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Old 08-11-2020, 10:06 PM   #1
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Might jump over from sailing...

My wife and I have a San Juan 24 that I've put quite a bit of effort into ensuring she's safe, suitable and smart looking, but the wife just doesn't like sailing as much as I do. We've talked recently about getting a trawler instead to cruise the San Juans and beyond in more comfort, if more expense.

Here's our priority list for a trawler, based on desires, experience and capabilities:
-Cost: Sub-$75k for sure, sub-$50k for the right boat
-Hull: I'm not crazy about wood. I like the idea, but have seen too many customers unaware of serious developing issues that just wouldn't happen with fiberglass.
-History and condition: I worked at a local boatyard and was a crew chief for a motorcycle race team for 12 years, plus I do have the Nigel Calder book. I'm comfortable performing most repairs that don't require cylinder head removal or opening a boat transmission. That said, of course better is better, and time cruising is better than time wiring and varnishing.
-Looks: The missus has to think she's pretty, of course.
-LOA: I need to be able to singlehand on a regular basis in year-round PNW weather. Also, bow thruster. Also, a cheaper slip is a huge plus.
-Beam and stability: If she's too "rolly" we're back where I am now with the wife uncomfortable at sea.
-GPH: A major part of why I love sailing is cost per mile. Reasonable GPH at cruising speed is a must.
-Speed: Semi-planing seems nice to have, but seems likely to price us out.

What sayeth the group? Is this a fool's errand or are there possibilities for us? I traded a motorcycle for my trusty SJ24 Wasabi, so even $50-$75k is a huge jump for us. That said, we both love the water and the San Juans, but getting the missus to commit to days aboard my little sailboat ain't gonna happen.
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Old 08-11-2020, 10:14 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard. I would absolutely stay away from a woodie. Unless you love working on wood...
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Old 08-11-2020, 11:25 PM   #3
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One of the things when discussing power boats with my sailing friends is the cost of fuel. My sailing buddies always point out the cost of diesel/gas for the boat and how high it is. What I tell them is for a season, most of the time the cost is about a third of one car's fuel a year. Here's the problem. With a car you pay roughly $60 a week for a year which is $3120 per year. So roughly $1000/year for cruising if you take my one third estimate of fuel for a boat.

The problem is when you go to fill up, the bill comes in at $800/900/1000 and not $60 a week so the hit feels harder. And this is for the smaller cruisers, not the biggies. But if you put the boat fuel in perspective of a car's fuel bill for a year, it isn't too bad.

I'm going to throw some suggestions out there:

1) If I lived in Blaine, I'd prefer to keep my boat in Bellingham. This town is closer to the San Juan Islands and points south. I'd prefer to do the distance travel by car, then hop over to my preferred cruising areas by boat. I live in Qualicum Beach, literally 5 minutes from French Creek Marina but I keep my boat in Comox which is much closer to Desolation Sound and other goodies. I do the distance thing in my car (roughly a one hour drive) also saving fuel as well as time, then get on my boat closer to where I want to be.

2) I prefer something faster than a trawler unless it is some form of fast trawler. In your and my area we are a short hop over to some great cruising areas. My bias is to go faster for the first hour then slow down and smell the roses. One hour of fast will get you from Bellingham to the closest San Juan Island (to lazy to go look and see which one it is). Then you can slow down to 7 knots or so and cruise......................

3) Also if you are out of Bellingham, to use sailing jargon, you will have a beam reach on your trawler/tug/express/sedan cruiser. When it is windier its nice to make the jump faster and not be bouncing around on a slow boat as you take a beam wind/sea off of the open water on your way to the San Juans.

4) Remember a trawler going 7 knots is faster than a sailboat going 7 knots. So you will be more destination oriented than travel oriented. Comox to Desolation is much like Bellingham to the Islands, you will make this traverse so many times the initial hour will loose its luster and you will be more inclined to be in Friday Harbor rather than getting to Friday Harbor. I make the traverse going to and back from Desolation and surrounding areas so I like to move a bit. You can always make a fast boat go slow, but you can never make a slow boat go fast.

5) This is my opinion, caveat - not THE TRUTH - but I think the best boats for our area are semi displacement hulls that can achieve a plane. The tug series of boats like Nordic and Ranger Tugs are really express cruisers in drag but I think these boats are great for our area. Also express cruisers like Cutwaters and Back Coves do a great job of cruising and moving.

6) If you can, get a boat with a full bimini that covers the entire cockpit with fold down soft walls. This will really extend the time on the water during our rainy season. So it can be pissing out greatly and you can be sitting in your chairs in the cockpit on the hook enjoy a brew or two. Try that on a sailboat. Also if you can, your boat should come with a heater again for off season cruising.

7) No outboards on your fast boat as you will need a swim grid for your dinghy, the smart car of cruising families.
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Old 08-12-2020, 06:04 AM   #4
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I will second what rsn48 has stated very well.
You didnt mention your current work / cruise style but if you will be on some sort of a schedule having the ability to go a little faster will be appreciated, eventhough the cost will be higher for those times.
Only the sailors talk about the cost of fuel... it's not that big of a deal IMO it's just part of boating. While it is brought up often, when you tally up all the annual costs of boating it isn't a large %.
Sailors don't talk much about how much it costs to step/unstep the mast or buy/repair sails, etc.
Enjoy your adventures and welcome aboard TF
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Old 08-12-2020, 07:08 AM   #5
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After 60+ years of sailing in all but the worst conditions I am heading for "the dark side."

A few weeks ago I was out for a sail on an OPB (other persons boat) to wit a 50' Leopard Catamaran with an MSRP just shy of 7 figures, and it was perfect. 15 knots of wind on the beam, flat water, 75ºF..... everything sailing should be as we tacked back and forth to nowhere.

But the truth is, and I will admit it readily having cruised thousands of miles, that these days are far and few between. If you're actually trying to go somewhere the wind is the wrong direction and too much or not enough. I don't want to recall the hundreds and hundreds of days I stood in the cockpit at the wheel getting cooked or frozen to death. And yes, the table at 20º heel so nothing would stay on it, or the counter tops.....

So.... leave at 10:00, 27 nm at 9 knots.... we get there at 13:00 If it's nice on the fly bridge, if it's hot or cold or wet inside. In my helm chair, with a cup of joe that stays put. And my lovely bride on the couch not holding on for dear life.

As to what to get? Keep looking at boat porn on Yacht World..... you'll know it when you see it. Single handling is a non issue. Learn how to work prop/rudder and a spring line. Get a boat with a stout rub rail. Looks? You'll know it when she sees it.

Have fun.
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Old 08-12-2020, 07:51 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by oscar View Post
After 60+ years of sailing in all but the worst conditions I am heading for "the dark side."

A few weeks ago I was out for a sail on an OPB (other persons boat) to wit a 50' Leopard Catamaran with an MSRP just shy of 7 figures, and it was perfect. 15 knots of wind on the beam, flat water, 75ºF..... everything sailing should be as we tacked back and forth to nowhere.

But the truth is, and I will admit it readily having cruised thousands of miles, that these days are far and few between. If you're actually trying to go somewhere the wind is the wrong direction and too much or not enough. I don't want to recall the hundreds and hundreds of days I stood in the cockpit at the wheel getting cooked or frozen to death. And yes, the table at 20º heel so nothing would stay on it, or the counter tops.....

So.... leave at 10:00, 27 nm at 9 knots.... we get there at 13:00 If it's nice on the fly bridge, if it's hot or cold or wet inside. In my helm chair, with a cup of joe that stays put. And my lovely bride on the couch not holding on for dear life.

As to what to get? Keep looking at boat porn on Yacht World..... you'll know it when you see it. Single handling is a non issue. Learn how to work prop/rudder and a spring line. Get a boat with a stout rub rail. Looks? You'll know it when she sees it.

Have fun.
Great stuff here, thanks for the insights.
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Old 08-12-2020, 08:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
I am heading for "the dark side."

I know it is in good fun and all, but please stop calling it that. Pretty please?


Thanks
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Old 08-12-2020, 09:42 AM   #8
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TnJ,
So, you out walking the docks?
Rsn advice is good.
If you want to see a good example of what a 30 y.'o. sub 50K 6 knot trawler is like come on down to J dock La Conner this week end, I should be back by then. Pm me if that works for you. Presently making a hole in the water in the islands.

Me: 9 seasons 750 superbike regional racer, 16 seasons running trackdays, so we might have something to talk about. And bring the missus.
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Old 08-12-2020, 10:27 AM   #9
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TnJ,
So, you out walking the docks?
Rsn advice is good.
If you want to see a good example of what a 30 y.'o. sub 50K 6 knot trawler is like come on down to J dock La Conner this week end, I should be back by then. Pm me if that works for you. Presently making a hole in the water in the islands.

Me: 9 seasons 750 superbike regional racer, 16 seasons running trackdays, so we might have something to talk about. And bring the missus.
We can't turn down an offer like that. BTW our kid was the #2 plate holder at WMRRA in 2012, for sure we'll have something to talk about besides just boats.
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Old 08-12-2020, 10:28 AM   #10
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You can learn a lot about different boats, but you will have to see them in person to get a good 'feel' for the boats.

You mention that you wife doesn't like sailing as much as you do. Does she not like sailing at all? or does she not like sailing on a small boat. There is a big difference between a 35'+ sailboat and your current 24' boat.

I'm currently looking at my next boat. To be honest, I'm not sure if it will be power or sail. Been interested recently in a late 90's Hunter 376. Nice examples can be had for under 60K.

In the end, if you want your wife to join you on the boat, she needs to be involved in the boat selection process. When you have a list of different type boats, take her with you to check them out! Find out what things she likes and doesn't like in the different boats you look at.

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Old 08-12-2020, 10:36 AM   #11
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I know it is in good fun and all, but please stop calling it that. Pretty please?


Thanks
But, but I was told there would be cookies. OK.... I'll stop.
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Old 08-12-2020, 11:08 AM   #12
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important to get inside boats to see how they feel to you. They will all feel big compared to sailboats but spend a lot of time on them trying out the helm position, seating , berths walking the decks etc. Dont fall in love with the outside appearance first.
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Old 08-12-2020, 11:25 AM   #13
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IT'S OKAY....DON'T PANIC!!!!!
Now take a deep breath. You are going through the transitional phases of a recovering sailboater. Unlike alcoholics, you can fully recover...but it will take some effort and some time. The one thing you need to say to yourself over and over and over...."It's ok to be comfortable...it's ok to be comfortable...it's ok to be comfortable"!!!!

And if you are ever just sitting there on your trawler and you find everything is just absolutely perfect and you have absolutely no further need to do anything other than enjoy it.....I would suggest getting a hammer and hitting your thumb with it. That way you can experience the misery you used to experience on your sailboat. I know it is not the same, but it helps!!! It's okay to be comfortable!!! Yes there is a bit of guilt, I know. Especially if you are Catholic like me. But it is okay to be comfortable. It is okay to run the generator. It is likely a LOT cheaper to buy, install and maintain a generator than all of the crap related to solar and wind charging systems. And get this....a generator actually WORKS!!! You get stable 120 volt power at 60Hz!!!! It doesn't even need to be sunny outside for it to work!!! I'm serious!!!!...

I think I am going to sell(to recovering sailboaters) a hammer encased in a glass tube..."Break in case of emergency"....so that way if you find yourself just having way too much fun and being way too comfortable, you can break the glass and get the hammer and smash your thumb!!!!
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Old 08-12-2020, 11:52 AM   #14
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OK, last summer I was in your shoes. Hard core sailor who went to the dark side ... oops, sorry, not supposed to use that term ... who bought a stinkpot to keep the wifeypoo happy. Like you, I had modest goals in the boat we were looking for. Then I made a big mistake, I took the wife to the Seattle boat show. She fell madly in love with the Ranger Tugs (Man those folks know how to market to the wives!). Her mind was set, and we bought a Ranger. We couldn't afford it, so we've got it in charter to cover most of the costs.

So after a couple summers of aiming the boat in the direction I want and getting there far earlier than I thought possible, where am I? Well, the wife is very happy and enjoying cruising the islands (she didn't like sailing), so that trumps any criticisms I may have of this whole power boating thing. But I have discovered it's an entirely different activity than sailing. I still far prefer sailing. I'm more about the challenge of getting there rather than the actual getting there part. But ... don't feel too sorry for me. I kept the sailboat (yeah, I'm supposed to be selling it, I'll get to that ... maybe ... some day).

Good luck in your search!
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Old 08-12-2020, 01:23 PM   #15
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I know it is in good fun and all, but please stop calling it that. Pretty please?


Thanks
How about "he's seen the light."
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Old 08-12-2020, 02:10 PM   #16
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So to wet your appetite more, I'm going to link to a Slowboat Webinar introducing the Inside Passage, which really means from Washington up to Alaska. The company is owned and run by three folks and how smart are they? They get to write off their boat, fuel, insurance, maintains, some moorage, etc as a business expense. They are a company that takes nervous nellies from Washington up to Alaska (it ain't cheap) and get paid for it. In other words, the other guy is paying their way. I don't know what they are doing during this whole covid thing.

Into the video you will see the one owner used his 22 foot c Dory with a 90 hp motor to twice do a Washington/Alaska trip including the West coast of Vancouver Island.

Short vid of the 22 foot C dory to illustrate how you can get away with a smaller boat heading north:



Now I wouldn't necessarily recommend this boat but you don't need anything big to make the journey. He will also discuss the "noserlies" that sailboaters face when they transit the Inside Passage, and how being in an open cockpit is not necessarily the best place to be. He and she discuss the "best" type of boat for the Inside Passage transit.

I have linked this many times here at TF, enjoy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...ature=emb_logo

Here is the main page for all their Webinars:

http://slowboat.com/guide/info/slowboat-webinars/
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Old 08-12-2020, 02:32 PM   #17
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So the real reason behind this is your wife doesn't like rolling in rough water. Trawlers tend to be way more rolly than a sailboat. You need to address this problem. There are many boats for sale out there. That's the easy part.

1) You need to determine what her threshold is. If it's 1-3' waves, winds under 15mph, then that's her limit. Don't go out in 3-5 with 25 mph winds. You need good weather apps for decision making and firm go/no go criteria.

2) You need to identify sheltered areas that will be in lee areas so fetch won't build up wave action.

3) All trips should be planned to run with the tide and wind. Not against.

In other words your goal shouldn't be cruising the San Juans, it should be finding calm cruising conditions that won't have your wife see her life flash before her eyes.

So the boat purchase isn't based upon looks, it is based upon sea kindliness and ability to get back to the dock when things head south as they inevitably will. Speed is anathema to trawlers but it gets you back quickly. Fuel is the price you pay for that capability. So you should open up your search to include express or sport cruisers. (Just stay away from gassers)
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Old 08-12-2020, 05:44 PM   #18
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important to get inside boats to see how they feel to you. They will all feel big compared to sailboats but spend a lot of time on them trying out the helm position, seating , berths walking the decks etc. Dont fall in love with the outside appearance first.
I think this is a great comment about not falling in love with the outside appearance of a boat!

However, I don't think it is necessarily true that a sailboat will feel smaller than a trawler. Yes, it may feel different, but not necessarily smaller.

Here is the inside layout of a Grand Banks 36 and a Hunter 376. They are two very similar size boats.

[IMG][/IMG]

The Grand Banks has a LOA of around 36'10" with a 12'8" beam. The Hunter has a LOA of around 37'3" with a 12'7" beam. The headroom in the aft cabin of the Hunter is more limited above the bed as the cockpit floor hangs down, but otherwise, the inside area is about the same.

Jim
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Old 08-12-2020, 07:06 PM   #19
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I know it is in good fun and all, but please stop calling it that. Pretty please?

Thanks
Rather than 'Dark Side' Tom, having moved from sail to power myself many years ago, I'd say he has now entered 'the age of enlightenment'..!
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Old 08-12-2020, 07:15 PM   #20
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But the truth is, and I will admit it readily having cruised thousands of miles, that these days are far and few between. If you're actually trying to go somewhere the wind is the wrong direction and too much or not enough. I don't want to recall the hundreds and hundreds of days I stood in the cockpit at the wheel getting cooked or frozen to death. And yes, the table at 20º heel so nothing would stay on it, or the counter

Have fun.

I love this! As a child of sailors, I had the fine privilege of growing up on small and large sailboats on little and big water. My sister and I have great memories, but as a child you see and experience all of what you just said. Some of my favorite pictures are as a family dressed in foul weather gear with all smiles while the weather was downright crappy behind us. I know there weren’t smiles all the time.

I decided that power boating was for me.

I just sold boat number 4 and now looking for number 5. I still have little clue what I am doing and having the same debate that plays out here daily. Slow or fast? Diesel or Gas? Old or new? Big or small?

The best statement is “Have Fun” because that is what this is all about. Even if I bought an old, fast, big, gasser boat - arguably the worst combo according to some here, I know I’d still have a blast! (Just hopefully not because of the gas!)
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