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Old 10-09-2015, 03:54 PM   #1
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Okay, single or twin??

First large boat for me and using primarily as live on board. Planning on having slip in SF Bay Area location or possibly as far inland as Antioch. I'd like to be able to take it out and do some fishing or cruising on multi day trips.
Will I be disappointed with a single engine vs. twins?
What are advantages and / or drawbacks from either?
I've got several on my radar but have been shying away from singles.
Please let me know your opinions and why.

Thanks
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Old 10-09-2015, 04:13 PM   #2
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The boat we chartered was a single with a bow thruster. Worked great and we had no problems maneuvering/docking despite our relative inexperience operating a boat of this type.

When we decided to buy our own boat of this same make and model we didn't care if it was a single or a twin. As it turned out, the boat that best met our needs and boating budget at the time happened to be a twin. We'd never run a twin engine boat before but today, seventeen years later I can say that today we would NEVER buy a single engine boat. Ever.

There are a several reasons for this not the least of which is that I like running machines so the more engines the better (our newest boating venture is a three-engine boat).

We like having a spare engine under the floor; we've needed the spare engine in our PNW boat five times now, the latest just a few weeks ago when we were at a degree of risk of losing the boat. None of the causes had anything to do with the engines themselves but for various reasons we've had to shut one down so simply completed the run on the other one.

Very important, perhaps even more important to my enjoying messing about with multiple engines, is that my wife is more confident, relaxed, and happy with two engines under the floor.

This is a woman who's owned several single-engine airplanes and who has no qualms about flying into the remotest country in the BC Coast Range in a single engine floatplane powered by an engine manufactured during WWII. But in a boat, she wants more than one engine. And as far as I'm concerned a happy boating partner trumps every argument, pro or con, about any aspect of boating.

Do I think single engine boats are bad? Of couse not. They have their advantages and I maintain that anything that can be done with a twin in terms of maneuvering can be accomplished with a single albeit using different techniques at times.

But our personal preferences dictate that we will never own one.
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Old 10-09-2015, 04:17 PM   #3
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Ask any waterman: Two engines = twice the downtime & expense.
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Old 10-09-2015, 04:36 PM   #4
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Get sea tow if you have 1 engine
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Old 10-09-2015, 04:37 PM   #5
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Twins,
Any fool can see a single is lacking the 2nd engine.
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Old 10-09-2015, 04:38 PM   #6
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I asked the same question earlier in the year. Here's the 165 reply thread that ensued - hopefully it will give you a head start!

The single engine thing

I ended up buying a single engine boat.

Richard
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Old 10-09-2015, 04:39 PM   #7
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I had a single for a long time. I now have a twin. Given the choice, I'll take the twin simply for the redundancy.

At the time of our boat transition, we re-positioned both boats (my old single and new twin). The twin had a freak issue where a bolt sheared off on the water pump leading to an overheat condition on one engine. We shut it down and made it to the marina on one engine with no issue. The single blew a seal in the transmission, losing it's fluid and getting it hot. Fortunately, it happened coming out of a lock right next to the marina after a 4 day trip up the Mississippi River in the middle of nowhere. Had it happened anytime before that, it would have a been a serious problem.

More fuel, more maintenance, and more things to break. But it's the twin's redundancy that gives me peace of mind.
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Old 10-09-2015, 04:41 PM   #8
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Oh no, the TS word.
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Old 10-09-2015, 04:46 PM   #9
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Twins, no question -- boats are a money hemorrhage, might as well open a couple major arteries instead of just one. Seriously though, having owned both, in my mind it's a relatively straightforward trade-off between (1) greatly enhanced control and safety-through-redundancy on one hand, and (2) higher expenses, lower fuel efficiency and an increased maintenance/hassle factor on the other. I don't do long runs in open water so the redundancy safety margin is not a high priority for me, but the enhanced control definitely is. For me, twins are pretty clearly worth the extra expense and maintenance.
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Old 10-09-2015, 04:58 PM   #10
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....a twin screw converted to a single engine....no, wait....a single screw driven by two engines...
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Old 10-09-2015, 05:17 PM   #11
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Bottom line, there are pluses and minuses to both.

You will find an interesting correlation between the answers on here and what the poster currently has. No one will say that they made a purchasing mistake.
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Old 10-09-2015, 05:21 PM   #12
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Good arguments for each. And the topic gets beat to death. Comes down to your risk tolerance for an engine failure, and balancing the other pros and cons.

I'm in the single engine/bow thruster camp, and very happy with my choice.
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Old 10-09-2015, 05:35 PM   #13
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We just sold our single engine trawler with a bow thruster and are in the hunt for a boat with twins. I personally missed having two engines for a lot of reasons, my wife just prefers operating with twins.
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Old 10-09-2015, 06:03 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erikj View Post
First large boat for me and using primarily as live on board. Planning on having slip in SF Bay Area location or possibly as far inland as Antioch. I'd like to be able to take it out and do some fishing or cruising on multi day trips.
Will I be disappointed with a sidle engine vs. twins?
What are advantages and / or drawbacks from either?
I've got several on my radar but have been shying away from singles.
Please let me know your opinions and why.

Thanks
OMG! It depends on what kind of anchor you have, and whether it is galley up or galley down. Teak decks or not often come into play. And that's just the beginning before you get into nitty gritty details like propane vs electric, sundeck vs cock pit.

Please spare the innocent here and do a search on the forum, there is so much dialog, ultimately fruitless, on this subject.
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Old 10-09-2015, 07:04 PM   #15
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When choosing my boat for operating in the extensive San Francisco estuary, selected a keel-protected single propeller because much of the waters are shallow. Assistance can be readily obtained so one doesn't need a second engine/propeller as a backup, nor double the maintenance/breakdown of twins. ... A bow thruster can be handy when maneuvering approaching/leaving a dock.

Subsequent to my 2011 boat acquisition, met two great boaters on this forum in my boating waters. Both with twins, and both experienced damage to props. One now wishes for a protected single propeller and the other (likes to fish) likes the higher speed provided by twins.



Take your choice. It's your money. (By the way, I'm of the minority opinion: the vast majority of our "trawlers" have twin engines.)
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Old 10-09-2015, 10:10 PM   #16
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Ask the question of the crew of the El Faro when you get a chance...
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Old 10-09-2015, 11:03 PM   #17
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I think the bigger question Is

Do you really want to live on a boat? Living on a boat in a marina is perhaps a cheaper way to live on water front property in the Bay Area, assuming you can locate a livaboard slip and are willing to pay the premium to do it. But you give up a lot of things you may not have thought about. Things like a garage, a good place to store stuff, a spot for your bike were it won't rust, privacy, safe parking for your car, on smaller boats appliances that aren't rv quality, heat, and a real mattress. Oh yeah did I mention privacy.
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Old 10-09-2015, 11:13 PM   #18
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Advantages (in order of importance)

Twins
- Better manoeuvrability
- Redundancy

Single Engine
- Protected prop & rudder
- Better accessibility
- Lower costs
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Old 10-09-2015, 11:23 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by AusCan View Post
Advantages (in order of importance)

Twins
- Better manoeuvrability
- Redundancy

Single Engine
- Protected prop & rudder
- Better accessibility
- Lower costs
The above quote pretty much sums it up for me.

Since 1995 I've had both. Seven twins and two singles. They all had their pluses & minuses. I finally got back to a twin engine boat after 8 years of driving a single and I'll never go back!
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Old 10-09-2015, 11:23 PM   #20
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Single

Single,Bow Thruster, Vessel Assist.
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