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Old 10-11-2019, 06:42 PM   #1
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Power Cat vs. Trawler

Not meaning to start a war here. I am a cat sailor. Due to health reasons, I need to give up sailing, but not boating.

Have always considered trawlers, but since getting my cat, I have become a huge fan of them. I have never sailed a trawler or power cat, so I don't have any real world experience.

Was hoping that those with experience here could give me the pros and cons, or at least any differences between them.

I am looking in the 35-40' range, coastal cruising, not ocean crossing, and looking to live aboard as a second home for a few weeks at a time. I look at the boat like my summer home, so I need real amenities, real galley, big enough fridge, enough space to both sleep and be apart from others, a desk area etc. etc.

But needs to also be capable of doing 50 to 100 mi days. I like that the cats can do 15-17kts if you want to burn the fuel. I don't know what the motion is through seas is. On a sailing cat, bridgedeck clearance is important in seas, monos don't have that issue.

Also, what is engine noise like. On sailboats, the best part of sailing is when you turn off the engine. But there is no noise isolation, when running with the engines, it is really noisy. I would hope on a trawler/PC this is not the same issue?

So if you have some helpful comments, they are greatly appreciated.
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Old 10-11-2019, 07:33 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard. The power cats have a lot going for them with the smaller power and good fuel efficiency. But one of the main things that we canít live with is the built in furniture. When we spend long times on the boat we like to be able to sit for hours watching TV or reading a book. With our older backs and the problems we have/had with our backs we like recliners to sit in. So any boat we get has to have loose furniture or the ability to put in loose furniture. I think that you will get used to the constant engine noise if the boat has reasonable sound insulation. The noise is comforting and the lack of noise is a problem...
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Old 10-11-2019, 07:55 PM   #3
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My best friend has a 5-year old Horizon 52 Power Cat with Cummins around 600 hp each as I recall. I have done several trips with him, probably 1000 nms total.

Engine noise is a non-issue.

She cruises at about 18 kts and burns 35 gph which is pretty good for a boat that size (older 60-ft monos will burn 50-60 gph at same speed). She carries 700 gals diesel so range isn't great at pace. He runs her at 9-kts a lot and burns around 8-gph combined, plus generator.

He and I have both done a ton of open ocean miles on 50-70 foot mono trawlers (mostly nordhavn - I used to deliver for many new owners and my friend was my best crew). Ride on the cat is great in flat water and some chop. I've never been in more than 3-ft chop with the cat, but suspect it wouldn't be great - pretty jerky. Also, beam seas are not as smooth as I would have thought. Can't beat it at anchor though.

My friend feels a bit constrained by range even with 700 nms range (to empty). He has no desire to cross oceans or anything either, but 500-miles effective range means he has to plan around fueling too much for his tastes.

His other complaint is exposed props. He's touched twice in the skinny waters of Florida, once did some damage and the repair was steep.

He likes the boat a lot, and it's super comfortable with an amazing aft deck and beautiful grill on the flybridge. But I suspect hell sell it in a few years and get one of the newer Krogan 50s

Personally, I'm much more traditional. I'm intrigued by cats, but would be a purpose-built trawler cat. Forget the names, but there are a couple builders in NZ or Oz that are doing some nice cats with serious range and capabilities, though the interiors are pretty basic which suits me fine.
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Old 10-11-2019, 08:16 PM   #4
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Forgot to mention finding dock space. Definite consideration.
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Old 10-11-2019, 08:29 PM   #5
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Lots of advantages for coastal cruising with power cats. When you get into more extended travel cargo weight and loading becomes more critical. You can't just keep filling empty spaces. Depending on size and engines, maintenance and repair can require a contortionist. Curious to see if there will be more offerings in the future with 4 stroke outboards. While that wouldn't be my choice for offshore cruising, it could have some decided advantages for near coastal / inland cruising.

If I were planning to cruise near coastal above 8 knots, a cat would be under serious consideration.

Think you need to honestly analyze what percentage of your days aboard will be underway. A 40 to 45' trawler may be more spacious when it's being used as a second home. Obviously, which models you look at in each category will have a impact on your impression of spacious.

Ted
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Old 10-11-2019, 08:38 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by jbinbi View Post
. I have never sailed a trawler or power cat, so I don't have any real world experience.

.
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Old 10-11-2019, 08:43 PM   #7
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Lots of advantages for coastal cruising with power cats. When you get into more extended travel cargo weight and loading becomes more critical. You can't just keep filling empty spaces.
Its an easy fix.
You simply need a much larger cat.

One of my all time favourite world cruising cats is still for sale
Has a 6 in front of it now


https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/200...no-20-3495698/
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Old 10-11-2019, 09:14 PM   #8
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. Ride on the cat is great in flat water and some chop. I've never been in more than 3-ft chop with the cat, but suspect it wouldn't be great - pretty jerky. Also, beam seas are not as smooth as I would have thought. Can't beat it at anchor though.

My friend feels a bit constrained by range even with 700 nms range (to empty). He has no desire to cross oceans or anything either, but 500-miles effective range means he has to plan around fueling too much for his tastes.

.
Appreciate everyone's input so far. Sorry about the sailing term, force of habit from 50 years of doing that...

I was looking at the Fountain Pajot MY 37, if you cruise at about 7kts on a single engine at a time, you get 1200nm range.

A bit concerned about how a trawler or PC operates in seas. In my sailboat, anything under say 5' is non issue, you just sail depending upon where the wind is from. Going from Newport to wherever in the bay in 20kts can be 3-5', that is a standard day, though a bit tough if into it, or for those that get queasy on the beam.

Is this the same for a trawler or PC? Or do you adjust course? When there are 5' seas I normally do not see many of the planing type hulls out there doing 20+ kts.
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Old 10-11-2019, 11:25 PM   #9
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It depends.
5' steep in a 35 to 40' trawler is usually miserable straight on the bow or bow quartering with displacement speeds. Following seas of that size will greatly depend on stern shape, rudder size, and autopilot pump speed. Beam seas will suck without stabilizers (you don't have the mast and sail anymore).

Can't answer your question for a power cat, but am repeatedly told big beam seas are miserable in them.

With my 45' boat (avatar), 5' steep is doable, but only for a couple of hours to get to better conditions. I will do that in bays or sounds, not interested in doing it in the ocean.

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Old 10-11-2019, 11:46 PM   #10
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Its an easy fix.
You simply need a much larger cat.

One of my all time favourite world cruising cats is still for sale
Has a 6 in front of it now


https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/200...no-20-3495698/
Interesting tender.
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Old 10-12-2019, 12:19 AM   #11
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The worst we have had our current boat, 41í President, in was 5 to 7s coming on our starboard quarter crossing Lake Ontario. It wasnít bad but it was uncomfortable. Better than it would have been on the bow or side. The autopilot did ok but it was working itís butt off.
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Old 10-12-2019, 12:30 AM   #12
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From OP: "A bit concerned about how a trawler or PC operates in seas. In my sailboat, anything under say 5' is a non issue. Is this the same for a trawler or PC? Or do you adjust course?"

I did the Baja Ha Ha in 2005 on a Willard 40 trawler (no stabilization) - one of four powerboats in a fleet of 160. Roughly 1-week rally covering 1000 nms:

- we averaged almost 7.5 kts and burned about 1.5 gph.

- we were one of the first 10 boats to arrive into the anchorage for each of the three legs (there were a few 50+ foot racing sleds with large crews)

- we arrived rested and in good spirits, unlike about a quarter of the fleet who arrived up to 24 hours later and exhausted.

Sailing is fun, and it's a huge sense of accomplishment to sail into a harbor or across an ocean. But if coastal cruising is your objective and you like the idea of cruising in fuzzy slippers versus foulies, well, trawler (one or two hulls) might be for you - and might make the difference whether your spouse comes along
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Old 10-12-2019, 07:58 AM   #13
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He runs her at 9-kts a lot and burns around 8-gph combined, plus generator.
I'm surprised it's not much much better than that. When we cruise in the neighborhood of 7-8 kts, our tables says we're burning ~ 4 GPH total, with twin Cummins 450Cs. (That's calculated, though, not measured with FloScans or similar.)

Anyway, would have thought a 52' power cat, probably with smaller engines, would be able to better that at speeds up to about 9.5 kts?



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A bit concerned about how a trawler or PC operates in seas. In my sailboat, anything under say 5' is non issue, you just sail depending upon where the wind is from. Going from Newport to wherever in the bay in 20kts can be 3-5', that is a standard day, though a bit tough if into it, or for those that get queasy on the beam.

Is this the same for a trawler or PC? Or do you adjust course? When there are 5' seas I normally do not see many of the planing type hulls out there doing 20+ kts.
Depends on wave length. And then we can "tack" if necessary. And slow down, match speed to wave heights. And we're always fine with a lay day; if weather today isn't comfortable, tomorrow it might be.

My very uneducated guess is that a stabilized trawler might have a gentler (?) roll than a power cat, which might be a bit sharpish (?), in beam seas. I know we (unstabilized, planing hull) can be seriously rocked in beam seas, but then we can usually modify our travel plan accordingly.

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Old 10-12-2019, 08:58 AM   #14
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As a planing hull guy, beam seas suck due to the fast, sharp roll. A cat may have similar issues there. Head seas can be rough and wet depending on size and steepness and at a certain point, you're forced down to trawler speed anyway to avoid flying off the tops of them.

Following seas (even quartering) can be a bit nerve-wracking at times, but they're easy enough and comfy until they get big enough / fast enough that you can't keep pace with them, then they start to become more work. At 3 feet and not too steep, I can out-run them just fine at a slight quartering angle, it's only a little extra work compared to running with them. Trim up to keep the bow high, and it's just boat slows down a little as you climb each wave and then speeds up as you surf down the front of it. Doing this last weekend on Lake Ontario had me climbing waves anywhere from 13.5 - 14.5 kts and heading down them at 18 - 18.5 with a power and trim setting that would give 15.5 - 16 kts in calm water.
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Old 10-12-2019, 09:01 AM   #15
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IF anchoring out is your thing , there can be a PIA with most any multihull.

Cats or tris are wind born at anchor , where heavier single hulled cruisers are frenquently current born.

All depends on wind or current speed , but it can get exciting at changes..

Our answer , Bahamsas style anchoring , bow and stern anchor lead to bow.
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Old 10-12-2019, 09:01 AM   #16
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Ted, my experience last year on Lake Michigan mirrors your assessment. One day in mid-August with a poor wind forecast we decided to go out and see how our DeFever 44 would fare rather than staying holed up in a lousy port another day. We cleared the breakwater and turned south directly into 5-7 footers. After about 10 minutes into a 40-mile trip we turned back. Coming about 180 degrees brought us into a different world, no noise and the fairly steep swells just pushed us along with not much squirrel action. We were just amazed at the difference. We would have been willing to drive all day like that. On the beam, not so much.
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It depends.
5' steep in a 35 to 40' trawler is usually miserable straight on the bow or bow quartering with displacement speeds. Following seas of that size will greatly depend on stern shape, rudder size, and autopilot pump speed. Beam seas will suck without stabilizers (you don't have the mast and sail anymore).

Can't answer your question for a power cat, but am repeatedly told big beam seas are miserable in them.

With my 45' boat (avatar), 5' steep is doable, but only for a couple of hours to get to better conditions. I will do that in bays or sounds, not interested in doing it in the ocean.

Ted
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Old 10-12-2019, 09:43 AM   #17
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Unless you are in your home port every night, or on the hook, or have deep pockets really consider the cost of transient dockage with a multi hull. Some marinas will charge you for two slips if they don't have a dock end available. Even some dock ends have width restrictions due to the width of the channel.

I have never even been on one but is docking a challenge with all that width ? I can put my trawler into a spot less than a foot wider or longer than my boat but I do use my bow thruster, are thrusters available on cats ?

My Albin is only 36 feet, much shorter than you are interested in but just for comparison my total milage for last summer, including wasted fuel from filter changes, running my genny and idling at the dock and waiting for bridges was 4.5 miles per gallon. Thats less than 2 gph fuel burn .

Love my Albin

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Old 10-12-2019, 09:48 AM   #18
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Its an easy fix.

You simply need a much larger cat.



One of my all time favourite world cruising cats is still for sale

Has a 6 in front of it now





https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/200...no-20-3495698/

Oh man. Domino has wine storage for 100 bottles. My kind of boat!

Seriously, thatís an awesome boat.
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Old 10-12-2019, 11:26 AM   #19
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I have never even been on one but is docking a challenge with all that width ? I can put my trawler into a spot less than a foot wider or longer than my boat but I do use my bow thruster, are thrusters available on cats ?

pete
Not sure about power cats, but docking my sailing cat is SO much better than a mono. Docking a mono sailboat is like landing on a carrier, basically you hope for a controlled collision. Having bow thrusters helps enormously, without them especially in reverse, you are praying.

On my cat with 2 engines, which i make the boat spin in its own width, it is amazing. I feel like I can be a boat pilot. Spots I have gotten in and out of amaze me. I would have never tried that in a mono. Now the beam is 22, on the motor cats, the beam is like 16, so the engines aren't as wide apart, but still, by putting one is fwd, the other in reverse being say 12' apart must give pretty good control.
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Old 10-12-2019, 11:45 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simi 60 View Post
Its an easy fix.
You simply need a much larger cat.

One of my all time favourite world cruising cats is still for sale
Has a 6 in front of it now


https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/200...no-20-3495698/
Not so much.
Sleeps 7 to 8 with only 1 shower, 1 head, and no mention of holding tank size. 400+ gallons of fresh water for 7 and no water maker. 2 small AC units for a boat that size? Engine rooms that look like you need to be a contortionist. Looks like a nautical camping coastal cruiser to me. The only thing that speaks of long distance cruising is the fuel capacity.

Ted
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