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Old 08-13-2015, 12:31 PM   #1
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The Merits of "Old School"

Ask and ye' shall receive!
(besides, I'm bored!)

Makobuilders commented in his thread about building his custom steel trawler:

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Maybe someone oughta' start a thread about the merits of "old school." When I bought my boat it was 35+ years old, had 50+ year old engines in her with aluminum blocks (pulled from a WW2 minesweeper) and had sailed from the Great Lakes to Hawaii, South Pacific, Australia, back and all over the western hemisphere again. All with systems not much more complicated than Robert Beebe's. No a/c, hydraulic stabilizers, etc. If it ain't onboard then it can't break!
So, how do the rest of you feel about "Old School Trawlers?"

OD
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Old 08-13-2015, 12:48 PM   #2
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This pre-dates recreational trawlers, but it pretty much defines "old school." Plus it's a great story.

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Old 08-13-2015, 01:11 PM   #3
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Old School boats are the best imho.
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Old 08-13-2015, 01:33 PM   #4
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Hi. Mako here. My original intention was to home build a steel trawler with an low-tech iron horse, minimal electricity, maximum dependability.

However, my job situation has vastly improved so I don't have time or opportunity to even think about home building, not for a long time to come. So I'm building new at a professional shipyard. That means having to go Tier 3.

Oh well, life doesn't always go the way we plan. But that doesn't mean the rest of the boat has to be high tech, just because the engine runs on electricity. My systems that I'm spec'ing right now are ultra simple.
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Old 08-13-2015, 01:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makobuilders View Post
Hi. Mako here. My original intention was to home build a steel trawler with an low-tech iron horse, minimal electricity, maximum dependability.

However, my job situation has vastly improved so I don't have time or opportunity to even think about home building, not for a long time to come. So I'm building new at a professional shipyard. That means having to go Tier 3.

Oh well, life doesn't always go the way we plan. But that doesn't mean the rest of the boat has to be high tech, just because the engine runs on electricity. My systems that I'm spec'ing right now are ultra simple.
Yeah, I read the entire thread, and saw that you were changing directions, but thought WTH? Why not see what others think about old school boats?
Besides, I thought it was a great suggestion for a thread!

I personally like an old school design, simple engines and running gear, and systems that are, well, simple!

We have 4 vehicles in our "fleet" of home transportation. Three (3) of them have modern electronics. When they work, they're WONDERFUL!!!

Economic, clean, quiet, you get the picture.
When they break, they're a nightmare
Can't diagnose them without computers and programs (that have to be updated pretty much yearly at an additional $$$), can't repair them with simple tools, bailing wire and duct tape, and cost an arm and a leg to have fixed.

OTOH, my old Landcruiser CAN be fixed pretty simply. And the Older FJ40 I had previously, was even simpler
Slower, less "creature comforts", noisier, and I'm sure less EPA friendly for sure. But I still love 'em!

Anyway, back to boats....
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Old 08-13-2015, 04:08 PM   #6
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Old 08-13-2015, 10:32 PM   #7
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Love old school boats.
Great pic Dimmer.

They don't match well w new school fuel prices. Also new school parking spaces (size), new school traffic, $70 a mo for TV, doctor visits a month out ect ect.

Re old school boats ....
The OS boats are narrower, lower, lighter, better looking, quieter, warmer, more efficient (the boats) better riding and easier to repair. "Better riding" may be questionable though. Not everyone here will agree w me of course but there are definitely advantages.

I have a 41 year old FG boat in good condition and would trade it for a 41 yr old wood boat in the same state of "good condition". I would trade grinding out fairly small blisters and filling the "divit" w epoxy for replacing some wood in the cabin or a plank in the hull. Both would take about one day every 3 years. The paint on the outside would last about 5 to 8 years only ... about exactly the same as the paint on my FG boat. Stripping it w a torch would be easier on the wood boat w a propane torch. Nasty chemicals would be necessary on the FG boat. I think if the FG v/s wood boat thing ran it's course not much real difference would be found. At least w an all wood boat inspecting the hull, decks and cabin would be 99.5 % successful and most repairs would be easier. That is if you did them yourself. A big if though as many would not feel competent replacing wood parts on a wood boat. Wouldn't be anything like grinding down a boat hull w very serious blisters or gutting a cabin and replacing the plywood backing up the weak plastic.
Bottom line is that I would accept the maint responsibility to have the pleasure of owning a good wood boat ... but not many others would.

I'd like old engines both diesel and gas .. more the latter. Diesel would be more acceptable in a FD boat. In a SD OS trawler like a 40' Monk style I'd prefer gas engines. Extremely smooth, easy to work on and quiet. Many old 6 & 8 cyl engines don't even need rubber engine mounts. Another OS thing I'd like is the tidal grids for painting bottoms or prop and shaft work for pennies instead of boat bucks.

Old school navigation is not a plus at all. The GPS is a wonderful tool I'd not like to be without. My dad did it but I wouldn't even attempt to go through Rocky Pass (in SE AK) w/o GPS. Depth sounders are wonderful too.
My mini diesel furnace I'd not like to be w/o either. I'm working on that right now.

My anchoring isn't much different than OS now. Old school would require more physical effort w bigger anchors but w bigger anchors I'd probably not drag up on the beach.

All up if cheap fuel came w it I'd do old school boating now. Going that far back only electronic nav aids would truly be missed ...... by me.
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Old 08-14-2015, 01:08 AM   #8
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I sailed on this Grand Old Lady for the last 2 years of her life. She was awfully tired, but plucky. She seemed to want to keep going. She was a real bitch to work on, though.
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Old 08-14-2015, 07:35 AM   #9
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Eric, what are these "tidal grids" you speak of ??


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Old 08-14-2015, 08:10 AM   #10
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I owned an old school trawler years ago. But when I sold my third technology company and the wife sold her company to full time with the twins old school no longer cut it.

My Duck is not old school. There are plenty of times I wish it was much dumber, but in the long run I love the it is until my kids move out so I can down size.
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Old 08-14-2015, 08:20 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manyboats View Post
I would trade grinding out fairly small blisters and filling the "divit" w epoxy for replacing some wood in the cabin or a plank in the hull. Both would take about one day every 3 years.

ROFL ... obviously never owned a big old wooden boat.
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Old 08-14-2015, 08:41 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manyboats
I would trade grinding out fairly small blisters and filling the "divit" w epoxy for replacing some wood in the cabin or a plank in the hull. Both would take about one day every 3 years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RickB View Post
ROFL ... obviously never owned a big old wooden boat.
Or one that was in super-immaculate condition!

Different years during 60's early 70's, in my teens/young-20's... under the guidance of and working with high caliber shipwrights, I worked in New England boat yards on old wooden boats. I also worked (a lot) with my dad from grade school up on his wooden boats.

Whole lot more than one day in three years effort was required to keep most woodies in good condition.
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Old 08-14-2015, 08:43 AM   #13
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A lot of boats are simple if you break the systems down. The complication comes in how many systems people put or have on their boats and the general lack of understanding/troubleshooting ability when it breaks. I remember when we had an old Chris Craft gasser. The head leaked a little salt water when you flushed it, no big deal. No refrigerator just an ice box and a cold water hand pump.

Old school boats are almost camping and nothing we want to do anymore.
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Old 08-14-2015, 01:55 PM   #14
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Larry,
That's much of what I was trying to say but could'nt get my finger on it. Very very well said. It was a simpler place in the way of things. We have an ice box in Willy. There's a world of difference between a small ice box and a large one. Ours hangs in there for about four days.

Forklift,
I could show you a picture but my i-mac has crashed and I have few pics on this i-pad. It's a platform of heavy timbers like huge roof trusses. They are placed in harbors a bit below mid tide level. One motors a boat over the timbers at high tide and ties it to the shore side pilings. The boat should list a wee bit to shore and the pilings and be tied of secure so as not to fall over on it's side. The tide goes out and leaves the boat "out" of the water for painting, shaft pr prop work.

Perhaps someone else will post a picture. People mostly painted their boat bottoms on the grids and the greenies put an end to it because of the nasty stuff that is/was in AF paints. There is a grid in Comox BC now. But most all are gone. Sad.
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Old 08-14-2015, 02:14 PM   #15
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Here is a shot I took on one of our SE Alaska trips of a couple of salmon trollers on a tidal grid in Wrangell.

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Old 08-14-2015, 02:23 PM   #16
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While we would never own a wood boat in a million years, the first shot is an "old school" boat I really like the look of. The second and third photos are of a boat that is not nearly as "old school" as it looks.

As for larger "old school boats," the last photo is one of my favorites. Union Steamship Company's Cheslakee at Powell River, BC in 1912.
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Old 08-14-2015, 04:15 PM   #17
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I like the looks of the "stretched trawler" Polaris, presently a research vessel that plies the San Francisco estuary. Some will appreciate its narrow beam and its extended fore and boat decks.



http://sfbay.wr.usgs.gov/access/wqda...e/polaris.html
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Old 08-14-2015, 04:40 PM   #18
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In the late 70's, two partners and I bought and rebuilt classic wooden motoryachts in SE North Carolina-5 Trunpys-57' to 85', in 6 years. In some respects I agree with Eric. While we had several absolutely massive rebuild projects, 4 were primarily update and cosmetic. IMHO-wood boats can and will last just as long as FRP boats if the maintenance is done timely and consistently. I was lucky enough to work in an area with some really great, old time marine woodworkers who were very willing to share their secrets. However, if you get behind on the maintenance, the cost multiplies much more quickly with a wooden boat. If you like varnishing, there is a charm and elegance to the classic wooden boats that cannot be duplicated in an FRP boat. As an aside, we found that the single most expensive task on the boats we did was painting. Unlike an FRP hull, which generally need not be painted, it is a very expensive, very time consuming task to bring a wooden hull to a real yacht finish condition. The last boat we did, an 85' Trumpy Cockpit MY, a truly beautiful boat, the guy that bought it from us had it repainted by Bob Roscioli in Fla. Roscioli did a magnificent job on it, Awlgrip, but even in 1980, it cost $115,000 for the paint job.
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Old 08-14-2015, 06:52 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Here is a shot I took on one of our SE Alaska trips of a couple of salmon trollers on a tidal grid in Wrangell.

Attachment 43152

Thanks guys for the info. That sure looks to be a lot less maintenance than a Travel Lift!


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Old 08-14-2015, 08:31 PM   #20
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Thanks guys for the info. That sure looks to be a lot less maintenance than a Travel Lift!
✌️
While the tidal range in these waters and on up north make them viable the downside is that you have to do your work in "spurts" during low water. A lot of tasks can be accomplished in this time, of course, and usually the tidal grids allowed for two or three days of use at a time per boat.

They do require some understanding and experience to use, however, because if the boat is not balanced properly it can fall over on its side when the tide goes out. So the boats are always positioned to lean into the pier a bit and they are tied to the pier to make sure they don't get tipped outboard.

However..... most if not all the tidal grids in Puget Sound have been closed for environmental reasons. Our harbor had a nice big one, but even back in 1998 when we became tenants of the marina the grid had been permanently closed for environmental reasons even though it was physically in great shape. It was finally torn out a few years ago.

The reasoning is that scraping boat bottoms and doing other jobs puts stuff on the bottom under the boat that more and more harbors, cities, counties, and states don't want there. I believe that grids are still being used in BC and SE Alaska but if so I suspect they are living on borrowed time.
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