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Old 08-17-2011, 02:18 PM   #1
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Sundeck in PNW?

New to the forum and to the PNW. We recently sold our sailboat and are now looking for a trawler (?). While searching I have noticed a number of sundeck boats and wondered if the lack of a cockpit on those in the 35'-38' range pose any particular problems with docking. I would appreciate any comments from owners of sundeck boats. In general, the more I look, the farther from finding THE boat I get! Trawlers, tugs, and some Tolly's are on the short list.
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Old 08-17-2011, 02:38 PM   #2
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RE: Sundeck in PNW?

docking an aft cabin/sundeck style boat is not hard at all once you get the hang of it. Usually you need to be able to see on corner of the dock or a piling so that you can judge where you are but as long as you can see that you are good to go. If you are on a floating dock with no pilings or way to see what you are backing into you can always go bow first into the slip, have a spotter direct you from the aft deck, or even install a backup camera (rarely worth that expense though!!).
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Old 08-17-2011, 03:11 PM   #3
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RE: Sundeck in PNW?

Problems docking?* No.* Especially if you have help on the dock.* Without help on the dock line handling can prove problematic.* This is expecially true for older couples.** There are sundeck trawker style and cruiser style boats with aft cockpits.* This helps immensly in line handling.* The smallest I know of this type is the 38 Chris-Craft.* I think the others start about 40'.* If you are young and agile, have at it.* I delivered a new 36 Heritage East that an older couple had bought.* They didn't put 100 hrs. on it before selling. It was just too much for them.

That being said, they make a very efficient use of interior and outside deck space.
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Old 08-17-2011, 04:54 PM   #4
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RE: Sundeck in PNW?

we find our 35' sundeck in some ways easier to dock than our 42' sailboat was--you are driving from the middle so have a better sense of where the boat is under you (true of powerboats in general)--and in some ways harder--only easy place to get on and off is in the middle of the sides, more difficult from bow and much more difficult from stern due to height of sundeck.* But all in all it is not bad.* We do have twins which we find makes it more maneuverable in and out of the slip*than the sailboat was*but people with singles will tell you there is no difference if you know what you are doing.* Guess we don't.* * we went for the sundeck based on the interior space and the quality and condition of the boat.*
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Old 08-17-2011, 05:26 PM   #5
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RE: Sundeck in PNW?

I don't think it's the lack of a cockpit that is challenging, but getting to know your new boat, and how she will react in any given wind and current situation.* After two years, Tom has gotten really good at docking our single screw trawler, both bow in and stern to.* And at the same time, I've gotten really good at line handling and giving verbal commands from the aft deck as we are backing in to any slip.***

It all gets easier with lots of practice!

*
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Old 08-17-2011, 05:49 PM   #6
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RE: Sundeck in PNW?

I knew that Jennifer and Bess would shoot me down, but they do it in such a nice way that I don't mind.
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Old 08-17-2011, 07:24 PM   #7
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RE: Sundeck in PNW?

Bess is right... I am THAT good. ;-)

(not really... just lucky)
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Old 08-17-2011, 07:51 PM   #8
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RE: Sundeck in PNW?

My wife and I dock our Sundeck quite easily. Only problem for us is with the hardtop over the sundeck, visibility can be a little challenging backing in to the slip, so it takes two, one on the controls and one spotter /line handler.
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Old 08-17-2011, 08:22 PM   #9
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RE: Sundeck in PNW?

Quote:
GonzoF1 wrote:
Bess is right... I am THAT good. ;-)

(not really... just lucky)
*If you read between those lines, it says, I have a really great first mate.* ;-)
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Old 08-17-2011, 08:24 PM   #10
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Sundeck in PNW?

Quote:
Moonstruck wrote:
I knew that Jennifer and Bess would shoot me down, but they do it in such a nice way that I don't mind.
*Don, where there is a will, there is a way!!* We didn't know how to dock anything bigger than a ski boat when we bought Skinny Dippin'.* It's all about needing to dock, and not wanting to look like a douchebag doing it.*


-- Edited by Besslb on Wednesday 17th of August 2011 08:24:54 PM
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Old 08-17-2011, 09:46 PM   #11
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RE: Sundeck in PNW?

Regardless of tri-cabin or sundeck, your going to want a line ready to go at a midship cleat with a bow and stern ready to deploy as well. Ideally, you will leave the boat at midships which means it's more about freeboard at the dock than is if your able get off at the stern.

We currently have a Ponderosa 42 (and have previously owned a Universal 36 and CHB 34 , as well as sailboats) and the enclosed sundeck does have some windage but with practice you get to know how to horse the beast (which is how we fondly refer to her as) around.

Simply cannot beat the space for the $$ with a sundeck.

Good luck in your search and feel free to PM me if you have any additional questions. We are in Olympia.

Brent
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Old 08-17-2011, 11:34 PM   #12
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RE: Sundeck in PNW?

Thanks for the input. Our 30' sailboat was very easy to manage and this transition to power has us out of our element, for now. We have looked a few boats including a 36 Marine Trader sundeck trawler that was very nice. The owner said he had some problems docking the boat and he attributed his difficulty to the height of the sundeck. Sounds like it may not have been the boat at all. Thanks again to everyone..
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Old 08-18-2011, 05:47 AM   #13
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RE: Sundeck in PNW?

Wow... It uncommon to find captain's willing to admit that their boat is difficult to dock. Like Bess was saying, a first mate that is aware of the possible shortcomings in handling and visibility EASILY overcome any docking problems. The layout of sundeck trawlers can't be beat if you want to be outdoors on the water (and why anyone want to always be cooped up in a pilot house all day when on the water in beyond my comprehension ;-) It must be a PNW thing). Still, sundecks are top-heavy and may be an issue up there since you don't have a nice quiet ICW to enjoy and find yourself in open water more that us Eastcoasters.

My only real advice is to not base you decision on docking. If sundeck trawlers are the most difficult to dock due to sight lines (and I cannot imagine that they are), and I have never docked anything more than a ski boat up until two years ago, then I am either some kind of freak-ish prodigy or it's not as hard as you think. I managed to be pretty good at it with little more than a single lesson and lots of practice. I can tell you from experience that it isn't a big deal.
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Old 08-18-2011, 09:10 AM   #14
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RE: Sundeck in PNW?

I would go look at a sundeck trawler and try to get down to the dock from the deck without a dock ladder. If you have problems with the climbing down while the boat is in a slip, that climb may get really difficult when docking when the boat is not tied up already.
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Old 08-18-2011, 10:24 AM   #15
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RE: Sundeck in PNW?

Great advice, thanks. We have not excluded anything yet. Just making our list of what we must have, want to have, and won't have. Our sailboat was only listed for 4 days before it sold and we expected it would take months, not days, to sell. Our search for a new boat caught us less than well prepared.
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Old 08-18-2011, 10:29 AM   #16
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RE: Sundeck in PNW?

One of these might help.

http://marinesolarlights.com/_landingloop.php
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Old 08-18-2011, 10:46 AM   #17
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Sundeck in PNW?

PNW and sundeck used in the same sentence is difficult for me to comprehend this year!! I think I have only had the flybridge canvas off 5 or 6 days so far.

I've found after years of study that my best dockings occur when I have two trained dock jumpers on deck, who aren't afraid of leaping across that last 3 feet of water and can withstand the 4 foot drop to the dock. All done while I shout advice to them from the wheel house. LOL!! *


-- Edited by Edelweiss on Thursday 18th of August 2011 05:31:15 PM
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Old 08-18-2011, 10:50 AM   #18
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RE: Sundeck in PNW?

As I said, docking (putting the boat in the slip should not be a real problem.* Backing a Europa style into a slip from the flybridge probably has about the worst visibility.* I know I had one.* Backing in from the lower station was easy.* You basically can stand outside on the lower station and still reach the controls, so visibility should be OK.* Floating docks and fixed low docks are the problem.* A sundeck trawler is docked next to us on a floating dock.* It is no problem for them as when they come in they pull even with one of their two sets of boarding steps.* i say no probem for them, but I was helping put*a new radar pedestal up on my boat.* I backed into one set of steps, tripped fell backwards into the water, got cut up on barnacles, and lost $4,600.00 of hearing aids.* To much stuff on the finger piers.* I got my boat moved to the other side of their boat.*

The point is, if you are coming back to the same slip it is no problem.* You can set the slip up as you need it.* You can have steps, and leave lines on poles that you can reach out to get.* They are already tied to the dock.

The other thing to consider is deploying and retrieving a dinghy.* If you are young and agile, none of this is a problem.* Just try out different kinds of styles of boats to see which fits.

As has been said, it's hard to beat space for the dollar on a sundeck style boat.
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Old 08-18-2011, 10:50 AM   #19
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RE: Sundeck in PNW?

I would think mooring lines would'nt be a problem. Even on little Willy I hang the lines where we can grab them easily while on the float. So the main act while making a landing would be to land the boat such that she is parallel to the float and against the float. Most all other matters should fall into place. My biggest concern over a sundeck would be the high CG and extreme windage. But I learned what a sundeck was on this forum and have never set foot on one. Are the Alaska State ferries considered a sundeck?
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Old 08-18-2011, 05:41 PM   #20
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RE: Sundeck in PNW?

Docking difficulties are over rated in my opinion.* They were a huge concern for me when we bought Gray Hawk but I honestly believe that docking a direct drive ski boat is harder than docking a trawler, particularly a twin screw boat.* Obviously with the ski boat you can strongarm it into the dock but I'm talking about professionally putting it alongside the dock so that a passenger can quietly step ashore.* That's my goal with Gray Hawk every time - my instructions to SWMBO are "no leaping".* If I can't put the boat quietly alongside the dock then she doesn't go ashore.* And we would just as soon all the Helpful Henries on the dock stayed drinking their beer and watched us rather than getting in our way.

My only advice to the OP is to get some kind of radio communication between the helmsman and the line handler.* We have a set of Cruising Solution headsets which some people hate but we love.* They're not perfect but they are cheap and they work.* When we're getting close to the dock Marilyn sits down in the gangway and calls out the distance to the dock.* Its my job to bring the boat in and stop it against the floats so she can quietly step off.* I can't see the dock from the helm but I can tell whether I am moving ahead, back or sideways.* With her calling out the distance its pretty simple.* Its not very exciting but it works for us and I'm willing to bet with a little practice it will work for anybody.***
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