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Old 12-17-2019, 03:33 PM   #1
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Definition of trawler?

What are the defining characteristics of a trawler?

I thought a trawler was a boat with a full displacement hull built to move economically at abut 70% of the theoretical hull speed. The hull shape would be optimized for efficiency at less than hull speed. Trawlers would be in the lower range of horsepower per ton with not nearly enough power to plane. Trawlers would slower, wider, have more room and carrying capacity than planning hulls but burn much less fuel. Is there a min or max size to be considered a trawler?

In my internet searches I have found boats listed as trawlers shown on plane or described as having Down East shaped hulls. Do you consider those trawlers?

So what is your definition of a trawler and what do you feel are the pros and cons of trawlers.
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Old 12-17-2019, 03:53 PM   #2
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Could we talk about anchors instead?

I think your analysis above is as good as any, and the word “trawler” has been beaten and abused by many to give an impression or suggestion of sea-worthiness and durability to buyers. Today, it’s so widely used that I’m not sure how much is left of the original intention.
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Old 12-17-2019, 04:26 PM   #3
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I would not get too hung up on the definition of a trawler. A lot of people use trawler when their boats are not technically a trawler. I call mine a trawler but it really is a semi displacement cruiser. So what? We run it at mostly trawler speeds. It is easier to describe as a trawler. And definitely don’t ask about anchors...
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Old 12-17-2019, 04:30 PM   #4
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Oh no, opening up this can of worms again. LOL
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Old 12-17-2019, 04:49 PM   #5
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Can I be a part time trawler? At <8 Kn my Ranger is a fuel sipping displacement trawler. At 14+ kn it's a planing cruiser. Anything between those speeds and I'm just wasting fuel for little return.
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Old 12-17-2019, 05:04 PM   #6
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Chris,
To adequately describe the true, real, definition of "trawler" as in reality it should be used by everyone, takes about 14 single spaced pages with much technical lingo .
What you are describing with "a boat with a full displacement hull built to move economically at abut 70% of the theoretical hull speed" is a very limiting definition, although maybe technically how it all started.
My Nordic Tug, even though it is capable of planing (barely and certainly not efficiently), is always operated at displacement speeds. Most "Tug" owners operate that way, therefore, even though a semi-displacement hull, it can and probably should be called a "trawler". Boats like the NT were probably the first "non-traditional" trawler to be included in the category. Now, some even call Carvers (and other boats that plane well) trawlers if the owner decides to operate most of the time at displacement speeds. To me, that is "stretching" the meaning, but that is just my opinion.

For me, I don't get "hung up" on the word "trawler", I look at each boat (brand/model) for their individual characteristics and then decide if that boat meets my needs and how I want to operate my boat. If I was contemplating going "off shore", then I would probably want what might be considered a true trawler such as a Nordhvn, Kadey Krogen, etc.
My 2 cents, don't get too worked up by definitions and look carefully at what will best meet your needs, wants, don't want, etc. and get what works for you!
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Old 12-17-2019, 06:51 PM   #7
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Chris,
To adequately describe the true, real, definition of "trawler" as in reality it should be used by everyone, takes about 14 single spaced pages with much technical lingo .
What you are describing with "a boat with a full displacement hull built to move economically at abut 70% of the theoretical hull speed" is a very limiting definition, although maybe technically how it all started.
My Nordic Tug, even though it is capable of planing (barely and certainly not efficiently), is always operated at displacement speeds. Most "Tug" owners operate that way, therefore, even though a semi-displacement hull, it can and probably should be called a "trawler". Boats like the NT were probably the first "non-traditional" trawler to be included in the category. Now, some even call Carvers (and other boats that plane well) trawlers if the owner decides to operate most of the time at displacement speeds. To me, that is "stretching" the meaning, but that is just my opinion.

For me, I don't get "hung up" on the word "trawler", I look at each boat (brand/model) for their individual characteristics and then decide if that boat meets my needs and how I want to operate my boat. If I was contemplating going "off shore", then I would probably want what might be considered a true trawler such as a Nordhvn, Kadey Krogen, etc.
My 2 cents, don't get too worked up by definitions and look carefully at what will best meet your needs, wants, don't want, etc. and get what works for you!
As myself an American Tug owner and you a Nordic Tug owner can say is, we reserve the fuel burning speed until it is necessary to race a tidal change at our designated safe spot for the evening and MAYBE to avoid the negative weather change.
Step 1, loosen the fuel fill caps so we dont draw a vacuum, crushing the fuel tanks when running at max speed. LOL
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Old 12-17-2019, 06:57 PM   #8
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Now.... what is the best anchor for use on a semi displacement, planning Trawler with stabilizers and a winged keel???

Ready, set, GO.

hee, hee, hee!
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Old 12-17-2019, 07:03 PM   #9
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Now.... what is the best anchor for use on a semi displacement, planning Trawler with stabilizers and a winged keel???

Ready, set, GO.

hee, hee, hee!
LOL
Brand of boat and displacement is a place to start.
Better get some popcorn and a drink, you too have opened up another can of 'something.'
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Old 12-17-2019, 07:15 PM   #10
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I was hoping to talk about how to figure out what each boat does well and not so well. Since if you listen to the people selling the boats they are all great at everything.

For now we could leave out what operational qualities are most important and just talk about how to identify the characteristics of a boat and where it falls on the trade off scale. A tall order I realize but that is my quest.
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Old 12-17-2019, 07:19 PM   #11
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There used to be a real meaning to the word trawler. Now it is applied to almost every boat including real trawlers and planing boats which have nothing to do with a real trawler.

Strictly speaking your description is close but even so when I learned what it really meant it was a FISHING vessel that dragged a net behind to catch fish, not a seiner, not a gill netter, not a troller and not a pleasure vessel. And YES, those trawlers almost always had full displacement hulls.

Thank the marketing folks and people like me who picked it up before we understood the real meaning.

There is no point worrying about it anymore because the word has no real meaning any longer.
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Old 12-17-2019, 07:26 PM   #12
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Strictly speaking your description is close but even so when I learned what it really meant it was a FISHING vessel that dragged a net behind to catch fish, not a seiner, not a gill netter, not a troller and not a pleasure vessel. And YES, those trawlers almost always had full displacement hulls.
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Old 12-17-2019, 08:00 PM   #13
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ADK,


All kidding aside, that is a tall order. To get any meaningful answers, I suggest you narrow the width of your trade off scale: comfort, size, crew req, economy, speed, range, maintenance cost, usage, etc.


Trawler has become an overly broad class - like "pickup" ... there are 1/4 ton Nissans and 2 ton 4 door King Ranch -- apples and oranges.



Old axiom, "How do you tell when a boat salesman is stretching it - his lips are moving!"
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Old 12-17-2019, 08:53 PM   #14
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I have a good friend (sailor) who likes to call my Albin-25 a "Mini-Trawler. As she was built in Sweden 45 years ago, predating the current term for recreational "trawlers", I tell him she's really a Scandinavian-style Motor Cruiser.
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Old 12-17-2019, 10:43 PM   #15
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Trawler was a marketing term created back in the 70's and 80's during the oil embargoes and high fuel prices.

Fuel efficient, shippy looking boats were built in Taiwan to be sold in the US and called "Trawlers". They were inexpensive for what you got and thousands were sold in the US.

US manufacturers caught on and started manufacturing similar type boats. Marshall Californians, Mainship Nantucket, Bayliner Explorers and many others were sold.

Fast forward to 2019 and the term doesn't fit all the different types of vessels available.

For me, the term Trawler is more of a lifestyle description than a description of the boat; slow, fuel efficient, comfortable riding, roomy, self sufficient cruising.
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Old 12-17-2019, 10:46 PM   #16
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Check out the search feature at the top of the page.

PLEASE!
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Old 12-18-2019, 01:42 AM   #17
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For me, the term Trawler is more of a lifestyle description than a description of the boat; slow, fuel efficient, comfortable riding, roomy, self sufficient cruising.
I agree 100% with this!

In all practicality the word “trawler” today and here on TF means a motor vessel comfortable for extended time aboard
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Old 12-18-2019, 08:00 AM   #18
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I was hoping to talk about how to figure out what each boat does well and not so well. Since if you listen to the people selling the boats they are all great at everything.

For now we could leave out what operational qualities are most important and just talk about how to identify the characteristics of a boat and where it falls on the trade off scale. A tall order I realize but that is my quest.

Honorable quest, but maybe more useful to just ignore the word "trawler" when you're looking at ads and focus on engine sizes and hull descriptions (where the latter is offered).

Small engine, displacement hull, good at going slow. Larger engine(s) and semi-displacement hull, a compromise. Large engines and a planing hull, good at going fast.

Latter category can go slow pretty well, too. Ours is NOT a trawler.

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Old 12-18-2019, 08:37 AM   #19
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It depends on where you are. Down here, if you say own a trawler, the next question is, how long have you been a shrimper?
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Old 12-18-2019, 09:10 AM   #20
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The late George Buehler recognized this marketing schism and corruption of the term "Trawler" 25+ years ago and wrote "The Troller Yacht - how to cross an ocean without getting wet and without going broke.". George, a self avowed curmudgeon, was pretty strict in his interpretation of a "Trawler." I'd say less than 1% of the boats owned by TF posters would fit his definition (probably a lot less than 1%). My Willard 36 might slip in under the wire only because it was designed by Wm Garden, one of the classic West Coast designers.

A good read might be to spend quality time on Ken William's blog. Ken has been a prolific and transparent writer for years, and recently went from Nordhavn to Grand Banks. Although his budget is a two-comma's beyond mine, his thinking is sound and absent rules. He just expresses what works for him in his circumstances.

I once owned a Uniflite 42 ACMY. For all practical purposes, there was little difference between it and a GB42. Both carried 300hp engines and approx 500g diesel. GB has a finer and higher bow, but that's about it. For marketing purposes, one is a trawler, the other is motoryacht.
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