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Old 06-11-2018, 03:10 PM   #1
City: SF Bay Area California
Vessel Name: In Search Of
Vessel Model: TBD
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 6
Another 32'-40' Trawler Shopper

Hello everyone,

I'm new here and thanks in advance for all the great posts many of you have made, I've read up here and there already. My family and I are boaters, but just smaller runabout types. My wife and I along with our two kids (14 and 11) currently keep a Stingray 220DS sterndrive, for family lake fun. This of course does not make me anything close to even a nautical light-weight. But I've been a boat owner, partial self-maintainer and purchaser of maintenance and upgrade service for about 12 years.

Some background on why I am looking at a Trawler: My work takes me to the San Francisco bay quite a bit. Traffic in the area is horrible and getting to and from this remote work location will involve about 1 to 2 days a week in a hotel, or in a boat of course. I was originally looking at buying a condo or even a mobile home as an investment that can also be used by myself when I need to. But really, what my chosen budget allows and what's available in this area are somewhat not a match. Doable, but not happy with what's on offer. This led me to speak with a number of colleagues who, not much to my surprise, also have sailboats and trawlers and stay on them, one to several days a month. Then on other occasions they bring family out for multi day cruises. Yeah, I could probably say buying a condo is a better investment but truly, not in this economy. Prices are so inflated, its bound to pop soon. The marinas I'm looking at are darn near walking distance to my work except it's really busy and probably not an enjoyable walk (meaning easy Lyft or Uber). Plus, when I'm on my death bed, I'd rather jokingly say I wasted too much cash on boating than wish I had made a move to really live a life, like boating of this type potentially offers.

My wife is not keen on sailing. She likes the idea of a familiar powerboat situation but with stability, shower / privacy, living space and convenience. This led us to looking at trawlers. Our budget realistically would be about 65K on purchase without having to stretch. The local rates for slips, insurance, modest fuel / oil burn, haul out every 2 years and hull cleaning every month have been factored in. I look at fuel costs to cruise as being a resort fee and don't concern me unless I was going to have to burn 40 gallons an hour to cruise - and for that I'm not interested in burning the fuel for environmental reasons. The main goal is to have a part time stay aboard that can also efficiently cruise on family outings for a few days every two months or so. Then also, go for a 2 hour out and back twice a month between family trips, just for fun and to keep the engine and systems happy (or unhappy systems get a chance to speak up when I can get them fixed, before we have a scheduled outing).

What I have not factored in are realistic upkeep and maintenance costs. I read a thread here on this forum discussing the real costs of ownership. Reminds me of aircraft ownership, something I'm familiar with. But I'm interested in knowing how often to "expect" maintenance surprises that go above a few hundred bucks or into the thousands, at a time. While I'm very familiar with aviation small runabout boat ownership, I'm pretty new on the larger (to me) trawlers.

The big question right now is in the shopping of such an investment.

1) In the SF Bay, it seems a good way to be budget minded is to limit a purchase to a semi close area to avoid shipping. But that really limits the draw and potential options on what's really out there. I see a lot of nice prospects as far as Portland or Seattle or even BC. What is a ball park estimate on hiring a seasoned captain to help in a post-purchase cruise from say Seattle to San Francisco? How much would an endeavor like that cost (operating costs plus hiring out plus their costs) vs putting it with a marine shipping company?
2) I can be somewhat picky but I'm not wasteful in what I need. I want a solid boat though. I don't need advanced electronics, I'm not navigating so much as staying on it and cruising in a moderately fair weather region. I do not want a project and do not want a leaky boat. What are the red flags to look for on surveys? I see mentions like teak wood (teak rhymes with leak, but does it really?) and "intrusion" which means to me soft structure and replace large structural areas.
3) Should I go with brokers and pay for the experience to offset my inexperience they offer, albeit at a pricey fee?
4) Is 32' big enough to keep 2 adults and 2 teems comfortable for at least 3 or 4 days? Is 32' big enough for a married couple for a week? I don't want to fall into the classic trap of size envy. I probably don't "need" 40' but one colleague of mine has a 42' and does say he enjoys the extra room.

That's enough of me going on and begging for experience for a day. I truly appreciate any thoughts though, and am grateful in advance for the chance to chat with many of you!

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Old 06-11-2018, 04:01 PM   #2
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City: Long Beach
Vessel Model: '81 CHB34
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 107
I’m in Los Angeles and spend a night or two per month on our 34’ CHB as it can save me 90 minutes drive time in traffic. The monthly burn is less than renting a low end studio apartment to use as a crash pad. And we take the boat out as a family of three once or twice a month.
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:04 PM   #3
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City: Sharon, Ma
Vessel Name: Slow Lane
Vessel Model: 2005 Silverton 35 Motoryacht
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 1,167
Eddie: You posted a lot there for your first post on here. Lol. I'm not gonna attempt to answer all your questions (and I don't have the answers anyway since I'm a fairly new trawler guy as well).

What I would say is this: Your budget may be a tad tight for a family of four looking for a big, comfortable boat. Although I have noticed that there are many great, older boats on the West Coast which sell for a lot less than on the East. So that may help you.

My other comment would be this. If you do buy an older boat then be prepared to work on it (either you or somebody else. And if someone else then you'd still have to oversee the process). From your post it seems like you were just looking to come down to the boat a few times a month and hop on and go. Older boats require more time and sweat equity. How far is your current home from where you would like to keep the boat?

2005 Silverton 35 Motoryacht
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:09 PM   #4
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City: Au Gres, MI
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Welcome aboard.
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:28 PM   #5
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City: Slicker?
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Welcome aboard. I concur with Mr. SoH (post #3). What you're proposing IS doable but the wrong boat can easily be more trouble than it's worth.

Bigger is better in some cases but costs can increase exponentially above a certain size range. Perhaps sit down with a broker, a good broker, and see what they have to say. Do NOT allow emotions guide your choices at any stage of the process and keep the rest of the family involved, particularly your spouse.
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:56 PM   #6
Senior Member
City: PNW
Vessel Model: American Tug 435
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 258
Greetings Eddie,
We too shopped and studied, in fact for about 2-1/2 yrs before we landed in a 41’ trawler. It’s just the wife & I most of the time but I’ll say we do love the space and feel like this 40-ft range is kind of a sweet spot. Be aware that generally in boat brokerage the seller has to pay the broker percentage so it shouldn’t hurt you to involve a broker.
Also I’d say it might be worth expanding your geographical search range in order to get the “right” boat. We actually wanted one on the southeast coast but ironically found our perfect boat north of Seattle and it was worth every penny.
Best of luck to you!
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Old 06-16-2018, 01:54 PM   #7
City: SF Bay Area California
Vessel Name: In Search Of
Vessel Model: TBD
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 6
@Winty thanks for that! I think your situation describes what I was thinking in terms of having a stay aboard option and a lifestyle avenue in an area we've always been interested in as well.

Jason (@South of Heaven) thanks for that great reply! Was also wondering about the budget and workload on older boats. I think there is surely some trade-off and more thought on what constitutes the right mix of budget and work is probably required on my end. I visited a boat recently that gave me an excellent first person perspective on this and I am not going to have a lot of time for any sort of restoration or work aside from maintenance oversight on turning wrenches, etc. Personal elbow grease on varnish, sanding and general upkeep (tightening, minor fiberglass work, fitmets, etc) is not a problem. I've done that on other boats and aircraft. I'm pretty good at that as well as spotting mechanical things that need professional attention from the pros.

Thanks @Comodave!

@RTFirefly, thanks for the thoughts! I like your thought process on the broker.

@Hamrow, thanks as well! It took me years to buy my present runabout on my own. I think with some more thought, some pen and paper planning on finances and a broker that would be doable. But I'm not going to rush or fall prey to the emotional pull of getting a shiny boat in my own slip. It has to be the right boat and the right time.
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Old 06-16-2018, 02:39 PM   #8
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City: Sarasota,FL/Thomasville,GA
Vessel Name: Steppin Stone IV
Vessel Model: Marine Trader Kelly Trawler 46
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,815
Welcome best of luck on your plans sounds like you have put a good bit of thought into your next adventure
Skype roatan63
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Old 06-16-2018, 04:05 PM   #9
City: San Francisco
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 2,995
Remote boat ownership has many challenges that local boat ownership does not. I've owned a remote boat for 10 years now. To keep it up, you either spend a lot of the time you are on the boat working on it, or spend money to have someone else do it (then spend the time fixing what they did wrong). There's no possibility of spending a few Saturday afternoons maintaining it, if that involves an airline ticket and two days of travel. With that in mind, a newer boat that requires less work is a wise investment. Boats sitting in salt water decay - it's just part of the game. A condo left empty does not - the outside gets maintained by the association and the inside doesn't change.

Another comment: SF bay is a windy and wavy location, at least the central bay. One reason there is a higher ratio of sailboats to motorboats in the area.
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Old 06-16-2018, 05:22 PM   #10
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City: Aventura FL
Vessel Name: Kinja
Vessel Model: American Tug 34 #116 2008
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 10,580
One good thing about boats over airplanes. If your engine on your boat stops you still float an can be hauled back to shore and tied up.
When the engine on your plane stops in mid flight, it can get messy.

Once you get the boat to your desired standards, maintenance can be minimal.
Two days out the hospital after a week in the hospital because of a significant heart attack.
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