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Old 10-01-2023, 03:02 PM   #1
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Brand choice

Good afternoon everyone. We full time RV and are currently entertaining the idea of full time boating in about 1 year. I am in the doing my homework stage. At this point I know I want 3 staterooms. Twin engine diesels. No more than 125 - 300HP each is my current plan.. just curious on brands. So many to look through. I'm okay with buying anything 1975-1995 area. Just new to larger boats. For example in RV world you have like 4 top brands that are way superior to anything else out there. So I decided on a 20 yr old model but from the top brands.
What are the good brands in trawler world? I have looked at viking widebody... Hatteras...marine trader..lien hwa.. .defever.. I'm wanting 50-60ft area max.max budget 225k area..

Also engine is a concern....in RV world a cat diesel engine is golden. No issues run forever. So that was my first thought in a boat. But it appears caterpillar isn't the greatest for boat engines.

Thanks for any Intel!
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Old 10-01-2023, 03:31 PM   #2
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My preference is Cummins engines.
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Old 10-01-2023, 03:43 PM   #3
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Just my opinions but I would but based on boat needs & wants + don't wants.
Define your cruising style and then start looking & talking to owners.
I would probably not buy the engine as first priority but might rule out one/ twp brands if service wasn't available nearby.

Having motorhomed as well I do like Cummins but have to say Yanmar have a very good reputation and fairly common in the boating world.
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Old 10-01-2023, 03:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floridakeysliving View Post
Good afternoon everyone. We full time RV and are currently entertaining the idea of full time boating in about 1 year. I am in the doing my homework stage. At this point I know I want 3 staterooms. Twin engine diesels. No more than 125 - 300HP each is my current plan.. just curious on brands. So many to look through. I'm okay with buying anything 1975-1995 area. Just new to larger boats. For example in RV world you have like 4 top brands that are way superior to anything else out there. So I decided on a 20 yr old model but from the top brands.
What are the good brands in trawler world? I have looked at viking widebody... Hatteras...marine trader..lien hwa.. .defever.. I'm wanting 50-60ft area max.max budget 225k area..

Also engine is a concern....in RV world a cat diesel engine is golden. No issues run forever. So that was my first thought in a boat. But it appears caterpillar isn't the greatest for boat engines.

Think I'd shop for likely boats with the features we want first... that "three stateroom" thing, plus others... and then evaluate engine possibilities afterwards. (The softcopy Powerboat Guide is keyword searchable.)

That approach speaks to two things: puts features first, and then you may discover available engines might be larger than you originally had in mind. If you do it the other way around, you may not find boats that are laid out the way you want.

You may also find that the boats you like most aren't really trawlers... and if they're not, they'd likely have larger engines than you'd considered, too.

Larger engines can often be "managed.".

As with other engine brands, I think some Cats are good, some not so much (or at least have issues that might need some management). Review engine pros/cons on boatdiesel.com.

For boats in your target ages, you'll probably want to check for insurability as early as possible.

-Chris
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Old 10-01-2023, 04:25 PM   #5
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In older boats my experience is that individual condition is more important than brand, unless you are really concerned about status of the boat brand, I donít know if you will find many boats with small engines that have 3 staterooms. Likely you will have to compromise on engine choice if you find a boat in good condition that fits your needs.
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Old 10-01-2023, 04:26 PM   #6
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In the marine world where I have 20 years of experience, Cummins and Caterpillar are my top choices. Although Yanmars and the old Ford Leiman diesels that were in a lot of trawlers and Defevers if well maintained are very reliable engines.
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Old 10-01-2023, 04:41 PM   #7
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50-60 feet and $225k - Hatt 53 is possible. Price will depend on condition and can vary widely, though there is a ceiling on all boats (not sure what it is on a Hatt).

If you get too picky on engines, you will narrow your candidates to near-zero. Some folks rule-out certain engine brands. Volvo, a popular OTR engine, seems to be a common thumbs-down in marine due to parts availability and expense; and difficulty in finding qualified service techs. Probably second in line is Detroits, though there are several people who love Detroits, including one very knowledgeable person on TF (Lepke). But if you rule-out Detroits, pretty well rules-out Hatts.

Not sure what you plan to do with the boat. $225k for a 60-footer is a bit lean for quality production examples. You can probably find a custom build in that range.

One reminder: I think it false economy to save money on purchase price, meaning trying to find the cheapest 55-footer (whatever) on the market which can easily be very expensive to own. Let's face it: berthing a $200k 50-footer is the same cost as a $1m 50-footer. I'd suggest re-jiggering your budget - what's the best condition boat I can buy for $225k (which might be a 42-footer). I promise, you will have more fun and enjoyment with a good condition 42-footer than a below-average 55-footer. Think about it - who cares if the 55-footer has 3-staterooms if it's tied to the dock waiting to be fixed.

Peter
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Old 10-01-2023, 04:56 PM   #8
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Nothing wrong with the older Detroits. But they are way larger than the OP was looking for. But that is a good compromise IMO. The old Hatteras are good boats but they have a fairly complex electrical system with multiple voltages. But if you can get them working well they are fine. I love the 58 LRC Hatteras. They have smaller Detroits in them.
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Old 10-01-2023, 06:32 PM   #9
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With engines it’s hard to make a blanket statement. Detroit, Cat, and Cummins all have great engines and they all have an engine I don’t want.

Based on the type of boat you are considering I think anything out side of these three brands is likely a mistake. That said, you might run across an exception.

The marine world is similar to thr RV world in such that there are some very strong brands. It is extremely different in that a great brand like Nordhaven would probably be a terrible purchase for your intended purpose.

Look around and see what tics the boxes and then come back and ask about the brand. As others have said, it’s almost more about the current condition than the brand.
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Old 10-01-2023, 09:30 PM   #10
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Yup, you can have a gold plater that has been poorly maintained for 30 years and a lesser ďbrandĒ that has been well maintained, guess which is a better value.
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Old 10-16-2023, 05:11 PM   #11
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With engines itís hard to make a blanket statement. Detroit, Cat, and Cummins all have great engines and they all have an engine I donít want.

Based on the type of boat you are considering I think anything out side of these three brands is likely a mistake. That said, you might run across an exception.

I would add Lugger and John Deere to the list of good choices. I agree that Volvos are problematic.


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Old 10-16-2023, 05:13 PM   #12
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Get on board as many different boats as you can. New and used... just to learn what you and the Admiral like and don't like. Add Sabre and Grand Banks and Krogan to the list of really good brands... but NONE are perfect. Mainship continues to be the most numerous Looping boats each year. Typically 10% or so of each annual fleet.

Going to boat shows to see new boats is easy and you will learn from the experience... even though new may not be in the cards for your purchase.

AGLCA Rendezvous events held 2 or 3 times per year always feature a "Trawler Crawl" where Loopers invite prospective/ Looper-Planners to get to see different boats inside and out. EXTREMELY VALUABLE IMO... and there are often a break out presentation on this topic. AGLCA.org forum is *almost* as good as this one <wink>. Consider joining that org even if you are not planning to Loop.
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Old 10-16-2023, 05:37 PM   #13
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Every engine listed here is BAD!

Every engine listed here is VERY GOOD!

It all depends on the past experiences of the user. If they have good service life and trouble free, then they are very good. If they are problematic or have poor parts and service, then they are bad.
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Old 10-16-2023, 07:50 PM   #14
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Brand Choice

For engines I didn't see anyone mention Ford Lehman, big engine in the years you are looking. Naturals that run forever.

Also didn't see any mention of Albin as a boat choice.

Both of those are at the top of my list.

Also, after having a sundeck model boat, I wouldn't, IF I were going to, buy any boat without a sundeck. A great additional living area.

Most important thing has been said, get out there and look.

Finally, when you think you have found your boat, charter a same or similar boat to see if it really fits.

Good luck with your search.
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Old 10-16-2023, 11:25 PM   #15
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To compare/contrast with RV context (I have an Airstream)... suggest you start with the intended mission. For an RV this would be questions such as boondocking or luxuryRV parks? 4 season use or moderate weather?

For boats the equivalent questions might be cruising or day trips, protected waters or offshore, speed objective, fuel consumption etc.

Also be sure you address the dockage and insurance. Unlike an RV both of these can be deal breakers.

There are many threads on boat selection here so have fun and good luck!

Brand certainly can be a factor but sometimes working through your objectives can steer you toward or away from certain brands.

You mentioned twin engine, that is always an interesting and controversial topic with pros and cons both ways. Ultimately it might not be as important as you think. Like RVs there really is no clear right or wrong choice. It comes down to choices, compromises and of course budgets.
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Old 10-24-2023, 12:10 PM   #16
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When we were looking for our boat we put down a list of what we wanted and what we didn't want and weighted them ( +1 or +2 or -1 or -2). Then we when looked at boats we would see how they measured up. Helped take some of the emotion out of it when looking at them. Also help remember what we wanted when looking instead of getting caught up in the "shiny" of the boat.

We ended up with a custom boat designed by Robert Beebe. It has a Gardner engine, which we were cautious about, but happy to have now. Wasn't what we had thought we would get, but it's perfect...
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Old 10-24-2023, 04:41 PM   #17
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What's a 53-58 Hat burn at 7.5 knots and with what power ?
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Old 10-27-2023, 10:58 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Floridakeysliving View Post
....Just new to larger boats. I'm wanting 50-60ft area max.
What is your current boating experience? Size, Type, etc.
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Old 10-27-2023, 11:32 AM   #19
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This is EXCELLENT ADVICE.



Quote:
Originally Posted by mvweebles View Post
...

Not sure what you plan to do with the boat. $225k for a 60-footer is a bit lean for quality production examples. You can probably find a custom build in that range.

One reminder: I think it false economy to save money on purchase price, meaning trying to find the cheapest 55-footer (whatever) on the market which can easily be very expensive to own. Let's face it: berthing a $200k 50-footer is the same cost as a $1m 50-footer. I'd suggest re-jiggering your budget - what's the best condition boat I can buy for $225k (which might be a 42-footer). I promise, you will have more fun and enjoyment with a good condition 42-footer than a below-average 55-footer. Think about it - who cares if the 55-footer has 3-staterooms if it's tied to the dock waiting to be fixed.

Peter

A rule of thumb that all new-to-boats people will learn very quickly is that cost (of everything) increases exponentially with size.
Owning/running a 50' boat is not 25% more than a 40' boat, it's 100% more.
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Old 10-27-2023, 02:52 PM   #20
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You won't find a 50-60 ft Hatteras in you price range, not one that is in good condition. A rule of thumb is buy the best you can find and you won't have to spend as much after the sale. Most Hatteras in the size range you want would be in the $400-500k. Are you sure you want a 60ft boat? A 48ft Hatteras LRC may be enough for two people.

CATS are the very best and everything else comes in second,
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