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Old 04-16-2018, 08:16 PM   #1
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Greetings from the NW

Hello,

Wanted to introduce myself... To be honest, I'm fairly new to power boating (only sailed small boats growing up).
I'm considering a trawler as a family boat for my sons to enjoy and possible future part time live-abord when I retire in a few years. I'm starting to look at boats and wanted to know if anyone had some guidance on what to look for in buying a trawler...Is there a dedicated thread or list to follow on the forum?
I know the boat survey will catch most issues but I wanted to know what to really inspect prior to making the step of ordering the survey?

Also, if there is anyone in the NW who would be willing to guide me or share wisdom or experience---I'd be happy to offer free lunch or boat supplies in return. I see a lot of posters are local to the NW. Just throwing that out there.

Cheers
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Old 04-16-2018, 08:55 PM   #2
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Welcome, if you look on the home page you will see a number of threads about different boats and the plus or minus's of same. Boats are a very personal thing, and one mans dream is another mans nightmare. Good luck with the search. As in many things in life the pursuit is often more fun than the capture.
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Old 04-16-2018, 08:57 PM   #3
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Old 04-16-2018, 09:22 PM   #4
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Welcome!

There are a variety of threads on this topic. I think I started one myself when I was looking myself a couple years ago.

Two places I would start in terms of your thought processes.
1. How much do you want to spend.
2. How to you anticipate using the boat and with whom will you be using it.
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Old 04-16-2018, 09:30 PM   #5
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Good point Dave. The aft cabin is what really made the difference when I was looking. The CHB's have their drawbacks to be sure, but the aft masters cabin isn't one of them. Were I single and boating single, it wouldn't matter.
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Old 04-16-2018, 09:44 PM   #6
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DRGUY, what part of Seattle do you live in?
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Old 04-16-2018, 09:52 PM   #7
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Welcome to the "Dark Side!" Or as we are sometimes called "Stink Pots".....
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Old 04-16-2018, 11:37 PM   #8
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Drguy mabe go to Trawler Fest first part of May. Might see some of us there.
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Old 04-17-2018, 12:44 AM   #9
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Welcome. There is definitely a lot of assistance available here, but like dhays says, budget is really the starting point. And yes, going to trawlerfest is a very good idea (like attending the sessions provided). Easy to do with it being in Bremerton, just hop on the ferry.
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Old 04-17-2018, 01:20 AM   #10
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Trawlerfest is a great place to actually experience a lot of boats; it's in Bremerton this year, in May.

I divide boat selection into four basic categories: 1) design, 2) construction, 3) maintenance, and 4) aesthetics. We each have our own likes and dislikes. For most of us a boat is a luxury and/or a hobby, therefore, it's important to love your boat. Sounds simple, but I really see a lot of people putting an absolute focus on factors like economy over their feelings.

Note that I don't put purchase price or cost of ownership among those primary categories. I lust after a lot of boats that are many times out of my price range but it's just fantasy and I know it. I'm a working stiff with two girls just starting college, but I was able to work within my means in selecting the right boat. Were I to be well off the decision would have been different, but those four primary considerations wouldn't have varied much.

OK, now for some broad generalizations...

1. Wood boats are suitable only for a very few dedicated people who are either wealthy or incredibly passionate and talented.
2. Taiwan trawlers that seem priced attractively have hidden rot. Or not so hidden.
3. Diesel engines are much more expensive than gasoline engines.

Hmmm...that's about it for generalizations.

My wife and I lived aboard a 28-foot sailboat for years. It was plenty for us. Others "need" an 80-foot luxury yacht. I favor a slow stinkpot and am perfectly happy at 6.5 knots, but a buddy at work "needs" twin turbo diesels and is unhappy below 20 knots. I like wood, weathered bronze and galvanized steel. Some people "need" shiny glass and metal.

Now, here's something you'll hear about in time, and may well experience for yourself at some point. It's a syndrome called "twofootitis." Yeah, my boat is nice, but if it were only two feet longer.... What does bigger get you? Well, more room, of course. But costs rise almost exponentially. Vessel handling in close quarters becomes more complicated. Mechanical complexity shoots up quickly. Of course, some feel more comfortable on a larger boat, especially when the weather gets up. Some need that guest cabin. Some need a washer & dryer, a deep freeze, a big generator, vast fuel capacity.

There's no right or wrong here, it's just that the variables are innumerable and, unless you have personal experience aboard, it's hard to decide what's important to YOU and what may easily be dispensed with. I favor slow and simple. I like wood. I like diesel. I like workboat designs. But those are personal preferences based upon a lot of experience.

So where does a person start? Get aboard as many boats as you can. Find every boat show and go to them...most have in-the-water displays. Walk the docks, endlessly. Talk to folks...lots and lots of us will invite people aboard who express interest. Consider chartering until you have more basis for choice. Keep your eye out for open houses that lots of charter brokerages have. Up here in Bellingham we sometimes have mini-trawlerfests that the brokers put together. Be sure to include Canada in your journeys. I found several wonderful boats that I wanted to buy up in Canada. The timing came together only on one of them, and I brought her home. The exchange rate made it a VERY favorable purchase for an American.

It's a lot like buying a car or motorcycle: get an idea of what you LIKE, then educate yourself about details that matter to you.
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Old 04-17-2018, 09:54 AM   #11
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Consider chartering until you have more basis for choice.

Excellent post by Sabre. This is a common and very good suggestion. Before I bought my boat, I had scheduled a charter aboard a NP43. Turns out my boat came on the market and I ended up buying it before the charter date.

Iím convinced that we canít really know what a boat will be like until we spend time operating and living on it. This is where chartering is really helpful. The less experience you have with boats of the types you are considering, the more important chartering could be. I spent my whole life on sailboats from 9í-40í yet a trawler is an entirely different beast.
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Old 04-17-2018, 10:54 AM   #12
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Welcome aboard. Been where you are... this is the place for help, experience and advice!

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Old 04-17-2018, 01:08 PM   #13
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Welcome aboard! Try the search function. There have been quite a few threads on buying a trawler for the first time. As you might imagine, there is a wealth of information (and opinions!) on this forum.
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Old 04-17-2018, 03:36 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Sabre602 View Post


1. Wood boats are suitable only for a very few dedicated people who are either wealthy or incredibly passionate and talented.
2. Taiwan trawlers that seem priced attractively have hidden rot. Or not so hidden.
3. Diesel engines are much more expensive than gasoline engines.
Thanks Everyone for the warm welcomes...I appreciate the community feel of the the board.

Quick question about the quote above...How do you best inspect for hidden rot?

Are Diesel engines more expensive due to the maintenance or replacement costs? I always thought they were cheaper based on being more economical.

Cheers
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Old 04-17-2018, 04:08 PM   #15
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DRGUY,

Let me start by saying we are in process of getting out of cruising because of age, health and family obligations and currently have our Grand Banks 36 for sale. So if that style boat interests you please feel free to contact me by PM.

Here is what my wife and I did as we searched for our boat. We started going aboard as many boats as possible, went to rendezvous, attended boat shows, Several Trawler feats and drove to most marinas in the PNW to walk docks, talk with owners and brokers to narrow down what we wanted. Then we took a three day bareboat charter class to learn more about this whole adventure. This was a fantastic way to get hands on experience as well as learning to cruise the San Juan Islands.

When we began our research on boats we started looking at CHBís and learned a lot about where and what to look for in this style boat. The knowledge gained helped us a lot in looking at other brands as well. Here is a good link about this style Trawler CHB BUYERS GUIDE

4 boats later we bought our Grand Banks and did not regret all the learning. We have cruised only as far north as the Broughtons and most places in between and the trips and experiences we gained are lifelong memories. Feel free to contact me if you would like to chat more and good luck on finding your boat!
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Old 04-17-2018, 04:12 PM   #16
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Greetings,
Welcome aboard. "How do you best inspect for hidden rot?" One of the best is use your nose. Pick a warm humid day where the vessel has been closed up for a spell.
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Old 04-17-2018, 04:57 PM   #17
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We have cruised only as far north as the Broughtons and most places in between and the trips and experiences we gained are lifelong memories. Feel free to contact me if you would like to chat more and good luck on finding your boat!
Only?

I've been on the water on Puget Sound all my life and have never made it that far North. A trip to the Broughtons is more than most boaters from WA will ever do in their lifetimes. TF has a large collection of extremely experience cruisers. I think sometimes we lose perspective when we see what some of our members do.
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Old 04-17-2018, 06:39 PM   #18
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Diesel engines are much more expensive than gasoline engines.
Yea, But....you want 1 or 2 in your trawler.

As already said above--budget, intended use (maybe you want/need a faster boat) how many people aboard, weekend trips or longer.

If you retire and live aboard full time will probably want a different one unless you "go large" now.
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Old 04-17-2018, 07:18 PM   #19
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dhays, you are correct, there is so much cruising water in Puget Sound and vicinity! We had fished near the Broughtons one year and always wanted to go back one day, so we did. 42 days aboard and 800 miles of cruising got us there and back. Great trip. Our cruising plans were to extend our range each year and go to new places as we revisited familiar places on our way north. So many amazing places to explore.
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