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Old 04-22-2010, 07:10 AM   #1
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Searching for the 'Perfect' Loop Boat...

I have been reading many of the threads for quite some time, and months reading and studying as I seek a reliable reasonably well built boat for the Loop for a couple, with room for periodic guests. I understand that "perfect" doesn't exist, but would like any and all recommendations to help narrow my search.*

I cannot spend a fortune, but am always willing to spend more for quality. Have read many horror story about Leaky Teakies, but cannot determine any patterns (shy perhaps, of one specific Taiwan yard).*

To have greatest flexibility, I am targeting a vessel within the following specs: LOA 42-48'; Draft < 4'6"; Beam ideally 12 ft (not an easy find); Bridge clearance 15'6" (seems one of the trickier ones to match).


I have no preference re: hull material (always liked steel), and would welcome a staysail on a tabernacled mast (might even be a bit larger).


Do those specs seem reasonable? *Am I restricting these ranges too much? (I rejected an otherwise great 60 Footer, because I fear navigation and access issues - aside from cost).


Any and all suggestions are very much appreciated!
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Old 04-23-2010, 10:52 AM   #2
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RE: Searching for the 'Perfect' Loop Boat...

There are several perfect boats in this forum's classified section including mine. Curious as to why the 12' beam? A little extra beam in a boat provides more interior space that a little extra length.
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Old 04-23-2010, 06:11 PM   #3
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RE: Searching for the 'Perfect' Loop Boat...

Thanks *for replying! In reading the Stobs book and multiple other Loop books and articles, mention is repeatedly made that a beam under 12 Ft. will increase access to 'standard slips' and associated marina services - hence its use as a search criterion. I fully expect to end up with a vessel w a wider beam, and (at least according to these publications) ending up at the "T-dock", but that was where the beam restriction started. *I cannot judge to what extent beam restriction is important - you are obviously correct - wider beam translates rapidly into much more interior space...
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Old 04-23-2010, 06:46 PM   #4
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RE: Searching for the 'Perfect' Loop Boat...

I cruised for years on a 15.3 beam 45' Californian. I was never put on the T head uuless I asked. I would suggest that you expand your search to beams of 16' and under. Most slips are about 18' wide.
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Old 04-23-2010, 08:29 PM   #5
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RE: Searching for the 'Perfect' Loop Boat...

That is precisely the feedback I was hoping for. *A wider beam it is! Thanks!If I may be pushy, how crucial are draft and bridge clearance really? E.g., I understand the absolute limit at Chicago of about 19 '. However, I find repeated reference to having to meet the same 15'6" you need to go through downtown Chicago, in order to access the Finger Lakes, and to go into Canada. Some authors report that 15'6" limits traveling the full length of the Erie-Hudson canal.Because of such comments, I redirected to consider a 44' Marine Trader (which meets the 15'6" clearance requirement) over a 43' or 44' Hatteras (the latter typically listing at about 17' bridge clearance or more).
What other trawler designs should be considered, and what are specific "strengths" and "weaknesses" that they bring to the Loop voyage?
Not trying to belabor anything - but seeking as much information as possible.
Thank you all!
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Old 09-06-2010, 12:21 PM   #6
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RE: Searching for the 'Perfect' Loop Boat...

A number of months have gone by, and I now understand that my original thinking was quite naive... So, in trying to revive the dialogue, let me update you on my activities since my original post: I read everything I could get my hands on about the Loop, I read, scratch that: STUDIED Pascoe's book; Spent more hours online looking at trawlers than I care to admit - studied the 2010 Powerboating guide, and looked at several trawlers, among other, an Atlantic 44 and a 45 CHB sedan; Now for my revised search criteria:
LOA 42-49 Ft.; Cockpit with transom door seems mandatory for convenience of boarding with large dog; walk around decks for convenience (locking, etc.); I have given up restricting beam width, I now understand the comments made earlier; Still would like to restrict height to 15'6" mast/antennae/bimini down"; I am looking for two steering stations; and ideally a front/aft cabin layout with two heads; dual engines (redundancy); low HP is fine, am not looking for speed.

It seems that combined these search criteria push me in the direction of the following designs:
Marine Trader 44 and 49 pilothouse; Ocean Alexander 50 MK I; 48' Albin North Sea Cutter; and a number of other boats that are out of my league... (pretty much have to cap at 200K).
What other designs am I missing? What about designs accommodating large pets?

Thanks for any suggestions and comments!
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Old 09-07-2010, 01:42 PM   #7
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Searching for the 'Perfect' Loop Boat...

Have you heard any more on the closing of the loop at or near the Chicago Ship Canal? THis is being talked about due to the jumping carp infiltration into the Great Lakes.

Your list of boats is woefully short IMHO. If*you are only looking for a river, inland*and lake boat, which is what the loop is for 75% of its distance, how about Mainship, Searay, Bayliner and Carver. Lots of choices there for 200K on some very liveable boats. I've been on several really nice OA MKIs, and they are not a 200K boat unless all clapped out. Big old worn out trawlers may keep you at the dock more than in the channel. I've seen several OAs in the 36 to 42 range that may not need the heavy front end fixup $$ that could really quickly run you past 200K

Ralph Yost, who frequents this forum, picked up a really nice DeFever 41 a few years ago. You may want to privately communicate with him regarding his search, he was very thorough.

-- Edited by sunchaser on Tuesday 7th of September 2010 01:43:09 PM
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Old 09-07-2010, 01:44 PM   #8
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RE: Searching for the 'Perfect' Loop Boat...

To widen your search criteria greatly, you may have to give up that aft cabin. Because if you want a cockpit, you will likely not have an aft cabin for boarding pets.....so a sedan style boat is likely what you are left with which usually does not have an aft cabin until they are big and expensive. The MT49PH doesn't have one either...BTW.

NOW...............with all that said, there are boats that have aft cabins AND cockpits and are usually referred to as Cockpit Motoryachts(CMY or CPMY). Californian makes a very nice one...the 43 which is a 38 with a 5ft cockpit. There is still an issue though!!!! You can get your large dog into the cockpit but there is still a good climb on a ladder to get to the sundeck. Ideally, there would be access from the cockpit into the aft cabin with no climb. And some of the mainstream Manufacturers(ie Carver) do provide you that and you should EASILY be able to get one within your size range and within your price range.

A very fine example of a Californian at an incredible price:http://www.yachtworld.com/core/listi...g_id=8384&url=


An example of a Carver that fits your needs:


http://www.yachtworld.com/core/listi...g_id=8984&url=
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Old 09-07-2010, 01:55 PM   #9
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RE: Searching for the 'Perfect' Loop Boat...

And if Pilothouse type boats are in your search, you already mentioned the Marine Trader but don't forget the Defever 49PH. There are some nice ones JUST under $200k. But realize it is a BIG boat with not much interior space...a lot has been sacrificed to the aft cockpit and the side decks....nothing wrong with that. But my first impression when I first boarded one was how massive it looked from the outside and it just didn't seem that big on the inside. I do think they are fine boats and excellent liveaboards!!! And whoever the cook is in your family will love the galley.
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:03 PM   #10
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RE: Searching for the 'Perfect' Loop Boat...

Thank you all so much for your comments and suggestions!

No - I haven't heard much about the Asian carp - although there was an article in the local paper this AM re: legal action a number of IL groups are trying to take - the reality will most likely be that once it is fought out in court, the carp will be in the Great Lakes... In my spare time, during the last five years or so, I have done a lot of small sailboat racing on the Mississippi: I watched the carp inundation explode! I do not think man is smart enough to undo that issue - not even if we pour a solid concrete barrier between the Illinois and Lake Michigan....

Mainship 430's are wonderful - aft cabin access from the cockpit can be 'challenging'
Bayliner quality has not impressed me - admittedly I've only looked at two, but I have read many comments about marginal quality. Ironically, their interior layout seems often quite practical for a long trip for a couple w occasional guests.

Pascoe puts Carvers and Californians in the same (Bayliner) league. (In all fairness, he doesn't have much good to say about any of the Taiwan boats either - yet, there are undoubtedly good ones to be found in each of these designs)

I am concerned about the rather obvious conflict between my restricted budget on the one hand, and the apparent size that my seemingly incongruous requirement of cockpit with split fore-aft cabin arrangement pushes me into: The CHB 45 that I recently looked seemed a decent compromise, but the' Admiral' hated the head-shower-head arrangement...
Once I satisfy her split floor plan requirement with the cockpit - I find myself looking at much larger boats: hence the 49, and the 50' models I cited earlier. Alternatively, looking at similar lengths, I get back to the Marine Trader 44 split cabin - among other, looked at the current listing from TN - which I think may be the boat used by the author of 'Extended Power Cruising'

http://www.yachtworld.com/core/listi..._id=74675&url=

I am impressed by the work they had done / many very thoughtful renovations for long distance cruising - presumably by Venezuela yards - if I recall from reading the book - although the price tag (at least for now) still seems a bit steep...

Love the DeFevers - Almost bought a 42 Ft. one - w a Portuguese Bridge - but was too insecure to strike while the iron was hot. Should have acted faster...

Love pilothouses - Don't need high speed - rather have low HP diesels with high hours - run regularly - than turbo's with low hours, and like stairs and steps that are easy to negotiate - not too many of those around either...

Sorry for being so long winded - really appreciate all of your thoughts and input! Al of your fresh perspectives help me revisit reality! THANKS!
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:44 PM   #11
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Searching for the 'Perfect' Loop Boat...

A few things to add to what's been said already...

I think there are two "kinds" of Bayliners. The smaller, "anyone can afford a boat" Bayliners and the larger models. The crappy quality reputation of Bayliners has been based, I believe, mostly on the former.

The larger boats, many of which were built at the now-closed Arlington, WA plant, are said to be pretty good overall. Three of the most common production boats we see on our cruises into the San Juans, the BC Gulf Islands, and Desolation Sound are Bayliners, Tollycrafts, and Grand Banks. We have met people with Bayliners in the mid-30s in length who have taken them regularly up the Inside Passage to SE Alaska and had a great time every time. For boats that are supposed to have horrible quality and bad repuations, there are more people enjoying the hell out of boating in these waters, anyway, in Bayliners than in any other make.* Maybe even all the other makes combined, I don't know.*

What does it mean when a couple visits Desolation Sound or the Broughton Islands or runs the Inside Passage or explores SE Alaska in their Bayliner while this other couple rarely leaves the dock in their Nordhavn or Grand Banks?* The brand name on the boat does not determine the kind of boating experience you will have, particularly on coastal or inland waters where being open-ocean capable is not a factor.

The second thing is something I'm sure you've seen said in various phrasing in many places. The version I learned back in the 1950s is "buy the smallest boat you can afford." This does not mean buy a boat too small for what you want to do with it. But given x-amount of money, the smaller the boat you buy the better condition it will be in. Which means the less time and money you will have to spend fixing it up.

When we bought our GB36 it wasn't long before we began drooling over the GB46s on the charter dock in our marina. We figured that would be the perfect size. Now after having our boat for twelve years and counting, we have concluded that we do not want a boat one inch longer. We don't want to maintain one more inch of varnished trim, we don't want to wax one more inch of hull and house, we don't want to look after one more inch of teak decking. We've learned that 36' deals very nicely with any weather and water conditions we're likely to be out in around here, and that the boat can take far more than we can. It's not a matter of we've resigned ourselves to "making do" with a 36' boat, it's a matter of us realizing we don't want to deal with one inch more of boat. It might be a different story if money was not a consideration but it is so 36 feet will suit us just great, thank you very much.

Of course you realize that buying the boat is the easy part. The hard part comes later when the train of bills comes rolling into the station and never stops. Insurance, moorage, fuel, maintenance, repairs, upgrades--- it never stops and the only thing that makes it bearable is the value you are getting out of owning the boat. The moment you stop enjoying boat ownership is the moment you need to get rid of the boat because, enjoyment payback or not, the bills will never stop coming.

So if a person has two hundred grand to "get a boat," a good chunk of that two hundred grand probably ought to be earmarked for ownership costs unless one's continuing income will cover that.

As you rightly implied, every boat is a compromise. Some people--- like me--- put a high value on aesthetics. There are certain kinds of boats I like the look of so I want any boat we have to have at least a modicum of the same aesthetics. Others don't care so much about aesthetics but put a high value on interior volume or "liveability" however you want to define that. They'll happily put up with what I consider an extremely ugly boat in order to be able to have a big party with 25 guests on board.

So you need to decide what is most important to you. Not me or anyone else on this forum. Make out a list of everything you want the boat to be able to do. Put down everything you can think of--- accomodations, galley capability, deck access, the view out the windows, put it all down. Then start looking for a boat that does more of those things than any other boat. Never mind the brand names for now. Look for the best match between what you want and the boat's attributes.

Once you find some boats that seem to match up pretty good to what YOU want, then you can get into the "what's a good brand," "what should I look for in this make of boat," and so on. But if you start doing that first, you'll never figure out the best boat for your needs.

But in the back of your mind, my advice is to always remember..... buy the smallest boat you can afford.


-- Edited by Marin on Tuesday 7th of September 2010 08:52:57 PM
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Old 09-08-2010, 10:29 AM   #12
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RE: Searching for the 'Perfect' Loop Boat...

Quote:
Marin wrote:"But in the back of your mind, my advice is to always remember..... buy the smallest boat you can afford."
It took me 8 tries (different boats) before I really understood that statement. Another way of saying it is to "get everything you want in a boat, in the smallest package possible."

For example: Big bed, separate shower (from head), pilot house, gas stove, cockpit, etc.

Another old quote is "The smaller the boat, the more time on the water.

From 50' (7 boats later) to this:


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Old 09-08-2010, 11:10 AM   #13
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RE: Searching for the 'Perfect' Loop Boat...

I couldn't agree more on size.* Granted my husband and I are coming from the sailboat side and just bought our first powerboat... but... we had 30', 32' then 42' sailboats.* The 32' was by far our favorite; we could easily manage it with just the two of us, it was very efficiently laid out above and below, it was easy for us to maintain, etc.* We moved up to the 42' in partnership with another couple with the goal of sailing it to Hawaii this summer (which we did).* It was a BIG boat.* We could handle it with just the two of us but it could be challenging and every time we went to an unfamiliar dock we were reminded just how BIG it was and how hard it was to tell from the wheel just how far the bow was from the dock.* and as Marin said, the bigger the boat the bigger the bills.

When we began our search for a trawler we were looking at 39' as a max.* The 39's we looked at just felt TOO BIG.* My husband has been up and down the west coast on powerboats and sailboats and has sailed to Hawaii twice and*so it is not a question of whether or not we know what we are doing.* Standing on the flybridge of the 39s*we could barely see the bow and stern.* Thinking of the kind of boating we do, going to unfamiliar place and docking, mooring or anchoring with just the two of us we were leaning to something a little shorter where we would have a better sense from the upper helm of where the boat was under us.* When we first saw our PT on the Internet we weren't really taken with the lines of*her big sundeck.**But once we stepped aboard and saw the huge aft cabin, separate shower, tasteful saloon, galley down, view from the flybridge... well everything about her... we got over her bubble butt.*

Not to say that plenty of people don't do just fine with just two on a large boat.* We just prefer the mental comfort level of something smaller.* And after the sitcker shock of the first bottom job I am REALLY glad she is only 35'.*

What size boats have you owned in the past?* What did you like and dislike about them?* have you done any chartering to try out different sizes and layouts?*

We have friends doing the loop now (past 2 years) on a defever 41 and they are loving every minute of it.* It is mostly just the two of them, with occasional guests, and they have a small dog.*

Maybe a good source of info for you would be to attend the Fall Great Loop Rendezvous in Alabama and see what kind of boats are actually out there.* I'd imagine people would show you their boats and give you pointers.* greatloop.org

sorry I am so long winded today!* I look forward to reading your updates on your search.
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Old 09-08-2010, 11:40 AM   #14
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RE: Searching for the 'Perfect' Loop Boat...

Further to Marins point, there are Bayliners galore in the PNW. The most "timely" vessel in this years Alaska predicted log regatta/race was a Bayliner. The 32' and over Bayliners are in fact the pleasure boat of economic choice in the PNW. They are cost effective and they allow their owners to enjoy the same waters as the Flemmings, Offshores and their ilk. Plus, since so many feel this way, certain models of Bayliners* have great resale value and move quickly.

You may even want to buy your loop vessel in the Great Lakes, they are usually in far better shape than the moldy stuff found in Florida.
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Old 09-08-2010, 11:46 AM   #15
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RE: Searching for the 'Perfect' Loop Boat...

The boat does not meet your specs but here is the link to the log of Integrity, on a day by day Loop trip very interesting and informative.
http://www.integritycruise.com
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Old 09-08-2010, 07:22 PM   #16
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RE: Searching for the 'Perfect' Loop Boat...

To all: these insights are great! We plan to go to a Loop Rendezvous before we buy. I had not seen the integritycruise site, and appreciate the referral: in the 2010 Powerboat Guide only the 36 Monk was included - and I dismissed that as "too small", and somehow skipped over Monks altogether. Now starting to study the Monk 40 as the direct result of your suggestion! Thanks!

I have owned full keel 33 & 37 Ft. sailboats w small engines (But am FAR from an engine expert!). Sailed them on larger estuaries in tidal zones (and have run aground with a falling tide- only to wait for 10 hours to get back off...). I have built two wood/epoxy boats (16 and 28 Ft) and several sets of oars - an interesting exercise w only hand tools... One of those things one does only once! I have chartered larger sailboats, and houseboats up to 44 Ft. and (among other) have sailed them on the Mississippi, on one occasion during the Great Flood of 1993 (Made me a strong believer in twin engines...) I am comfortable on the water - comfortable locking through in the presence of commercial barges. Although I have been out on the ocean 'day sailing', I have not made any serious overnight passages...

I thoroughly understand the concept of buying "the smallest boat you can afford" - which is what prompted my recent effort to revive this thread. At the same time, in one of the books I read it (seemingly sensibly) cautioned to try and purchase a vessel that would not force one to change one's lifestyle excessively (E.g., don't move from a "king" to a ""narrow double").

In looking at the rather spacious CHB 45 sedan (which I thought to be pretty close to my ideal Loop boat), my wife's strong preference for a fore-aft cabin arrangement became apparent. However, boarding with any animal (or for that matter at age 60) without a cockpit can prove a challenge. Then, when looking hard for a trawler combining those two traits, I found myself being "pushed into" larger boat sizes than I was comfortable with, and concluded it was time to try and revive this thread...

Re: budget - I hope to buy somewhere around 100-120 K (may be overly optimistic); Leaving about 20K for short-term expenses (dockominium type slip - insurance - immediate minor needs), and another 60+K for outfitting and serious prep work over a period of two-three years prior to departing. We will have adequate cash flow to afford frequent and longer marina stops, but during the year we anticipate to have for the Loop, we likely will make three or four trips home to attend to ongoing business.

Talking about budget - One of the things that scare me are the diesel engines. Obviously, a good survey and a separate engine inspection will help put my mind somewhat to rest. But somewhere, I came across the comment that spare part for 120 HP Lehman's would become more difficult to obtain in years to come. I am in no position to judge if that is a true concern...

I will quietly continue my search, and as it progresses, I promise I will pick this thread back up - either to ask more questions - but absolutely to let you know how this ends up!

Thanks again for your kindness and willingness to share your knowledge!
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Old 09-08-2010, 07:52 PM   #17
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RE: Searching for the 'Perfect' Loop Boat...

Quote:
DutchProf wrote:

One of the things that scare me are the diesel engines. Obviously, a good survey and a separate engine inspection will help put my mind somewhat to rest. But somewhere, I came across the comment that spare part for 120 HP Lehman's would become more difficult to obtain in years to come. I am in no position to judge if that is a true concern...


Given the vast number of them out there in almost every kind of boat one can conceive, the chances of FL120*spare parts becoming hard to get is pretty remote, at least for the middle future.* The parts that are not available anymore, like the raw water drive coupler which has a design flaw--- are often simply replaced by newer components.* In the case of the raw water pump drive, when it fails--- and it will--- the solution is not to try to fix it because the fix doesn't last very long, but to simply replace the whole deal, coupler and pump together, with a new, made-today, Johnson pump.

I suspect this same thing is true of many older engines.* There may be some somewhat uncommon older engines or even not-so-old engines that were used over a relatively short period of time that might be getting a bit more difficult to find service for.* The Hino that was used in*a lot of Bayliners comes to mind.* I know nothing about them, so I don't know if parts and service are still readily available.* But Bayliner used them for a number of years in*most of their popular models in the 32 to 40-something foot range*and then switched to something else.

But Lehmans, particularly the FL120 and FL135 were used by everybody in everything for a lot of years. I'm not a fan of the Lehman but not because it's unreliable or hard to service or get parts for.

Where people can get in trouble with older diesels is if they try to run them like new diesels.* The FL120 was designed in the 1950s (the base engine is the Ford of England Dorset truck engine) and if you operate*and maintain it as though it was 1950, it will run good and last a long time.* But if you want your FL120-powered Grand Banks to thump along at 12-16 knots or so, which you can do with the same boat with bigger, more modern engines in it, you'll*be forking over fix-it money in pretty short order.*

If asked I always recommend a potential boat buyer try to get a boat with as modern and reputable an engine as they can in it.* Not because the older engines will let them down, but because a modern diesel is a lot nicer to live with.* But if you find a boat that absolutely suits you in every way but has FL120s or FL135s in it, I certainly wouldn't walk away from the boat because of this.* We didn't, and I don't like Lehmans.

You can find forty-year old FL120s in pristine condition and you can find four year old Cats and Luggers and John Deeres in deplorable condition.* It all depends on how the previous owner(s) ran and maintained them.
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Old 09-08-2010, 08:49 PM   #18
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RE: Searching for the 'Perfect' Loop Boat...

Marin,How do people "run new diesels"? And how does one "operate and maintain" the old engines "as though it was 1950"?
All engines have specified engine loads and engine speeds to run by. How old an engine is has nothing to do with it whatsoever. If the Lehman 120 manual says the engine has the limit of one hour continuous full throttle operation and unlimited continuous WOT operation of 2300 rpm (when loaded correctly) then that's what it is: in 1976, today and at anytime in the future. The idea that an old engine needs to be run at far (or even a bit) lower output levels than it did when new is total hogwash. All this is assuming that the engine is maintained properly. Ever see a manual that said "take 10% off these standards for every 10 yrs of engine age" ? Of course not.
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Old 09-08-2010, 09:16 PM   #19
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Searching for the 'Perfect' Loop Boat...

Quote:
nomadwilly wrote:

*
And how does one "operate and maintain" the old engines "as though it was 1950"?


By running it within the power envelope and adhering to the service intervals that were specified by the manufacturer at the time of manufacture.* As long as one does that, the engine will deliver whatever service and performance it was designed to deliver.

Where people get into trouble is when they start thinking they can operate and maintain an old technology*diesel as though it was a modern diesel.* (I think I see where you misinterpreted what I said--- I should have said "modern" not "new.")

A friend with a boat powered with a relatively modern Cat diesel has much longer service intervals than we do with our FL 120s.* His modern, more powerful*Cat engine will also drive his boat at 16 knots if he so chooses.* A person who thinks they can extend the service intervals of an FL120 out to where a modern Cat, John Deere, etc. are, and who thinks they can operate their FL120 at near wide open throttle all day in an attempt to get boat speeds similar to what boats with higher-powered diesels get will greatly shorten the life of the FL120.

That's what I meant.* It's like taking a Model T and trying to drive at today's freeway speeds and follow today's engine maintenance schedules.

But I agree, an engine designed in 1950 or whenever, if operated as it was intended to be operated and serviced and maintained as it was intended to be serviced and maintained will deliver the same performance 40 years later as 5 years later, allowing for whatever wear might occur over the longer period of time that might diminish the performance.

*


-- Edited by Marin on Wednesday 8th of September 2010 09:19:14 PM
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:12 AM   #20
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RE: Searching for the 'Perfect' Loop Boat...

Marin,Good, I thought you'd flipped out there mate.
What does "service intervals" have to do w it? I perceive that to be time between oil changes ect. What were you referring to?
By the way * ...what is the WOT and high load/speed recommendations from Ford/Lehman for your 120's?
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