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Old 12-09-2017, 01:04 AM   #1
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Ahoy

Hi everyone, my name is Craig and I live just outside of Charleston, SC. My wife and I got a small center console a few years ago and we spend as much time on the water as we can. Lately the bug to do weekend trips up and down the ICW has taken hold and I discovered the relative affordability of used trawlers. Then even more recently I discovered the Great Loop and my life priorities almost immediately got re-arranged. This is exactly what we were dreaming about without even realizing how attainable it could be for us.
I'm 48 now and have to spend quite a few more years setting things up before I can make the jump. For now a 21 foot Center Console or perhaps a very small cabin cruiser will do just fine. So that's how I ended up here and where I want to go, I have a feeling that I will do alot of time lurking about here trying to gain some knowledge.
So how many of you are located near me?
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Old 12-09-2017, 02:39 AM   #2
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Welcome to the TF. Hold the thought, and keep your eye on the prize. Try to do it sooner rather than later is also a good idea.
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Old 12-09-2017, 03:38 AM   #3
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"Life is what happens while we are making plans."

My advice? Retire or quit as soon as possible.
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Old 12-09-2017, 04:06 AM   #4
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Peter B and oldDan1943 I couldn't agree more with both of you. I fully realized this a couple of years ago when my father passed away at 66. He was just retired and had set himself up with all kinds of plans and things that he had put off for retirement. It completely changed the way that I view life now. I just need to be smart about it, luckily for me my wife is very much on-board with this.
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Old 12-09-2017, 04:52 AM   #5
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Best of luck realizing the dream. You'll find plenty of encouragement and advice here on making it happen with occasional naysayers thrown in for thoughtful pauses. Baby steps are better than no steps.
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Old 12-09-2017, 08:00 AM   #6
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Welcome!

One way to ease in is to buy an "express cruiser" and do weekends and two-week vacations, if that's in your schedule.

I define an express cruiser as a smallish (24-30') planing hull, preferably one engine but you'll find a lot of twins at the higher range. The layout is often a v-berth forward, small galley/head/dinette area, and a mid-berth under the bridge deck, with a cockpit aft, often over the engine compartment.

Having a full "wet" head with shower is a huge step up from a cuddy with a porta-potty. It makes the boat livable for a couple (or even up to four) for weeks on end.

By far the best layout I ever found was my old 2003 Bayliner 285. At 28.5' it had amenities that even the 30'ers lacked. Full-height camper cover over the cockpit made it all-weather. Separate mid-berth with a door and even a little room to stand up inside the doorway. V-berth was separated from the dinette with a solid half-bulkhead and curtains. Dinette was actually two facing seats with a good-sized table between, not the stylish but useless half-oval found in some fancier designs. Single screw gave good access to the engine and allowed a 21.5 degree deadrise aft, which made handling in chop much better than many larger models. Obviously, the ability to get up on a plane meant being able to go farther even when time was limited.

Your priorities may differ, but my point is that there ARE options which are smaller and lighter than a so-called trawler, but still allow you to get a little farther from home when you have the chance. No need to stick to a cuddy or open boat.
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Old 12-09-2017, 08:39 AM   #7
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Below are just my option and in now way reflect anyone else's option.
Ah yes, V-berths.... birth control
Porta-potty--- even for me, that is not acceptable. I do know of one boat owner who has never used his holding tank, in 20 years. I question the wisdom of borrowing his buckets.
Although I prefer a well defined galley and dinning area, I have been known to eat over the sink or sitting on the floor. I never learned to balance a plate on my legs.
Wet head? Unless your wife enjoys wiping down all the walls of the head, I really enjoy my stall shower.
Plan for the future.
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Old 12-09-2017, 06:28 PM   #8
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CaptTom, I was having a very similar thought last night after I saw a post on another forum of a couple completing the loop on a C Dory. An "express cruiser" of some sort would give me the ability to trailer for now, avoiding marina fees and allow me to boat year round vs an open boat. One or two nights onboard at a time would be very do-able.
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Old 12-09-2017, 08:48 PM   #9
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Welcome aboard!

An Express Cruiser is a great way to go for a working couple. We owned a Sea Ray 270DA for 9 years while I was still working 8-5, 5 days a week. Because the Express Cruiser would run at 26-27 mph we had the ability to explore Puget Sound and on our 2 week vacations we could run up into the Canadian Gulf Islands. We could trailer it and so we had less moorage fees and had the flexibility to explore waters we could not reach on the boat's bottom. Best wishes.
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Old 12-09-2017, 09:23 PM   #10
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I'm really taken by the C Dory type boats.
1. Where we live a shallow draft 22ish foot boat can get into alot of really nice places.
2. Huge range.
3. The economy of operating/maintaining such a simple craft would only enable me to get where I'm going quicker. Retirement that is.
4. When we do step up to a full size cruiser, it will be like a palace compared to basically a floating tent.
5. Easier to trailer/launch and I think we will just use it that much more.
Maybe I'm way off, but I need to sell my little center console and figure out what I want.

P.s. thanks all for the replys and encouragement. I'm sure that you guys have had this same discussion a dozen times with as many newbs, but every case is different.
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Old 12-09-2017, 11:49 PM   #11
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Welcome aboard!
Finding a friend hauled out on the dinghy is another reason for overnight davit use.
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Old 12-10-2017, 12:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craigj View Post
I'm really taken by the C Dory type boats.
1. Where we live a shallow draft 22ish foot boat can get into alot of really nice places.
2. Huge range.
3. The economy of operating/maintaining such a simple craft would only enable me to get where I'm going quicker. Retirement that is.
4. When we do step up to a full size cruiser, it will be like a palace compared to basically a floating tent.
5. Easier to trailer/launch and I think we will just use it that much more.
Maybe I'm way off, but I need to sell my little center console and figure out what I want.

P.s. thanks all for the replys and encouragement. I'm sure that you guys have had this same discussion a dozen times with as many newbs, but every case is different.
Oh, yes, a Sea Dory...


No, wait. I think I might have misunderstood...

Truth is, I've admired the C-Dory's lines, although I don't know much about the interior layout. I think your points are all on-target. But make sure you consider how much time you plan to spend aboard. Overnight or a weekend is fun in a floating "tent." In good weather.

Beyond that, you'll want to consider what it's going to be like using the head, shower and galley day after day. Consider where you'll go when it rains, or when it's too cool, or too hot, or too buggy to be out in an open cockpit. Where do you just sit back and relax at the end of the day?
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Old 12-11-2017, 09:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craigj View Post
I'm really taken by the C Dory type boats.
1. Where we live a shallow draft 22ish foot boat can get into alot of really nice places.
2. Huge range.
3. The economy of operating/maintaining such a simple craft would only enable me to get where I'm going quicker. Retirement that is.
4. When we do step up to a full size cruiser, it will be like a palace compared to basically a floating tent.
5. Easier to trailer/launch and I think we will just use it that much more.
Maybe I'm way off, but I need to sell my little center console and figure out what I want.

P.s. thanks all for the replys and encouragement. I'm sure that you guys have had this same discussion a dozen times with as many newbs, but every case is different.
Our first power boat was a C-Dory 22 - a great starter cruiser. Took us to many big western lakes, the San Juans, weeks in BC, and two months in SE Alaska. Sleeps three. Two burner stove. Could not be simpler or more economical. Easily towed with a mid-size SUV. Seaworthy as you could imagine - we've had her in 25-foot waves, without a drop of green water over the bow.
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Old 12-11-2017, 10:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craigj View Post
I'm really taken by the C Dory type boats.
1. Where we live a shallow draft 22ish foot boat can get into alot of really nice places.
2. Huge range.
3. The economy of operating/maintaining such a simple craft would only enable me to get where I'm going quicker. Retirement that is.
4. When we do step up to a full size cruiser, it will be like a palace compared to basically a floating tent.
5. Easier to trailer/launch and I think we will just use it that much more.
Maybe I'm way off, but I need to sell my little center console and figure out what I want.

P.s. thanks all for the replys and encouragement. I'm sure that you guys have had this same discussion a dozen times with as many newbs, but every case is different.
My first cruising boat was a C-Dory 22. Great boat. I took it from Anacortes to Glacier Bay and then around Vancouver Island and it never let me down.

Cruising on the C-Dory is like car camping. You're not sleeping in the rain, but it's primitive. I was a single 20-something so the lack of head was no big deal. The stove and sink were plenty in the galley. I was cruising so didn't need many clothes. I loved it and really didn't miss any amenities, but it would be hard to go back now that I've been spoiled by the Nordic Tug.

Most importantly, there are hardly any places I can take the Nordic Tug that I couldn't also go in the C-Dory.

I still have the C-Dory...if you make it to the PNW in your boat search and I'm around, I'd be happy to give you a ride!
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