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Old 10-25-2014, 12:53 AM   #1
City: Everett
Country: USA
Join Date: Oct 2014
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Trawler Questions

Hi all-

Just joined the forum. My wife and have decided that we would like to buy a boat. It would be our first boat, and we would use it for our family of 3. We would like to cruise, camp, fish, dive,relax, even entertain with a heavy emphasis on relax and entertain. We used a boat last year that was a 24' Bayliner and went to the San_Juan Islands. It was a lot of fun which gave us the bug, but it was just too small and too uncomfortable.
Our finances for sure put us in the "Very Used" category in regards to a boat purchase. We are not sure what all we would like in our first boat, but we are building a list of likes that we will eventually turn into "musts" and "wants."

So far its:
Diesel power
Bed for Us (and the dog)
Bed for kid.
Not too big, not to small
Covered fly bridge

This list will grow as we start looking at more boats as I am aware its very small.

Current boats on our Radar

BL 38XX Motor yacht
BL 32XX Motor yacht
BL 2858 (not diesel and would be our frugal choice)

In searching for boats I cant help but notice the trawlers. I don't know much about them ( why I am here) but they seem to be a lot of boat for the money. I know they will be a slower boat, and I believe economical to operate.
Most seem to have single engine which makes we wonder if they are a nightmare to operate in tight marinas ect?
And what of all the wood work? While beautiful how hard is the up keep?

Since I don't have any trawler name affiliations yet, for what i have said can any give me a recommendations on a particular boat that I should look for?

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Old 10-25-2014, 02:14 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by flienlow View Post
Hi all- ...
Most seem to have single engine which makes we wonder if they are a nightmare to operate in tight marinas ect?
And what of all the wood work? While beautiful how hard is the up keep? ...
A bow thruster readily solves most of the maneuver issues with a single propeller. Single-propeller experts will say a thruster is a waste of money. ... I've got a thruster.

Kar-KEEN-ez Koot
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Old 10-25-2014, 03:45 AM   #3
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Diesel cruisers (I don't use the term "trawler" except when talking about the fishing boat) come in single and twin-engine configurations in probably equal numbers. The larger ones (42' and up) tend to be twins. Our Grand Banks 36 is a twin but there are probably as many single engine versions of the same boat as twins.

I maintain that anything that can be accomplished in terms of maneuvering with a twin can be accomplished with a single with no bow thruster. The techniques will be different in some cases, but the end result--- putting the boat where you want it--- will be the same. A bow thruster certainly makes things easier and are even a benefit in a twin as it allows the skipper to do something you can't do with a twin or single, which is move the bow straight sideways without moving the stern. Our twin-engine boat doesn't have one, but if it did, we'd use it.

You tend to get what you pay for with diesel cruisers. And any make, no matter how reputable the name and high the quality, can be reduced to junk by poor maintenance, abuse, and neglect. The high-quality makes might hold up under this kind of treatment a little longer and thus be a little easier to "bring back," but any brand can become a repair and restoration nighmare with a voracious appetite for your bank account.

There is a smart saying about buying a boat that I first read in a Boy's Life magazine story back in the early 60s. The story was about two young men in an New England harbor town. One of them was an accomplished sailor who had a fairly small racing sloop in impeccable condition. The other was a newcomer to town who decided he wated to buy a boat. The experienced fellow's advice was, "Buy the smallest boat you can afford," by which he meant that if one has x-dollars to spend on a boat, buying the smallest boat that will meet one's needs will generally get you a boat in much better condition, or newer, then spending the same x-dollars to buy the biggest boat that money will buy.

Of course, in the story the new guy went out and bought the biggest sailboat he could afford, and the end result was, predicably, a disaster for everyone in the harbor.

But it's sound advice. We followed it, when we decided back in 1998 to buy our own cruiser instead of continuing to charter. While our boat is very old and needs a lot of cosmetic help, mechanically and operationally it was in outstanding condition when we bought it, and it still is today.

Obviously, you don't want to get a boat that's too small for what you need. You've experienced that already with your charter. But getting a boat that is just large enough to meet your needs will generally get you a better boat for a given amount of money.

Also, as you start looking at boats and considering a purchase, don't make the mistake of overlooking the annual ownership cost of a boat. This is generally considered to be everything you spend on a boat each year with the exception of finance payments if you finance the boat. I guess they leave out finance payments since they'll eventually go away, while all the rest of the costs don't.

Ownership cost includes moorage, electricity (usually an extra charge above moorage), insurance (required by most marinas these days), fuel, maintenance, service, repairs, and upgrades.

The annual ownership cost of every boat, even within the same make and model, will be different because the conditions of the vessels will be different, the location of the boats will be different, the marina or harbor, the climate--- all sorts of things will affect how much it costs you to own a boat each year.

Since it's impossible to accurately predict the annual ownership cost of a particular boat, but because it's an important amount that a potential buyer needs to know to help them figure out if they can afford a particular boat, the industry has come up with a VERY rough average ownership cost of ten percent of the purchase price of the boat per year. This is for used boats, not new ones.

Some years will be less, and some years, like the one in which you have to have all the engine mounts replaced or new exhaust systems fabricated and installed, will be more.

But over a bunch of years, the oft-quoted average is ten percent of the purchase price per year for as long as you own the boat.

Again, the object is not to give a potential buyer an accurate figure for a particular boat, but to simply give that buyer a "reality check" into the ongoing cost of owning a boat.

Ten percent was the figure being used by brokers and surveyors and whatnot back in 1998 when we bought our boat. And while we have only kept a rough accounting of our annual costs, they probably have averaged out in the neighborhood of ten percent of the purchase price over the last 16 years. Today, I might be more inclined to use fifteen percent to account for the much higher cost of labor, fuel, etc.

But regardless of how you calculate or think about it, the important thing is not to overlook how much a boat will cost you every year that you own it. The purchase price of the boat just buys you the ticket to the game. The game itself never ends until the day you no longer own the boat.

There are a bazillion makes of boats and I'm not going to recommend any specific make or model. Once you have filled out your list of what you want to do with the boat and what capabilities you want it to have, that list will go a long ways toward defining what makes and models of diesel cruisers will suit your requirements, if in fact a slow diesel cruiser is even what you want. And the only person who can decide what boat will suit you best is you and your family.
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Old 10-25-2014, 05:03 AM   #4
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Very well explained Marin and good advice
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Old 10-25-2014, 07:29 AM   #5
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Welcome aboard.
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Old 10-25-2014, 07:45 AM   #6
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In your location I would check out Anacorties yacht charters. Anacortes Yacht Charters

There is a lot to learn and they can teach and offer many types of boats to try our.
Most people wind up buying several boats until they learn what they really like. While chartering seems pricy the cost of buying and selling the wrong boat multiple times gets expensive fast.
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Old 10-25-2014, 08:40 AM   #7
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Chartering from AYC is good advice. Looking over their fleet, there are two or three boats that would give you a feel for the types, but aren't necessarily the best for your purposes:

Mainship Pilot 30- A downeast style power cruiser with a big engine for its size. Will cruise in the upper teens or slow down to 6-7 kts and save a lot of fuel. These can be bought used for $80-90K

Camano Troll- A classic "trawler" type a la the more expensive (at the same age) Grand Banks which probably defines the type. It cruises very economically in the mid 6 kt range but can get up to 12kts or so if necessary for weather or current. They are on the market for $90k+ depending on age.

Trojan 34 Sportfisher- Not my cup of tea, but take a look, you might like it. Has two engines totaling 500 hp so it will move fast. Probably cruises in the upper teens. At least it will tell you if you need, or like twins. Not sure what they sell for, but judging from the charter price, $100k+ for that model.

There are older, cheaper models of each of these types (well maybe not the Pilot 30 on the west coast) if your budget is significantly less than what the above boats sell for. Some examples- Marine Traders and older Mainships that are the "trawler" type. And many, many older sportfish or express cruisers like the Trojan. You can find a decent model of either of these types for well under $50K.

You could easily spend several thousand dollars chartering these boat for the minimum 4 days. But I certainly agree with whoever said, selling a boat you don't like and buying another is even more expensive.

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Old 10-25-2014, 09:01 AM   #8
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I came from a 28' express cruiser to the boat at the left. Your list of requirements and your list of boats is very similar to what I started with.

I'd say stick with your requirements, and pick out some boat models you like, but don't restrict yourself to those models if an odd-ball comes along that meets your needs.

My requirements included a separate, stand-up shower and a generator. I ended up with two heads, one of which has a full tub with shower, and the other a quasi-separate shower. Maybe overkill, but I like knowing that even if one head fails, we won't have to "hold it" until I can fix it.

We like comfortable interiors, some people would prefer a large cockpit.

Consider heat and/or Air Conditioning, but both can be added if the boat doesn't come with them. Just factor that into the price.

Probably the biggest requirement with any "budget" priced used boat is condition. Run, don't walk, if you find any evidence of leaks, like discolored bulkheads or a mildew smell. You can re-bed rail hardware, but trying to fix a leaking port light or window is a major chore, and not always successful. Re-bedding teak decks is also huge job.

In an older boat, carefully check fuel tanks, waste tanks and hoses, and just about every other piece of equipment. Very often people defer maintenance for years before giving up and selling.
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Old 10-25-2014, 10:42 AM   #9
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Having bought my first large, old boat just a few years ago after only looking at about a dozen, my advice to you is Charter, Charter, Charter until you nail down your true needs and desires. Remember always, there is no perfect boat - all are a compromise of some kind. I will reiterate from above, try very hard not to buy the Wrong boat.
That is not to say that in 5 years your preferences might not evolve, but be sure that time frame is not 5 months.

Realistically, how many hours a year will you really run the boat? Like Marin said, you pay for it by the day - everyday that you own it!

I was decidedly a Cruiser (Trawler) guy pretty much from the start. Looked for an older, about 35', single diesel, high gunwales for the wife, kids and dog safety. We rather lucked into a 34' Sedan style which fit us well, but does not have 2 private cabins. The much more popular model, the Dual or Tri-cab are available everywhere - they seem to have built thousands. Check out the Yahoo CHB group:

These boats are slow, no doubt about it. If you are looking to cruise, see the sights, relax, this style of boat offers a lot for the money and many early baby boomers have put thousands of hours into their old boats, but now are having to sell them for what they can get.
Entertaining on a DC though will be somewhat limited as the saloon is tight. Diving from the stern maybe challenging also, though I would have no experience with that. They do usually have a nice swim platform that is accessible.

The right boat model is much harder to find than a car. You will have to do a daily search until you find the right one at the right price and be able to move on it rather quickly; that is why knowing exactly what you want is so important. A few weeks ago a 46'? Defever in outstanding condition popped up on here, but was gone in a couple of days. There were dozens on folks here that were kicking themselves for not following up fast enough. This is a rare exception, but does reinforce Marin's point of how very important good condition and regular maintenance is to the value of the purchase.

Best of luck to you and your family. Be prepared and be patient.
JimS on the Delta
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Old 10-25-2014, 10:55 AM   #10
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We live on our trawler the Eagle at central R 2. Its a 58 ft full displacmemt single engine with a bow thruster. Since you are looking at used, I would not be concerned about the brand name but more comcerned about the lay out and its present comdition. Most are single engine because the do not require two engines require d for the horse power to get up on plane.

We are prrsent in San Francisco, looking at moorage on the Delta. The Eagle has a lot of teak trim and deck which does require yearly maintenance. If we are on the boat I would be more than happy to walk the marine and the yard with you.
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Old 10-25-2014, 11:14 AM   #11
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While you are considering what boat you want, keep in mind that if you buy a boat more than 9' wide, it will most likely not be a trailer boat.

In Puget Sound, especially Seattle, Everett, Edmonds, in the water moorage is at a premium. Often the boat doesn't come with a slip. There are usually waiting lists, several years, for a moorage spot. The marina will honor their waiting list before accepting a new owner or the current owner may be upgrading and want to keep the slip.

A 32' trawler with a bow pulpit and swim step will probably need around a 36' slip. Depending on the marina slip sizes you may end up paying for a 40' slip. Be sure and figure this cost into your budget.

The costs vary widely, a 47' uncovered slip at Cap Sante in Anacortes is $600 per month.

Another option is dry storage at less than half the cost of moorage. The down side is the yard has to launch your boat every time you want to use it. And during freezing temperatures, the boat has to be heated or winterized when it's out of the water. For weekend boating, it's a bit of a challenge. If you're a frequent boater, there may be additional launch fees over a certain number.

Not to discourage you, but you want to go into this with your eyes open. It surprises me how many people will buy a boat and have no slip arrangements.
Larry B
Careful . . .I Have a Generator and I'm not afraid to use it !
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Old 10-25-2014, 12:22 PM   #12
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The interior and exterior space difference between a 24' and a 28' boat is amazing. There is one heck of a "learning curve" in boating, and I would caution you to not get in too deep too fast.

Most of us here have operated smaller boats for years while gaining the experience to be proficient before we moved up to larger boats. Every aspect of boating has fine points that you learn by doing, not by reading.

Smaller boats can be trailered home, and your work on it is done at home, where it is convenient. You save thousands of dollars on slip fees, and spend a few on a vehicle to tow, unless you already own one.

There are so many details that you personally will have to figure out for yourself before you are satisfied, you would be best served by growing into your dreams.

Marin covered it well!

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