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Old 06-20-2013, 05:45 PM   #1
City: Sugar Land, TX
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 14
Lake Guy wants a Trawler

Hi. My wife and I are about four years out from retirement. Up until a few years ago, our vision for retirement was a nice lakehouse in the Texas Hill Country, with a boat or two and a couple of jet skis. Something that we could enjoy day to day and hopefully a place where our kids would want to visit now and then. About six years ago, we bought a nice lakefront house and a recent model 22í I/O deck boat with three other partners. We followed up that purchase with a couple of jet skis and a golf cart (great for beer runs). We have access to the property one week every month, which we thought would be a great transition to our eventual retirement home, which we thought would be in the same general area. We absolutely loved the lifestyle and spent as much time as we could out on the water. But after a few years, we began to realize that we were pretty limited in what we could do and see on our 30 mile long lake. During this time, I spent a lot of time talking to a co-worker who was also nearing retirement and spent all of his spare time updating and refurbishing his trawler to begin his cruising dream. The more we talked, the more I began think that this is what I really wanted to do . . . ditch the lakehouse idea and buy a trawler. It seems like the perfect complement to being retired. We would like to do some coastal cruising, do the Loop and spend some winters in the Caribbean. Probably not live aboard, but we can envision spending 6 to 8 months a year aboard.

Well, my buddy is now retired and he is thrilled with his new cruising lifestyle. As for us, weíve just reached a deal to sell our share in the lakehouse and can now think about purchasing a trawler. My dilemma though is where to start. Iíve logged a lot of hours operating boats on the lake, but I donít think thatís going to be of much help as I move to a trawler. My wife and I have attended several in-the-water boat shows in the Houston area over the past several years and got to see a lot of different size trawlers. We would like to eventually get something in the 40 to 44 foot range, but worry that it might be too much boat for a couple of newbies. Iíd like to buy a boat fairly soon and start gaining some experience cruising on the upper Texas coast, and have considered initially buying something in the 32í to 36í range. Iím thinking this would be easier to learn on and, at least as long as Iím still working, our cruising will mainly be limited to weekends and a few week long trips each year. But, on the other hand, I understand that whatever I buy is likely to require a lot of time/money to get it into the shape where we will be happy with it. Since our time frame for retirement isnít all that far out (four years or less), maybe we should just go with the bigger boat now, rather than spend several years upgrading a smaller boat and then have to sell it.

Iíd love to get some feedback from the group on which way you would do it if you were in my shoes. Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-20-2013, 06:03 PM   #2
Moonstruck's Avatar
City: Hailing Port: Charleston, SC
Vessel Name: Moonstruck
Vessel Model: Sabre 42 Hardtop Express
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 8,276
Welcome. Having done the coastal thing then the river/lake thing then back to the coastal thing, it is easy for me to see where you are in this. If you can operate a 36' boat you can operate a 44' boat. It is too expensive to take steps because of fear of operating the boat. What is important is the configuration of the boat. Get someting that you can handle comfortably both at the helm and on deck.

Chartering is a great way to start. You can charter different style trawlers or other boats to see what will fit you best. Power Squadron and Coast Guard courses are great, and on the water training can be a great thing. There is a world of info in the TF archives. Use the search feature in the bar near the top of the page to query most any subject.

I envy your search. The shopping process is interesting and fun. Good luck.
Don on Moonstruck
Sabre 42 Hardtop Express
When cruising life is simpler, but on a grander scale (author unknown)
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Old 06-20-2013, 06:39 PM   #3
Senior Member
City: Green Turtle Cay/Western NC
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 181
I am going to second Moonstruck and suggest that you invest a small amount in chartering before you spend a large amount to answer the same question. Is this what both of us want?
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:46 AM   #4
City: Sugar Land, TX
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 14
Thanks for the feedback. Your suggestion of charterring before buying is a good one. We had been discussing possible charters to see what types of trawlers would work best for us. Also, we're considering a trawler school where an experienced captain takes us out on his boat for several days and teaches us the basics. This should help us determine what we would like to eventually buy. Right now, I think I'm leaning toward buying something larger that we would be comfortable for the long term, rather than something smaller to learn on and then upgrade later. Thanks again for your comments.
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Old 06-21-2013, 03:54 PM   #5
Phil Fill's Avatar
City: Everett Wa
Vessel Name: Eagle
Vessel Model: Roughwater 58 pilot house
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,919
You can charter which will give you some feel/idea for being on large/open water but it probable will not help to decide the actual boat. 90% of the so called trawler are semi displacement, some mfg use the same hull and just change the super structure to look like a trawler. So make sure you understand/know the difference.

Might want to decide the major basics first.

1) Full or semi displacement hull
2) Single or twin engine
3) The layout/model design
4) size Ė Length, beam, draft.

Then chartering would be more meaningful if you charter a similar kind/size boat. Big/huge different in the way the boats will handle.
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Old 06-21-2013, 04:33 PM   #6
Portuguese's Avatar
City: Salvador - BA
Vessel Name: Rainha Jannota
Vessel Model: Curruira 46
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 667
I strongly recommend reading a book like PASSAGEMAKER by Robert Beebe for a quick start.
Then, try to join a Trawler Fest to see the environment; visit as many marinas as possible especially those that allow liveaboards, talk to boat owners on location and read as much as possible from this Forum. Use our search tool to look for important issues that may help you to make decisions.
My recommendation, do that always together with your partner. Remember, for days in a row she will be the only person that you’ll see and you’ll talk with. In the same manner, you’ll be the only one that she will see and talk with.

There many things in this issue more important than the size of the boat

Above all, portrait joy and happiness in your vision

It is great to be cruising in a motorboat. I swear!
Now retired and cruising in calm waters
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