Greetings from Washington DC
In the hopes of retiring from 'dirt living', we recently began a search for our next home and came across your site. Wow, what an incredible amount of useful information and knowledgeable users. Yeah, I know, flattery will get you everywhere (grin).
We are probably a bit on the younger end of the demographic spectrum for this site, being in our mid 40's, but for the past few years we've spend summers on a canal boat in France and have come to realize that living full time on a boat just might be the way to go.
Our hope is to use our new boat/home to cruise the East Coast / ICW / Bahamas, and then make the move to our boat full-time in 3-5 years. Right now we're leaning towards a 38-42 foot, single-engine trawler from the mid 1970's to the late 1980's. DeFever and Grand Banks are high on our list. Critical issues for us are the usual; leaky windows and decks, problems with the fuel tanks, etc., plus a clean, well-cared-for engine room and at least 150 hrs per year on the hour meter. That, plus fuel economy (ie., single engine) - we still have to work - since the less fuel we have to buy means the less we have to work.
And since folks here seem to like pictures, I've attempted to attach one of our little canal boat tied up on the Midi canal in southern France.
So thank you all, in advance, for having patience with me as I gather knowledge about the trawler life. For what it's worth, I always thought my first boat would be a sailboat, since I'm really a sailor at heart, but our first boat was in fact a 29 foot fiberglass canal boat in France, so to heck with all that canvas and rigging and bring on the spacious cabins, large decks, and stand-up engine rooms!
See you around the docks
-Kent & Heather
P.S. If anyone has a single-engine, fiberglass-decked Grand Banks 42 or DeFever 38/40/41 that will be coming for sale in the next year or so, please let me know...
Welcome. It seems you have a good grasp on the situation. Cruising the canals of France and then having the Chesapeake Bay at your door step is not too shabby. You have selected some great boats for your interest. It will be difficult to find a 42 Grand Banks single engine as well as a Defever of 43' or more. Either are great cruising boats.
Hopefully, you will post some journals and pictures of your canal cruising.
If possible stretch to the 42-44 end of your spectrum....if nothing else the slightly larger spaces provide useful storage and the room to add appliances like washer/dryer, dishwasher, trash compactor, etc...etc....at least the ones you find the most useful. It also allows for the storage of "hobby" stuff like bicycles, fishing/dive gear, etc..etc...
Yes you can get by on a much smaller boat....if you have minimalist tendencies...but anyone with years of living aboard with no or inconvenient "dirt storage" mostly agree that you never seem to have enough storage. It's also necessary when you do major repairs and need to take the stuff out of it's normal living space and put it someplace while you work on the problem area. If you cover the floor or furniture with "stuff"...living aboard becomes a big headache...especially with more than 1 person aboard.
You probably will hear the sage old advice "don't but the biggest boat you can afford, but the smallest boat you are comfortable on". While great advice for many boaters...I don't believe it is quite accurate for the live aboard and/or long term cruiser. The equation just isn't so simple any more and your cruising wishes/where you homeport can play a bug part in what design will be necessary to accomplish what you want AND still provide the amenities you MUST have to be happy.
I have 10 years live aboard experience on a sail and 2 power boats...plus a lifetime of cruising (not once around the bay a few weekends a year)...and numerous deliveries of different types of boats to lock in what I felt was necessary to keep me happy cruising.
My 40 foot live aboard Albin is really just a small 39. She looks like a toy next to a Kady Krogen 42 in volume. I would have preferred something like the Krogen...economics forced the smaller boat... I was looking for the 43 Albin...but no singles on the market. 20/20 hindsight and I may have opted for the twin to get the space and dealt with the second engine the best I could.
I’ll also try to attach a couple pics to this entry.
Thanks too, Moonstruck, for the info about single engines, I'm beginning to discover that truth as I browse the Yachtworld forums. I believe it might be easier to find a DeFever with a single?
And psneeld, you are very right about the size issue, we struggle with that calculation a lot. Bigger = more elbow room = happier cruising couple. Smaller = less maintenance = less cost, and more importantly, less time spent working to save the money for a bigger boat! The one thing in our favor is that we've spent 3 summers on our 29 foot canal boat, with a fourth coming up next month, so we are getting pretty good at the "minimalist" thing. Of course it's not full time living over there.
But ultimately, yes, we will definitely consider a slightly bigger boat, so thanks for your thoughts.
Ok, a few pics to get things started: The first one shows Après Ski tied to a bulkhead in the town of Sens, just over an hour’s drive south-east of Paris. The second one shows an autumn view from on deck cruising along the Nivernais Canal in west-central Burgundy.
Are you living in DC at this time?...or visiting?
Perhaps we can have a cup of coffee sometimes as I am living here part time myself.
I might even have a few suggestions for your liveaboard trawler search.
This is what I would like, but....
Our permanent residence is in DC. That said, we spend winters at Beaver Creek, CO, playing the part of ski instructors, and summers on our canal boat in France. We are in DC right now but headed to one of our clients in the Bahamas very soon. We'll have the first 3 weeks of June in DC/N VA before heading to France, and we'd love to get together.
Would love to hear your thoughts on trawlers. And love love love the Pilgrim design, she looks beautiful. Feel free to PM me, and let's pick a time in June.
There's sometimes a point here where that that works the opposite way you might expect. If the boat is smaller, but the maker still crammed in a bunch of stuff that needs on-going maintenance, periodic service, occasional repair, etc... access to said systems will become your favorite issue for consideration.
A single engine 42 will usually offer better engine access than a single engine 38. A 42 with two heads might be easier to maintain than a 38 with two heads. Two ACs on a 42 might be easier to access than the two ACs on a 38. And so forth.
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