017, 11:00 AM   #16
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Very nice boat. As for being tender, if I read the owner’s description correctly, I wonder if that could be related to displacement? I don’t see displacement listed for this craft but other Marine Trader 44s of this era seem to be about 23,000 lbs. That seems a bit light to me for a displacement hull. By comparison, a Defever 44 of similar age is 44,000 lbs dry and I would not describe ours as tender. Not saying one boat is better; just trying to understand the “tender” comment and whether greater displacement would make a difference.
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Old 11-20-2017, 11:07 AM   #17
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Very nice boat. As for being tender, if I read the owner’s description correctly, I wonder if that could be related to displacement? I don’t see displacement listed for this craft but other Marine Trader 44s of this era seem to be about 23,000 lbs. That seems a bit light to me for a displacement hull. By comparison, a Defever 44 of similar age is 44,000 lbs dry and I would not describe ours as tender. Not saying one boat is better; just trying to understand the “tender” comment and whether greater displacement would make a difference.
My C&L 44 comes from the same hull. My exhaust ports exit just a above the waterline, as do the exhausts on the Paradox II. My Swimgrid is the same distance above the water. I doubt there is much difference in weight from my 44,000 lb, as reported from the Travellift scales.
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