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Old 10-29-2011, 12:31 PM   #1
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Well Built, Capable and Reasonably Priced Used Boats

I am planning to buy a cruiser/trawler to both cruise and live aboard -- something safe, comfortable, durable and easy on fuel. There are several books recommending safe comfortable and well built sailboats, but I haven'f found anything on powerfboats. I have read that the Albin Family Cruiser ranks highly, and there are a few within my price range (I'd like to stay under $30,000) but I'd like a broader range to choose from.

I would appreciate any recommendations of either good books or boats that would satisfy my needs.
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Old 10-29-2011, 01:09 PM   #2
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RE: Well Built, Capable and Reasonably Priced Used Boats

Thirty grand is awfully low for the kind of boat you describe. Each of your requirements--- safe, comfortable, durable, and easy on fuel--- comes with a price tag.

Lots of questions for you to answer. How big of a boat do you need? Living aboard generally benefits from more space than just cruising. How many people will be living aboard? Where will you be using the boat? Maine, Chesapeake Bay, southeast coast, Gulf coast, southern California, Pacific Northwest, Great Lakes, rivers? Each one of these has its own set of requirements that can influence the decision of which type, make and model of boat is best.

There are a lot of books out there that will offer advice as to what kinds of boats are suited for different purposes. I've never read one as we got into this kind of boating in an evolutionary way, moving from smaller boats to what we have now. And while I was not a boat owner until the 1980s, I've been around them and people who had them since I was a kid in Hawaii. This didn't make me an expert but it at least gave me a general sort of knowledge about boats and boating.

Probably the best bet at this point is for you to do some serious hanging around at your local marinas and look at boats and, more important, talk to people who have boats that appear to you to perhaps be the sort of thing that would meet your needs. Most boaters are more than happy to talk to you about their boats (I'm not but I'm not the norm in this regard :-) )

One source of information about the pros and cons of a lot of makes and models of cruising boats is David Pascoe's website. He has also written one or more books on the subject that you can order from his site. He is very biased and very opinionated and his opinions don't always jibe with reality but he does offer a lot of good information about a wide range of boats.

But from your post, it seems to me you need to learn a lot about boats in general, and talking to boaters in your area is probably the best way to do this. You can also charter a boat for a week or whatever to see if you even like the "lifestyle." As I get the impression you have little or no experience in cruising, you most likely will not find a charter company that will rent you a boat on your own. But you can charter a boat with a captain, or if you know someone who does have a sufficient boating experience, you can share a charter

And I think you best prepare yourself for the need to revise your stated budget upwards. Unless a very small or extremely old boat will meet your needs. And an extremely old boat, particularly for the cost you state, will most likely be a full-time job to get it safe and comfortable, let alone reliably operable.
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Old 10-29-2011, 04:26 PM   #3
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Well Built, Capable and Reasonably Priced Used Boats

We have been trawler shopping for over 3 yrs. We just bought a 34' Mainship III. I can say that this is the best time in recent history to buy anything big (Boat/House/pretty much any toy). Your price point is going to severely limit your choices (as it did ours). Unless you inherit it anything that pri$e is going to require work for something big enough to liveaboard. If its a quality boat its going to cost more even in near basket case condition. But.......down here in S Fla you can pick up Marine Traders and the like with wooden decks that have gone to rot pretty cheaply (we've seen them well under $10K). Also if you can find something that has engine problems they are usually the best deal. Lowball them and figure on $12-18K for a rebuilt engine that you can put some trust in. Don't forget in your money figuring that buying a boat in this range is going to require quite a bit of money on the back side of the deal to bring it up to speed before you can use it in the fashion you intend. Unless you are looking at something in the under 30' range like the little Albin 27'ers they are usu. very cheap to purchase but are not something I'd consider a true liveaboard. But I have a wife and 3 dogs so I require a little more room than that just for a weekender! Keep your eyes out for a 29 Prairie trawler or 30' Campion. 2 truly neat small trawlers with a lot of room for their size and they don't seem to have nearly as many structural issues as others in this price range.


-- Edited by twiisted71 on Saturday 29th of October 2011 04:28:25 PM
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Old 10-29-2011, 04:52 PM   #4
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RE: Well Built, Capable and Reasonably Priced Used Boats

Thanks. There's only me, and -- since I've been divorced for over 35 years and I just turned 74 -- I'm not expecting my family to expand. Other than an occasional sleep-over by relatives, I really don't need a lot of room. The Albin 27' would probably suit me.

I've seen a couple of the 29' Prairies, but I didn't know how well built they were, and I hadn't even heard of the Campion. I'll look around some more.
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Old 10-29-2011, 05:06 PM   #5
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RE: Well Built, Capable and Reasonably Priced Used Boats

Campion is a long-time Canadian make located in Kelowna, British Columbia. Very popular brand north of the border. Don't know anything about them in terms of design, quality, etc., but I see tons of them around when we're in BC. A boat brand that popular for that long must have plenty going for it.
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Old 10-29-2011, 09:21 PM   #6
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Well Built, Capable and Reasonably Priced Used Boats

We had an Albin 27 that I yachted up and took our family of five on for a couple of extended cruises (a few weeks each). This was the Sport Cruiser with out the aft cabin. Very nice little boats, a bit rolly but fast, 13kts (80hp Lehman) by trawler standards and solid. The hull to deck joint is the only real problem with these boats.

That little guy in the pic is 5-8 and 185lbs of muscle now.

-- Edited by Daddyo on Saturday 29th of October 2011 09:22:07 PM


-- Edited by Daddyo on Saturday 29th of October 2011 09:24:15 PM
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Old 10-29-2011, 09:49 PM   #7
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RE: Well Built, Capable and Reasonably Priced Used Boats

How much fuel did you burn at that speed?
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Old 10-29-2011, 10:02 PM   #8
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RE: Well Built, Capable and Reasonably Priced Used Boats

Oh.* By "reasonable" you mean cheap.* Beware.
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Old 10-30-2011, 08:23 AM   #9
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RE: Well Built, Capable and Reasonably Priced Used Boats

Staying under 30K is hard...because boats you are wishing for will be a wreck to start with...if you can start with a 30k boat and dump another 30K in over the next several years...then you might have a well found cruiser.

One approach some people have taken is to buy and modify a larger sailboat into a trawler.* They lose the mast or downsize it*like* many trwlers.* The smaller engine is efficient as well is the hull but you lose room unless you go to a much larger sailing vessel.* The good news is sailboats*are often VERY inexpensive*so the refurb money can go quicker to improvements than just rebuilding.*
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Old 10-30-2011, 09:51 AM   #10
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Well Built, Capable and Reasonably Priced Used Boats

Like Twisted71 said, don't discount the Mainship 34's Mark I,II,III. They can be had in your price range and have quite a following. They were built from the late 70's to the mid 80's. I've seem some in So FL that looked remarkably good for their age.


-- Edited by timjet on Sunday 30th of October 2011 09:52:07 AM
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Old 10-30-2011, 10:11 AM   #11
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RE: Well Built, Capable and Reasonably Priced Used Boats

I think Scott's sailboat idea is GREAT. Could be about the only real solution to this question. And as to the Mainship 34 I can see why he thinks it is economical but compared to a sailboat properly powered it's a fuel hog. Depends on what the orig poster means by "economical". One gallon an hour is not the same as 3gph. But since there are so few trawlers that are as fuel efficient as they could be and if one wants or needs that the sailboat conversion is a very good option. And much more seaworthy than the Mainship.*
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Old 10-30-2011, 04:23 PM   #12
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Well Built, Capable and Reasonably Priced Used Boats

^^^^This is true. 3GPH for me at cruising speed (+/- 8 kts) is economical coming from a gas powered 26' keeled inboard that burned 9+ GPH at less than 15kts. Just be realistic in your expectations (its gonna be darn near impossible to match a sailboats fuel burn in a trawler), and really look at the boat's size and roominess because liveaboard is a LOT different than a week or two aboard. I know some of what i speak as we were fulltime RVers for 4 years. The 27' older Albins really don't amount to much more than a Cuddy cabin in the front and an enclosed bunk in the rear and they aren't connected by a roof. There is a 27 by Ranger and I think it was American Tug that made a 26' but they were/are expen$ive. I checked out a couple of Prairies when we were shopping and was impressed by the construction if not the actual build quality. The ones I saw had solid 'glass cabin walls and the decks were sound on all the ones we looked at. Out of nearly a dozen mainships only 2 had cockpit decks that were still sound and hadn't begun to sag! And you have to truly examine what is important to you. We really became stuck on having a Mainship even though it has a square stern and hard chines that make it more of a handful in stern quartering chop, for its large cockpit, stern door, and swimplatform. We knew we'd be having to get dogs to and from a dinghy and that we weren't going to be doing many open water crossings so it is a compromise we liked. *Another requirement was NO wood on the outside if it was at all possible.

Gulfstar 36's are another possibility for you to check out. *These were on our shortlist near the end of our hunt. *Most are twin engine but we did find one single! *They appear to have essentially a sailboat hull. have 2 staterooms and dual helms. *All of the ones we looked at though had rot problems in the salon walls or "rear shelf" due to window leaks. *If you can find a decent one these are neat boats for little money.



-- Edited by twiisted71 on Sunday 30th of October 2011 04:30:06 PM


-- Edited by twiisted71 on Sunday 30th of October 2011 04:33:49 PM
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Old 10-30-2011, 06:48 PM   #13
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RE: Well Built, Capable and Reasonably Priced Used Boats

Quote:
Barstool Philosopher wrote:
How much fuel did you burn at that speed?
*I have no idea but it sure wasn't much
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Old 10-30-2011, 06:55 PM   #14
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Well Built, Capable and Reasonably Priced Used Boats

Also...I looked at mainship 34's ...not nearly enough room for comfortable live aboard.

On the the hand...there's a Mainship 36 in good shape at my marina right now but has twin crusaders in it...could be had for less than $30,000. If the layout suits you (no lower station and the double master isn't an island berth) then it could be repowered with a couple used 60-90 hp diesels when the crusaders outlived their usefullness...

call 609-967-4100 if interested


-- Edited by psneeld on Sunday 30th of October 2011 06:57:14 PM
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Old 10-31-2011, 10:19 AM   #15
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RE: Well Built, Capable and Reasonably Priced Used Boats

No one's mentioned the "B" word.

http://seattle.craigslist.org/sno/boa/2673736672.html
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Old 10-31-2011, 12:23 PM   #16
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RE: Well Built, Capable and Reasonably Priced Used Boats

I give up; what's the "B" word?

I got a line on a 32' Hatteras. Does anyone have any thoughts -- strengths or weaknesses to watch for?
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Old 10-31-2011, 01:06 PM   #17
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RE: Well Built, Capable and Reasonably Priced Used Boats

The "B" word is Bayliner. Contrary to their reputation-- which is based more on Bayliner operators than Bayiner boats, they made some pretty nice ones in the 32-38' range. Their "88" series (3288, 3488, 3788, etc) are relatively economical and if you can find one that's been kept up, it may be within your price range. Bayliner discovered a secret most other boat manfacturers have failed to so, and that was to produce a reasonably good quality boat at much more affordable prices. As a result their market was larger than anybody else's, which meant they made more boats than anybody else, which means there is a larger and wider selection of used Bayliner available today. The challenge is to first find the model and configuration that will best suit your needs, and then find an example of one that has been kept up and meets your budget.

By number, Bayliners are probably by far the most popular make in the Pacific Northwest.
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Old 10-31-2011, 01:13 PM   #18
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RE: Well Built, Capable and Reasonably Priced Used Boats

The B word is Bayliner. Max I read that as B for bad and I'm not referring to both starting w the letter B. The only polite way to present a brand name here on the forum is to do it respectably and I do'nt see your presentation of the brand name Bayliner in the above post as a respectable presentation . If you were to present the brand name "Willard" as "the W word" as if I was afraid to mention such a fowl thing in public I would be unhappy as a minimal response. I've seen worse comments and words used on TF so I'm only throwing small tomatoes but I think it needed saying. And for your information there are Bayliner owners on Trawler Forum.*
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Old 10-31-2011, 01:34 PM   #19
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RE: Well Built, Capable and Reasonably Priced Used Boats

How about a Marine Trader 36' with fiberglass decks? Anything else I should watch out for?
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Old 10-31-2011, 03:02 PM   #20
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RE: Well Built, Capable and Reasonably Priced Used Boats

No disrespect meant for Bayliner or their owners. The one ad I inserted is for their small explorer model, which I've always admired and think the diesel powered models are an ideal NW cruiser for a couple or singlehanded. Not sure how that can be interpreted a slam against Bayliners. We cruise with several friends with 3988's and bigger. Guess which one of us is replacing rotten cored decks? The one with the Taiwan Tub!
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