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Old 01-04-2014, 05:33 PM   #1
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I have always loved the idea of sea travel. Although I live in the Midwest I grew up on the West Coast. It's one of my dreams to own a modest trawler and travel at my leisure. As a complete newby, I know I have to start somewhere. I would like some suggestions of reading material--books, magazines, documentaries, movies--that would allow me to expand my knowledge. My hope is that when I begin to make the first steps toward purchasing/traveling that I am well informed. What suggestions would you have?
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Old 01-04-2014, 05:43 PM   #2
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What suggestions would you have?

Just stay on this Forum and read stuff, absorb stuff, reject the nonsense, and you will find to your surprise after a few months that you know a heck of a lot about trawlers. Oh, and if a subject comes up that you have some expertise about, contribute!
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Old 01-04-2014, 05:45 PM   #3
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Greetings,
Welcome aboard. Consider taking in a boat show or two on either coast and walk the docks.
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Old 01-04-2014, 06:22 PM   #4
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Good magazines such as passage maker and soundings are worth subscribing to.. A lot of good info, stories, and classifieds there too.
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Old 01-04-2014, 06:29 PM   #5
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I am in a situation not dissimilar to yours and came here asking a very similar question.


I will suggest two things...

Read the magazines that have been suggested, and don't forget to pay attention to the ads. Not just the various product ads, but the For Sale ads in those magazines that have them. Don't STUDY mind you, just read. You'll absorb way more than you would believe.


Read this forum on a regular basis. Personally, I lurk more than post, mainly because I am so far down on the learning curve that I rarely have something actually useful to say.

But read, and ask questions when something goes over your head completely.


I personally suggest doing that for a full year before you even bother going to a boat show for anything more than entertainment; but that's just me.
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Old 01-04-2014, 06:42 PM   #6
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Hi John,

Any idea of how big a boat?

If you might consider a trailerable cruiser (can be a very good way to begin), we could share a good bit of relevant experience, especially in the Pacific northwest - the Inside Passage from the San Juans up through BC and Southeast Alaska. Or Lake Powell, for that matter.

If you're interested in that concept, you might take a peek at my book, "Cruising in a Big Way", on lulu.com or Amazon.

There are some really interesting and informative books about PNW cruising (and travel, exploration, and fishing) you might check out. Here are a few:

Alaska Blues, and others (travel and fishing in SE Alaska) Joe Upton

The Curve of Time (early small boat cruising on the BC coast) Wylie Blanchet

Heart of the Raincoast (life on the BC Coast) Morton & Proctor

Travels in Alaska John Muir


If you are thinking the Pacific NW, you might want to hit the Seattle Boat Show. This year it's from Jan 24-Feb 02. Probably the best collection you could find in one place of boats appropriate for that area.
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Old 01-04-2014, 06:47 PM   #7
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You could also do an internet search for "mtoa rendezvous" and "Trawler fest" these are attended by lots of trawler owners. Some arrive in their boats so there are various models to look at there are also discussions on cruising, mechanical topics and boats of course. They are usually held in various locations in the country. Of course there is lots of good information right here.
Good luck
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Old 01-04-2014, 06:57 PM   #8
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Personally, I lurk more than post, mainly because I am so far down on the learning curve that I rarely have something actually useful to say.
Everyone has expertise in something, and given the wide range of this forum something will probably pop up when least you expect it that you can contribute some useful knowledge toward. But I absolutely agree with you that if it is something that you know nothing about, then just keep silent (as I do). We really do have some real experts on here, and I learn a lot from them.
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Old 01-04-2014, 08:14 PM   #9
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Thank you all for your prompt responses. I've been looking at Great Harbour Trawlers, either the GH37 or GH47. It'll be some years before I actually make that leap so I like to do a lot of research and contemplating. I will be following this site. I would also like to subscribe to 1 or 2 magazines and begin to build a small personal library.
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Old 01-04-2014, 08:26 PM   #10
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Welcome aboard!
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Old 01-04-2014, 08:27 PM   #11
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John - Welcome Aboard!

To assist beginning to learn what trawler size, hull design, type propulsion and interior layout you really like - Search yachtworld.com for thousands of descriptions and pictures and price comparisons.

You should also learn some of the "internals" comprising pleasure cruisers that are often termed "Trawlers". I recommend searching for "David Pascoe". He has many web available dissertations on all sorts of marine items... his books are pretty good too. Although you can not take as bible all anyone (him included) says about marine items David is a real good first study to get acquainted with what boats are and what they need.

Your learning curve will be steep for some time... and... in boating/marine life the learning never stops, so long as you remain passionate. That my friend is half the fun of it all - Cruising for pleasure and caring for your boat is the other half!

Happy Boating Daze! - Art

PS: This post comes from aboard our Tolly. My Admiral and I are aboard for the weekend... getting our "baby" ready for the season!
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Old 01-04-2014, 09:27 PM   #12
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I don't think I can add any more to the great advise that has already been given, except to offer this. When you subscribe you might want to see if the magazines are offered on Nook or one of the e-readers. It will make transporting, storing and retrieving the information quicker and easier.

I hate to assume so I'll ask. What is your level of boating experience?

Coming from an airboat, Coast Guard and recreational small boat background with the largest vessel helmed being a 41'er, and no sailing experience except as a passenger, I came here looking for information just as you have.
I've found a plethora of great information, and met some great folks here. As for the trawlers, there are trawler schools, basic boating/boat handling courses, and of course Chapman's, Sea School, and other non-hands on courses and books on seamanship and handling.

Other than that, hello, and welcome aboard!

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Old 01-04-2014, 10:58 PM   #13
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Consider buying a stack or box full of old magazines. Cheaper and you don't have to wait by the mailbox. This is particularly useful if your plans include purchasing a used boat. To me, many new boats are uninspiring.

Latitudes and Attitudes, "old" Passagemaker, Pacific Yachting, and Soundings come to mind. Woodenboat too, lot's of great boating basics in Woodenboat, even if your plans don't include a wood.

Once you are hooked, look for National Fisherman, Professional Mariner, Western Mariner, BoatBuilder (now defunct).

Just rattling off my collection really...
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Old 01-05-2014, 12:12 AM   #14
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Once you have an idea of what interests you, wander Marinas and talk to owners. You might find a broker who is a good sounding board. Nigel Calder`s Cruising Handbook is more sailboat oriented, but contains excellent information easily applied. Be prepared for your ideas to change over time as you expand information and knowledge.
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Old 01-05-2014, 06:48 AM   #15
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I have always loved the idea of sea travel

Actual sea travel is far better done in a sailboat or motor sailor. If you want to cross oceans.

Simply running alongshore and with a good weather window running outside , or heading alongshore to the Carib is fine for most trawlers.

Sea travel is only for the rare ,expensive ,possibly custom and usually large motor boat.

First job is to hit the library and get out a bunch of cruising books , power and sail and figure what you are interested in doing.
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Old 01-05-2014, 09:47 AM   #16
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Welcome aboard! You've come to the right place for a wealth of knowledge and experience. I will pass along the best information I was ever given when I started looking for a trawler. Don't buy the biggest boat you can afford, buy the smallest boat you can be comfortable on. Cost move up exponentially with size. Make a list of Wants and Needs. Keep the list handy. Talk to owners and go to boat shows. Then re-visit your list. Do some deep soul searching on each side to see if they are really valid. If money is no object, you can buy a yacht and equip it like the Enterprise. If dollars are short and you have DIY skills, you can find a boat that can be brought up to your needs. It's a kind of zen-like Know Thy Self. Best of luck on your journey!
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Old 01-05-2014, 10:20 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by johnsobba View Post
I have always loved the idea of sea travel. Although I live in the Midwest I grew up on the West Coast. It's one of my dreams to own a modest trawler and travel at my leisure. As a complete newby, I know I have to start somewhere. I would like some suggestions of reading material--books, magazines, documentaries, movies--that would allow me to expand my knowledge. My hope is that when I begin to make the first steps toward purchasing/traveling that I am well informed. What suggestions would you have?
Welcome aboard, and as a fellow relative newbie and a fellow Midwesterner, I would strongly recommend the fourth edition of "Voyaging Under Power". I have also thoroughly enjoyed George Buehler's Troller Yacht Book. Those are two books worth purchasing for reading and rereading!!
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Old 01-05-2014, 11:02 AM   #18
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John - I'd like to add important somethings here...

If you are not VERY familiar with wood boat construction, maintenance, and repair - I recommend you steer clear of old woodies. Boat with a "nearly free initial price" (in any material type) is often the most expensive boat you will ever own (regarding time, money, effort and most likely too many wallet draining and heart breaking failures!). In your position it seems to me that a real good condition, well constructed fiberglass (FRP) boat will be your best bet... at least in the beginning.

When you start to hone down your likes/dislikes in model, brand, type of boat please feel free to ask what TF members feel about your choice(s). There is a plethora of boat owners on TF that have from many years to (many - lol) decades of boat experience... as well as many who are well educated and practiced in the art of marine life and boating needs/successes in general. It's pretty hard to stump TF members with a question that at least someone or more than one have the answer(s) for.

Owning and enjoying a "good" boat is not for the faint of heart... but rather for the heart of living!

Happy Boat Learning Daze! - Art
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Old 01-05-2014, 11:18 AM   #19
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Thanks again, everyone, for all of the valuable suggestions! To answer a few of your questions...
I don't have any experience as a traveler...that's why it's always been a dream of mine. I'm pushing 32, close to finishing college (finally) and now I'm starting to entertain some of my personal dreams of leisure as my career goals are now coming together. As a child all the way up to 18 years old my grandparents spent their summers on Dillon's Beach just north of San Francisco. I often stayed with them during those summers. We would live off of whatever we caught or could trade for. My grandfather went crab trapping and fishing along the coast. My grandmother dug for clams. We traded crabs for abalone with our neighbors. Very fond memories. I have had this dream of traveling by sea on my own motor powered boat since I was a child.
Per your suggestions I have subscribed to Soundings and Passage Maker and have began a list of books to purchase to start my personal library.
I agree, many of the newer trawlers are uninspiring. That's one reason why I'm leaning toward the Great Harbour Trawlers. Their design is nostalgic and reminiscent of the older styles. Their mechanical design is also simpler, allowing for more of a DIY approach. I like the GH37, but the range is a bit shorter than I'd like. I could always install a watermaker and turn one of the water tanks into a fuel tank to increase range. What are your thoughts on Elco and turning a trawler into a hybrid of diesel and electric?
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Old 01-05-2014, 11:39 AM   #20
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John - Pleased to learn you have fond memories of Nor Cal water doings!

Go to "search" feature at TF page top to locate diesel/electric threads... and the like. Great Harbor Trawlers are nice boats. Seems you have capability to buy a goody at onset of boat ownership. Best Luck - Art
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