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Old 11-27-2020, 02:25 PM   #1
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Interested in Trawlers and Cruising

Hello, Iíve recently retired and am actively searching for a second home in the Southeastern coastal region. My wife & I have become very interested in possibly supplementing that move with purchasing a trawler and doing some extended cruising. Since we have limited boating experience, all with small boats on the Mississippi River & Midwest lakes, we want to pursue this idea realistically and intelligently. I realize I have much to learn.

Since we've never experienced spending multiple days out on the water, I'd like to find a boat/captain for hire to get the feel for whether this would really appeal to us. My initial attempts to find any options have only found what I would consider luxury vacation style charters. I'm sure I'm looking in the wrong places. Can I get some suggestions for finding something that would provide a more useful experience for us? Somewhere in the Southeast would be preferred, but we are very mobile and can travel. I have time over the winter months, so Florida would work, if good options are available there.

Appreciate any ideas.
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Old 11-27-2020, 03:18 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard. You can certainly get a sense of the issues by staying tuned here, but for your immediate question, I googled up "florida trawler charters" and came up with a number of items including this https://www.swfyachts.com/
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Old 11-27-2020, 03:26 PM   #3
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Southwest Florida Yacht Charters has a fleet of trawlers ranging from a Grand Banks 32 to a Jefferson 52 MY (well maybe this one isn't a trawler, but close). They can arrange a captain to help you out for the first few days and after that I will bet you will be fine on your own.

Lots of cruising opportunities starting from Cape Coral, Fl: Ft Myers Beach, Cayo Costa State Park, to name a few.

I would suggest either the Mainship 400 or the Grand Banks 42 to have enough room for the captain to sleep overnight.

Will it be a trawler in addition to a condo or something or will the trawler be it. If the latter maybe go with a 40'er for more room for extended live aboard cruising.

The Grand Banks 32 is about as small as a live aboard trawler gets. If you want to stay in that size range there are hundreds of 34' trawlers on the market. Maybe split up your charter with a 40' for 2-3 nights and the GB 32 for another 2-3 to see what works for you.

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Old 11-27-2020, 04:33 PM   #4
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Thanks Rich & David. Looks like Southwest Florida Yacht Charters is precisely what I was looking for. I'll contact them and see what options make sense for us.

I never thought about having a liveaboard trawler for the second place, in lieu of a condo. I guess one key to that idea is to find a marina that I'd feel secure with leaving it unattended for weeks at a time. Is that difficult to find?

Certainly something to think about.

Ken
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Old 11-27-2020, 05:19 PM   #5
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You won't have a problem finding a marina for your boat. Lots and lots of snow birders do it.

Marinas get more expensive the further south you go. Stuart is kind of the sweet spot it seems: far enough north to be reasonable but close enough to get down to the keys for a week.

I suspect jumping into a live aboard trawler from your current level of experience is probably unthinkable. So buy your condo and look for a smallish trawler in the 32-34' size that works for maybe a week at a time but not as a permanent live aboard.

Then if you get hooked you can sell or rent the condo, sell the small trawler and get a bigger one to live on full time.

$50K would be a decent budget for a 32-34' trawler from the 80s, more if newer.

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Old 11-27-2020, 05:30 PM   #6
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Old 11-27-2020, 05:38 PM   #7
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We offer overnights and charter opportunities. Our schedule in Beaufort, NC starts up in April.
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Old 11-27-2020, 06:14 PM   #8
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Finding a slip where a live aboard is allowed can be much harder than just finding a slip. If you are of a mind to leave your boat for extended times, like a number of months, there are inland covered storage facilities up the Caloosahatchee waterway from Fort Myers.
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Old 11-27-2020, 07:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgano View Post
Finding a slip where a live aboard is allowed can be much harder than just finding a slip. If you are of a mind to leave your boat for extended times, like a number of months, there are inland covered storage facilities up the Caloosahatchee waterway from Fort Myers.
Good point and the cost of inland dry storage is a fraction of what a marina slip will be.

But to your point about finding a live aboard slip. I will bet live aboard slips are easy to find in the summer months when he will return to his first home, but not so easy in the winter months.

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Old 11-27-2020, 07:49 PM   #10
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I just happened to watch this today. A recently retired couple totally new to boats bought a Nordhavn 50. Boat is less important than their experience described in this interview by Jeff Merrill, the broker who sold them the boat and accompanies them on their maiden voyage.

https://youtu.be/fdKtK21vHJE

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Old 11-28-2020, 11:14 AM   #11
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Thanks for the link Peter. I went ahead and watched the long version of this video. I like the idea of getting good hands on training from an experienced captain. Is that a fairly common service from a quality broker? After reviewing Jeffís website, he seems very comprehensive with his information and offerings.

I have no current expectation on size of vessel yet, which is why Iíd like to experience some charters before I start hunting for a boat. I also need to determine what other requirements we need. Iím sure thereís a number of criteria decisions Iím not even aware of yet.

I should also start visiting some full service marinas that are available in the areas we are considering. That will help me get familiar with the storage options Iíll have. My previous experiences have all been with small scale marinas that offer minimal options.

Ken
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Old 11-28-2020, 12:05 PM   #12
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I know I'll catch some flak here but I'm getting used to it so here goes..

Do your due diligence and buy a boat. By due diligence I mean talking to boaters, reading about boats, walking docks, going to boat shows, maybe even getting out on the water.

Then, buy a boat! Just do it!

Get it to a marina, make some friends (it's easy). Offer to pay some experienced captain to go out with you a few times. He does not need to be a licensed "captain" just look at his boat, if it is all shipshape and the owner seems to know about boats and boat handling get him to take you out. (I would do it if asked, if I was near)

From that point on use the boat!

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Old 11-28-2020, 12:39 PM   #13
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Another twist on your approach that may or may not work for you...
As mentioned marinas(and insurance) generally get more expensive the further south you go. Rather than look in the area you would like to winter you might consider a 2nd home base a little further north. Cruise local some and do an extended cruise for mid winter.
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Old 11-28-2020, 01:14 PM   #14
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Very good point Don. We're actually leaning more towards the Carolinas. We just recently returned from a trip to Charleston SC on up to New Bern NC. The New Bern area and people seemed very appealing to us and the marinas in the area looked nice. I'd like to find a place that has a local body of water that would be good for a rookie to develop skills and experience.

We're already very familiar with Florida & it is not out of the picture yet.

We're going to visit southeastern Virginia in early 2021 to scout out a few areas. I've been told about Atlantic Yacht Basin as a potential storage option. I believe they're located in Chesapeake VA.

I'm going to also reach out to some brokers in the next week or so. I'd like to find someone that enjoys working with new boaters. If anybody has suggestions or referrals, please pass them along to me.

Ken
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Old 11-28-2020, 05:01 PM   #15
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Ken
I don't know exactly where the hurricane cut off latitude is but I'm sure others here on TF can fill you in. I understand there is a lot or city location and date that makes a big difference in insurance $.
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Old 11-28-2020, 05:57 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaseIt View Post
Thanks for the link Peter. I went ahead and watched the long version of this video. I like the idea of getting good hands on training from an experienced captain. Is that a fairly common service from a quality broker? After reviewing Jeffís website, he seems very comprehensive with his information and offerings.

I have no current expectation on size of vessel yet, which is why Iíd like to experience some charters before I start hunting for a boat. I also need to determine what other requirements we need. Iím sure thereís a number of criteria decisions Iím not even aware of yet.

I should also start visiting some full service marinas that are available in the areas we are considering. That will help me get familiar with the storage options Iíll have. My previous experiences have all been with small scale marinas that offer minimal options.

Ken
I am only acquainted with Jeff but my impression is he's a really good guy. He was with PAE/Nordhavn for years as a project manager vs a sales person. He has a good way with people and understands the sales cycle for the target market of folks such as in the video - early retirees, decent savings, ready for a new adventure. It takes a couple years for a dream to develop.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, I was a main presenter for TrawlerFest. I met a lot of people like yourself. I was a very good delivery skipper, but there were guys with more credentials. Where excelled was in teaching. I came to boating relatively late in life - my family were first generation Sicilians who landed in Newark NJ and could barely replace a light bulb without help let alone drive a boat.

So I remembered the frustration of driving a boat well. And I'm pretty good at reading people.

Long intro to say that many, many delivery skippers are damn good delivery skippers, but they are often lousy teachers. I've seen them in action and they just don't understand a thing about how people learn. Driving a boat is not something you can read about, then go do. A teachers role is to develop situations where the student can fail safely. From there comes confidence, from there comes muscle memory. And women learn much differently than men.

Take time and care finding someone to work with you. Ignore the long resume of bar crossings or ocean crossings. The guy who taught me many years ago was an amazing close quarter helmsman. He and his petit wife were the go-to people to shoe-horn boats into boat show docks even in the breezy San Francisco conditions. But he was a lousy teacher. He was so good at what he did, he had no idea what he was doing. It was just second nature. He didn't understand why anyone would do it any other way.

Its been many years, but I heard good feedback on a captain by the name of Linda Lewis. I believe she's out of the PNW. There are also two women who run SeaSenseBoating.com in Florida who have been teaching forever. People like these know how to teach. How to help people learn. It's a special skill that few have.

Ill leave you with what I told 1000s of people at TrawlerFest presentations: it's easier to learn how to drive a boat than it is to learn how to afford one. If you've reached the point in life where a trawler lifestyle is a possibility, you're over the hump. No doubt you've hired professionals throughout your life - finding a captain to assist is only a modest challenge. But don't be impressed with sea miles alone

Best success

Peter
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Old 11-28-2020, 08:33 PM   #17
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I have heard others note that insurance hurricane northern limit is 30N, but I bet it varies from company to company. Demopolis is pretty much a holding area for vessels headed down the Tenn-Tom on their Great Loop trips until the end of the season.
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