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Old 02-12-2013, 12:48 AM   #1
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Sailor considering becoming a "Trawler Skipper"

I have been sailing for over 20 years, my last 18 years on my Nonsuch 30. I am considerng a Trawler but have never even touched one. Would appreciate suggestions on some quality older boats (maybe a Woody) in the 28-34 ft. range to consider for my wife and I to do some long distance gunkholing.

Based on my limited knowledge and looking in the classified section on this forum, it seems that the Willard and Fales seem to be ones that I should consider in addition to some other popular names such as Nordic Tug, Eagle, Cape Dory and Grand Banks.

Is a fly bridge preferred? I am concerned about the top heavy performance and stability since I am coming from a very stable/comfortable cruising sailboat. And also concerned about having "cabin fever" by being confined to the main pilot house 8-10 hour days on the water.

Oh yea, I would definetely consider a trade or if you know of someone looking for a great cruising freshwater sailboat.

All suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
Ken
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:04 AM   #2
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Boats that are designed to have flying bridges are stable with them. Adding one to a boat that was not designed to have one could be problematic.

Whether or not you want one is a personal preference. Our boat has one but we never use it except as a place to relax after we get somewhere. And guests like it sometimes when we're underway. But we never drive the boat from there even though it has a complete set of controls. Other people always drive their boats from the flying bridge. Everyone has their reasons for doing what they do but you'll have to make up your own mind.

What I suggest you do since you say you know nothing about cruisers like most of us on this forum have is charter one. That's what we did when we started thinking seriously about getting into this kind of boating. And it was money well spent because it convinced us without any long-term commitment or major expenditure on our part that we really liked running and cruising a boat like this. Had we decided it wasn't all we thought it would be, we would not have been out the time, cost, and effort of buying our own boat and then having to dispose of it.

But we liked the experience enough that we later decided to get a boat of our own. That was fourteen years ago and we still use and enjoy the boat as much today as we did on day one.
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:20 AM   #3
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Welcome aboard Ken.
Marin and I always disagree on fly bridges. He never runs his boat from up top and I never run mine from below. He's in Washington and I'm in Florida. I wonder if that has anything to do with it?

Marin is right, you should charter a couple and try it out.

I have a cartoon in my office. It's an old sailor kneeling next to his bunk and praying.
"Oh Lord forgive me. I went out on a power boat ...and liked it!"
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:03 AM   #4
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Welcome aboard Ken.
Marin and I always disagree on fly bridges. He never runs his boat from up top and I never run mine from below. He's in Washington and I'm in Florida. I wonder if that has anything to do with it?

Marin is right, you should charter a couple and try it out.

I have a cartoon in my office. It's an old sailor kneeling next to his bunk and praying.
"Oh Lord forgive me. I went out on a power boat ...and liked it!"
Marin lives about an hour north of us, and we ply the same waters.

We almost never use the lower helm.

Having a flybridge gives options for fair and foul weather cruising, and additional living/party space onboard. As Marin pointed out, the flybridge doesn't lend to an instability factor of a boat originally equipped, but it does add some windage that you have to take into consideration.

Oh...welcome!
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:59 AM   #5
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While we've discussed this ad nauseum before, one reason we never run from the flying bridge--- besides hating the sight picture from up there when doing close-in maneuvering--- is described in the current "Ford Lehman Locked Up" thread.

From up on the flying bridge we can't hear, feel, or smell our engines. We averted a serious electrical fire (in the radio console) by not being on the flying bridge. Had we been up there at the time our first clue would have been the flames. And the incident described in the "Locked Up" thread where the engine began making a "funny" noise would most likely not have been noticed up on our flying bridge.

If one of our engines or transmissions or anything else starts making funny noises or overheating or smelling weird or doing anything else out of the ordinary it will get shut down immediately. But you have to hear it or smell it or feel it to know to do it.

I don't trust alarms as far as I can spit. I have learned very well over the years that the primary function of an alarm is to tell you that the component it is attached to has just catastrophically failed. Same as how a piece of electronics is there to burn up so as to protect the fuse in its power line.

So we don't run from up top because we're just too disconnected from the boat up there. We like hearing the engines so the louder sound down below doesn't bother us at all.

And, as I mentioned, we both hate the sight picture from up there and can judge our position in tight quarters far more accurately from down below, plus whoever is at the helm can be on deck instantly to help if necessary.
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Old 02-12-2013, 03:04 AM   #6
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Marin lives about an hour north of us, and we ply the same waters.
We don't live an hour north of you, our boat does. Actually it's more like two hours north of you if you live in the Seattle area.
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:59 AM   #7
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The first question is speed , as a sailor your used to 6K , will you be requiring 12K or 18K as cruise?

That will determine engine size .

If slow is fine the next question is endurance.

No problem motoring from marina to marina in 8 hours , but if you want to spend days or weeks at anchor , be sure the on board systems are like your sail boat, not just functioning with the dock power hose , or noisemaker.
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Old 02-12-2013, 06:04 AM   #8
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Interesting- I find just the opposite to be true: the sight lines are better from the flybridge than the salon. Reason? No blind spots/sight lines interrupted by deckhouse. Also, it's easier to communicate with my crew from on high than in the salon.

In any case, moving from sail to power will give the OP a choice of command stations, be to FB, pilothouse, or salon.
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:04 AM   #9
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The first question is speed , as a sailor your used to 6K , will you be requiring 12K or 18K as cruise?

That will determine engine size .

If slow is fine the next question is endurance.

No problem motoring from marina to marina in 8 hours , but if you want to spend days or weeks at anchor , be sure the on board systems are like your sail boat, not just functioning with the dock power hose , or noisemaker.
Yes, in determining the type of boat, speed is the first question to be answered. Coming from a sailboat as I did you're probably thinking slow trawler 6-8 kts speeds. Once you get a taste of 18+ knots it's hard to go back.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:13 AM   #10
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Ken, If I were you I would get a flybridge trawler, as a sailor you will appreciate being able to operate the boat outdoors when conditions are right.

You will also have a place to enjoy a quiet ride with the sound of wind in water instead of constant engine noise. Our boat is not loud in the salon area when running you can converse normally underway. But as an ex sailor myself it is nice to be able to operate the boat in a quiet place once in a while.

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Old 02-12-2013, 09:30 AM   #11
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Ken, welcome. We won't tell any of your sailing friends you were here

That whole indoors/outdoors thing will probably be a big adjustment. Resist it. Buy a boat with large, bright, livable indoor spaces. The cabin on a trawler is more than just a place to hunker down on a rainy day.

I won't get into the flybridge debate except to say that many boats in this range will have a LOT of room up there for relaxing or entertaining while in port, whether you ever use it underway or not. Make sure to spend at least some time sitting on a few flybridges before you make up your mind.

I've found many people don't get much use out of their cockpits. Check out a sundeck or aft cabin arrangement and see if it's something you can live with. If you don't do a lot of fishing, you may find you get more usable space that way. Or not. Either way, it helps narrow your search.

Oh, and see the thread about "Why did you buy your boat". There are some good lists on there.

Good luck!!
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:44 AM   #12
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And also concerned about having "cabin fever" by being confined to the main pilot house 8-10 hour days on the water.
We have a cockpit and have never felt confined to the cabin. Also, if it wasn't hard for me to scramble up & down a ladder, I'd have a flying bridge.
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:17 AM   #13
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Ken, I too just came over to the dark side and have never been mored pleased that I did. I still have my sail boat but I am very pleased with the room and comfort of my 47' Atlantic trawler. My suggestion is to buy what you like and as big as possible. My boat has a fly bridge and it is the best seat in town. I also have the lower helm but will probably never use it. My thought is to move when I want and under the best weather conditions even thought my fly bridge is completely closed in. I do agree, you should try different styles to see what pleases you best. At first, the wife and I wanted an open rear area to enjoy being outside, we found our boat which had a closed-in sun room and we love it. So, start with an open mind, look long and hard, buy big and understand, you will live in it like a home one day.
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:01 PM   #14
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One reason I chose my boat was that it didn't have a flybridge. If guests want the great outdoors, they can go to the stern cockpit or up forward to sit/lie on the cabin roof. I occasionally step out the pilothouse door and stand on the side deck, controls in reach.



I prefer being close to the center of rotation which a flybridge isn't. While the Coot has a ladder to the saloon roof, the roof isn't safe while underway or when the boat is rocking.

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Old 02-12-2013, 02:23 PM   #15
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While everyone has their preferences I would recommend a good look at pilothouse boats. In our opinions, this is the absolute best configuration for a recreational cruising boat on the planet. Elevated helm position for good visibility all around but out of the weather and with excellent deck access, the same fore and aft cabin advantages of tri-cabins or Europas, and--- usually--- a very good looking configuration.

Some pilothouse boats like Krogen, Fleming, etc. can be had with a flying bridge, usually a fairly small one, if one is more comfortable looking down on the boat for maneuvering or just wants to drive in the open air from time to time.

The best examples of production pilothouse boats in my opinion, at least in terms of layout and aesthetics as I've never run any of them, are (in order) Fleming, the deFever 46, Krogen, Nordic Tug, Eagle 40, and some models of Bayliner.

If you can stomach wannabe windows (forward raked pilothouse windows)--- and I can't--- you can add American Tug, Selene, some Nordhavns, and the Seahorse Marine Coot to that list.
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Old 02-12-2013, 03:48 PM   #16
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I know there's no arguing taste, but personally, I like the "wannabe windows". (Good turn of phrase, btw. I intend to use that one some day.) I admit that they can look cartoon-ish if overdone. Some of the tugs push the limit, although I do generally like that look. But to my taste it's hard to beat the looks of a Nordhaven. Different strokes I guess.
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:27 PM   #17
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But to my taste it's hard to beat the looks of a Nordhaven. Different strokes I guess.

Very much so. With the exception of one model I think Nordhavn's are among the most butt-ugly boats on the planet. There are few boats out there that are as awkward and unblalanced looking (to me) as a Nordhavn. The one exception is the old Nordhavn 50.
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Old 02-12-2013, 06:19 PM   #18
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I use the upper helm about 90% of the time.
Once this is hashed out better ask about twins or single engine, and what anchor to use.
Chartering a trawler or two is a good idea, fun too.
Good luck!
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:03 PM   #19
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Here's the top of my butt-ugly list:

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Old 02-12-2013, 11:16 PM   #20
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While our boat is not a trawler (I'm here because of the collective knowledge) we do have a large flybridge as well as a roomy cabin to drive from. Well over 90% of my driving is from up top. The flybridge is the place where guests want to be when we're moving, not inside the cabin. The view is better, the sights and sound are better and it's just a pleasant place to spend the cruising time.





Marin's idea of chartering a trawler before you buy is a good one. If you can find them, charter several different types so you can see how they would work for you.

My advice to people shopping for a different type of boat comes in two suggestions...
1. Buy your second boat first. Too many people don't do their homework before they buy and end up with a boat that doesn't work for them. That can be a VERY expensive mistake so take your time, do your homework, and buy the second boat first.
2. The wrong boat, at the best price in the world, is still the wrong boat.

Oh, and welcome aboard.

BTW, my boat came from Harrison TWP in your neighborhood. Nice places to boat there.
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