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Old 01-03-2019, 01:41 PM   #1
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My New Tiny Trawler

My Tiny Trawler

Many of you saw and some responded to my earlier post "Gonna Buy a Trailerable Trawler". So I bought one and have taken it on several overnight cruises. I call it a tiny trawler because it is the smallest I would consider to have the minimal basics for short term overnight cruising, even smaller than the "pocket trawlers" like the Rosborough 246.

The following are my observations. Sorry about the length, but there is a lot to say and it will be worthwhile reading for anyone considering a small trawler that can be easily trailered.

My new boat is a downeast style, Atlas Boat Works Pompano 23, powered with a 70 hp Yamaha outboard. Its cruising features are very limited: a small cuddy cabin V-Berth, a 6 gallon water tank with hand pump into a tiny sink, a porta potti, no shower and no galley or refrigeration. It weighs about 3,500 lbs sitting on its trailer so it can be towed by any mid to full size SUV. There are pics in the subsequent posts.

Performance

The 70 hp Yamaha will top out at about 20 mph and it cruises nicely at 15 mph where it burns about 4 gph. At that speed it handles seas up to 2-3 feet after which you need to slow down or stay in port.

My Cruising Grounds

I live in Punta Gorda, Florida where I keep the boat at a slip at our condo which connects to Charlotte Harbor. This is really a bay about 25 miles long and 3-5 miles wide. I usually head south down Charlotte Harbor and anchor out at places like Pelican Bay and Cayo Costa state park which is about 20 miles away. I never plan to go more than 20-40 miles from home.

Navigation, steering and no autopilot

The boat has a small Garmin chartplotter mounted at the helm, maybe 5" diagonal which works ok. I supplement it with my iPad running AquaMap which lets me scroll forward to see what's ahead and zoom in. I don't carry any paper charts. I figure I can get home from almost anywhere by following the bouys and my memory if both of those and my iPhone fail.

Steering is cable, which I wish were hydraulic but the cable works fine. No autopilot. If I were going further than 20-40 miles I might think about an autopilot but hand steering for a couple of hours is ok. The only thing that an autopilot would help with is when I am underway and work the chartplotter or iPad. It is hard to keep on course while distracted.

Anchoring

I have about 20' of chain followed by 100' of nylon attached to a 10# Danforth. I never anchor in any water deeper than 10' so the final weight I have to pull up is about 25# so I have no windlass and don't want one. A pair of gloves is all I need.

Actually anchoring is really easy. I have dropped anchor, hung out, raised the anchor and gone into a fish house for dinner or a bar while tied up at their dock, then headed out into the anchorage for the night.

BTW, the 2' draft of this boat lets me go to some interesting places that I could have never considered with my prior trawlers or sailboats.

Dinghy storage and use


Given its small size there are a few places I go where I can just pull the boat in and tie up to go to shore, so no dinghy required. A few of these are Boca Grande's public boat slips near the Pink Elephant (as well as the PE's own slips) and Bert's Bar at Matlacha.

But in some cases I do need a dinghy to get ashore and I also want to use the dinghy for fishing. I just got back from Cayo Costa State Park where my 25 YO roll up dinghy turned out to be too much work to blow up, too bulky to launch and I almost fell overboard with the O/B motor while loading it on. So forget a dinghy for that size boat. I will look for a short kayak or maybe a purpose built fishing boat to serve this need. No more outboard and heavy/bulky dinghy for me.

Pilothouse/Cabin Length

My boat has a very short pilothouse, just enough length to cover the two helm seats. See the pic of the helm seats below. The other boat I looked hard at was the C-Dory 22 which has a much longer cabin which includes a dinette and a galley behind the single helm seat (although newer models have a flippable companion seat). I liked the layout at first but then thought that all of my time would be spent in the open cockpit under the bimini, not in a cabin particularly here in sunny SW Florida. That is when the benefits of the Pompano 23's long open cockpit and limited pilot house jumped out at me. See pic of the helm position looking forward on the next post.

Pilothouse Sides- hard vs soft


This boat has a short pilothouse with just small corner side windows. Others like my neighbor's boat have full fiberglass sides. Mine has canvas panels I can put up when needed. That works well for me. Only once in several cruises did I need some spray protection while heading into 2' seas with the wind coming in from starboard. In that case I put up the canvas on the starboard, helm side to block the spray. I like the benefits of an open pilot house which also makes it easy to go forward from the port side just by stepping around the passenger seat (the helm and throttle blocks going from the starboard).

Cooking on Board

I have a round Magna propane grill mounted on the bimini frame, a one burner Coleman stove, a skillet and a coffee pot. With those set up in the cockpit I usually grill a burger at night, brew some coffee in the morning and heat up a pastry for breakfast. Just like we do while camping- no multi pot meals. It would get boring for more than a few days, but for one or two overnights it works. The little water tank and sink let me wash up everything.

Showering

So far I have only been out one night overnight, but if more (and probably never more than two) I have a solar shower that I will use. I have done that many times before and you might be surprised how you can get clean with just 1-2 gallons of water.

Sanitation

Ok, here goes the unpleasant part. I have never had to use the porta potti for one overnighter- my body seems to know and shuts that part down. Just over the side like every male cruiser. My wife refuses to consider the porta potti so she doesn't go with me overnight. A more adventuresome couple could deal with the porta potti ok- it is down below between the Vs and there is a hard door to the cuddy cabin for good privacy. But midnight pees will take some accomodation from her partner.

Bimini Design and Use

My dermatologist convinced me years ago to stay out of the sun so a bimini is essential. Mine folds forward and can be folded up in about a minute which opens up the aft cockpit for easy fishing. My neighbor's bimini who has the same boat folds aft which really blocks fishing. The supports on mine are mounted further forward than his which makes it hard to get in and out at the dock or go forard to pull up the anchor. Everything is a compromise so consider what is important for you when specing a bimini.

At 7' beam the afternoon sun easily gets underneath the bimini so I have a 9'x7' nylon beach blanket that I tie up on the sunny side to give me some shade.

So there you have it, some of the things that work for me and compromises I have to make to stay overnight reasonably comfortably on a 23' tiny trawler. I can probably go for two overnights ok, but any longer I would want a bigger boat with more systems that make life easier.

It generally takes at least 25' to begin to get the things that would make longer trips and stays possible. The 25' C-Dory, Atlas Acadia 25, Rosboroughs, etc all have enclosed head and showers, a real galley and some with DC refrigeration. That is what it would take for me to go more than 1-2 days overnight. But they are lots heavier and would take a full size pickup or big SUV to tow them safely.

But so far the Atlas Pompano 23 does exactly what I need it to do.

David
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Old 01-03-2019, 01:52 PM   #2
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Tiny Trawler at Anchor

At anchor:
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Old 01-03-2019, 01:56 PM   #3
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Helm position looking forward

Helm position looking forward:
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Old 01-03-2019, 02:02 PM   #4
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Looking aft

Looking aft with dinghy in background and bbq on bimini pole:
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Old 01-03-2019, 02:36 PM   #5
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I like the bow pic...has almost a "Cuttyhunk bass boat " look to it.
Enjoy!
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Old 01-03-2019, 02:36 PM   #6
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That's really cool. Congrats!



My wife and I had countless awesome cruising adventures aboard our 25' cuddy by towing it to new cruising areas and exploring for up to 17 days at a time. Don't automatically limit yourself to overnights, I bet with a bit of planning, 5+ day cruises would be a breeze. If you feel like a fun road trip/awesome cruise, 1000 Islands and the Rideau Canal are ideal for a boat like that. You can launch and park for free in Clayton, NY and explore from there. It's beautiful there in the Summer, when FL is too hot...
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Old 01-03-2019, 02:46 PM   #7
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Well David, nice looking boat and as has been said here many times, it's how you use it that counts to what you need. We had a 23 Aquasport walkaround with a full enclosure and although not a trawler had many of the same features as yours and it suited us at the time. Now that we are both retired and spend weeks on the boat at a time, needs have changed. Happy boating
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Old 01-03-2019, 02:52 PM   #8
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nice looking boat , well built and should give many years of service ,as for the bathroom facilities, you might consider a fixed mount head with build in hold tank on bottom and route a pumpout hose , not sure how your particular placement is but these can be no larger than the take out types Sealand makes a nice unit you might checkout cause when ya need it ya need it
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Old 01-03-2019, 04:30 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by vesselislandgirl View Post
nice looking boat , well built and should give many years of service ,as for the bathroom facilities, you might consider a fixed mount head with build in hold tank on bottom and route a pumpout hose , not sure how your particular placement is but these can be no larger than the take out types Sealand makes a nice unit you might checkout cause when ya need it ya need it

I thought about that, but the only place for a holding tank is in the bow chain locker, so maybe 5+ gallons worth- five flushes. That just isn't worth the weight, a thru hull or two (the boat has none now), plumbing and the pain of pumping out. The port potti actually sounds easier.


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Old 01-03-2019, 04:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mischief Managed View Post
My wife and I had countless awesome cruising adventures aboard our 25' cuddy by towing it to new cruising areas and exploring for up to 17 days at a time. Don't automatically limit yourself to overnights, I bet with a bit of planning, 5+ day cruises would be a breeze. If you feel like a fun road trip/awesome cruise, 1000 Islands and the Rideau Canal are ideal for a boat like that. You can launch and park for free in Clayton, NY and explore from there. It's beautiful there in the Summer, when FL is too hot...
We leave the boat in a storage yard in Florida for the summer and head back to our summer home in NW Connecticut where we are in to camping throughout the NE in our 20' travel trailer as well as trips to Martha's Vinyard and Nantucket.

My wife is more fond of the NE but I like SW Florida just as well in the winter months. Our condo in Punta Gorda has reverse cycle heat but I have never used it .

David
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Old 01-03-2019, 04:46 PM   #11
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We leave the boat in a storage yard in Florida for the summer and head back to our summer home in NW Connecticut where we are in to camping throughout the NE in our 20' travel trailer as well as trips to Martha's Vinyard and Nantucket.

David

Nice! We took our cuddy to Martha's Vineyard a few months ago, had a great time there. Ever bring your camper to Pawtuckaway State Park in NH? We live withing walking distance of it. Beautiful park.
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Old 01-03-2019, 04:54 PM   #12
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I thought about that, but the only place for a holding tank is in the bow chain locker, so maybe 5+ gallons worth- five flushes. That just isn't worth the weight, a thru hull or two (the boat has none now), plumbing and the pain of pumping out. The port potti actually sounds easier.


David

Our cuddy had a porta-potti with a pump out. Worked really well for us for the last 13 years. There was never any trepidation about using it and no regrets. It did exactly what it was supposed to do, did not stink, and was easy to deal with.
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Old 01-03-2019, 05:03 PM   #13
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The one i was thinking doesn't need any through hulls or a holding tank , such as the Thetford Porta Potti 365 Marine Toilet , i had that one in a boat , its great for casual use while it didn't have the capacity for extended it will get the admiral to stay on over night.
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Old 01-03-2019, 05:27 PM   #14
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Nice! We took our cuddy to Martha's Vineyard a few months ago, had a great time there. Ever bring your camper to Pawtuckaway State Park in NH? We live withing walking distance of it. Beautiful park.

We have camped in USFS campgrounds along the Kancamagus Hwy on the way to Maine, but not in that area. Will have to give it a try.


Thanks,

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Old 01-03-2019, 05:30 PM   #15
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The one i was thinking doesn't need any through hulls or a holding tank , such as the Thetford Porta Potti 365 Marine Toilet , i had that one in a boat , its great for casual use while it didn't have the capacity for extended it will get the admiral to stay on over night.

I think that is the one I have on the boat now. You do have to remove the bottom and dump the contents in a toilet. Since this will undoubtably be my job, I don't know why my wife is so squeamish about it. Looks like it operates the same as any marine or RV toilet until you have to dump it.


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Old 01-03-2019, 05:36 PM   #16
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mine had a pumpout kit you could install on it and i had a deck fitting
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Old 01-03-2019, 06:27 PM   #17
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mine had a pumpout kit you could install on it and i had a deck fitting

Ahh! So with this kit you could suck the contents of the toilet tank out with a pump out vacuum from the deck just like a conventional holding tank. Will have to look into that.


But to my wife it will always be a porta potti



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Old 01-03-2019, 06:30 PM   #18
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found it https://www.jamestowndistributors.co...t.do?pid=12693
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Old 01-03-2019, 06:37 PM   #19
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That's the one in my cuddy too.
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Old 01-03-2019, 06:47 PM   #20
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I have a C-Dory 22. The longest we've been on it is 13 days/nights. A lot of nights were spent in marinas so this reduced the stress on the porta-potti. Although even then, the porta-potti was often used at night to avoid the hike to the marina restroom. A porta-potti can be dumped in any toilet. A dedicated pumpout station is not required. On the ICW or on inland waters, pump-outs are not that prevalent.

Also, a porta-potti can be moved about the boat as required. If we are anchored out, the porta-potti is in the cockpit. If we are in a marina or during inclement nights, the porta-potti can be moved to the aft part of the cabin (instead of under the berth).

Having a partner that has no concerns about using a porta-potti is priceless.

There is no on-board toilet system that has lower maintenance requirements than a porta-potti.
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