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Old 05-30-2022, 02:49 PM   #1
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Maybe I was wrong. I thought I wanted a trawler.

A year and a half ago I started looking for a boat. Iíve always dreamed of a Grand Banks. Iím older and own a business. I may never retire. I live fifteen miles from Lake Superior and we love the waterfront. We have a few very nice destinations to spend about a weeks worth of vacation now and then. Three trawlers that I looked at all had issues. I finally bought a Sea Ray 440 Express Bridge. Mostly because of the perfect condition.
To my surprise, the boat is big enough for the two of us with a extra cabin for occasional guests. I still like to go slow, and the boat does that just fine. Iím guessing this one is the one. Even at 25 mph it is stable as a rock in moderate seas, if you need to get to somewhere faster. Twin variable thrusters allow me to do my own tie up, or depart.
Still love trawlers, but I can live with this just fine.
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Old 05-30-2022, 02:52 PM   #2
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Last summer we sold our trawler since it wasnít fast enough to respond in an emergency with my mom. A month after we sold the trawler she fell, ended up in a skilled care facility, then passed away due to Covid. We had bought our Formula so we could get home faster in case she needed us. Oh wellÖ
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Old 05-30-2022, 03:14 PM   #3
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Last summer we sold our trawler since it wasnít fast enough to respond in an emergency with my mom. A month after we sold the trawler she fell, ended up in a skilled care facility, then passed away due to Covid. We had bought our Formula so we could get home faster in case she needed us. Oh wellÖ
Sorry for your loss. Tough situation, to need skilled help but be at a much greater risk for other diseases and viruses.

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Old 05-30-2022, 03:29 PM   #4
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Thanks, Ted. Yes it was and is still tough, but she had a long and good life. She was 101 when she passed.
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Old 05-30-2022, 04:05 PM   #5
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For coastal use there's definitely nothing magical about a trawler compared to a similar size motoryacht type with a good layout and a hull that's happy running at low speeds. We're plodding along happily at a trawler-like 6.6 kts right now on our not-a-trawler with just as much space and comfort as most 38 foot trawlers. It'll happily cruise at 17-18 kts, but right now it's not worth the fuel.
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Old 05-30-2022, 04:14 PM   #6
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I took was looking for a real trawler, Grand Banks, Marine Trader, etc. Ended up with a Concorde 41 motor yacht. Coming from a sailboat so 6 knots seems fast but this one will do about 18. I still run it 6-8 for fuel economy but knowing I can open it up if I have to is nice. Like the upstream run on the Ohio River to Paducah. About 3 knot opposing current and 3-4 knots over ground just sounds like too long a day. If I have enough fuel onboard at that time I'll open her up. Or trying to beat a storm into port.
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Old 05-30-2022, 06:04 PM   #7
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Condolences Dave.
BTW I thought you sold the trawler because it blocked the water view for your mom. Whatever the reason, caring for mom.
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Old 05-30-2022, 06:11 PM   #8
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Agree, Sea Ray makes a great boat and the 440 Express Bridge is a nice model. We previously owned a Sea Ray 36 Sun Dancer and have great memories from when our kids were younger. Loved that boat; never gave me any headaches.
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Old 05-30-2022, 07:22 PM   #9
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Condolences Dave.
BTW I thought you sold the trawler because it blocked the water view for your mom. Whatever the reason, caring for mom.
She thought it was too big but we really sold it so we could respond faster if she needed help and we were gone on the boat. But the new boat, that she never saw, doesnít block the view as much. We are having a memorial ceremony for my mom and dad later this month. Glad we have good memories.
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Old 05-30-2022, 07:42 PM   #10
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Years ago I delivered a 55-foot Sunseeker from Seattle to San Francisco. It has come from Florida and had an extended swim platform with a jet ski instead of a dinghy. At 25-kts it burned 60 gph which didn't go far with it's 500 gals tanks. I finally talked the owner into throttling back to 7-kts and we got well over 1 m/g. Turns out it was much faster to go slow than go fast. With exception of spray ingress, it wasn't a bad sea boat. Something to be said for deep vee forefoot, wide beam and low profile.

Glad you're enjoying your boat. Sounds like it's the right boat for you, especially given you'll be working. Time matters, and speed is the antidote

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Old 05-30-2022, 08:26 PM   #11
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For what we've done with it and to have fun-boat ownership VERY affordable...

Our really good condition, all original, 1977 Tollycraft tri Cabin makes for us a really great "Trawler-Style", planning capable, pleasure cruiser.

- Very affordable on fuel running one engine at 4.5 to 5 knots... 3 +/- nmpg
- Well affordable on fuel running twins at 6.5 to 7 knots... 2 to 2.5 nmpg
- Great to cruise at 16 to 17 knots... 1 nmpg
- Fun to scoot along with if/when necessary at 21 to 23 knots... .5 nmpg!

Some time this June I'm cruising her out of an SF Delta covered slip [been there for 14 yrs] to an open berth in SF Bay. May keep her, may not. Wife's health and one of by business expansions both play strong parts in our decision.

We Do LOVE Our Fun-Time Tolly! And, its great tow behind runabout...
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Old 05-30-2022, 09:13 PM   #12
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Trawler to me means a EU A rated full displacement boat regardless of size. So Weebles would be A if that was done at that time as are the Nordies and KKs. I thought I wanted a trawler coming from sail. Several close friends convinced me that was wrong. For the way we use our first power boat the mission was appropriate for a SD hull. We ended up with a Nordic Tug. Now after taking her from RI to VA and back they were right. The ability to exceed hull speed whenever you want creates freedom and lowers stress. Compared to the sailboat we can ignore tide and current if we so choose.
Perhaps this statement will offend some here but still do not think of SD hulls as true trawlers. Think I have a boat that looks like a Tug others have boats that look like trawlers. They are great vessels for recreational use and possibly the best choice for many. Wouldn’t get hung up on names promo guys give to boats.
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Old 05-30-2022, 10:44 PM   #13
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Willard 36 is most definitely not an CE Class A. Doubtful even a Class B as is the Nordic Tug 42, though a great source to ask would be Rick Etsell, naval architecr who was hired by NT to oversee the Class B rating design changes of the 42, and also an avid fan of Willard's (he hosts Willard boat.org).

The W36 was designed in the 1950s by Wm Garden long before anything resembling class ratings came into vogue. Designers back then used practical interpretations of the conditions their clients (commercial fishermen) worked in to influence their work. The W36 originally came off Gardens drafting board as a 34 footer that was stretched with the entire additional length in her cockpit for lounging and fishing. She originally carried 500g of diesel so she could make Cabo and return without refueling which was necessary as Cabo barely existed and there was nothing in-between it and San Diego. The W36 carries a very high bow yet modest reserve bouyancy, a common feature amongst West Coast boats intending to cut through headseas.

39 hulls were laid between 1961 and 1970, an incredibly successful run for the time. W36s ventured far and wide - Hawaii, the Galopogas Islands, Panama Canal, long before most boats even had VHFs let alone Radar. This says more about the people who owned them then the boat itself.

Trawlers have changed a lot since then. I'm a proponent of the CE Class rating systems but the hazard is builders will "cram for the exam." Nordhavn has clearly done this, even Nordic Tug. These boats have been reverse engineered into a classification and have been marketed to the masses who are risk averse.

So where are we now. 50-years ago it was about seamanship skills, knowledge, grit, and determination. It was about the men who decided to head off to distant lands under power. Now, with adjuncts such as CE Rating, it's entirely about the boat and how much space the owner has on their credit card. In some ways that's great - cruising has been democratized, at least to those who can afford it. But in other ways, we've lost a lot. It used to be about the people. Now it's about the boat. Doubt it? Look no further than the idolatry of Nordhavn and KK.

Peter
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Old 05-31-2022, 07:08 AM   #14
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I'd be a little surprised if a W36 didn't meet CE B or was at least close except for 1 or 2 details. I'd expect the same from quite a number of planing motoryacht types as well.

Generally, I group trawlers into 2 types: the heavy duty trawlers (like Nordhavn, KK, etc.) and the light duty trawlers (all of the more coastal stuff, Grand Banks, Marine Traders, etc.). Many (but not all) of the light duty trawlers are basically just underpowered planing hulls anyway.

I won't say I'm a big Sea Ray fan, but their bigger sedan bridge and motoryacht models do seem to do a pretty good job for traveling. The bigger boats and later models seem to have much better performing hulls than many of the earlier and smaller Sea Rays. We got passed by a nice looking later model Sea Ray sedan bridge yesterday (probably in the 48 - 50 foot range). Owners looked pretty comfortable sitting up on the flybridge. Considering they had the canvas closed (probably to keep the darn flies out!) on a rather hot day, I'm betting they've got A/C up there.

Being that others have given examples, my own boat is a Chris Craft 381 Catalina. Definitely a planing hull motoryacht type, but it's a fairly slow one (planing cruise is 17 - 18 kts, hull doesn't handle well above that anyway). Handles just fine at low speeds (big enough rudders and enough keel to track well). The only big thing that's not ideal are the (rather thirsty) gas engines. Well, that and the bow is rather full, so the ride in a head sea can be rather stiff with a significant amount of pitching (and very wet if running on plane). But that same overly buoyant bow is a great asset in following seas, as it doesn't try to dig in and bow steer (even with a deep forefoot) unless you really screw up at the helm.
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Old 05-31-2022, 08:09 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen Christensen View Post
A year and a half ago I started looking for a boat. Iíve always dreamed of a Grand Banks. Iím older and own a business. I may never retire. I live fifteen miles from Lake Superior and we love the waterfront. We have a few very nice destinations to spend about a weeks worth of vacation now and then. Three trawlers that I looked at all had issues. I finally bought a Sea Ray 440 Express Bridge. Mostly because of the perfect condition.
To my surprise, the boat is big enough for the two of us with a extra cabin for occasional guests. I still like to go slow, and the boat does that just fine. Iím guessing this one is the one. Even at 25 mph it is stable as a rock in moderate seas, if you need to get to somewhere faster. Twin variable thrusters allow me to do my own tie up, or depart.
Still love trawlers, but I can live with this just fine.

"Trawlers" can be a state of mind.

See avatar.

Finally got around to our long-delayed WOT test yesterday, after engine rehabs last year, Spring hull and running gear cleaning/painting, and prop reconditioning: all good, and 29.5 kts, 80 GPH total.

So once we captured the data, we returned to our slip at hull speed, 4 GPH total. "Trawlering."

-Chris
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Old 05-31-2022, 08:31 AM   #16
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The main CE Class related flaws of the W36 are too much glass, too large of a cockpit (though I have tripled the size of freeing ports). What it has going for it is it's heavily ballasted with likely very high AVS (angle of vanishing stability). It's also a very low profile (A/B ratio).

What this means in practical terms is the W36 is exceptionally comfortable up through Beaufort 7, tolerable in 8 or so. Survivable through sustained 9. After that trouble. Fortunately, that also corresponds to my tolerance for seastate - Force 7 is at my outer limits and is to be avoided if at all possible. Pretty easy to do.

I know of no Willard 36 (or 40) that has foundered at sea despite primarily being a West Coast boat. What does this say? To me it says the weather isn't as bad as people think it is - incidence of being surprised by dangerous weather is exceedingly rare even 50-60 years ago when access to accurate marine weather was poor.

The emphasis on CE Rating is way over stated. No doubt, if I were going from Miami to Azores, a N40 would be top of my list, but mostly due to wing engine. It's one of the most inherently comfortable rides Nordhavn had at that time and stabilization was less important than, say, the N47 (though flybridge option makes a difference to both). The one thing I really admire about Nordhavn is they are highly spray-resistant. Also there is good space and fastening ideas (such as dinghy and anchor storage) so things don't move when weather freshens. This is left to the owner in many boats, Willard included. Surmountable, but nice that Nordhavn has already figured it out.

We chose a Willard because we simply fell in love. When we first walked aboard with a broker 25-years ago I told Cheryll "this boat is sold. Just have to figure out the price.". We've cruised with friends on faster boats, on newer boats, on fancier boats. Our style is 100% aligned to the strengths of Weebles. We really like cruising at jogging speed and just plan around speed. It's part of the experience for us. Throttling up to catch a bridge opening or weather or tides just seems so terrestrial in mindset.

Sounds like the OP has found the right boat for his usage and family which is fantastic. I look forward to hearing more and hopefully viewing a few pictures along the way (hint, hint....)

Peter
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Old 05-31-2022, 08:34 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by ranger58sb View Post
"Trawlers" can be a state of mind.

See avatar.

Finally got around to our long-delayed WOT test yesterday, after engine rehabs last year, Spring hull and running gear cleaning/painting, and prop reconditioning: all good, and 29.5 kts, 80 GPH total.

So once we captured the data, we returned to our slip at hull speed, 4 GPH total. "Trawlering."

-Chris
That, right there sums up the biggest reason I would love a nice pair of diesels... My boat is 20 feet smaller and a whole lot lighter, yet plodding along at a sedate 6.5 kts (about a knot below hull speed) still burns about 5 GPH. Planing cruise for us is typically ~17 kts at ~30 GPH. WOT is around 25 kts, no solid GPH figures but should be somewhere around 55 - 60 GPH.
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Old 05-31-2022, 09:00 AM   #18
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Greetings,
Horses for courses. EVERY boat is a compromise. Ya run what ya brung.
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Old 05-31-2022, 09:04 AM   #19
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I think it all depends on where you are planning to boat if a true full displacement boat, SD or planing hull are the best fit. After doing a bit of boating in the PNW I can really see the advantage of FD or SD and running at slower speeds. There are so many places to go which are just 10-20 miles or so apart why rush to get there? Down here in SoCal places to go are few and far between, so having the option to get up and go at 18-20 knots can make a big difference on how you boat (if you can stomach the fuel bill). We are talking about doing the great loop and for that we would likely sell the current boat and get something slower and more economical, but for now we are liking the flexibility of our current boat.
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Old 05-31-2022, 09:07 AM   #20
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I think it all depends on where you are planning to boat if a true full displacement boat, SD or planing hull are the best fit. After doing a bit of boating in the PNW I can really see the advantage of FD or SD and running at slower speeds. There are so many places to go which are just 10-20 miles or so apart why rush to get there? Down here in SoCal places to go are few and far between, so having the option to get up and go at 18-20 knots can make a big difference on how you boat (if you can stomach the fuel bill). We are talking about doing the great loop and for that we would likely sell the current boat and get something slower and more economical, but for now we are liking the flexibility of our current boat.
Keep in mind, unless you get one of the more efficient displacement hulls out there, a planing hull run slowly (if it handles well enough) is just as efficient at low speed as a lot of slower boats, partly because they're typically much lighter weight (which offsets the less ideal hull shape for low speed operation). The big issues start with fast planing hulls where reducing drag often leads to too many compromises for good low speed handling.
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