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Old 07-11-2013, 10:19 AM   #1
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Transportable Trawlers

I've always felt that legally trailerable trawlers, i.e. 8' 6" beam and 13' 6" height on trailer, were a little too small for our cruising plans. It turns out that oversized load permits are not that big of a deal to get so why limit the boat to legal width and height limits. In many states you can get an annual permit (in California they are $90) and in other states a temporary permit, good for a few days, is about $30 to $35. You can still tow it yourself (or you could just hire professional boat movers to ship it for you), and you don't need a commercial drivers license (in California) as long as the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) exceed 26,001 or the trailer and boat GVWR exceeds 10,001 pounds.

I decided to call this oversized trailerable trawler a transportable trawler because I got into a "discussion" on another forum where some people insisted I couldn't call it a trailerable trawler if it wasn't legally trailerable. So, I just started calling it transportable trawlers.

We have done a cost trade and decided to hire professional boat movers to move our future transportable trawler. For us it came down to a cost trade and ease of use. If we kept the boat out of the water on it's trailer we could save slip fees and some bottom maintenance, but we would need to purchase a trailer and a suitable tow vehicle. However, due to the complications of moving an oversized load we wanted to park the transportable trawler in the storage lot at the launch ramp. It turned out parking at the launch ramp is almost as expensive as leaving it in a slip and the slip is much more convenient when you want to use the boat. The break even point to pay off a custom trailer and a used tow vehicle exceeded 10 years, so we decided we would hire professional boat movers instead. I've gotten cost quotes from professional insured boat movers of ~$2.50/mi.

So how big can a transportable trawler be? That depends on which states you want to transport it through and how much your willing to spend to move it over land. The transport cost thresholds are primarily determined by the pilot car requirements and each pilot car costs about $1.50/mi.

If you exceed the legal height limit (13' 6" in most Eastern states but 14' in the West), most states will require a pilot car in front with a high pole. The height limit is the most restrictive and usually means you need a boat without a flybridge.

If you exceed the states width or length pilot car threshold then you need a pilot car behind. As long as you stay on multi-lane highways the beam limit is 12' (except Maine which is 11' 11"), but many Western states (except California) allow 14' width.

The important thing is if you choose a boat that can be shipped overland without a pilot car, then the cost of shipping it would be less than the fuel cost of driving a larger Ocean capable boat the same distance. A transportable trawler will have to be a smaller more compact boat, however the ability to transport it overland opens up a lot of cruising possibilities. I live in Southern California, where cruising opportunities are somewhat limited, but with a transportable trawler I could cruise San Francisco and the Sacramento delta, the Columbia River, the PNW, Sea of Cortez (AKA Gulf of California), ...

I would be interested in any suggestions anyone might have of potentially transportable trawlers or comments on my transportable trawler plans.

P.S. After much discussion I've convinced my wife that our first boat should be a smaller boat (smaller than the large ocean capable two stateroom boats we were looking at). Our current plan is to find a trailerable or transportable trawler and gain more experience.
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Old 07-11-2013, 12:07 PM   #2
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Well trailerable is certainly more cost effective but you have a point for transportable which is what we had to do with ours this spring. As stated the width (for us) being 11'6" was not a factor nor was the weight. The trucking cost for the 4 hour trip (one way) I thought was reasonable at $1200 but then comes the height issue. Since the boat was not near home I hired the marina mechanic to remove the bridge railing, helm, seat etc. This expense took time and the cost was more than the transportation and I had to reassemble at the other end. Therefore to me a transportable trawler, if not just a one time event, would definitely have to be under the 13"6" threshold. Not sure how many boats on the forum would qualify or how many people would be willing to give up a flybridge but that's another subject. Cheers
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Old 07-11-2013, 01:34 PM   #3
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I have been thinking about this issue for a number of years. The current crop of 8' 6" beam boats don't really work for us. The Rosborough, C Dory, Atlas Acadia, etc all just don't have enough room for a two week cruise, which is the mission I am basing my thinking.

A new Atlantic Boat Works Duffy 29H has just been launched that looks like it will fit the bill nicely. The boat is outboard powered which probably doesn't sit well with most of you, but it has a lot of advantages. You can put a 200 hp 4 cycle on the back, paired with a 25 hp "kicker". The 200 hp will let it cruise at 20 kts when you need to, and the 25 hp will let it cruise slowly at about 6 kts burning only a couple of gph. And modern outboards are quieter from the inside helm than any diesel. They make trailering easy with their low loaded height. The main draw back to outboards is battery charging.

The boat weighs 6,000 lbs dry and has a 9' 6" beam so the all up trailerable weight is probably 8-9,000 lbs which means it can be handled with a full size SUV or a 3/4 ton pickup.

Living in Connecticut I can trailer it to the Elizabeth Islands and need 2-3 state permits. Trailering it to Maine would require 3-4 permits.

I understand what the OP said about temporary vehicle/trailer storage. I am hoping I can get that down to about $100 for two weeks, probably in coastal Maine but maybe not in RI or Ma.

Using a boat hauler 2-3 times a year doesn't seem to make sense. That $2.50 per mile rate only works if you can wait for a backhaul trip. A dedicated one way trip is $4.00 per mile or more. So two, one way trips to Maine could cost as much as $10,000. So I can see spending $15-20,000 on boat haulers each year which would easily cover purchasing a used diesel truck.

So keep the thoughts coming. It is an interesting topic.

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Old 07-12-2013, 10:08 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaBomba View Post
Well trailerable is certainly more cost effective but you have a point for transportable which is what we had to do with ours this spring. As stated the width (for us) being 11'6" was not a factor nor was the weight. The trucking cost for the 4 hour trip (one way) I thought was reasonable at $1200 but then comes the height issue. Since the boat was not near home I hired the marina mechanic to remove the bridge railing, helm, seat etc. This expense took time and the cost was more than the transportation and I had to reassemble at the other end. Therefore to me a transportable trawler, if not just a one time event, would definitely have to be under the 13"6" threshold. Not sure how many boats on the forum would qualify or how many people would be willing to give up a flybridge but that's another subject. Cheers
Thanks for the response. How difficult was it to take the flybridge on and off? Does it unbolt and bolt back on? Many of them require a sawzall and fiberglass repair afterwords. If a boat had an easy to remove flybridge that might be worth considering.

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I have been thinking about this issue for a number of years. The current crop of 8' 6" beam boats don't really work for us. The Rosborough, C Dory, Atlas Acadia, etc all just don't have enough room for a two week cruise, which is the mission I am basing my thinking.

A new Atlantic Boat Works Duffy 29H has just been launched that looks like it will fit the bill nicely. The boat is outboard powered which probably doesn't sit well with most of you, but it has a lot of advantages. You can put a 200 hp 4 cycle on the back, paired with a 25 hp "kicker". The 200 hp will let it cruise at 20 kts when you need to, and the 25 hp will let it cruise slowly at about 6 kts burning only a couple of gph. And modern outboards are quieter from the inside helm than any diesel. They make trailering easy with their low loaded height. The main draw back to outboards is battery charging.
I have to say I'm not an outboard fan either, not for the main engine anyway. In terms of reliability, longevity, fuel economy and maintainability I think the diesel inboard if the way to go. I'm an avid diver and I want to do some fishing so I like an uncluttered transom. Thanks for suggesting Duffy though. I think the 29H is a little small, but I like the The Duffy 35 It looks like it would be transportable. The beam is 11' 10" and without a flybridge it appears low enough.

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The boat weighs 6,000 lbs dry and has a 9' 6" beam so the all up trailerable weight is probably 8-9,000 lbs which means it can be handled with a full size SUV or a 3/4 ton pickup.

Living in Connecticut I can trailer it to the Elizabeth Islands and need 2-3 state permits. Trailering it to Maine would require 3-4 permits.

I understand what the OP said about temporary vehicle/trailer storage. I am hoping I can get that down to about $100 for two weeks, probably in coastal Maine but maybe not in RI or Ma.

Using a boat hauler 2-3 times a year doesn't seem to make sense. That $2.50 per mile rate only works if you can wait for a backhaul trip. A dedicated one way trip is $4.00 per mile or more. So two, one way trips to Maine could cost as much as $10,000. So I can see spending $15-20,000 on boat haulers each year which would easily cover purchasing a used diesel truck.

So keep the thoughts coming. It is an interesting topic.

David
The trade-off changes as the boat bets bigger and number of trips goes down. I'm interested in a larger boat and 4 to 5 weeks of cruising each summer. I'd ship it North in the spring and South in the fall. The boats I'm considering would require a medium duty truck as the tow vehicle so the price goes up. I'm thinking of one round trip per year from LA to Washington and by being flexible on the shipping dates, I can get the cost down to ~$5,000 per year (cheaper than a 2 week charter). The cost saving of driving the truck myself would be <$4,000 after considering fuel and then you have maintenance and insurance so maybe $3,000 per year. Over 10 years that is $30,000 to pay for a used medium duty truck.
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:36 PM   #5
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Hello,
This is my first post.
I had no idea that the trawler forum even existed. I was interested in a Duffy 29H and did a search, and it brought me to djmarchand's post.
Portager you came up with a brilliant idea of the transportable trawler.
I never looked beyond an 8'6" hull because I knew that was the legal size for trailering. But when I noticed that the Duffy 29H was 9'6" wide I did a quick search at different state government DOT sites to see what the rules were like to tow an "oversize" boat. I had no idea how cheap the permits were, and how few restrictions there were on a hull that was less than 10' wide.
I took a close look at the Rosborough boat but at 8'6" it was just too claustrophobic. Although I have not been on the Duffy 29H, from looking at pictures of it I can see how a 1 foot wider boat makes such a difference in comfort level.
A transportable boat adds so many more adventures that you could never do on a large trawler. For example you could boat on Lake Mead and Lake Powell.
If someone lives in New England or the North Eastern states and would like to spend the winter in Florida it's much cheaper to have a boat towed to Florida than bring it down on it's own hull. Also think about the wear and tear you save on your engines by not piling on so many hours on them.

All kinds of boat are getting wider by the minute. Just look at center console boats in the 25'- 30' range. It wasn't that long ago they were all 8'6" wide. Then I noticed some center consoles going to 8'9" wide. At that point some center consoles started creeping up to 9'. Today it's not uncommon to see 25'- 30' center consoles 9'3" and even 9'6" wide.
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Old 08-20-2013, 09:55 PM   #6
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One consideration I have not seen yet is how you plan to use your boat. When choosing our boat, we purposely chose the Bayliner Victoria because we wanted the largest boat you can have that is trailerable without a permit. The accommodations and layout are far better than any 28 foot boat with an 8'2" beam I've seen -- and trust me, we looked at quite a few of them. The idea was that if we wanted to trailer it, we would easily be able to do so; and if we wanted to get it professionally transported, the cost would be very reasonable due to the dimensions.

It turned out that we did not like keeping the boat out of the water. The convenience of having a slip and saving the time in launching it was a convenience we were not willing to give up. It worked out well in this respect also because we had many options for marinas due to its length and width. It does not require a large slip and the berthing fees are reasonable.

If you end up changing your mind about how you want to use your boat, be prepared for it. We weighed both options...and between dry storage and berthing, we ended up preferring berthing due to the convenience factor. We can still transport or get the boat transported easily and affordably.
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:27 PM   #7
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At some point we're going to down size to a trailerable boat so I've read every word here. And I've got something on you guys as I think OBs are great. Prefer them in fact. But the're not cheap .. like they used to be.

Don't want to keep my TB at home though. Want to keep mine at a marina w a trlr launch ramp. Or go elsewhere for special trips.

I've already had a good trailerable ... an Albin 25. 8'6" W.

For a long time I've thought about an OB version of this boat;

http://www.atkinboatplans.com/Cruisers/Marcia.html

As you can see it's got a 7"6" beam and I would power her w my 60hp OB and expect about a 13 knot cruise.
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:38 PM   #8
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Transportable is a matter of definition.

The Coot has four hoist points. Here is one pictured at starboard-forward (the shiny thing sticking from the gunwale near the forward cabin's porthole). Don't try this with a FG hull. Doubt they're strong enough.





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Old 08-20-2013, 10:55 PM   #9
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Old 08-21-2013, 01:13 AM   #10
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Transportable was exactly what I had in mind when selecting our Owens. 27' long with just under 10' beam can be towed easily with a 1 ton pickup and seems like every marina in our geographical area has a berth available. Just big enough to accomplish what we want yet still easily transported overland if we decide to travel and cruise far flung destinations.

When wanderlust overcomes us we will have a trailer custom fabricated. True to form less than a week after closing on our boat I found an identical boat in Washington state with a trailer included

Eric you've shared that design with me before and there's a lot to like about it but I'd like extra beam personally. I wouldn't have a problem with outboard propulsion as you gain an enormous amount of space, very important thing to have on small craft.
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Old 08-21-2013, 01:54 AM   #11
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I have to say I'm not an outboard fan either, not for the main engine anyway. In terms of reliability, longevity, fuel economy and maintainability I think the diesel inboard if the way to go.
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I wouldn't have a problem with outboard propulsion as you gain an enormous amount of space, very important thing to have on small craft.
Diesel outboards will be gaining momentum soon. When there are enough manufacturers willing to offer them and a viable market forms, boat manufacturers will be eager to offer models equipped with them.

They will offer range, reliability (hopefully), and all of the space saving advantages outboards have. I just hope they are able to do so at a price point that will make it an attractive consideration.
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Old 08-21-2013, 02:14 AM   #12
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I'm prejudiced. A proper boat, providing comfortable berths, cooking and eating facilities, with toilet and shower, must have an inboard engine. Otherwise, you're not talking trawlers.
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Old 08-21-2013, 07:13 AM   #13
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>A proper boat, providing comfortable berths, cooking and eating facilities, with toilet and shower, must have an inboard engine. Otherwise, you're not talking trawlers.<

The problem is keeping within the legal beam limits most boats are not LONG enough to be comfortable long term.

This would require a custom build , aluminum or foam core .

A private vehicle rig ,,,tow vehicle plus trailer,, can be 65 ft LOA in most states.

This would limit the boat to 40- 45 ft depending on tow vehicle.

The skinney cruiser would be faster and more fuel efficient than a fat boat.

An almost flat bottom would allow transport on a flat trailer , with simple rollers allowing loading.

I have been in love with the Atkin Seabright for this use , if built to the right specks a 39 ft boat would fit in a cargo box , so an inshore boat could easily/cheaply cruise the world.
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:31 AM   #14
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I'm prejudiced. A proper boat, providing comfortable berths, cooking and eating facilities, with toilet and shower, must have an inboard engine. Otherwise, you're not talking trawlers.
Mark,
I will have to respectfully disagree with your definition.
I believe a "proper" boat is designed well for to what it is to be be used for. Even your dinghy is a proper boat, unless you want to put three in it.

I'm sure very few from TF have a proper boat for prawn trawling.

I've seen the odd small trailerable trawler style boat with an outboard. If built in to a well, they look good, and seem to operate ok in protected waters.
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:37 AM   #15
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Calkins Bartender. The 29 footer is the roomiest option for the Bartenders, so called for their ability to cross the Columbia River Bar or bob around like a duck in all manner of crazy conditions. The 22 foot Timber Coast Trawler is small, but oh so beautiful.

The Bartender is my trailerable dream boat...

http://www.bartenderboats.com/
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Old 08-21-2013, 04:58 PM   #16
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Mark,
I will have to respectfully disagree with your definition.
I believe a "proper" boat is designed well for to what it is to be be used for. Even your dinghy is a proper boat, unless you want to put three in it.

I'm sure very few from TF have a proper boat for prawn trawling.

I've seen the odd small trailerable trawler style boat with an outboard. If built in to a well, they look good, and seem to operate ok in protected waters.
I agree. We saw a couple of small trawlers on our last trip and two were outboard powered and doing the loop. One was only 8 ft wide but 33 long and we were impressed with the fit and finish. Think it was an Eco-Trawler but can't remember. Picture below is one that stopped at the lock across from us. Nice boat.
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Old 08-21-2013, 08:50 PM   #17
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The largest diesel outboard I ever saw was 27hp. It was made by Yanmar.
They are out of production now, and I haven't seen one in years.
I know that Evinrude makes a multi fuel outboard engine for the military that can run on diesel fuel. It's something the Navy Seals would use on an inflatable boat. I think it might be about 55hp.
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