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Old 08-08-2013, 06:01 PM   #1
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Key characteristics for trawler cruising

Hi all in trawler land, I am new to this site and have no boat (yet), but looking hard. In my ignorance I have selected a some key points that my dream boat should have and the rational behind it. Any suggestions from experienced old salts and cruisers would be appreciated.

1) Twin diesel; Diesel of course but twins for backup and extra power when needed, for instance in headwind or against current. Is this really a benefit or twice the hassle?
2) High, solid gunwales for kid / pet safety
3) Length under 42' for ease of handling / mooring. We will be traveling with the two of us and with one person at the helm there is not much crew to go around.
4) Engine hours under 2000. Anybody has a feel what typical diesel engines could do?

Of course the boat should have received good care and maintenance from previous owner(s).
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Old 08-08-2013, 06:30 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by ericpaauwe View Post
Hi all in trawler land, I am new to this site and have no boat (yet), but looking hard. In my ignorance I have selected a some key points that my dream boat should have and the rational behind it. Any suggestions from experienced old salts and cruisers would be appreciated.

1) Twin diesel; Diesel of course but twins for backup and extra power when needed, for instance in headwind or against current. Is this really a benefit or twice the hassle?
2) High, solid gunwales for kid / pet safety
3) Length under 42' for ease of handling / mooring. We will be traveling with the two of us and with one person at the helm there is not much crew to go around.
4) Engine hours under 2000. Anybody has a feel what typical diesel engines could do?

Of course the boat should have received good care and maintenance from previous owner(s).
TWIN DIESELS. Let us not go there. There be dragons. That said, I like twins.
HIGH, SOLID GUNWALES: If you have kids, pets, a good point. But nets do the same thing. So should not be an important issue.
LENGTH <42'. Personally, I think 40' is fine. Others may disagree.
ENGINE HOURS < 2000. The old slow RPM diesels will do a lot more than that. Higher RPM brings a price with it. But yeah, for the older engines that is a good working figure.

And good care and maintenance from the previous owner? Well, just speaking generally, yes. But people sell a boat for a reason, and that reason is hardly ever "This boat is so good that I am bored." You buy a used boat, you save money. You also have to be careful.

Right now is a good time to buy a used boat. There are lots of bargains out there. There is also a lot of crap (please pardon the language) out there. You can get some good advice on this forum.

And remember . . . do not be in a rush.

John
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Old 08-08-2013, 06:46 PM   #3
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Welcome aboard to the best site on the net! The best advice we were ever given was "Don't buy the biggest boat you can afford, buy the smallest you can live on". Along with that, seriously look at your want list, and separate wants from needs. All boats are a compromise, and everyone has a different economic basis. Do you and your mate have the skills and time to refurbish/upgrade an older boat? You can get more boat for the bucks if you do. If not, you'd be better off spending more for something in better condition to start with. But every boat will need something, and you'll want to change things to fit your situation. Another adage we try to follow is "Go slow like a pro". Whether it is maneuvering or purchasing, it's sound advice. Enjoy the quest!
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Old 08-09-2013, 07:06 PM   #4
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You have lots of fun ahead and the questions you ask are good ones.
1.twin diesels; Our first trawler (1984 Grand Banks 36) had a single diesel. It handled everything the seas threw at us including a trip from CT to FL. Reliability was never an issue. Fuel economy was fantastic. Diesels are very reliable engines and ask only for routine maintenance such as regular oil changes and filters etc., clean fuel, and a good air supply. Most commercial fishing vessels up to and over 50' rely on a single diesel. I know, they need the space for fish storage and need the economy but reliability trumps all of that.

Our second, and current trawler is a Grand Banks 46' Europa with twin Cat diesels. They require all the same care at double the expense. True, they offer great maneuverability, a turn of speed and a hefty dip into the ole wallet at the fuel dock.

Which would I chose? I would chose the boat in the best condition that my budget can afford and I wouldn't give a hoot if it was a single or twin.. IMHO

2. Yes to high bulwarks for safety. We cruise with 2 dogs, no grand kids yet, and find the high bulwarks a great safety factor. Solid handrails and a walk around deck are key to us for safety and line handling.

3. We live and cruise on a 46' GB. I am of average stature and going on 72 years old. My wife is barely 5' and won't let me share her age. We have absolutely no difficulty handling this boat. We travel the ICW regularly and deal with anchoring, mooring, locking and docking with no issues whatsoever. Pick the size that suits your planned boating lifestyle. If you plan to go full time bigger is more comfortable. Just traveling for a week or two, it probably doesn't matter.

4. Engine hours on a diesel are very subjective. A diesel running at trawler speeds should not need a major overhaul for at least 10,000 hours with reasonable maintenance. I would be careful of any boat that averages less than 100 hours a year. Fastest way to kill a diesel is not to use it. Friends in the live aboard community are routinely running boats with 6 to 8 thousand hours on their engines without major issues. We currently average 600 - 700 hours per year on our boat.

Well, I started to write a short comment and probably took it to far, but that's how it looks from here. Good luck in your search--make it fun and don't stress to much. Ciao
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Old 08-09-2013, 07:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericpaauwe View Post
Hi all in trawler land, I am new to this site and have no boat (yet), but looking hard. In my ignorance I have selected a some key points that my dream boat should have and the rational behind it. Any suggestions from experienced old salts and cruisers would be appreciated.

1) Twin diesel; Diesel of course but twins for backup and extra power when needed, for instance in headwind or against current. Is this really a benefit or twice the hassle?
2) High, solid gunwales for kid / pet safety
3) Length under 42' for ease of handling / mooring. We will be traveling with the two of us and with one person at the helm there is not much crew to go around.
4) Engine hours under 2000. Anybody has a feel what typical diesel engines could do?

Of course the boat should have received good care and maintenance from previous owner(s).
Without knowing where and how you plan on using it...giving advice is a little "hard".

Size for a weekender, annual cruiser, looper or liveaboard whether user or not all factor in.

If in remote areas, twins make a lot of sense....doing the ICW between New England and Florida every year...an assistance towing policy is a lot cheaper than a second engine.....still boils down to preference...but I agree that places like Maine and north or the pacific cruising could warrant the second engine for peace of mind.

High gunnels are really never a bad idea...unless you specifically don't want them or seakeeping they may retain water if poorly designed.

Size depends on too much and layout can offset size to a point.

2000 hours on most diesels is low...but the advice on low time engines is true...ones that sit usually have small issues but probably not issues requiring a rebuild.

Read a lot more...ask a lot more...visit marinas a lot more...and talk to several of each type user. Try to talk to liveaboards, weekenders and users in between....you'll see great variations in thought...especially between those that put thousands of miles under their keels every year versus the cruisers on a short leash.
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Old 08-09-2013, 08:03 PM   #6
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We plan on doing the loop in stages leaving the boat in various places along the way to get back home.
What is the extend of a typical 'rebuild' as this is often mentioned.
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:44 PM   #7
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Eric,
#3 is valid.

#1 You don't need extra power. 20% over whats needed to cruise just so you don't overwork the engines. Underloading is a much more likely occurrence.
#2 There are many more elements of safety that may be more important. For example the safety of the whole boat or slick decks.
#4 If I saw a boat w lots of hours and no idle periods w good records I'd take it over a low hour boat anytime.
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Old 08-10-2013, 06:07 AM   #8
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What is the extend of a typical 'rebuild' as this is often mentioned.

Rebuild is usually a nonsense word like Hi Fi.in most boating situations.

In a genuine rebuild the engine will be removed , tank boiled to remove internal gunk, fluxed to find flaws in the block , rebored to align the crank alley with the cylinders and the crank and camshaft will be fluxed and straightened , the cam reground if needed.

An industrial engine will have new cylinders and pistons and wrist pins , the con rods will be straightened and trued. Balance is worth the extra bucks IF you know the desired RPM for most operation.

The cylinder head (s) will also be rebuilt , checked for true and new valve guides , seats and springs installed.

AN inframe is when the engine is lifted or left inplace and new cylinders and crank bearings are installed after careful measurement of the existing parts.Cylinder head is sent out , to an unknown standard.

Rebuilt to many boat yards is a new gasket or two to stop big leaks , and a spray can of the engine mfg color paint.
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