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!