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Old 07-14-2012, 10:49 AM   #1
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US Made vs Others

We have been looking at Trawlers for some time now and the longer we look the more we feel the urge to buy American. We are in the market for a boat from 38-45 ft . We've sailed and motored for years on our Cape Dory 36, seems now would be a good time to make the transition. We've been looking at Marine Traders and Californian 38's. We need to stay under 90k and prefer not to buy a boat that's gonna require a lot of work to get her in shape. So my question is are US made boats and the Californians in particular better quality vessels ? Are there any real drawbacks to the California 's ? I can see a grounding could be costly as they are way more exposed than other vessels. I'm new to trawlers but have been on the water all my life. We are planing to cruise the ICW and over to the Bahamas and do the trip down as far as Georgetown . Home cruising grounds will be the Pamlico and Albermarle sounds and rivers in N/E NC. Thanks, Steve
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Old 07-14-2012, 01:09 PM   #2
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OBX,

welcome. I think your limiting yourself by not considering a Taiwanese Trawler. You can buy a pretty decent 40 footer for that price.

Just a thought. Take a look at Heritage East and CHb.

Good luck.
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Old 07-14-2012, 01:35 PM   #3
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I agree with Blue Heron, I think your chances of finding the ideal boat for your purposes will be greatly enhanced if you don't limit your search to boats from just one country.

If your concern is quality as opposed to principle, there are and have been extremely good boats made in Asia: Grand Banks in Kowloon (wood) and Singapore (fiberglass), Nordhavn (PRC), Island Gypsy (Hong Kong/PRC), deFevers, Flemings, Victory Tug, the list is awfully long. Some of the Taiwan makes need careful scrutiny as their quality can be very inconsistent.

Made in the US is not automatically an indication of superior or even good quality, General Motors automotive products being one of the best examples of this over the years. Were we in the market for a diesel cruiser today I cannot think of any US-made brand that would interest us or meet our requirements other than a lobsterboat-type.
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Old 07-14-2012, 01:50 PM   #4
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My Engines are British and my Boat is Taiwanese.. my Radar is Japanese, and my Hydraulics are American.
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Old 07-14-2012, 02:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OBXSkipper View Post
We have been looking at Trawlers for some time now and the longer we look the more we feel the urge to buy American. We are in the market for a boat from 38-45 ft . We've sailed and motored for years on our Cape Dory 36, seems now would be a good time to make the transition. We've been looking at Marine Traders and Californian 38's. We need to stay under 90k and prefer not to buy a boat that's gonna require a lot of work to get her in shape. So my question is are US made boats and the Californians in particular better quality vessels ? Are there any real drawbacks to the California 's ? I can see a grounding could be costly as they are way more exposed than other vessels. I'm new to trawlers but have been on the water all my life. We are planing to cruise the ICW and over to the Bahamas and do the trip down as far as Georgetown . Home cruising grounds will be the Pamlico and Albermarle sounds and rivers in N/E NC. Thanks, Steve
---------------------------------------

Not to put down anyone else's boat either import or domestic, but go on the Californian section of this forum. I think you can find the information you are looking for directly from the many happy Californian owners there.

I've owned mine since it was new, 1976, and am thoroughly delighted with it's quality, ruggedness and have found it to be a very seaworthy open water vessel. Any questions you have specific to the different styles, construction, look through the previous post in the Californian section, post your questions or feel free to send me a personal message if you like.

Good luck in your search for a new boat.

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Old 07-15-2012, 06:29 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. Some of my concerns whether it be made in USA or elsewhere is the difficulty of a refit. Do I have easy access to tanks and is it easy to replace or clean out or do I have to rip the floors out or cut a hole someplace I really don't want one.Are the motors easily worked on or replaced. Deck leaks and window leaks, seems there are quite a few boats out there that either need to have the teak decks removed or have already removed them and glassed them over. So I continue the quest and simply because there are way more import boats out there, the odds are I can find one to my liking. We have all struggled with the purchase of the ideal boat, I'm just trying to avoid some of the pitfalls that are out there. I too drive Fords and Toyotas, all of our big work trucks are Isuzu's. I have nothing against foreign anything. Just lookin for a boat I can enjoy for the next twenty years.
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:01 AM   #7
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OBX,
I understand having just purchased my Yacht in May. I did my research for a year. The Taiwan boats have some issues, but they also have a lot of value. I chose the Heritage hull. My number one criteria was good low hour engines and to find one in above average condition. I also was realistic and knew I would need to spend some money to outfit (not refit) her to my initial liking. My reasoning for my purchase, if she was still afloat after 27 years and both engines turned over on first pass.. then she has good bones.
I had some initial dissapointments at first but that was not the boats fault..
Good luck on your search. You WILL find what you want.
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:29 AM   #8
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The refit issues will have nothing to do with where the boat was made and everything to do with how the boat was designed and configured. I know people with US-made boats who've had a horrible time accessing everything from plumbing to the other side of the engines and people who've had easy access. Same things with people who own Asian boats.

The systems installed in boats, from the engines to the door latches are invariably made by someone else and the boat manufacturers all use the same big set of suppliers. So again, the components that will be in a particular brand of boat will have little to nothing to do with where the boat was made but everything to do with what was selected to use by the manufacturer. So a US -made boat can have cheap components while an Asian-made boat can use top of the line components and visa versa.
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:10 PM   #9
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we fell in love with trawlers the first time we walked aboard a Defever. The fact that some yards are in Taiwan and others in the PRC did not matter to us as I just loved the boat. The problem was I could not afford it. We settled on a 390 Mainship (American) with a Japanese engine (Yanmar). If you really want American, Mainship has 390,395,400,430 made from 97 till present. (Although they just went chapter 11 and were bought by Marlow Yachts (American designed but all made in China)
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Old 07-15-2012, 09:07 PM   #10
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My present boat is an American made in Maine product. I consider it a high quality product. I have owned a Taiwan built boat. Would I consider one built there are in China? Definitely. There are high quality boats built in many places. I would not limit my search to just US built boats.
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Old 07-16-2012, 01:22 AM   #11
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As far as the boat itself goes, I think you can find a sound boat made darn near anywhere.

My Rawson was made just down the road in Redmond, however, and that was a consideration.

Not for the stoutness and seaworthiness. But when I consider the source of the money that paid my wages for years and got me to the point that I could consider buying the Rawson, probably not a dime of it came from overseas.

Does my purchase of a boat affect the lives of the workers who built her 40 years ago? No, of course not. But somehow it does matter to me.

(Apologies if this is getting off-topic).
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Old 07-16-2012, 06:49 AM   #12
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Its not who made the boat , its how it was constructed.

Many US builders had the bucks to create deck and PH molds , so built these parts in solid glass.

The Chinese Composite (a thin layer of GRP over a plywood deck ) is the terror of TT boats.

Puncturing the deck covering with hundreds of screws (for a "teak deck" overlay) and the resistance of owners to rebed all windows and deck fittings till AFTER the bedding has well failed is the cause for concern.

Rebuilding a deck and/or PH may be within an owners skill set , but few enjoy the task.

Having a "pro" do the work is both expensive and risky.

A "solid glass" US boat gets rid of these hassles.

A good core like Airex is a better boat than solid , lighter , stronger and some insulation , but was seldom done as it costs far more than just solid glass.

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Old 07-16-2012, 12:17 PM   #13
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To find a boat 38 to 45 feet under $100,000 will mean an older boat. The care and maintenance of the boat will be a more important factor than the builder for many boats (but not all) that are 15 years old or more.
Do your research, there are a few boats out there that had lots of refit money spent on them, teak decks removed or replaced, tanks replaced, new gens or rebuilt mains, those are the boats to search for rather than a particular builder.
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:07 PM   #14
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Wow you folks are great, and have given me further insight into the future purchase. I uderstand I'll be getting an older boat and you're right it's probably wiser to find one that someone has already done many of the replacements whether it's motors,tanks,decks etc. Solid glass has real attributes in my opinion. Teak decks I can do without for many reasons. I guess we could further the discussion by asking what I should avoid in a new boat not necessarily a brand of boat but more like "avoid cast iron tanks at all cost" or "never buy a boat with plastic portholes they will all need to be replaced".... Every boat owner knows what shoulda been done differently or what could have been done better on their boat so I guess I'm asking is whats that one thing you now know you should rally avoid ? Thanks Steve
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Old 07-18-2012, 08:03 PM   #15
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Everything on a boat fails eventually. I love teak decks--- I feel they offer superior traction wet and dry--- but they do take maintenance as they age. It's not necessarily the nightmare many people paint them to be although a bad deck can truly be a disaster. But ours is 39 years old now and while it is in no stretch of the imagination in "like new" coindition, it is in remarkably good condition for it's age. And we're willing to keep it up because we prefer a teak deck to a fiberglass, non-skid deck.

Windows leak eventually. All of them--- sliding, fixed, built up, one piece, you name it.

Black iron tanks are fine. In fact some very experienced shipwrights feel they are superior to other materials still today. BUT....... you have to make sure they are protected from moisture and thus rust. So it's their installation that is the big question, not the material itself.

But in terms of what we would avoid were we in the market for coastal cruising boat today and knowing what we know now.......

We would not get a boat that did not have good, quick-launch dinghy storage on the stern of the boat, either on the swimstep or on transom/stern davits. So no cabin top stowage, no boat deck stowage.

We--- and this is strictly us---- would not get a single engine boat today. We would have 14 years ago but not today.

We would not get a boat with an electric galley--- stove/oven.

We would not get a boat that didn't have a generator.

We would not get a boat that didn't have a three-stage smart charger for the batteries.

For the type of boating we do here, we would not get a boat without a good radar, GPS plotter, and one or more VHF radios. Obviously these can be added later to a boat that does't have them to start with.

We would not get a boat without a powerful and fast anchor windlass, power out and power in.

We would not get a boat without a full walkaround main deck.

We would not get a boat that had poor or almost impossible access to the fuel tanks, water tanks, and holding tank(s).

We would not get a boat with Maralon (plastic) seacocks. Only bronze.

For boating in this area we would not get a boat without a large and good-quality sea strainer on each engine raw water intake (like electronics, these can be added if the boat doesn't have them).

We would not get a boat with a turbocharged engine if we could possibly avoid it. Easy on older boats, not so much on newer ones.

We would not get a boat with only one head. One shower, okay, but not just one head.

We would be reluctant to get a boat without a functional mast and boom. While we use ours to launch the sailing dinghy that came with the boat in a cradle on the aft cabin top, their real value is as an integral part of our MOB recovery plan.

We would not get a boat with less than two separate staterooms. While many boats have the capability of setting up a berth in the main cabin we feel this would be a pain in the butt. The tri-cabin configuration is terrific if you ever have guests because there is a big neutral zone between their cabin and ours. People can get up, make coffee and do whatever without having to tromp around anyone trying to have a lie-in up there.

If we DID want a single engine boat, we would not want one without a bow thruster even though I know a good boat handler can do fine without one. We regard stern thrusters as basically unnecessary except perhaps in very specific docking situations.

We would not want a boat with a cored hull or at the very least, no coring below the waterline.

The list goes on and of course everyone's will be different because they will be based on the preferences and predjudices each boater has built up in their own boating experience.

Now if I had to decide which of our almost endless lisrt of "dont' wants" would occupy the absolute number one position it would be the boat would have to meet my aesthetic requirements. But that's a hard one to define or defend. So from a more practical standpoint our number one priority for any boat we got would be it would have to have at least two engines. In no small part because I simply like running multiple engines.
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Old 07-19-2012, 11:08 AM   #16
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My Defever is made in China and is an awesome boat. Very solid, timeless design and simple systems. I think a key thing to consider is the cost you are willing to pay. As they say, you get what you pay for in most cases. A trawler under 100k will likely come with an extensive "list". If you are pretty handy (I am not), then you might embrace this, if the boat has good 'bones'.
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Old 07-19-2012, 01:27 PM   #17
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A question that I've had for a while: the Taiwan Trawlers (CHB's and kin) seem to have lots of trouble with their deck coring getting squishy because of the fasteners for the teak decking allowing water to get in.

But other boats (I'm thinking of the Grand Banks, in particular) don't seem to have the same issues.

Anyone know why? Solid decks? Properly prepared holes in the deck? Bettter sealing of the deck boards???
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Old 07-19-2012, 02:11 PM   #18
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A question that I've had for a while: the Taiwan Trawlers (CHB's and kin) seem to have lots of trouble with their deck coring getting squishy because of the fasteners for the teak decking allowing water to get in.

But other boats (I'm thinking of the Grand Banks, in particular) don't seem to have the same issues.

Anyone know why? Solid decks? Properly prepared holes in the deck? Bettter sealing of the deck boards???

The issue with water getting down through the teak planks is more to do with the seams separating from the sides of the grooves than with water getting down from the surface of the deck past the screws. Some water can get down this way if the plugs are missing, but the much greater culprit are the seams. It can sometimes be hard to see if they've separated unless you get down and examine them closely.

Separated seams will allow a lot more water down past the planks than missing plugs. Once the water does get under the planks, however, depending on how well the planks were bedded, the water can then migrate out under the boards and it's at that point the screws become a problem. The moisture will migrate down along the screws into the wood deck core and once there it will stay there a long, long time and promote rot.

Grand Banks use the same subdeck construction as most other boats of this type--- a fiberglass-plywood-fiberglass sandwich. There are several reasons why GBs may be less susceptible to subdeck rot than some Taiwan Trawlers (BTW all fiberglass GBs were made in Singapore, and today both Singapore and across the strait in Malaysia).

1. GBs tend to be owned by people who keep them up. So they tend to stay on top of things like separating deck seams and missing plugs.

2. GB did a very thorough job of bedding the teak deck planks when they were first installed. So much so that when a teak deck is removed from a GB, even a very old one, so well adhered and bedded to the deck are the planks that they are usually destroyed in the removal process even after all the screws have been removed.

3. GB uses high quality materials. So the plywood in the subdeck, besides being quite thick, is of a high quality to start with. So it may be more resistant to rot than lesser or thinner grades of wood.

None of this is a guarantee against rot in the core and if the deck, seams, and plugs are ignored for a long time on a GB the subdeck can have the same problems as any other boat built the same way.

This water-under-the-planks thing is why a teak deck should always be washed with salt water. Since there's a good chance on an older boat that some water will work it's way down under the planks, using salt water at least delays the onset of rot in the core because salt water is much less conducive to the formation of rot than fresh water.

So the key to maintaining the integrity of a teak-planked deck is to make sure all the deck seams are good and adhered to both sides of the grooves (but not the bottom which is why bond-breaking tape is a critical component of a seam replacement or repair), that there are no missing plugs over the deck screws, and that the deck is washed only with salt water and a detergent like Lemon Joy which suds up nicely in cold water.

If you have a teak-decked boat on a lake or river, make your own salt water. The wood won't care where the salt water came from.

Obviously you can't do anything about rain unless you keep the boat in a boathouse. But the frequent washing of the deck (wash it, don't scrub it, and always wash across the grain unless deck hardware prevents this) with salt water will help stave off rot if there are leaks down through the planks.

This whole issue of water migration down along the screws is why manfacturers like Grand Banks, Fleming, and the custom yacht people glue their teak decks down now rather than screw them down. Also, the deck seam material used in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s was not as long-lived as the material used today. Today there is only one off-the-shelf deck sealant worth using and that is TDS. It's the deck sealant used by Grand Banks, Fleming, etc. in their new-builds. Even TDS has a finite life but it is a lot longer than the older materials like Thiokol and such.

If you have to do some seam repair or replacement and you can't get TDS (although you can order it directly from Teak Decking Systems), whatever you do don't use Lifecaulk. I tried it for awhile before we had our deck re-grooved and re-seamed and as far as I'm concerned, where TDS is the best seam sealant on the planet, Lifecaulk is the worst. Very, very short life in the weather.

The one use I have found for it is when I reset a deck screw I use a "trick" the shipwright who re-grooved and re-seamed our main deck taught me, and that is to dip the end of the screw in a sealant before re-installing it. The sealant will help prevent moisture that gets under the deck from migrating down past the screw threads into the core. Lifecaulk works fine for this and a tube of Lifecaulk has a much longer shelf life than a tube of TDS, which the manufacturer says is only good for a year as long as it hasn't been opened and exposed to air.
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Old 07-19-2012, 04:55 PM   #19
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Well I'm really grateful for all this information. Marin thanks for the great insight on the decks, and for post 15 in this series. Thanks to Chris for posing the question and to Baldpaul,what a beautiful boat. This post has evolved into now what I hope becomes a very informative discussion that others will search for in the future. My question is should I start a new thread posing my new question ? Which is... " What I should avoid in my search for a good used boat. Not necessarily a brand of boat but more like "avoid cast iron tanks at all cost" or "never buy a boat with plastic portholes they will all need to be replaced".... Every boat owner knows what shoulda been done differently or what could have been done better on their boat so I guess I'm asking is whats that one thing you now know you should really avoid ?" Or should we just let this one evolve and hope more people will read it and find that it's gone way past USA vs Others ? Thanks Steve
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Old 07-19-2012, 05:50 PM   #20
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Greetings,
Mr. OBX. What you're commenting on is what I call "thread creep". OP asks a question about marine vs automotive fuses for example. Now Mr. OBX, this is just MY observation...20 posts later everybody is arguing about anchors (why anchors, I have no idea...).
While some other marine sites strictly adhere to staying directly on topic this site does not and IMHO this is somewhat of a good thing but it can be frustrating for a newbie to keep track and even MORE difficult if a pearl of wisdom is hidden in a thread completely unrelated. It makes searching for said pearl nigh-on impossible. That being the situation, it usually takes about 8-14 posts to degenerate into.....?
I suggested to the moderators that TF create a new section OR stickies where persons such as yourself can find answers to "What should I avoid in my search for a good used boat." MY answer to THAT question is nothing. Become very good friends with someone who has their own boat...Hahahahaha...
Seriously, Mr. OBX, start another thread it could creep into a discussion about.......wait for it........anchors BUT I'm sure you will get enough opinions to give you ideas for more questions.
I've been a member here since Nov. 2007 and if I hadn't found it interesting, informative and downright comical in some cases, I'd have taken my singular personality and left, much to the detriment of all here concerned....Hahaha...Ask away.
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