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Old 01-06-2013, 03:29 PM   #1
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Trawler or sailboat?

A friend of mine is retiring, and knowing that I had a sailboat and now have a trawler, confided that he is strongly considering selling or renting his house, buying a boat, and doing the cruising life. His question to me was whether I would advise him to get a trawler or a sailboat. I found this a rather hard question to answer. There are awfully good buys out there for both right now, and although he would have to buy a used boat (as I did) he should be able to get one which is seaworthy for no more than $50K. I told him what I consider to be the pros and cons of each. I found that cruising on a sailboat was inexpensive, much better for blue water cruising, and there is always that comfort of knowing that you can get home without an engine if you have to. Or at least close enough to home to call Boat US anyway. A trawler is much more comfortable, has more living space, and I think might appeal to a woman more (my former wife liked sailboats, but I think she may have been the exception).

Anyway, it was an interesting conversation, and I hope that I managed to give him some food for thought. Just thought I would share that experience with you all. Any thoughts that any of you would want me to pass on to him?

John
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:03 PM   #2
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Greetings,
The first, most important and ONLY question your friend should ask is: "What do I want to use the boat for?" An honest and informed answer to this question will determine what he should get.
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:08 PM   #3
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Greetings: The question really depends on just how experienced a sailor your friend is. In my book a power boat, in the long haul out wieghts a sail. Mostly because as we age we can still enjoy the experience even if it is only sitting at a dock. Sail is great if you are going to long-distance it and are willing to put up with the issues of a cockpit. Never dry, always hot and, yes could go on. Your friend should not look at the peusdo trawler family but view all semi displacement craft. From my point of view the biggest draw back of the current trawler design is that there is no place to sit out and be protected from the flying insects. Yes you can sit up on the bridge, but take a look at the 38 to 42 ft aft-cabin or tri cabin fleet. The prices are right given age and condition and she who shall be obeyed will be satisfied. Bill.
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:23 PM   #4
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You could probably find a bluewater blowboat for 50k but I'd bet a bluewater trawler would be substantially more. Coastal boating would be a different story.

Sailboat - adventure, budget, work.
Trawler - comfort

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Old 01-06-2013, 04:34 PM   #5
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RT Firefly wrote:

"The first, most important and ONLY question your friend should ask is: "What do I want to use the boat for?" An honest and informed answer to this question will determine what he should get."

I agree, but I doubt that most people know that when they first start, any more than a freshman in college knows what he or she should major in. And for the same reason -- lack of knowledge about what all there is available. Retiring and buying a boat and "going off cruising" is a dream, and then when you actually get into it you find that it is different from all the books that you have read. :-)

That said, you make an excellent point, and I will discuss that viewpoint with my friend. By the way, his wife is not sure about all this, which to me indicates that perhaps he may want to perhaps do a charter in the Bahamas or something like that and see how well she adapts.

John
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:41 PM   #6
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Jeffnik wrote:

"You could probably find a bluewater blowboat for 50k but I'd bet a bluewater trawler would be substantially more. Coastal boating would be a different story."

You may be right. A true blue water trawler might be considerably more, although there may be some golden oldies out there should one look hard enough.

John
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:46 PM   #7
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By the way, his wife is not sure about all this ...

John
Ah, a woman enters the picture.

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Old 01-06-2013, 04:56 PM   #8
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but considers sailboats "too close to the water."
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:03 PM   #9
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Dwhatty wrote:

"Ah, a woman enters the picture."

Yep. "They" say that you can live without them, and perhaps "they" might be right in the abstract. But not me. A woman makes the cruising life bearable. IMHO. There are times when it gets rough, and I do not think that I could have done five years cruising without my better half.

John
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:16 PM   #10
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Greetings,
The first, most important and ONLY question your friend should ask is: "What do I want to use the boat for?" An honest and informed answer to this question will determine what he should get.
Couldn't agree more, but as someone has already mentioned, with little to no experience it's almost impossible to accurately define the boat's intended mission. As I've posted before, (many moons ago) I bought 8 different types of boats before I settled on the one (my present boat) that actually conforms to & compliments my actual use .

I had dreams of cruising to exotic places, taking friends with me, entering bill fish tournaments, etc. Years later, the log showed that I did very view of those things, but instead, did a lot of bay cruises, once a year to Catalina Island, very few overnights and none with guests, some offshore whale watching and of course, demoing the Gourmet Cruiser to dwhatty and Flywright.

Be brutally honest with yourself as to what the actual intended mission of the boat is and then search for the smallest, best eqipped boat that meets that criteria.

Remember, "the smaller the boat...the more time on the water."

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Old 01-06-2013, 05:39 PM   #11
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Dwhatty wrote:

"Ah, a woman enters the picture."

Yep. "They" say that you can live without them, and perhaps "they" might be right in the abstract. But not me. A woman makes the cruising life bearable. IMHO. There are times when it gets rough, and I do not think that I could have done five years cruising without my better half.

John
Must be the lawyer in me as I can see all sides of the argument. Couldn't live, boat, cruise or whatever without my woman.
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:42 PM   #12
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We just went through that experience earlier this year. Previously lived aboard and cruised a sailboat for six years. Sold the boat and bought a house. Back in the boat market we found that you get much more boat in a power boat than a sailboat. We really wanted another sailboat, either a cat or pilot house/motor sailor but did nor find anything in our price range.

Found our present boat with two queen size walk around beds and the wife fell in love. I'm still concerend with fuel consumption and how far can we go offshore with 300 gal. I agree with a previous comment, with a sailboat you can always get close to home and call Towboat.

We cruised the sailboat as far south as St.Martin and while that could be done with a power boat I think it would be more stressful in having to plan for fuel stops.

We also did many offshore legs along the East Coast which I don't as yet know that we could manage with the current boat.

As others mentioned, what is he planning to do with the boat. We are currently in a marina off Galveston Bay and as far as going out for a day or a weekend, a sailboat would be more fun because there really is no place to just go to. With a sailboat you can just go out on the Bay and "go sailing". The thought of just going out there and "motoring around" just doesn't appeal to us.

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Old 01-06-2013, 05:52 PM   #13
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(top) dwhatty (below) Flywright
Obviously, Flywright has more class: I've got a lowly beer and he has JD (except its the girlie honeysuckle kind so maybe that evens it out).
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:07 PM   #14
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Tell him to buy a sailboat and get it out of his system.

In a few years he'll buy a powerboat and if he's lucky it will be a trawler.
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:21 PM   #15
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Two decades of sailing got that out of my system.
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:37 PM   #16
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Greetings,
Mr. Al. Noooo........NOT a stick! If he alienates his Admiral he won't ever get to the good stuff (boat-wise that is.). I used the word "informed" in my initial post in the broadest sense. That means a LOT of research, Mr. jwnall's excellent suggestion of a charter, possibly a few power squadron courses and a LOT of dock walking and boat shows.
As Mr. Seahorse suggested, brutal honesty is a must as well.
Experience? That will come in time. After all, we all started somewhere.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:18 AM   #17
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I went through the same discussion (with myself) about trawler/saiboat. In the end I chose the trawler. My reason was my age, 65, and my friends ages, 55 plus. I want to relax on the water, be reasonably certain we will reach our destination with a minimum of work and have a stable platform for dogs and grandkids. Came real close to a motor-sailor but didn't have the room.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:15 AM   #18
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A powerboat is about the destination. A sailboat is about the voyage. When we were cruising on our sailboat the admiral was always wanting to go faster and get "there". I could just sit back and enjoy the world or water go by, no hurry to get "there".

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Old 01-07-2013, 10:16 AM   #19
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After several decades in blowboats I converted to a trawler about 3 years ago. What convinced me was my last shimmy up the mast to retrieve a runaway halyard. At 65, I'm much happier with the iron gennies (FL120's) purring contentedly down below, whisky (or beer) in hand, smiling and waving at my blowboat pals as we glide past them. The one thing I've found both sail and trawler have in common, for me at least, is that it's the journey, not the destination, which yields the greatest joy.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:24 AM   #20
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Sailing - hundreds and hundreds of hours of boredom, punctuated by moments of sheer terror.

Trawlering - Lounging endlessly about at a snails pace, punctuated by hundreds and hundreds of diesel gallons.
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