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Old 06-21-2014, 08:10 AM   #1
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Sailboat to trawler, but which trawler?

Many years offshore sailing and off-and-on living aboard on a 50'+ sailboat, but with our two teen age crew off to college, and me not getting any younger, it is time to join you folks. A trawler looks to fit our plans best, with the wife and me living aboard and the extended family joining us on occasion. Travel will be from NE to Bahamas and Caribbean, with no extended offshore beyond an overnight passage here and there. Meanwhile, multiple stream crossings and the occasional Mona passage to keep things interesting. No need for speed, never had it to miss. But a boat that is somewhat overbuilt, and capable of even more than I intend to encounter, appeals to me. My wife wants a stable platform, both at sea and at anchor. and preferably 3 SR's. 3/4 time on the hook, with extended time off the grid in remote locales.

Side note: I am 6'5"+.

With that preamble, a short example list of used ($1M range) boats would be KK 52 or 58, Nordhavn 55, 57 or maybe even the 62, but fear crossing the 60' barrier would bring on some docking and mooring challenges. Have shied away from the semi-displacement boats, Fleming 55 for example, based on intended use and dislike for high fuel bills, but no strong aversion.

So is that enough info to get the discussion flowing? I would particularly like to hear from folks who have been on more than one of these boats and can compare and contrast. I appreciate your combined experience, since we have no significant power boat experience ourselves, so thanks in advance.
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Old 06-21-2014, 09:36 AM   #2
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Greetings,
welcome aboard. SMART move.
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Old 06-21-2014, 10:38 AM   #3
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Fuel use is primarily a function of displacement and operating speed, the number of engines and their maximum HP doesn't matter much, hull shape has an effect but the displacement and speed are primary. Personally when I went to power from sail I wanted the option to go faster to avoid storms and longer passages if I decided to do so while running most of the time at slow speeds. Even slow speeds were much faster that my sail boat usually went. []

Sail boats with tall rigging and deep keels are inherently more roll resistant than any power boat of similar size. The roll resistance of a big sail underway cant be beat. Active stabilizers are a big advantage underway. At anchor though they don't help. Power boats will roll more and quicker than sail boats.
Paravanes and flopper stoppers will come into the discussion but that's your decision.

IMO nogthing wrong with any of the boats you mentioned.
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Old 06-21-2014, 11:36 AM   #4
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I'd toss Grand Banks and Fleming onto the list as well. You'll see some very happy Tuggers here too, American Tug and Nordic Tug. Hatteras also can be a good loop boat. Just keep draft and air draft in mind.
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Old 06-21-2014, 12:17 PM   #5
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If you are talking about a boat somewhere near $1MM then variances in fuel consumption at the same speed don't matter much.

The Fleming with its semi displacement hull and big engines will certainly use more fuel, 50% more up to double maybe, but we are talking about 5 gph for the Nordhavn vs 10 GPH for the Fleming. That is maybe $20-25/hr more for the Fleming.

But if you cruise a lot of hours it may be worth it to go with the pure displacement hull. But it would take 1,000 hours a year to make it meaningful against a $1MM boat price.

The two boats you mentioned- the Nordhavn and KK will certainly fit your mission, but maybe a bit of overkill. Also look at the Selenes and newer Defevers.

And I say overkill with a bit of trepidation, maybe not. Coming from a sailboat perspective you are used to a boat that can handle just about anything mother nature can throw at you short of a full fledged hurricane.

A Flemming can't do this but a Nordhavn can. Read Bebe's book- Voyaging Under Power for a perspective from a real passagemaker.

You could do the Carribean a hundred times on the Fleming and do just fine. But find yourself just once in the Mona passage with 50 kts of wind and 20' seas and you will really respect the Nordhavn's capabilities. The Fleming may be able to handle those conditions, but I sure would rather be in a Nordhavn in them.

The characteristics of a go anywhere passagemake are: Hell for stout build. Ballast, Heavy windows. Engine systems that are built to run in extreme conditions. Did I mention ballast- one of the most important design features in heavy seas.

But have fun looking and ultimately buying and joining the other side. We are pretty good guys on this side and most started boating on the other one.

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Old 06-21-2014, 12:23 PM   #6
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Greg: I think you've got it pretty well figured out. For real blue-water, over-built vessels as you describe, you mentions would be what I'd be looking at too, save for the occasional Bering steeler or a few semi-custom builds. Still, getting out of a sailboat and into a trawler is a real change, especially from a large sailing vessel to a large trawler. In smaller trawlers, it's possible to find one that might feel something like a sailboat in character, etc.. but when you get over 50, the style and intention is firmly exhibited in and out, with only a few custom builds being the exception. Best of luck.
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Old 06-21-2014, 12:46 PM   #7
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I doubt the Fleming would use 2x the fuel of the nordhaven at the same speed. Do you have any data to support that ?

IMO choosing a boat based on 1% weather is questionable unless ocean crossings are the plan
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Old 06-21-2014, 01:45 PM   #8
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I doubt the Fleming would use 2x the fuel of the nordhaven at the same speed. Do you have any data to support that ?

Well, yes and no. Big engines like the Cats on the Flemming are less efficient when operating at very low loads. The Lugger on the Nordhavn is probably operating at 50% of rated power at 8 kts and the Cat is operating at 10% on the Fleming. The Lugger will probably produce about 17 hp per GPH and the Cat will produce less than 15, maybe as low as 12 because it has a lot of iron to rotate, turbos that are doing nothing and big fresh and raw water pumps all of which takes hp. You can look at fuel consumption curves for both engines and see this.

Any naval architect will tell you (and I am surely not one) that semi displacement hulls are less efficient at slow speeds than pure displacement hulls. How much- maybe 25-50% less efficient. Just a guess.

IMO choosing a boat based on 1% weather is questionable unless ocean crossings are the plan.
Well virtually every safety practice that the construction industry follows is only useful a tiny fraction of a percentage of the time, like wearing hard hats and safety glasses. But they still do it, because when the time comes.....

Coastal cruising almost always gives you a safe port bailout option if the weather turns to crap. Cruising the Carribean and making overnight passages doesn't give you many options, but lots better than a long distance blue water voyage which I understand that the OP is not planning on making.

But like I said, he is used to that capability on his sailboat and may want the same peace of mind for his trawler.

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Old 06-21-2014, 02:14 PM   #9
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I would check out 55 Nordy's.
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Old 06-21-2014, 02:23 PM   #10
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When we shop for boats, we don't pay much attention to brands or models until much later in the process. Instead, we start with a list of gotta-have and nice-to-have features:
- good master stateroom, with centerline (or at least walk-around) berth
- good head, separate from a decent stall shower
- flying bridge, covered with a hardtop
- stairs to the bridge (not a ladder)
- swim platform
- transom door
- good access to engine(s), genset, and all other systems for maintenance and service
With a nice boat attached.

Just an example. Sounds like one feature OP needs is 6'7" or more headroom

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Old 06-21-2014, 02:29 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
When we shop for boats, we don't pay much attention to brands or models until much later in the process. Instead, we start with a list of gotta-have and nice-to-have features:
- good master stateroom, with centerline (or at least walk-around) berth
- good head, separate from a decent stall shower
- flying bridge, covered with a hardtop
- stairs to the bridge (not a ladder)
- swim platform
- transom door
- good access to engine(s), genset, and all other systems for maintenance and service
With a nice boat attached.

Just an example. Sounds like one feature OP needs is 6'7" or more headroom

-Chris
Good list. For us a galley up is a requirement too although not for many. The height becomes a real challenge as I'm a little over 6'4". Actually 6'3 3/4" in bare feet but then that means 6'5" or so with shoes. Sometimes the height varies below. The builder may give a number that is only the main corridor. A key is the master stateroom. I was on one boat where halls and elsewhere were fine but stateroom was 6" less than the rest.
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Old 06-21-2014, 02:40 PM   #12
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If my memory is correct the Krogen 58 received better reviews than the Nordhaven 62.

Going from a 50+ sailboat after the two children leave you may find that a 48 foot trawler is sufficient, in which case look at the Krogen 48, a frequent traveler in the Caribbean. Also seen are the Nordhavn 47 and 55.
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Old 06-21-2014, 02:55 PM   #13
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Have not been aboard a Nordhavn but the DeFevers I have been aboard all had generous headroom. Agree with Marty that if a 50+' sailboat felt right with two kids downsizing below 50' may not be a bad thing to consider. Of course a 62 Nordhavn would give you plenty of elbow room.
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Old 06-21-2014, 03:00 PM   #14
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There are many factors to fuel usage. When you compare a Nordhavn to a Fleming it's not just number of engines or engine size or hull design. Weight and waterline length are factors too.

All that said, a Fleming 58 has a Waterline length of 56'2", a theoretical displacement speed of 8.2 to 9.0 knots. With twin Cummins 500 hp engines it would be a very efficient boat. However, a single engine boat in the same size would use less fuel. But it's a matter of degrees.

At 8 knots, we get 1 nm/gallon on an 85' with twin 1500 hp MTU's. We don't go 8 knots often but if we wanted to. Engines are changing too as we just got a comparison on a 65' that previously came with twin 825's and now with twin 1200's it gets better fuel economy at every speed. Only when you exceed the maximum of the smaller engines does it become less efficient. We looked at tests of a 100' Hatteras with twin 1900 hp CATS and at 7.5 knots it got 1.2 nm/gallon.

So look at specific tests on the boat and engine combination you're considering. While you don't need the size engines I just discussed, the point I was trying to make is that sometimes the real numbers will surprise you. There are many variables at play.
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Old 06-21-2014, 03:02 PM   #15
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Do keep in mind that a trawler type boat is going to have considerably more space than a sailboat of the same length.
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Old 06-21-2014, 03:23 PM   #16
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Another make to consider is the Ocean Alexander. They make, or used to make, trawler type vessels in the 50 - 65 foot range.

I like this 65 footer - bigger than your stated size range, but with the myriad control stations and hydraulic bow & stern thrusters I would think she would be pretty handy at a dock. And the Luggers, based on Komatsu blocks, would be bulletproof.

2001 65' Ocean Alexander Classico Power Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

A smaller version:

2010 Ocean Alexander Trawler Extended Cruiser Power Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
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Old 06-21-2014, 03:45 PM   #17
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Another make to consider is the Ocean Alexander. They make, or used to make, trawler type vessels in the 50 - 65 foot range.
Their 60 was a nice boat, but unfortunately the smallest they make now is 72'. Similarly Pacific Mariner/Westport had a 65' but it's no longer built.
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Old 06-21-2014, 04:07 PM   #18
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Been on all of them including your little harbor. As a recovering sailor I must say I understand your decision. We ended up with a nordhavn for a variety of reasons, but we wound up with the one my wife chose (we are both happy).


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Old 06-21-2014, 04:36 PM   #19
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I doubt the Fleming would use 2x the fuel of the nordhaven at the same speed. Do you have any data to support that ?

IMO choosing a boat based on 1% weather is questionable unless ocean crossings are the plan
My buddy's F55 (with 3208 cats) burns 10 gph at 10 knots, but drops to 6 gph at 7.5 knots. For comparison, my 64 Mikelson (60' lwl, 660hp QSM11's, displacement about 95,000 pounds) averages 7 gph at 8.5 knots, but burns 10 to 11 at 10 knots. I have no idea what an N55 burns.
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Old 06-21-2014, 05:13 PM   #20
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MY: That cant be true. Everyone knows boats that look like trawlers, e.g. Fleming, get 2X better fuel mileage than boats that look like MYs. []
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