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Old 09-03-2012, 07:01 PM   #1
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Older and affordable trailerable trawlers?

Hey guys...I'd love to find a roomy trawler that's still trailerable. I guess my standard of comparison would be the Macgregor 26X sailboats...they are 26' length, 8.5' beam, have a roomy cabin, and use water-ballast when sailing, so they are fairly light for trailering (a little over 2000 lbs minus the trailer). These can be had from around $10K - 20K (depending on condition and outboard engine brand/year) for a 1990's model (which is reasonably modern). They typically come reasonably well equipped. Most other sailboats are either 1) roomy and comfortable but not trailerable, or 2) trailerable but just too cramped to be comfortable. It's also the only trailerable sailboat with wheel steering and that can handle an outboard up to 50HP or so.

From what I have seen so far, the typical trawler offers more roominess than a typical sailboat (the Macgregor 26X included). I also quite like the flybridge often found on trawlers, although that's not absolutely necessary. I like the idea of one or two outboards instead of an inboard gas or diesel...for an older boat, it's much less expensive to re-power when it's outboards involved and IMO they are easier to work on, as opposed to climbing around in an engine bay. (Although I guess in the case of twin outboards, the price tag can add up.) I know there are several to choose from...the Ranger Tugs, the Albin trawlers, the Rosborough trawlers, etc. I haven't found any yet that fall into a used price range comparable to what I could find a Macgregor 26X for.

I've got an 80's Bayliner Cierra 2755 now...it's trailerable, but really heavy...my diesel truck sweats and grunts pulling it up and down hills...something a little lighter would be an easier tow. The engine is getting old and tired, and I'm not sure it's worth repowering it (it's worth about $6500 as is, and it would still technically be worth $6500 if I repowered it for $15K...it would just sell easier). Eventually, I'd like to have something too big to even consider trailering, but for now...I'll save myself a lot of expense and hassle. Now, I might very well leave it in a slip all summer, for instance...but I want to be able to pull it out myself versus paying a yard $700-800 just to pull it out of the water. Now, I *suppose* I could pull the inboard engine and outdrive out the Bayliner, mount a smaller (like 30-40hp) outboard on it and call it a "trawler"...LOL...but I don't know how well that would work overall. (I do have a small 2-stroke 8hp outboard mounted to the swim platform that has pushed it OK in times when I've had an engine issue on the water). Whatever I did, I have to contend with the fact that I need to put a used engine in it or on it, or I've got more in it than I would ever get out of it. (Which would be fine if I intended to keep it forever, but I don't.)

I'll take a roomy and well-equipped interior over lots of exterior space, although I really like the idea of a flybridge. Someone has suggested a houseboat to me once on this forum, but I'd like to at least be able to take it for short trips on the ocean (like maybe 3-4 trips up and down the NC coast). I know there's at least one old offshore houseboat made by Cutter in the 70's...but man, that thing was UGLY! LOL. My plan would be to spend a night or two on it over the weekends, anchor it out at some beach areas, take to it some of the downtown areas on the North Carolina coast...essentially use it as a reasonably comfortable floating condo that does get taken on a few "road trips" via water.

So, what I'm looking for: reputation for being a tough old boat...trailerable...roomy...one or two outboards...and priced between $10K and $20K...preferably a 1990's but would consider 1980's or even 1970's if the hull, decks, etc., have a reputation for holding up well. What brands/models/years should I be looking for?

Something like these Rosborough trawlers would be perfect IF it had a flybridge and could be had for $10K-20K. classifieds | compactyachts.com

Just a random side thought: too bad the US doesn't allow diesel outboard motors to be imported. A diesel outboard couldn't possibly be any worse than an older 2-stroke outboard...we have plenty of diesel inboards already...what's the big deal about this???

Thanks in advance for your guidance,
Dave
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Old 09-03-2012, 08:40 PM   #2
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Diesel outboards were sold for a while in the US. From what I remember they weren't anywhere near price competitive and suffer a substantial weight to horse power penalty.

Flybridges on user trailerable boats are fairly rare do to overall height on the trailer.

Explaining whether you are looking for a displacement hull or a planing hull would be a good idea as it makes a huge difference.
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Old 09-03-2012, 09:34 PM   #3
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OK, fair enough on the flybridge.

On the hull type...I'd like to be able to putter along slowly and get excellent fuel mileage, but still have the ability to get out of harm's way reasonably quickly if need be...so around 15 or 20-some knots top speed maybe, but a good economical cruising speed of under 10 knots is fine. My current Bayliner will do about 30-some knots, but I don't really *need* to move that quickly on the water. So, perhaps (thinking in terms of outboards) a 150HP or so outboard plus a smaller 20-30HP outboard "trolling" motor (with both sets of controls at the helm) might be a great setup.

So, based on what I've said, does a semi-displacement hull sound like the right choice? My current Bayliner cabin cruiser has a deep V planing hull...running anywhere near WOT burns around 20 gph, so I doubt I want a planing hull.

I had posted a few weeks ago that I gave a 1982 Mainship 34 a good look. I really liked the layout of it, but it's definitely not a trailerable yacht. Something like the Mainship 34 shrunk down to 25-28 feet and a beam towable in NC (8.5' is the norm...or up to 9.5' can be towed any time of day in NC with no special permit, and up to 10' can be towed without a special permit but only during daylight hours) with an outboard would probably suit me quite well. My truck can tow up to a rated limit of 8500 lbs, but I'd rather not push that too much since it's an older truck (the Bayliner clocks in at around 7000 lbs, best guess...I wouldn't want to tow anything heavier than that without a larger truck).

Thanks!
Dave
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Old 09-03-2012, 11:20 PM   #4
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I have to be honest with you, from reading your initial post, I think you're asking too much out of your next boat.

You want a large, cheap, rugged, trailerable trawler, something thats "better" than your 27' Bayliner, oh it has to be light weight as well, because your Bayliner is just too heavy.

That really is asking allot.

You have a pretty large trailerable boat in your bayliner. Nothing wrong with just going slow in the boat you have BTW.

Otherwise you'll have to drop one or more of your criteria, IMHO
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Old 09-04-2012, 12:25 AM   #5
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I agree that you are backing the requirements into a fairly snug corner. Here is an example of a Nimble Nomad. Outboard powered, trailer-able and spacious. Nicely laid out and IMO nice boats for the niche they fill, perhaps not the saltiest look on the water.

1997 Nimble Nomad Trawler Power Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

You might also look at the 25 and 27 foot Albin's. Stouter, saltier boats but you would likely have to purchase a trailer separate as most of the ones I've seen do not have one included. Inboard engine and weight may be a turn off for you on the Albin though. C-Dory is another make that comes to mind and are outboard powered but would likely miss high on price point. Very capable boats though.

The Macgregor 26X attributes(especially towing weight) would be a tough cocktail to mix with a power cruiser in a similar price category IMO. I have a hard time thinking any of the boats I mentioned above would be any lighter than the Bayliner you already own.
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:48 AM   #6
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LOL. Yup, I realize this is a tall order...but that's why I'm asking you guys who have all this trawler knowledge.

The Nimble Nomad actually looks pretty cool. I realize it's not a blue-water boat...but it's probably more seaworthy than my Bayliner is. It's always hard to tell from pics, but the Nomad looks somewhat more roomy on the inside than my Cierra 2755. Let me research it a bit...this may be the powered equivalent of the Macgregor 26X.

Honestly, it's quite difficult to find something similar to the Bayliner with outboard power instead of an inboard/outboard. It seems the standard config for boats that size is an inboard V8 and an outdrive. Am I correct in thinking that outboard power is going to be a more economical choice in terms of maintenance, replacement, etc.? I think the answer is "yes", but someone confirm that for me.

Cheers,
Dave
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:16 AM   #7
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Hey, thanks so much for pointing me toward the Nimble boats. Actually, all three of their models look quite appealing. Here's a link to their site: Nimble Boats Works, Inc. - Boats

Looks like Nimble is one of the few mfg's who makes motor-sailors (with the exception of Macgregor).

Cheers!
Dave
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:25 AM   #8
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At that price range, you're stuck with the MacGregor.

I had a MacGregor 26M for a couple years. It was a terrible compromise of a boat. Don't buy one if you want to travel at 'trawler' speeds. I was always getting wet in that boat (all weather). I found that if the wind was blowing, I literally had to get the boat on a plane to avoid getting slapped in the face by the water. Yes, there was quite a bit of room in the 'dishwasher' style open layout..... but for most, it's pretty cold and gloomy down in that hole.

If you buy one, make sure you fill the ballast AND put the dagger-board down when coming in to dock at a marina. This should help you with maneuverability. Otherwise you will find yourself running around in reverse while you figure out how to get the 26 foot, feather of a boat, to go where you want it.

Watch out for the 26X, they have 0 permanent ballast (unlike the 26M with 300lbs). This scenario coupled with a new owner, has resulted in more than one death. Look it up. With that said, for a few thousand more, you should be able to find an early M somewhere in the country and trailer her home.

Good Luck!!!
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Old 09-04-2012, 11:04 AM   #9
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Take a look at C-Dorys. Here is a good owners group.

The C-Brats :: Home
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Old 09-04-2012, 11:23 AM   #10
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Big Duck is everything you are looking for except for having a Chevy 350 I/O, and weighing in about double what you're looking for.

We are currently at Lake Powell after towing 2000 miles across country. There's plenty of room for 4 adults, a 2 yr old and dog.
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Old 09-04-2012, 12:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davesisk View Post
Am I correct in thinking that outboard power is going to be a more economical choice in terms of maintenance, replacement, etc.? I think the answer is "yes", but someone confirm that for me.

Cheers,
Dave
It depends. Certainly easier to replace, maybe easier to work on in place. If you are going to put significant hours on them, IMO, they are more expensive to maintain. A dry engine room is a much happier place for a motor to live.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davesisk View Post
On the hull type...I'd like to be able to putter along slowly and get excellent fuel mileage, but still have the ability to get out of harm's way reasonably quickly if need be...so around 15 or 20-some knots top speed maybe, but a good economical cruising speed of under 10 knots is fine. My current Bayliner will do about 30-some knots, but I don't really *need* to move that quickly on the water. So, perhaps (thinking in terms of outboards) a 150HP or so outboard plus a smaller 20-30HP outboard "trolling" motor (with both sets of controls at the helm) might be a great setup.
While I'm not as well versed on 4 stroke outboards, big outboards don't develop their HP until well into the RPM curve. They don't run well, burn more fuel per HP, and live shorter lives at slow speeds (RPM). They need to be operated in their ideal power range. If you are going for big HP then plane; buy less HP if you plan to be in displacement mode.
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:13 PM   #12
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A rebuilt Chevy 350 about 2 grand. You can spend that on an injector diag and R&R. We've been getting 2+ MPG at 6.5 mph...at 5mph we see 3.
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Old 05-21-2013, 07:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davesisk View Post
LOL. Yup, I realize this is a tall order...but that's why I'm asking you guys who have all this trawler knowledge.

The Nimble Nomad actually looks pretty cool. I realize it's not a blue-water boat...but it's probably more seaworthy than my Bayliner is. It's always hard to tell from pics, but the Nomad looks somewhat more roomy on the inside than my Cierra 2755. Let me research it a bit...this may be the powered equivalent of the Macgregor 26X.

Honestly, it's quite difficult to find something similar to the Bayliner with outboard power instead of an inboard/outboard. It seems the standard config for boats that size is an inboard V8 and an outdrive. Am I correct in thinking that outboard power is going to be a more economical choice in terms of maintenance, replacement, etc.? I think the answer is "yes", but someone confirm that for me.

Cheers,
Dave
I think the answer is no. Diesel engines are much more reliable and last a lot longer than any outboard. When was the last time you saw a 30 to 40 years old boat with the original outboard? I see diesel inboards with 30 to 40 year old engines all the time. Especially in trawlers that are not trying to plane.

Another thing to consider is when you get out at sea in heavy weather, you want the heaviest mass to be at the center of the boat to minimize the pitch moment of inertia. This allows the boat to respond to waves instead of burring the bow into them. Taking waves in a following sea (AKA getting pooped) could also be disastrous with outboards. This is why most rough water boats have inboards instead of outboards. Outboards are fine for lakes and fair weather sea going but not so good for rough weather sea boats.

The C-Dory is the only trawler type boat I can think of that uses outboards, but they have a pretty flat bottom and are known to pound in rough seas.

You might take a look at the Roughwater 29' Roughwater Boats, Trawlers, Ed Monk, Monk Design,Boats, Cruisers, Puget Sound, Diesel Trawlers, Trawlers, Roughwater. They weigh about 6300 lbs empty and they have an 8' beam so they are trailerable without a permit. They were all built in 1980 and 1981 so the prices will be lower than the Nimble Nomad.
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:49 AM   #14
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and it would still technically be worth $6500 if I repowered it for $15K.

But IF you purchases a Brand new crate engine , at about $3k it would help the selling , after you had your fun.

Easy to have $3000 worth of fun in a couple of years..

As all the Bayliner style (we chose a Regal for trailering) are go fast , a plaining bottom is part of the deal.

Fuel efficiency is still fine (basically at 1100RPM idle ) .

Perhaps a cheap under $4000 ex commercial truck as tow vehicle would be an easier upgrade.
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Old 05-27-2013, 10:03 AM   #15
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davesisk,
I was about to respond to your post until I read this;

"Something like these Rosborough trawlers would be perfect IF it had a flybridge"

But if you get over the FB thing look at the Albin 25.
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Old 05-27-2013, 02:04 PM   #16
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Find a copy of Cruising in a Big Way by Richard Cook. You might get some ideas. A C-Dory or Bounty would be nice for what you want.
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Old 05-27-2013, 03:36 PM   #17
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It sounds as if the OP doesn't care much for seaworthiness. I'd say the Nimbles are exactly what he wants, lacking top end speed.

I could see myself owning a Nimble on a trailer if/when retirement economy doesn't match up with current economy.
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Old 05-27-2013, 03:56 PM   #18
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I am not familiar with the Nimble boats but did own an Albin 25 which we cruised Puget Sound and up to Desolation Sound. It was very seaworthy, comfortable and economical at 3/4 gph. It had a Wallas 30d diesel heater, cruised at 7 to 7.5 knots and had a wonderful utilization of space with plenty of storage. We trailered it over mountain passes with our 3/4 to diesel pickup and still think of it as an exceptional pocket trawler that fits the price range mentioned. Ours had a 2 axle EZ Loader trailer.
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Old 05-27-2013, 04:39 PM   #19
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Yup ......

If ya don't need to go over 8.5 knots the Albin's the boat to have.
Yea I know it sounds biased but I feel strongly about Albin 25s.

Actually if I could sell my Willard for what it was/is worth and buy another Albin 25 I would.
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Old 05-27-2013, 05:15 PM   #20
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My wife and I think about the same as Eric on this one. We actually talk about when we are ready to downsize, we plan to get another Albin 25. There is nothing we do in boating that we cannot do in the Albin except cruise with 6 people comfortably. We've cruised with 4 adults for almost 3 weeks in our Albin.
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