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Old 08-04-2016, 09:51 AM   #1
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High Ambitions

Hello to all, I joined this forum to learn as much as I can and try to get a handle on my newest obsession. Just bought my first boat a few months ago and want to go bigger of course, I got a wild hair and decided I wanted to get a boat and mentioned it to a coworker and he just happen to have a project boat that had given up on. I went to take a look and offered him $500 for the boat and trailer which he accepted, and we both got a good deal. It is a 1986 Sea Ray Seville cuddy cabin that needed a load of work, he got it 3 years ago and never could get it to run, so he was glad to get rid of it since it was well beyond his abilities. I like projects and usually make anything work, and within the first two hours I had the little 3.0 Mercruiser running like a top, it was locked up and pistons were rusted in place a little so just had to free it up and prime the fuel pump and run a hose to a gas can. Next was putting in a new floor and rewire the whole boat and new steering cable. Easy since I did the floor redneck style just a temp fix to see if I really liked the boating experience and to make sure the engine didn’t blow up the first time out. Long and short, full tune up and a little dress up of the inside and have put over 400 miles on it so far and the kids and I love it.
That is where this started, a simple project boat to “get my feet wet” and I am hooked, but first a little more about me. I am a DIY guy through and through, and a full on gear head, been taking things apart since I was 2yrs old, my dad had to keep his tool boxes locked or I would have TV’s, toasters, radios, phones or anything else taken apart to see what was inside. That has stuck with me the last 44 years and served me well, and got me in plenty of trouble too, but overall a good thing. The down side for me is too much is never enough and I never see an end or a wall that can stop me, so I get carried away most of the time. I built a 1986 Suburban which is still ongoing due to budget constraints, and is on its 3rd engine since I bought it for only $1000, started with a 350 and now has a 496 with a 4L80E electronic transmission. Still no A/C after 6 years or paint but has carpet and newer seats……anyway I have way more money in it than I will ever get out of it but I love that truck and it suits me. I also have a 72 VW Bug in the works, full roll cage flip front end, every nut and bolt is new all new wiring and added a sunroof (well cut the hole for it) and it has stalled out and way over budget, ridiculously over budget, and way behind schedule. That is because I bought a 1986 Honda Nighthawk for next to nothing that was stuck in 6th gear, so I had to rebuild it and get it ready to ride, needed to save gas as you can imagine daily driving a 10.5 MPG truck 70 miles a day cuts into the budget real fast. Which brings me back to the boat, which is why I have not finished the bug that was supposed to save me gas but was taking to long so I got a bike……kinda see a pattern here?
Well I have a garage full of tools and equipment, just about everything you can think of except wood working stuff. I have welders, compressors, chop saws, presses, even a plasma cutter and I am always getting another tool to do some job that can’t be done without it. I don’t usually take anything to anyone to get fixed or built, I do it all myself and just figure it out as I go, even the 496 big block in my suburban I built myself but did farm out the machine work. It is still going very strong and has almost 40K on it so far.
So how does all that belong here in a Trawler forum, now I am getting to the point, well as I said I want a bigger boat……..well let me clarify that, a much, much bigger boat. I intend to travel with it in the future, starting with going to the Bahamas in June of 2022 (I will be 50 then), and eventually making my way to Australia to visit my son. So I need something with a long range to make that happen and can live aboard it for long periods of time and possibly full time as my retirement home. I don’t have a wife to clog up my decisions so whatever I want goes (could be good or bad, time will tell) and any future women will just have to accept it or move on. I have 3 kids still at home 16, 11, and 5 and the youngest is my little boy so gotta make accommodations of at least three separate cabins and my cabin. So space will be a big deal, as well as power consumption and water. We had a 28Ft travel trailer for a few years when the kids were smaller and did lots of off grid camping with a generator in the mountains of Colorado so feel like I at least have a good understanding of space and food and water requirements for being at sea for long periods. I also lived on an Aircraft carrier for six months during the Gulf war so have cool sea stories already..mostly I know how big seas can get way out in the big blue so I have plenty of respect for the deep water.
I may be way over ambitious about finding a trawler I can afford and having it ready to go to the Bahamas in the next 6 years but that is why I am here, I hope it will make the process eaiser. I have been browsing boat trader and a few others and have seen some really cool looking Shrimp trawlers in the 68’ to 86’ range and around 35k to 55k in price so that is about as close as I will get to a real budget, understanding I will have to convert it from shrimper to pleasure boat, but that is what I like to do so looking forward to that. I have seen single engine and twin engine, and not really sure which way I want to go yet, budget and cost says single but safety says twin, just have to weigh the risk of a breakdown I can’t fix underway vs cost of getting and maintaining twins. I know I want to go Detroit Diesel natural non turbo just for a reliability and parts availability but that is about the only hard decision I have made at this point.
Anyway that is where I am at and what I am about, I am looking forward to the journey and hope I can fit in and get a good network here, first glance of looking through lots of threads says I am in the right place.
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Old 08-04-2016, 09:58 AM   #2
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From your stated intentions... trade everything for a sailboat.
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Old 08-04-2016, 10:00 AM   #3
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Being a mechanic is Zero percent of being a captain.

That said...I am the first to say boating isn't all that hard and is only as dangerous as you make it.

Seeing impending danger is a product of experience.

Heading for the Bahamas is a moderate responsibility...but even beginners with enough coaching can do it. Blue water excursions require tens of thousands of miles of blue water experience...aircraft carriers don't count.

A big roll of the dice?

Maybe....

Your example is similar to the best jet engine mechanic becoming a pilot in 6 years of really part time work.

Would you take your family on a flight with someone with those qualifications?

I might...but I would have to know the guy became rabid on preparing himself for the responsibility.
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Old 08-04-2016, 10:09 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forum. You are a clever and handy guy.


There aren't too many project boats listed on Yachtworld which is what you seem to want. Maybe look on Craigslist where the clunkers lie.


Also don't focus on long range, transocean capabilities. The odds are strong that you will never go any farther than the Bahamas. It takes a special trawler (in the 1 pct range) to be able to go to Australia, whereas almost any in your size can do the Bahamas safely.


Good luck with your quest.


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Old 08-04-2016, 10:25 AM   #5
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From your stated intentions... trade everything for a sailboat.
Too expensive and would need a crew, not to mention just does not seem fun at all to me, I know it has to be a power boat for me.

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Being a mechanic is Zero percent of being a captain.

aircraft carriers don't count.


Your example is similar to the best jet engine mechanic becoming a pilot in 6 years of really part time work.
I think we agree, I am not a captain yet for sure, but can be in the future with lots of work.

And the aircraft carrier only qualified me to have cool stories.

6 years is just trying to make it to the Bahamas, the big open water stuff is way down the road, after many, many,many hours under my belt. I think the boat might be ready to go to the Bahamas in six and I could manage to take it there, but the boat wont be completed or done and I know I would not be ready to go any further from land than that.
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Old 08-04-2016, 10:36 AM   #6
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OK....your military experience should have taught you why the guy in charge whether the CO, aircraft commander, shop chief, etc...etc.... was put in charge after a near lifetime or boatload of training and evaluation.

Probably the hardest thing in boating in my mind is reading between the lines with weather forecasts.

Too many die each year because the difference between what they read and what they experience was enough to sink them.
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Old 08-04-2016, 10:36 AM   #7
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Read George Buehler's book, "The Troller Yacht", then go out and buy and convert a fishboat with good bones.

A gigantic gulf coast shrimp boat conversion pulled into Powell River a few weeks back. Did all the work himself and is now out there doing it.

Many people in this site will dissuade your dreams.
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Old 08-04-2016, 10:53 AM   #8
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Read George Buehler's book, "The Troller Yacht", then go out and buy and convert a fishboat with good bones.

A gigantic gulf coast shrimp boat conversion pulled into Powell River a few weeks back. Did all the work himself and is now out there doing it.

Many people in this site will dissuade your dreams.
I thought the coolest shrimper converted was about a 65 footer named Blue jeans. The sail tender was called patches and the rowboat called cutoffs. In Miami circa 1978.

Nothing wrong with dreams...but every time some very inexperienced boater shows up with dreams and casts off with disastrous results....the dark side tells the gauntlet of who encouraged who that they were responsible. After all the deaths on my professional watch...I don't need any more.

I say go for it...but mechanic skills are secondary to captain skills when in the briny and the only way to get that experience is dedicated study and practical experience...... 6 years is enough, if it is dedicated and not just laps around the sea buoy.

Part personality...that can accelerate learning or virtually destroy it....just hard to judge in a forum and others have warned me to be more conservative.

But my firm belief is that boating isn't all that hard...but from a full timer in many aspects of it for 55 years or more, I am a lousy overseer of what experience one should get underway with.
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Old 08-04-2016, 11:10 AM   #9
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Don't disagree, but...

Based on that logic, first responders wouldn't want anyone to drive automobiles, right?

Risk management, we both know that, and have agreed on it before.

A guy who builds a hot rod, isn't a better driver, but if it breaks down on the road, he has a better chance of fixing it than the average car owner.

Boating rules are simple. Boat handling is a skill that can be learned (or so I hear...).

Mechanical aptitude is a skill that some have, some develop, and some just don't or can't.

It can come in very handy in the cruising scene, both in saving money, and in trouble shooting and repair during an emergency.

This guy sounds like he has "the knack", which, in my opinion, puts him ahead of the game in accomplishing his goals.
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Old 08-04-2016, 11:16 AM   #10
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https://youtu.be/g8vHhgh6oM0

The knack.

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Old 08-04-2016, 11:37 AM   #11
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Part personality...that can accelerate learning or virtually destroy it....just hard to judge in a forum and others have warned me to be more conservative.
I really like that, and makes a whole lot of sense to me. I learn at an incredibly fast rate, I may have given off the impression I am a bumpkin of some sort, but I am a professional. I work for Raytheon, currently I am a product team lead for Space and Airborne and have been for a few years, and prior to that I was a Quality Engineer for Raytheon Missile Systems. In my early career I was a manufacturing Engineer for another Defense Contractor. I was the first person to be certified to teach wire and harness assembly to IPC standards at Raytheon, and have been a certified instructor for Class 3 soldering and assembly by IPC and J-STD several times. Before that I served from 91-99 as an Avionics tech in the USMC, so to give the impression I am just a good mechanic is a little misleading, I am not a mechanic at all, it's just my hobby and passion.

I am used to being told I cant do this or that, and it has never stopped me yet. I am tough as nails and then some, mentally and physically, I have been run over, shot, stabbed, crashed in the dirt, and hit a deer head on at 70mph on a motorcycle and still get up and say give me more. I know that sounds crazy and embellished but its not. I got run over in a hit and run in 97 and almost lost my leg, but 15 surgeries and 5 years later I am back to normal but it ended my military career. Shot, yes but not that bad. I desert raced ATV's for 6 years while living in NM, something everyone said I could not do because of my leg, but I took 6th in state for the Amateur class, but did crash at high speeds and bruised ribs several times. And in 2014 I totaled my 93 Goldwing when I hit a deer on my way home from work, flipped and rolled down the pavement for about 60 yards, ruined my helmet, scrapped up my jacket and boots, tore my good jeans and broke some ribs and road rashed my left hand because my gloves were in the saddle bag. But got up and walked it off, thanks to knowing how to crash from all the desert racing!

I do realize I am not gonna just hop on the boat put a few thousand gallons of diesel in the tank and troll on off to Australia after my first year of boating, but I fully intend to make that trip when I am ready and the boat is worthy and capable, and the earliest that would be is 20 years from now when I retire. There is no way I could do that sooner unless I win the lottery, I only get 5 weeks of vacation time a year, 6 if I carry over the max from the year before. I am positive I can learn what I need in the next 20 years.
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Old 08-04-2016, 11:40 AM   #12
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Welcome Warwgn.

The truth is that most boat projects are never completed due to a combination of skill, stamina, and finances. That shouldn't stop you from trying and you have had the experience of taking on projects that take more time and money than you may have initially thought.

As others have said, I wouldn't start planning for an open water voyage at this stage. Look to your Bahamas idea first and see where that takes you.

Good luck. It will be fun to watch your progress.
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Old 08-04-2016, 11:50 AM   #13
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Welcome Warwgn.

The truth is that most boat projects are never completed due to a combination of skill, stamina, and finances. That shouldn't stop you from trying and you have had the experience of taking on projects that take more time and money than you may have initially thought.

As others have said, I wouldn't start planning for an open water voyage at this stage. Look to your Bahamas idea first and see where that takes you.

Good luck. It will be fun to watch your progress.
Thanks, I appreciate that!

I am just in the learning and brain storming phase for now, but that is how I like to work, plan it and build it in my head several times, several different ways first, then I will know what to look for when I am ready to buy one based on the different combination and plans in my head and what will meet my long term needs.

I built the Suburban for about 18 years before I finally bought one, and it has worked out exactly how I envisioned it. Of course I don't plan to wait that long for a trawler, I have more money and less time than I did when I was a teenager
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Old 08-04-2016, 11:59 AM   #14
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I know forums like pics so here is my current boat project,.














And enjoying it out on the river

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Old 08-04-2016, 01:24 PM   #15
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Read George Buehler's book, "The Troller Yacht", then go out and buy and convert a fishboat with good bones.

A gigantic gulf coast shrimp boat conversion pulled into Powell River a few weeks back. Did all the work himself and is now out there doing it.

Many people in this site will dissuade your dreams.

SPY
I wonder if that shrimp boat might have been Rod Wagner's MV Seafish a white hull, white superstructure, about 80' long. He did a shrimper conversion in Chauvin, Louisiana, a very nice job! They left here late November 2015. I snapped the shot below as they were heading down Bayou Petit Cailliou out to the Gulf.
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Old 08-04-2016, 01:32 PM   #16
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SPY
I wonder if that shrimp boat might have been Rod Wagner's MV Seafish a white hull, white superstructure, about 80' long. He did a shrimper conversion in Chauvin, Louisiana, a very nice job! They left here late November 2015. I snapped the shot below as they were heading down Bayou Petit Cailliou out to the Gulf.
Nope. Not her. This one was fiberglass, ~ 76' LOA with a 26' beam and two decks above the main deck. The house structure was all new and yacht smooth finish. A stubby bowsprit made out of 16" aluminum pipe. A real monster.

Wish I took a photo, but couldn't fit it in the view finder without walking around to the other side of the harbour.
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Old 08-04-2016, 01:36 PM   #17
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Warwgn, Good Job on the Sea Ray it was a mess and came out fine, lots of hard work there.
There is a lot of good cruising all along the Gulf Coast, Lots of shallow water there though.
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Old 08-04-2016, 01:54 PM   #18
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SPY
I wonder if that shrimp boat might have been Rod Wagner's MV Seafish a white hull, white superstructure, about 80' long. He did a shrimper conversion in Chauvin, Louisiana, a very nice job! They left here late November 2015. I snapped the shot below as they were heading down Bayou Petit Cailliou out to the Gulf.
That is what I am thinking except take the masts off, no need for those. I really think I could get very creative with a mostly blank slate to build from.
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Old 08-04-2016, 01:58 PM   #19
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Warwgn, Good Job on the Sea Ray it was a mess and came out fine, lots of hard work there.
There is a lot of good cruising all along the Gulf Coast, Lots of shallow water there though.
Thanks, I learned quite a bit during the process, still thinking of tearing it all the way down to the hull to replace the stringers and change up the floor plan a bit. And drop in a bigger engine of course, then use it to explore around along the gulf, would like to run it over and put it in the Mississippi at Vicksburg and head to the gulf that way one day.
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Old 08-04-2016, 02:03 PM   #20
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That is what I am thinking except take the masts off, no need for those. I really think I could get very creative with a mostly blank slate to build from.
Not masts, stabilizers.

No blue water boat that I know of would head off without these, active fins or a gyro stabilizer.

Hang in there, I don't want you to feel like a bumpkin....

Maybe less than 1 percent of all boaters go blue water....maybe even less than 1 percent of the 1 percent serious cruisers actually go deep blue.

Most would recommend you spend some time on bigger boats getting extended coastal yet offshore experience before jumping into a larger boat. Having some idea what is what and what is important to you may pay big dividends.
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