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Old 05-12-2012, 04:39 PM   #1
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Best live aboard trawler for <$40,000?

I am currently in the process of researching and transitioning to a live-aboard lifestyle. After researching all different types of boats, I decided on a full-displacement trawler, thus my new membership on this fine forum.

I live in the PNW, and I hope to get something 34-40 feet, diesel, for $40,000 or less. I anticipate fixing up and customizing the boat, I don't have any misconceptions about getting an immaculate floating condo.

Are there any recommendations on trawlers that others here have had success with in that price range? Any advice on what to look for?

I appreciate the help, and look forward to your replies.

Thanks,
Dan
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Old 05-12-2012, 04:42 PM   #2
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Welcome Danno, I don't think you will have any problem finding what your looking for. Paul
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Old 05-12-2012, 04:55 PM   #3
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LOL, this is a very open ended question, that you will have to provide LOTS more criteria for.
1) single/married/kids?
2)will it be used as a boat or just a floating condo?
3)Inshore cruising around or voyaging with some open water thrown in?
4)Cockpit/sundeck/single stateroom, Galley up or down?
5)Flybridge or just lower helm?
6)Do you need a trawler or would a houseboat make more sense for you?
7)single/twins
8)Danforth/Rocna/Bruce?
9)How much brightwork so you want to deal with
10)Whatever other criteria that may be particular to you.

They offer some stuff online for free but I'd suggest trying to buy some older issues of the Powerboat Guide. It is great having a hard copy of this to flip back and forth through and see the different layouts and power packages that a huge segment of the boating world had to offer. I say to buy and older copy because they have a cut off year of boats that they cover and the price range you are looking in will have a lot more options in the older section.

The market is perfect for buyers right now, you've just got to shop and see what boat has the most things which fit your list of wants. And is the $40K for the initial pruchase or is that your total budget? This will make a HUGE impact on what level of boat you purchase.
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Old 05-12-2012, 04:55 PM   #4
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yachtworld.com will give you a good idea of what's available.

Welcome to the forum.
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Old 05-12-2012, 05:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danno View Post
I am currently in the process of researching and transitioning to a live-aboard lifestyle. After researching all different types of boats, I decided on a full-displacement trawler, thus my new membership on this fine forum.

I live in the PNW, and I hope to get something 34-40 feet, diesel, for $40,000 or less. I anticipate fixing up and customizing the boat, I don't have any misconceptions about getting an immaculate floating condo.

Are there any recommendations on trawlers that others here have had success with in that price range? Any advice on what to look for?

I appreciate the help, and look forward to your replies.

Thanks,
Dan
For $40,000 you may get a production 34-37 trawler in fair to poor condition. The real question is a boat "fixer upper" is not like a house fixer upper...there are skills and knowledge that dont cross over...you may possess them if you have been repairing boats for decades...so be careful!
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Old 05-12-2012, 05:05 PM   #6
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Best advice I ever got from the experts was "don't buy the biggest boat you can afford, buy the smallest you can live on". And the hardest thing to do is separate "wants" from "needs". If you are honest with yourself, you will be amazed on how well you can live with so little.
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Old 05-12-2012, 05:07 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by twiisted71 View Post
LOL, this is a very open ended question, that you will have to provide LOTS more criteria for.
1) single/married/kids?
2)will it be used as a boat or just a floating condo?
3)Inshore cruising around or voyaging with some open water thrown in?
4)Cockpit/sundeck/single stateroom, Galley up or down?
5)Flybridge or just lower helm?
6)Do you need a trawler or would a houseboat make more sense for you?
7)single/twins
8)Danforth/Rocna/Bruce?
9)How much brightwork so you want to deal with
10)Whatever other criteria that may be particular to you.

The market is perfect for buyers right now, you've just got to shop and see what boat has the most things which fit your list of wants. And is the $40K for the initial pruchase or is that your total budget? This will make a HUGE impact on what level of boat you purchase.
Good questions!
1) Single
2) It will be used as a boat as well as a home. I have three-day weekends, so it'll go out often, plus probably one two-week trip per year.
3) Mostly Puget Sound, the inside passage to Alaska would be as serious as it got.
4) What would best suit my needs?
5) Loves me some flybridge.
6) Houseboat won't get me from Tacoma to Orcas Island.
7) Single is OK, twins are nice.
8) Cash/Springsteen/Bonamassa (yes, I know you're talking about anchors)
9) The boat is a live-in project. Brightwork doesn't bother me.
10) I'm in the research phase right now. It's why I'm asking!
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Old 05-12-2012, 05:08 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bilgewater View Post
Best advice I ever got from the experts was "don't buy the biggest boat you can afford, buy the smallest you can live on". And the hardest thing to do is separate "wants" from "needs". If you are honest with yourself, you will be amazed on how well you can live with so little.
This is the absolute truth. You don't realize how little you need until you get rid of all your "necessities"...

Good words.
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Old 05-12-2012, 05:20 PM   #9
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This is the absolute truth. You don't realize how little you need until you get rid of all your "necessities"...

Good words.
That depends on whether you WANT to get rid of the necessities...

I'm on my 3rd liveaboard boat...first a 30 foot sailboat in my 30's, a 37 foot sportfish in my 40's and now a 40 foot trawler in my 50's....

I looked at 36 foot trawler and knew I could live on one...BUT....any woman I've ever known over the age of 40 would never live on a trawler less than 40 feet...not to say there aren't women out there that would...but they are rare and worth everything they want if they will live on less than a 40.

I have a 40...gave it a lot of thought...wish I had a 43...but finances, etc...put a crimp on that....
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Old 05-12-2012, 05:21 PM   #10
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Good questions!
1) Single

4) What would best suit my needs?
#1 means you don't have to run everything through another party (good) it also means you don't have anyone to blame when you realize you bought the wrong boat (bad) LOL

#4 you have to decide. some of the factors that you may consider are

your age and health Boats in the size range you are looking at generally won't offer an aft stateroom if you get one with a cockpit, since you are single the V-berth may be fine. The cockpit has many advantages easy transition to and from dinghy/dock, fishing, very nice if you have a pet that you need to take ashore. Downside of a cockpit on a liveaboard is you lose a lot of potential indoor space which in your area may weigh heavily. Sundeck/Aftcabin models usu. mean lots of stair/ladder climbing esp in this size boat (you'll likely have the engine room hatches as the highest point of the interior cabin sole. fore and aft of this will be 2-4 steps difference in height. Doesn't sound like much but if you have bad knees etc this can wear on you quickly. Sedan type boats are usually all on one level except the V-berth/galley/head areas. I've been on some boats with aft cabins that felt cramped and maze-like and others that were so well designed that you didn't even notice you were traversing to different levels. The point is you're going to have to put in lots of time checking out every boat you can.
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Old 05-12-2012, 05:24 PM   #11
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I have a 40...gave it a lot of thought...wish I had a 43
This is the common malady of all liveaboards! I think every trawlers surname should be......4 more feet!
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Old 05-12-2012, 05:29 PM   #12
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This is the common malady of all liveaboards! I think every trawlers surname should be......4 more feet!
It's the damn outdoor stuff...where to have the grill...scuba gear...fishing gear...bicycles...longer dingy...etc..etc...inside has lot's of storage...like all small houses...where the heck is the garage???
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Old 05-12-2012, 07:55 PM   #13
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Welcome Dan, We have a large flybridge but the nicest place to eat drink and chat is the cockpit, with instant access to the cabin. Some trawlers have a longer cabin which makes cockpit sitting area too small. This is of course a personal preference.
Take your time choosing. If you miss out on a boat,there is always another,maybe even better.
And I`m guessing a single guy might want a good size sleeping area to accommodate "guests". BruceK
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Old 05-12-2012, 08:27 PM   #14
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I picked up a 47' Europa last winter for only a bit more than that. There are a couple of good deals laying around still at what you're talking. You might find a 34'-36' CHB easy enough for that.
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Old 05-12-2012, 09:05 PM   #15
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Be cautious of Tiawan built trawlers that live under a roof. Sure, the roof protects the boat from the elements, but it also may keep you from knowing about the leaks. Inspect the undersides of cabin tops, decks and walkways carefully for signs of rainwater leakage.

At the price range, look for single diesel engine boats. Twin engines are twice as expensive for maintenance, and 1 1/2 times as expensive for fuel. A single engine must get better maintenance as its the only engine.

When looking at boats, bring a small digital camera. It allows you to inspect places you cannot see into.

Crawl around the engine room a lot. See if you can access all systems for the maintenance that will be required.
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Old 05-12-2012, 09:32 PM   #16
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No one can tell you what to buy. You must start looking at anything and everything in your budget. You will soon weed out vessels that are unsuitable. Look at lots of them. I know people who have lived and are living still on 26 and 28 fters so it can be done but you must figure out what you can do without and what is indispensible to you. That will have a huge bearing on your choices.


Walk the docks and ask people what they like and dislike about their boats explaining why you are asking. That may help them with their answers.

And of course come back here with a list of questions as you learn and hopefully you will get some help in your choices.

Just a comment, you will find few full displacement trawlers as most are semiplaning , just too low powered to plane. eg., CHB, ALbins, Marine traders. Some of the 34 mainships can plane and might be suitable layout as may the 34 Tollys. but LOOK

Have fun, don't be in too big of a rush,
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Old 05-12-2012, 10:09 PM   #17
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At the price range, look for single diesel engine boats. Twin engines are twice as expensive for maintenance, and 1 1/2 times as expensive for fuel. A single engine must get better maintenance as its the only engine.
I think this is great advice. My research was definitely pointing me in this direction.
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Old 05-12-2012, 10:34 PM   #18
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Look at as many as you can until you find one you like. It is a buyer's market out there so don't be in a hurry.
Several brokerages up in Anacortes have yards with boats accessible from a walkway so you can walk back and forth between boats and compare features like the aft cabin and the cockpit, or down galley compared to up. Definitely worth spending days comparing different styles until you find one you like.
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Old 05-12-2012, 10:37 PM   #19
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There is much in the way of good advice here. My Admiral and I just spent a year looking for a larger boat to extend our life on the water. Started with some misconceived ideas and learned a great deal on the way. If I may, here are some suggestions:

1) First, because of the market, at the price you are talking include all boats in your search up to $60K at least. This is still a buyers market and many sellers are willing to work with you.
2) Forget about manufacturers and models. Look at everything in the price range that you have set. Each and every time you look at a boat make a note of the things you like and the things you don't. More the things you don't. On these do not compromise. Yachtworld.com has already been mentioned. This is your number one best source for looking at boats and determining what you like and finding out what is for sale. Also, Craigslist, BoatShed and Boat Trader.
3) As this will be a project boat and a live a board, imagine living on board when you view these boats. Don't picture yourself BBQ'ing and relaxing on the hook in some beautiful cove. Imagine the problems. If there sufficient storage, where will you put your cloths. Do you wear dress work cloths then you need to hang them and iron. What about laundry. If you are going to cook, you need counter space. Too many boats are not designed for long term stays. Putting up with inconvienences for a weekend, week or even a month of cruising is one thing. Putting up with them for years is a very different thing.
4) As you live in the PNW there is little time without dampness or rain, You need to consider where you will store things outside and if you intend to use the space outdoors to extend your living space. If so, then you need an enclosure. If a trawler, can you access it without going outside or must you go into the elements to get there. That may be ok but you need to decide what you want.

When we were looking we had to consider we have a Golden Retriever. She can;t climb a ladder to get on a high deck boat such as some aft cabins. Climbing up a single step on the transom off of a narrow swim deck was not a feature the Admiral wanted. We looked at many boats, we went round and round over a year and a half.

This was our adventure. Every weekend traveling to look at another boat. We must have spent a fortune on gas, eating out and motel rooms. But in the end we feel it was well worth it. I hope that this helps. I don't mean to make this sound negative. But one of the hardest things some people have trouble doing is taking off the Rose colored glasses and seeing what daily life can be.

Good luck in your search. We loved looking at all those boats and more so finding the right one. Which by the way ended up not being the style we originally thought we would end up with.
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Old 05-12-2012, 11:13 PM   #20
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Papa Charlie, thanks for the great reply. Some real wisdom in what you say.
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