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Old 05-30-2010, 10:23 AM   #1
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Thompson Trawler info

Hi everybody, I decided to stop lurking and see if I could get some sage advice. *

I've got my eye on a Thompson Trawler 44 and would love to get some opinions from anyone with experience with them. *This particular one has twin Perkins engines. *It will need these engines rebuilt, engine room refurbishment, straighten out rats nest of wiring etc. *So, a pretty good project all in all though I've done many smaller boats and have the skills to do all the work.


But I'm wondering about the suitability of this hull. *The twin engine thing concerns me a bit as I'm sure the props are relatively vulnerable to damage. *Haven't seen the hull out of the water but am told it has no keel whatsoever. *How's this going to work?


I do have some experience with a 65' Thompson, single 671 used as a research boat. It's a fine craft. *But it has a single screw, long keel.


I built my last boat, an aluminum powercat and it was very successful, still own and fish it offshore. *My use for the trawler would be the usual ICW and inland waterway cruising but I'd like to be able to make the hops across Gulf to the canal, and up to the PacNW. *I've thought about building again, looking at designs by Kasten and Tad Roberts but have pretty well reached the conclusion it is impractical to start a project of this magnitude at this time.


I'm down with doing the work and spending the money on this refurbishment. *When all is said and done I'll end up with about the same investment as buying one of the single screw Thompsons on the market but I'll have fresh engines and all systems up to my satisfaction. *I just want to have a reasonable expectation that the end result will perform adequately. *I can not sea trial this boat, one engine is blown and the "good" engine, from it's appearance I wouldn't trust in a duck pond.


I'd appreciate your insights.


Chuck
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Old 05-30-2010, 11:34 AM   #2
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Thompson Trawler info

Quote:
skypoke wrote:"though I've done many smaller boats and have the skills to do all the work."......When all is said and done I'll end up with about the same investment as buying one of the single screw Thompsons on the market.."
Skypoke:
Since you* know what the price and condition of the used Thompsons on the market are vs. the purchase price, committment, money and time to restore the boat you've identified, I'd opt for the single screw, full keel trawler. Should you decide to share your budget thoughts for the project with us, I think that, collectively, we would come up with a better answer. As for the single/twin debate this "missle" will obviously re-ignite, there's a lot of history of that argument in the "search" area of this forum and others.

*


-- Edited by SeaHorse II on Sunday 30th of May 2010 11:35:49 AM
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Old 05-30-2010, 03:43 PM   #3
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RE: Thompson Trawler info

Sure, here's some details. The interior of the boat is dated but pretty simple to put in shape. I detect no soft spots in the deck. I'm assuming the hull is uncored, been unable to determine this for sure. A cored hull will definitely give me pause.

One engine is running, one is seized. Overall, the engine room is a picture of deferred maintenance. The engines are perkins 6-354, gears I did not recognize. It has a newer genset, working air conditioning and is generally operational. Dated electronics though I have replacements on hand. Robertson autopilot may be worth keeping.

I can buy it in the $30K range, cost of engine rebuilds, doing it myself is an unknown but I'd guess, assuming no catastrophes internally I could build em up for 2500-4000 each. Wiring can be organized into trays in the engine room and correctly terminated and labeled without too much problem. One negative aspect for this boat, personally, is that they run wet exhausts. I don't know what parts costs for Perkins look like but the manifolds would certainly need replacement, coolers tested. The aluminum coaster I was looking at building would, of course be keel cooled, dry exhaust.

Moving on to things like seacocks and thru hulls which would possibly need replaced would definitely add to costs. Refurbishment of the engine room, clean up and gelcoating would need to be in the plan.

A major appeal of this particular brand is the fact that it's built on a commercial hull with a pretty good rep. Another unknown is how this same commercial hull performs without a few tons of ice and fish as ballast. I wasn't looking for a twin, but if I went for a single engine craft would want a bow thruster so somewhat of a trade off I suppose.

I've had mixed results in these types of projects, sometimes you get the bull and sometimes the bull gets you. Of course buying a boat in "good shape" has its potential pitfalls. You don't know her till you've spent a few nights together.

Thanks for your consideration.

Chuck
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Old 05-30-2010, 07:14 PM   #4
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Thompson Trawler info

You should look into the Perkins rebuild cost a lot more. Even if you do all your own work I think you are low depending on what you need.

If you need the Manicooler, I believe Perkins no longer offers it at all.

An Aftermarket source :http://www.mesamarine.com/Range4.html
and ask them what their version costs.

The base engine was a good one but the hang ons and manifolds have become a problem.

Cat dropped a lot of stuff for these engines when they took over. Some of the other engine versions can still be supported but find out for sure. You may still decide to go ahead but do so with knowledge.

If you can get both the serial # and* actual mod#

Also try Boatdiesel if you haven't already, specifically about the Perkins engine.

-- Edited by C lectric on Sunday 30th of May 2010 07:42:51 PM
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Old 05-30-2010, 08:58 PM   #5
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RE: Thompson Trawler info

Boatdiesel is also good for finding a replacement pair of engines, of whatever make. That could be a lot cheaper than a pair of rebuilds, and good for long enough before they need any serious attention.
I wonder what commercial hull would have no keel. That alone would give me pause, especialy if you plan some offshore voyaging.
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Old 05-30-2010, 10:39 PM   #6
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RE: Thompson Trawler info

skypoke,I did that! I bought an old Willard w old Perkins, leaky fuel tank and very little equipment. Bought a new Mitsubishi engine, new fuel tanks and lots of other new stuff. It worked out well as I got mostly everything I wanted. I wanted to retain my BW gear, have no aluminum on the engine, propane stove, extra heavy duty hydraulic steering, no FB, electric head and many many other things. It's like buying a new car by special order. One of the most important things for me was to get an engine that was not too big so I could work it hard enough to keep it happy. My new engine was only about 1000 to $1500 more than a rebuilt and it has glow plugs. Good thing in Alaska. More often than not a refit will cost more than buying someone else's project but then you get all the stuff he wanted and it most often is way different than what you want. But beware the cost.


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Old 05-31-2010, 10:06 AM   #7
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RE: Thompson Trawler info

Wow, thanks for the responses. Reading these over I'm inclined to consider the existing engines as more of a liability than an asset. I have no desire to depend on "orphaned" power. I had wondered about manifolds, they will surely need to be replaced.

So, in my calculations I'm going to figure in new, or relatively new, power, gears and props. That makes this twin engine boat unfeasible, a single would maybe be doable but twins are going to add up quick. Getting them out through the trunk cabin aft window will be no picnic either, most likely would be in parts to do it.

I'll keep looking. I've not abandoned the idea of building either, just need to find enough of a fast track design. If I had my druthers I'd build an aluminum multi but having done one before I know the parts count all too well.

I appreciate the help. If anyone runs across a viable project at a good value I'd appreciate a shout.

Chuck Pearson
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Old 05-31-2010, 09:23 PM   #8
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RE: Thompson Trawler info

Don't give up so easily on the twins.

There are used engines out there for not too much money.

For example, I replaced my twins with a used pair, they had 1500 hrs on them, they were 10 years old, but 10 years and a whole generation newer than what I had. I paid $10k Can for the pair. I sold my existing engines for $7500, before taking them out. Then I hired a truck with a HIAB crane on the back, parked my boat on the parking lot and had the crane operator do the heavy lifting. My Port side door opens 27", so to get out through it, I had to remove the Heat exchangers, exhaust elbow, alternator and transmission inside the boat. To get in with the new ones was slightly more challenging, as I now have aftercoolers as well, but with a layer of cardboard to compress against the doorframe, all slipped in without any damage to the varnish. All this work was done in a span of 2 (very full) days. I had the mechanic from whom I had purchased the engines do the startup, and all went perfectly well.

That was 10 years ago. I have had no maitenance issues on the new engines so far. I repitched my props and I now get better mileage at 8 knots than I got at 7 on the old ones. I expect these engines will outlast me.

I suspect you will spend as much for a single 350 horse replacement as for a pair of 200 horse engines, as all of the systems have to be that much more robust. Your prop will cost $2595 instead of $1295 each, etc.

You will be far happier with twins in the end, and will have nothing to complain about.
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Old 06-01-2010, 04:21 AM   #9
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Thompson Trawler info

If you want strong and really cheap, for almost new takeouts , take a look at the International DT 466 or DT 360 from International.

Std SAE bell housing and they are easy to find and easy to get parts for.

The early ones are mechanical, later electric.Same baasic engine for 3 decades.

Complete rebuild factory kit about $700 a few times a year on sale.

These are used in Skool busses and clas 5 DELIVERY TRUCKS , so are usually not repaired when crashed , therefore a huge supply of engines.

This is about the ONLY engine I would consider if you are willing to install electronic injection.

The brain boxes are cheap in a truck breaker , so 5 boxes as spares would not be expensive.


-- Edited by FF on Tuesday 1st of June 2010 04:24:15 AM
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Old 06-01-2010, 05:19 PM   #10
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RE: Thompson Trawler info

FF,*

That's a good looking engine. *Any idea where to find a marine conversion kit for one with coolers, wet manifold?


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Old 12-27-2010, 11:46 PM   #11
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RE: Thompson Trawler info

I don't know if your still wanting info on the 44 Thompson or not but I may be of assistance to you. I worked there from 1976 to 1978. I built all the 65' plugs, molds and the first 16 or so 65' Trawlers from those molds and built a couple 44's and 51's. As fo rthe 44's being uncored, if you mean balsa as a core between the layers of glass then yes it has balsa inside the glass. I was young then and was very proud of my work. I was the Foreman of that young 65' boat line when I left. They wanted me to jump over to the 90' but the boss there was not going to take my advice on layup so I left Thompsons and went to Watercraft America to build Life Boats for ships and oil rigs. If your are lucky to get one of the hulls I built then you would have a very fine, strong hull. Otherwise the guys who normally built those 44's and 51's and 65's after I left used way too much resin thus making the hull weak and suseptable to cracking. Other than that they were great boats.
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Old 01-27-2012, 04:47 PM   #12
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RE: Thompson Trawler info

Thompson 65 Builder

We own a 1977 51' Thompson Trawler, which you may have built. *We are looking for technical manuals. *We have the CAT manuals. *Would like more info.

Thanks!
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Old 06-22-2013, 05:51 PM   #13
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Nautical One

Sorry I didn't get back with you. Its been a year and a half but if you still want he information I may still be able to get it. Mr Thompson is still alive and I am friends with his son who also use to work there. let me know what you need and I will call him and ask.
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Old 08-14-2013, 11:09 PM   #14
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I am looking for any specs sheets or information from the builder for the Thomspon Trawler 44' 1976 that I own. Thanks for your help.
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Old 12-05-2014, 06:34 PM   #15
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Thompson Specs

Hi everyone. I have not checked back in a long time. Mr. Thompson who I worked for lives about a block from me and I may be able to get some answers for you. I talk to his wife on Facebook too. Email me jackiewalden@netzero.net
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Old 12-07-2014, 09:00 AM   #16
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Thompson Trawler info

Aha! I am a Thompson Nelson owner myself.
Quick history: Rodney Thompson built comm. fishing boats in Titusville, then got into the rec trawler biz. He built 100 of the 44s, a couple of 36s and 50s. In the early 80s he needed cash for another boat project and sold everything to Craig Nelson, also in Titusville. He built 19 more 44s. That is why you hear them referred to as Thompson Nelson trawlers. According to a former Nelson guy our 44 Nelson, Why Knot, was the last one built.
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I cant' speak to the engine questions other than to say we have a single CAT 3208 NA without a bow thruster. We've owned her for three years and couldn't be happier with the choice. We have logged just shy of 10,000 miles including the Great Loop, two summers in Chesapeake Bay, and numerous trips up and down the coast.

TNs are very rugged boats and may not be deep blue water passagemakers, but they are very capable coastal cruisers. The boat can take the rough stuff easily, though she does tend to belly flop in heavy seas. Also, since she is a shallow draft vessel (33 inches) and a full keel with skeg, she does tend to roll in cross seas. Trailing seas can also be sloppy. Remember that they are basically glorified fishing boats. Our boat has twin 375 gallon tanks and has a range at 1900 rpm of just shy of 2000 miles.

Ours was a very well maintained boat and was ready to good when we got her.
go to Why Knot On The Great Loop for our story.

They're great boats.
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Old 12-07-2014, 10:57 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skipperdarrell View Post
Quick history: Rodney Thompson built comm. fishing boats in Titusville, then got into the rec trawler biz. He built 100 of the 44s, a couple of 36s and 50s. In the early 80s he needed cash for another boat project and sold everything to Craig Nelson, also in Titusville. He built 19 more 44s. That is why you hear them referred to as Thompson Nelson trawlers.

......

They're great boats.
Funny, I lived most of my life 20 miles south of Titusville and never heard of Thompson or Nelson Boats but Brevard County had quite a few boat builders who came and went. There was a Nelson family who owned a marina in Titusville so there may be a connection. There doesn't seem to be many listed on YachtWorld. Will take a look at your blog. Hopefully, it will explain why you decided on a Thompson.
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Old 12-07-2014, 11:50 AM   #18
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Thompson Nelson Titusville

Thanks for the reply.
The Thompson ship yards are the yellow (I think they're yellowish) just north of the the municipal marina. There's a custom boat builder there now. Nelson was in the barn and shipyard on the south side of the municipal marina.
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Old 12-07-2014, 05:09 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donsan View Post
Funny, I lived most of my life 20 miles south of Titusville and never heard of Thompson or Nelson Boats but Brevard County had quite a few boat builders who came and went. There was a Nelson family who owned a marina in Titusville so there may be a connection. There doesn't seem to be many listed on YachtWorld. Will take a look at your blog. Hopefully, it will explain why you decided on a Thompson.
I was privileged to be given a tour of Lily Maria and took tons of pictures. The article about Jean and Colin's boat is here:

Janice142 article Life onboard Lily Maria (Thompson44 M/V)

That's a pretty boat.
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Old 12-07-2014, 05:20 PM   #20
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I have seen 2. Both had cracks where the decks met the hull at about the 1/2 way point between stem and stern??? I like the lines but again ??? Why enough hull flex to do that. These were siginificant cracks, not spiderweb. Both port and starboard, hummmmm.
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