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Old 03-20-2019, 12:17 PM   #1
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Newby Looking for Guidance

Hi guys; I'm new to this forum. I'm 2 years from turning 60, and seeking guidance on my early retirement plan. Except for pulling kids behind 22' ski boats the past 15 years, I have no boating experience. I've been "hanging around the (trawler) rim" for many years, reading most Passagemakers and occasional on-line research. My hope in 2 years is to (1) sell our house and buy a 15-20 year old 60'-65' trawler at $400k-$500k, (2) pay a seasoned captain to train me for 3-4 months, then (3) spend a year cruising the Caribbean, then 6 months traveling thru the Panama Canal to the US west coast, then 6 months cruising up to Alaska (always staying close to shore). My preference is a fuel efficient 3-cabin steel trawler (a la Cape Horn or Real Ships), but I'll likely consider fiberglass/aluminum rather than sacrifice fuel burn. For a newby, is this scenario even possible/reasonable? If so, what on-line courses should I focus on for the next 2 years to prepare? Thanks for the advice.
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Old 03-20-2019, 01:19 PM   #2
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ohno:


Your plan is a bit ambitious. You could do what you propose but there is a high likelihood of getting the wrong boat for you, selling it while wasting a lot of money and then finally buying the boat that fits your needs which will probably have changed.



I would first start with a modest size trawler like an older Grand Banks 36 or a newer Mainship 34/350/390. You could buy one of these for about $150K. Then use it during the last few years of your work life to develop your boating skills and zero in on what your really want when you retire.


And FWIW a 15-20 YO steel, 60-65' trawler will probably be hard to find. There is ony one that meets those criteria currently on Yachtworld in the US and it is listed for $650K: https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/199...-ch63-3210994/



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Old 03-20-2019, 01:46 PM   #3
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Here is a fiberglass alternative reasonably priced. A lot of boat for a couple.
https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/199...dard%20listing
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Old 03-20-2019, 02:19 PM   #4
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Ohno, your plan sounds like a heck of a lot of fun and a great way to head into retirement!
You're bound to get LOTS of opinions on this thread so sit back and enjoy! I'd start by saying you don't necessarily need 60 to 65' LOA, but perhaps somewhere in the range of 40' to 50' for that kind of cruising. One of the toughest parts of that journey will be the long stretch of open Pacific from San Fran to the strait of Juan De Fuca into the Salish sea. For this you just need good training, very good weather prediction, and patience, though its worth it as the PNW is absolutely beautiful.


To your question; the common national on line resource is US Power Squadrons, website Here.
Its pretty decent training, can do all on line, ends in a test and provides you with a completion certificate. This and other proofs of training will be helpful for getting insurance on your boat.
Other than general rules and boat handling, again I'd strongly suggest a course in marine weather prediction.

Many states also have their own optional training course that can result in a "boating license" of some sort; also helps knowledge and typically not expensive.
Finally if you don't have one, its handy to have your own copy of the "bible" of seamanship; Chapman's Piloting and Seamanship".
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Old 03-20-2019, 02:32 PM   #5
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I would hang around some people that own trawlers to get a feel for what you want. While I am not a real fan anymore of Trawler Fests, for a newby they may prove worth while. Take as many courses as you can from the CG Aux or Power Squadron.

I would also recommend buying the boat you want to end up with first. Buying a “learners” boat first will cost you dearly with depreciation and fixing up the learner boat. Your plan of having a captain teach you is a good one. Just go slow with the large boat and learn how to handle it properly. Sometimes a larger boat is almost easier to handle than a smaller one. But you do have to remember momentum with a larger heavier boat can be exciting. Don’t let people tell you not to go for your dream, just learn how to accomplish your dream safely.
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Old 03-20-2019, 02:37 PM   #6
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Nice aluminum trawler in Anacortes within your price range.
https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/200...nced%20listing
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Old 03-20-2019, 03:30 PM   #7
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Think about this second line in the listing noted above: "Present owners plans have changed so she is priced to sell quickly."


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Old 03-20-2019, 04:09 PM   #8
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You need to learn 3 things. Boat handling, navigation, and safety (that covers many things). Most yachties never learn boat handling. Docking to them is a controlled crash. With a big boat, that method is expensive. You can get books about handling the configuration you're looking to buy, twin or single screw. Read them and know the material before hands on. Learn how docking lines are used to secure your boat and aid in docking.

There are books and classes on navigation. If you're going offshore it's good to know real navigation and not just depend on electronics. You don't need to know how to shoot stars, but should have backup devices should something fail.
Safety is knowing when it's not safe to dock, if your anchor will hold, knowing your boats systems, understanding weather. At sea there's no fly in mechanics. If something important fails, you need to know how to fix it. You especially need to know your engines, fuel system, and electrical systems. If you're dead in the water, far out to sea, the Coast Guard may come and get you. But if they're busy, and you have a big boat, they may send a commercial tug. Better have good insurance.
I solo an 83' boat most of the time. I do that by planning. When I dock my lines are out and ready. My spring line, the first over, is usually tied off at the proper length. I'm aware of wind and currents and sometimes realize it's not safe to dock.
You don't need a captain for 3 months. You need several days of docking practice in different situations. In an open area you should use different rudder and engine combinations and see the effect. Find an empty city guest dock and land there several times. If there's a current, from both directions. In a few weeks, with a real effort, you'll dock your boat as well as I do mine.
Don't yell at your line handlers, especially your wife. Explain ahead of time how you will dock and what lines to put over.

If you want a detailed conversation, pm me.
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Old 03-20-2019, 06:45 PM   #9
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Welcome aboard TF.
I will second sledge's comment re USPower Squadron now known as Americas Boating Club. They offer an extensive list of boating courses from a basic intro to advanced piloting and celestial navigation plus many electives... engine maint, electronics, weather, etc. Many groups are now offering on-the-water components of many courses.
In addition to some excellent value courses (volunteer instructors and you pay for course materials) you will build a network of other boaters that share your interests.
Good luck with your adventures
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Old 03-20-2019, 08:30 PM   #10
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Anything is possible if you fork over the Benjamins! Btw, 15 years of pulling kids on waterskis is still some experience. Lol. Some folks have ZERO water time at all. Ahem, Ahem....like me 4 years ago.
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Old 03-20-2019, 10:21 PM   #11
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I strongly recommend that you charter several different boats, and at least one for some duration, before jumping in with both feet. Many of the charter companies will let you take some instructive courses and then charter with a captain. After one you can do it on your own.

Best way to learn what you like and don't like. We did something like this and it's served us well.
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Old 03-20-2019, 10:52 PM   #12
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Not to sound flippant or anything, but GO FOR IT!

What you have outlined is totally doable. I'm not saying there aren't many potential pitfalls, but just because they are there does not mean you will fall into them.

Dream big, I say. Just be realistic and willing to listen to people you can trust. Which means take what we say here with a grain of salt!
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Old 03-20-2019, 10:55 PM   #13
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I think it is absolutely possible. Pat yourself on the back for making a sensible plan and asking for advice.

Take the USCG Auxiliary or Power Squadron courses. I am not sure what is online because I took mine in 1984. Next, and this will be at a school, take an approved USCG “captains” course, either the Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels course (OUPV, commonly called the six-pack for six or fewer passengers) or Masters course. You do not need to qualify for the license with the CG to pay and take the course, and you will get some great navigation work, rules of the road proficiency, and networking experience.

There are many good “instructing” captains out there. I think finding the right fit, from an experience and personality standpoint, will get you to your goal. He/she can get you up to speed with systems on the actual vessel you select, followed by boathandling, mooring, anchoring, safety drills, etc. A good training captain should be able to lay out a detailed lesson plan before you hire them.

A little off-topic...You mention a steel boat, and I don’t mean to steer you away from a dream. You may know that the resale market for steel boats you speak of is very soft in the U.S. I encourage you to think about your exit strategy as you shop for the right boat. Perhaps it is not a concern, and that is fine too.

Chartering will be an important step to help you discover what your spouse likes .

Finally, latch on to a couple of mentors for which to serve as a sounding boards.

It is highly unlikely that you will regret making this journey - if you have the means and discipline, MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Good Luck!
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Old 03-21-2019, 08:21 AM   #14
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Also, Comodave mentioned Trawlerfest. I know some people say the fests are not nearly as good as they used to be but for someone starting out like this, I really think the Trawlerfests are still extremely valuable for two reasons: 1) the seminars are great for learning, and 2) it can give you a chance to walk aboard many different styles of boats...
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Old 03-22-2019, 01:48 PM   #15
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Thanks for the feedback. I'll get going on the Power Squadron courses, and plan to charter a couple of times over the next 2 years.

David - what is your concern about the sentence in the Inace listing: "Present owners plans have changed so she is priced to sell quickly." It looks like a nice boat, though I am 2 years out from purchasing anything.

Jeff - I'm curious about your thoughts: "the resale market for steel boats you speak of is very soft". I don't see many out there, but I thought that was a function of there being very few produced. I think a steel boat will be more forgiving of my newby screw-ups (scraping bottom) than fiberglass. Are buyers generally skeptical of steel because of higher rust potential?

Thanks guys.
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Old 03-22-2019, 02:12 PM   #16
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I’m going to go a bit against the herd. I think. 60+ foot boat is a bit ambitious for you at this stage. The worst way to start this stage of your life is to get in over your head and find yourself in a situation that frightens you (and/or your crew) and ends up cutting your plans short.

I suggest that you start with something in the 40 to 45 foot range, twin engines, thruster(s) if possible. Take it slow for a couple of years and get completely comfortable. That will also let you figure out exactly what you want in a boat.

Then, when you’re completely comfortable and confident, step up to a bigger boat.

I know whereof I speak. I spent many years on boats up to 30’. That was a great foundation for larger boats, but not a substitute for driving larger boats. We bought a Defever 44, then a Defever 50. After a few years on the 50, we’re ready for a 60 to 65.

That program makes every step fun, without overwhelming. Plus, at 60 you have plenty of time.
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Old 03-22-2019, 02:42 PM   #17
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Greetings,
Mr. oh. Welcome aboard.
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Old 03-22-2019, 03:30 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohno3kids View Post
Hi guys; I'm new to this forum. I'm 2 years from turning 60, and seeking guidance on my early retirement plan. Except for pulling kids behind 22' ski boats the past 15 years, I have no boating experience.
Wifey B: You'd be amazed how useful that experience is. Then similarly amazed how little you know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ohno3kids View Post
I've been "hanging around the (trawler) rim" for many years, reading most Passagemakers and occasional on-line research. My hope in 2 years is to (1) sell our house and buy a 15-20 year old 60'-65' trawler at $400k-$500k, (2) pay a seasoned captain to train me for 3-4 months, then (3) spend a year cruising the Caribbean, then 6 months traveling thru the Panama Canal to the US west coast, then 6 months cruising up to Alaska (always staying close to shore). My preference is a fuel efficient 3-cabin steel trawler (a la Cape Horn or Real Ships), but I'll likely consider fiberglass/aluminum rather than sacrifice fuel burn. For a newby, is this scenario even possible/reasonable? If so, what on-line courses should I focus on for the next 2 years to prepare? Thanks for the advice.
Wifey B: You have to decide how much time and effort and money you're willing to spend. A captain isn't going to train you to do those things in 3-4 months. Besides at that size boat and your age, you're likely to need some crew ongoing. You're emphasizing helmsmanship but maintaining such a boat is a real effort. You're also not going to learn it all online.

If your plan above was my plan, I'd start legitimate captain training right now, at least at a 6 pack level. I'd plan on a captain at least the first two years of cruising and after that perhaps a deck hand. You also may need diesel training. See, it's all possible at a price. Either recognize all that is needed or reduce the size boat and/or scope of cruising.

My hubby and I are both licensed captains now with 6 1/2 years of coastal and off shore experience covering around 100,000 nm and we don't do all that on our own without others with mechanical skills we lack. We're fine coastal cruising alone and cruising anywhere with support.

Are you willing to immerse yourself into learning as opposed to casual? That's what it takes. Days of courses, days of hands on training, months and years of growth in your new profession. Did I say "new profession?" Yes, ma'am, I did. See, hubby was a career business exec and I was a career educator and he had his degree and I had all of mine and yet this was an entire new "career." Although not our career and we'll never have the experience those who have made it careers have, we treated it as such because our goals were ambitious.

Your goals are ambitious and either you must treat it like a new career or reduce your goals a bit. We've been all the places you mention but not to most of them alone. Today, we could do them in a 60'-65' alone, but we'd worry when 20 hours from shore about engine issues, and we'd sure get help cleaning the boat when we reached a marina and we'd never attempt to do all our own maintenance.

Perhaps I'm exaggerating some of the challenge a bit, but that's to offset what you're seeing as much simpler than it is. After online courses and 3-4 months of training, I wouldn't have dared to head to the Caribbean alone. Most people buying a boat that age don't even get all the bugs worked out in that time.

The typical retired cruiser:
-considers leaving the mainland for the Bahamas a crossing. Has never ventured to the Caribbean or through the Panama Canal or to Alasks.

A few here:
-Have crossed the oceans of the world and done it in small and big boats with others and alone.

But the ocean crossers and the large boat handlers and the Panama Canal types are fewer than 5% of TF. Likely more like 2%. If you're committed, then go to be part of that 2% but just understand all it takes to get there. I can tell you it's a wonderful new way of life.

Now, one final word. Before you ditch the house and put that amount of money in a boat that could be a floating money pit or worse and you might end up hating, go charter. Start learning a week at a time on charters. Don't tell me it's expensive either as chartering occasionally doesn't approach the cost of ownership. Find out how you really feel about it. Learn what you can from the charter captain. If you love it like I do, you'll be hooked deep and forever. But you could be like Toocoys and avoid a major mistake.
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Old 03-22-2019, 05:35 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohno3kids View Post

Jeff - I'm curious about your thoughts: "the resale market for steel boats you speak of is very soft". I don't see many out there, but I thought that was a function of there being very few produced. I think a steel boat will be more forgiving of my newby screw-ups (scraping bottom) than fiberglass. Are buyers generally skeptical of steel because of higher rust potential?

Thanks guys.
I observe steel boats on the market for what seems like an exceedingly long time before they move along. We considered a few along the way, but a paint job alone requires deep pockets. I recall a Kristen and a Vripak, both BEAUTIFUL vessels with nice to premium equipment, that were listed a long time while the more mainstream fiberglass boats were moving. They seem to be more popular in Europe. I have never owned one and I am not saying they are bad, but there is a different set of considerations with them to be sure.
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Old 03-25-2019, 11:50 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by ohno3kids View Post
what is your concern about the sentence in the Inace listing: "Present owners plans have changed so she is priced to sell quickly."
I'm not speaking for djmarchand, however I will offer why I agree with him and what appears to be the minority....

That seller is doing a short sale and losing money because his plans changed. That was an expensive change of mind.

Going from a runabout to a 60-65 ft boat is like going from a pedal car to a tractor trailer. OR, a bicycle to a race bike. Yes, a casual observation will yield many similarities, but the learning curve is steep and unforgiving.

While there are many examples of successes, I estimate there are far more examples of failures. I've seen many people jump into a large boat as a first boat, only to become so scared of it, it never leaves the dock.

You won't find those people here. Those who slinked down the dock with their tail between their legs and a check too small to cover their expenses in their pocket. You won't hear from those people, because they've since moved on.
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