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Old 10-19-2018, 05:15 PM   #1
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Need help choosing a direction...

Hey all, I've been a long time lurker on the forum, and its time for me to honestly start looking at what kind of boat to get.



A little about me and my situation. I'm in my mid 30's, married with a 9 month old. My wife and I used to live in Charleston, there we had a 26ft walkaround that I kept in a dry stack. Loved the convenience of it. We spent most of our time with the boat tooling around the inland waterways and finding a nice secluded spot to hang on the anchor for the day. We weren't really much into the sandbar scene.



We moved to Florida a couple years ago (near tampa). I've got a good job with a good income, I take typically 4 weeks of true vacation a year, have 3/4 weekends off per month and random long weekends here and there. My job doesn't permit long periods of time away, so I'm limited as to the length of trips I can take. Most of our fun time is spent locally in Florida on the weekends.



Now the meat of the decision. We're looking for a boat that has a bit more space. We want to spend weekends aboard and spend some nights at anchor. I've always wanted a trawler. I like going slow on the water, taking a relaxed pace and just enjoying the scenery. I just worry that a trawler will limit what we can do with such short time windows.



Basically what I've been thinking about is going slow with a Marine Trader 36 (or comparable) or doing the express cruiser thing with a Tiara 3100 or 3500 open. I guess the logical side of me says to go with the Tiara, but I really do like the idea of an older trawler.



What do you guys think? Obviously there's a bias towards the trawler here, but I'm sure many of you guys went through the same decision making processes.
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Old 10-19-2018, 05:21 PM   #2
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Greetings,
Welcome aboard. Boat Search 101 for starters and just keep asking away.
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Old 10-19-2018, 05:25 PM   #3
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Hey all, I've been a long time lurker on the forum, and its time for me to honestly start looking at what kind of boat to get.



A little about me and my situation. I'm in my mid 30's, married with a 9 month old. My wife and I used to live in Charleston, there we had a 26ft walkaround that I kept in a dry stack. Loved the convenience of it. We spent most of our time with the boat tooling around the inland waterways and finding a nice secluded spot to hang on the anchor for the day. We weren't really much into the sandbar scene.



We moved to Florida a couple years ago (near tampa). I've got a good job with a good income, I take typically 4 weeks of true vacation a year, have 3/4 weekends off per month and random long weekends here and there. My job doesn't permit long periods of time away, so I'm limited as to the length of trips I can take. Most of our fun time is spent locally in Florida on the weekends.



Now the meat of the decision. We're looking for a boat that has a bit more space. We want to spend weekends aboard and spend some nights at anchor. I've always wanted a trawler. I like going slow on the water, taking a relaxed pace and just enjoying the scenery. I just worry that a trawler will limit what we can do with such short time windows.



Basically what I've been thinking about is going slow with a Marine Trader 36 (or comparable) or doing the express cruiser thing with a Tiara 3100 or 3500 open. I guess the logical side of me says to go with the Tiara, but I really do like the idea of an older trawler.



What do you guys think? Obviously there's a bias towards the trawler here, but I'm sure many of you guys went through the same decision making processes.
One thing to consider also is that speed comes at a price (fuel).
Look where you plan to keep your boat, then what do you have available at comfortable distance (for you) where to spend weekend at anchor.
As an example the usage you describe is pretty much mine, mostly spending weekend at the hook and once a year something like 3 weeks cruise when other travel plans permit. For us, in a 3 to 5 hours distance we have nice little coves where we can spend the weekend peacefully. Most of the time we go to our favorite place at around 4hours one way from our dock so I can spend enough time relaxing at the hook.

At a point cruising 8 to 10h in a row becomes not relaxing anymore, at least for me.

L
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Old 10-19-2018, 05:46 PM   #4
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Why not a boat that can do both? Our new-to-us "trawler" isn't a real trawler, but it's not necessarily a strictly "go fast boat" either. Best of both worlds.
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Old 10-19-2018, 05:46 PM   #5
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Well this isn't the Tiara Forum so we're a little biased.
Try a charter. There is a company right in Sarasota.
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Old 10-19-2018, 05:52 PM   #6
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We all have a different story and one size doesn’t fit all, but here is my story in case it helps;

I was out of boating for many years because I couldn’t afford the lifestyle and didn’t want to leverage ourselves with loans. Between a mortgage, kids, and eating, I felt a boat earlier in life was not in the cards.

When were finally able to afford a boat, My kids were older, but still in High School and willing to hang with Mom and Dad fairly often on the weekends.

Back then, we did the express cruiser, fast boat route for the exact reasons you noted...mainly time. I didn’t have it, an neither did my wife who also works. With that said, if you are spending a lot of time close to home, anchoring, hanging at the dock etc then speed is irrelevant and the platform on which you float is the key factor.

My last point, spending time with my kids on the boat when they were still living at home was awesome. Some of the best memories I have, and absolutely no regrets.

Good luck whatever direction you decide to take.
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Old 10-19-2018, 07:57 PM   #7
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Welcome to the forum! As mentioned chartering once or twice might help you with your decision. These guys are just South of you and might be a good place to start.

Yacht Charters Florida Trawler Charters - Sailboat Powerboat Bareboat, Grand Banks, Krogen, and Mainship Yacht Charters

An other option with a slow speed boat is to move it periodically. As an example, you could take a long weekend and move the boat to Stuart for a month. Then go across on the weekends.

Ted
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Old 10-19-2018, 09:51 PM   #8
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An other option with a slow speed boat is to move it periodically. As an example, you could take a long weekend and move the boat to Stuart for a month. Then go across on the weekends.
I think this is the best use model for a trawler. If you keep your boat in the same place all the time you'll likely find the effective range for short trips limiting because of the slow speed. I'm not that familiar with the coast along there, but it might get stale pretty quickly.
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Old 10-19-2018, 10:17 PM   #9
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Welcome!!! Lots of great info here....
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Old 10-19-2018, 10:21 PM   #10
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I think this is the best use model for a trawler. If you keep your boat in the same place all the time you'll likely find the effective range for short trips limiting because of the slow speed. I'm not that familiar with the coast along there, but it might get stale pretty quickly.
Well depends the distance from where you stay. If you intend to spend weekends aboard and need 4h of driving to get to the boat... Not mentioning maintenance headache when you are not quite near your boat.
Here we know some that keep their boat 4h from home, well I prefer to drive 30min and cruise 4h than the opposite.

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Old 10-20-2018, 08:54 AM   #11
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Now the meat of the decision. We're looking for a boat that has a bit more space. We want to spend weekends aboard and spend some nights at anchor. I've always wanted a trawler. I like going slow on the water, taking a relaxed pace and just enjoying the scenery. I just worry that a trawler will limit what we can do with such short time windows.

Basically what I've been thinking about is going slow with a Marine Trader 36 (or comparable) or doing the express cruiser thing with a Tiara 3100 or 3500 open. I guess the logical side of me says to go with the Tiara, but I really do like the idea of an older trawler.

There are boatloads of styles in between "slow trawler" and "express cruiser" -- and many of those offer more space than an express and can usually be operated in slow (and less expensive) "trawleresque" (?) fashion easily enough.

See avatar, and/or maybe rummage around on yachtworld (for example) for aft-cabin motor yachts, cockpit motor yachts, long range cruisers, etc etc etc.

-Chris
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Old 10-20-2018, 09:00 AM   #12
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Welcome, and good luck with your search and decision. Perhaps you try something and don't like it, then you try something else. Whatever paths you try or decisions you make, involve the wife and make sure her desires/preferences and expectations as a crew member are a priority.
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Old 10-20-2018, 10:04 AM   #13
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I second the idea of a boat capable of some speed but run slowly. The west coast FL cruising area offers many places to go and having a bit of speed for part of the trip is nice.
Tampa bay is not a bad central location but you dont want to be docked in Tampa itself because is is a long trip down to the Gulf or ICW. St. Pete or so isnt too far to make Sarasota or Clearwater in an easy trip.
If you can afford it I suggest considering a mid 40s length boat. You will never regret the extra space and might even avoid the boaters mistake of buying the wrong boat then upgrading in a few years.
A lot of people enjoy docking in a busy place so they can enjoy just being on the boat if a cruise isnt in the pans for a short weekend. St. Pere down town is my favorite with Sarasota second. St. Pete is freeway all the way from Lakeland.

Go drive around and see what you find attractive.
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Old 10-24-2018, 09:36 AM   #14
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The eternal question :-) My addition to all the good advice above is: either go for fast or slow, not some compromise "semi displacement" hull form. I have been boating (also sailing) all my life. Our previous boats have been fast full planing boats for the reasons you mentioned (Sea Rays, Regal 320, Pershing 46). We had a few weeks vacation and wanted to have the range to go (in our Dutch case) to England, France, Baltic etc. Now we are retired we bought a trawler and love it to bits...although on some long passage you sometimes miss "opening the taps" :-)
Semi-displacement might seem the best of both these worlds but imho it's the worst of both worlds. To go a bit faster (say 18 instead of 10 knots) you have to burn an exponential amount of fuel and do lots more high strain related maintenance (costs!) while on the other hand you sacrifice the seakeeping and "no wake" gliding efficiently through the water at lower speeds.
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Old 10-24-2018, 10:53 AM   #15
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What do you guys think? Obviously there's a bias towards the trawler here, but I'm sure many of you guys went through the same decision making processes.
I've had all kinds of boats since 1995 & had a 32' trawler for 8 of those years. It was great but was painfully slow. (8.4 knots) I lusted for the type of boat I had over 20 years ago, a semi displacement 42 footer that would cruise at 18 or 8 knots. Why? I live in san Diego and any destination worth going to (Catalina Island) is about 70 miles away, most of it on open water. Being able to cruise there at 18 knots allows me to go with a relatively small weather window. (4 hours) Also provides a nice bay cruise at 8 knots. I believe it's the best of both worlds!
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Old 10-24-2018, 11:34 AM   #16
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Greetings,
Mr. w. We have had "trawlers" (2) for the last 20 years or so. We were boatless at our summer residence until 3 years ago. Like a lot of posters, getting to a "destination" involved traveling some distance (20+++miles).



We opted for a boat that can run 25mph+ so our travel time is about 1 hour, IF we so desire, as opposed to 3 or 4. MUCH easier to do on a Friday night and be back Sunday evening and actually have some time to relax.


The one guilty pleasure I get from THAT particular vessel is best summed up by that famous quote from the movie Top Gun...


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Old 10-24-2018, 01:12 PM   #17
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We’re boatless now and have had both express cruisers and a trawler. I loved cruising at 25 knots to get places, but that does suck some gas. We then had a 36’ Marine Trader and comfort was awesome. Once we got to a great place with the trawler we could anchor and it was really a home. We watched day boats and smaller boats go home in the evenings as we watched the sun set on our back deck.

You will go slower, but working around that just takes some planning. I am an early riser and can manage the boat solo, so my wife and kids could sleep in their berths at 5:30am when I am up and excited about going. Nothing more peaceful than watching the sun rise, knowing you’ll be at a good anchorage at 10am, fully relaxed and the kids lumbering up ready to splash. Wife would make me some coffee in the galley as I was lumbering along at 7 knots.

By contrast, I loved the express cruiser because we’d pull the kids on the tube, and go anywhere quickly which matched our short attention spans. Cruising was great, but you pay in fuel and twin-engine maintenance.

We started with the express cruiser, but ended with the trawler because of the home comforts and larger boat stability.
Good luck!
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Old 10-29-2018, 03:40 PM   #18
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Several TFers here mentioned chartering as a first step. I fully concur. Every boat is a compromise and what you think are absolute musts may not be conversely, stuff you've never thought of suddenly become real apparent. By chartering, you can go the slow route and see if it meets your needs.....then the express cruiser and see what that does. Wife and I chartered a Monk 36, single engine w/thruster - loved it but only for two. We went to a 50 footer with another couple, slept and entertained us great but galley sucked. Went to a larger boat yet and found we could not dock some places (too long, too much windage). Next year Grand Banks 42. We will see
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Old 10-29-2018, 04:09 PM   #19
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You did not mention which coast of Fla, but perhaps it doesn't matter to my answer.

With limited time off and a good income, you will be able to venture much further afield with a faster boat right now. The Keys, Dry Tortugas, and even the Bahamas could be well within your range with a Tiarra or similar.

A trawler is a grand retirement boat, but when you need to be back at work Monday or even Tuesday morning, you really don't want a 5 to 6-knot boat, in my opinion.
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Old 10-29-2018, 07:40 PM   #20
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Thanks all for the input and personal experiences. Its exactly what I was looking for.



I think the majority of you guys reiterated how I was feeling, and for what I'm doing at this point in my life an express is a better fit.



I'm on the gulf coast, the boat would be in tampa bay/st pete somewhere. My goals are to try and slowly stretch myself south eventually taking a trip to the Keys. Further out potentially relocating the boat to the east coast and hopping over to the Bahamas.
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