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Old 08-01-2021, 04:33 PM   #1
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New gent looking at trawlers to retire in....

Hello all, I've been lurking her for awhile but finally ready to register and I don't think I can contribute much since I am new to boating but over time maybe that will change.

My first question out of the box is, what size trawler could someone fairly new to trawlers be able to operate single handedly once they get some (limited) experience? (I am not looking to live aboard).

I ask because I could see myself wanting to explore or fish when no one else is available but will this be possible? Spouse will be with me most of time but not necessarily all the time.

I would like to get a 36 - 40' trawler, if not realistic to handle myself, I was thinking a 27 - 31' Ranger Tug or comparable. I do have place in NC and FL that I will take training classes with and I look to hire captain for certain trips to build up experience.

My goal is not "blue water" but instead Chesapeake Bay, near shore Atlantic and Florida's gulf coast. Maybe Loop at some point or trips to Bahama's.

For the 40' trawlers options I am looking at Nordhavn, Beneteau Swift and some down east styles. Are there other boats that compete with the Beneteau Swift that has both slow and faster option?

Thanks
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Old 08-01-2021, 05:29 PM   #2
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Old 08-01-2021, 05:34 PM   #3
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My single-screw, with bow thruster, 35-footer is readily single-handled. Many others have the same quality.
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Old 08-01-2021, 05:56 PM   #4
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I single hand a 42' trawler. This is the 2nd one.

If I'm coming into a new marina as a transient, I call ahead and then send a person or two to help with lines so that the wind can't carry me away as I'm sorting out the new situation.

At my home slip, I have lines sorted out to be straight forward to manage. And, if the wind is crazy and I can't wait it out, I know my dock neighbors and they'll help. During business hours, the marina can also send a couple of people over, but I save that for the rare occasion when the inds or seas are really bad and there are no dock neighbors to be had. That is more a service for transients than regulars.

I was a little rough when I was learning, but have gotten to be fine. I've only really had one bad experience since then. I forgot I had my outboard hanging off my starboard side near the stern and nailed it on a piling while coming in with a lot of throttle, necessitated by a really heavy and gusty wind. The outboard was fine. The stanchions near where it was attached took some fixing.

I guess I just recommend getting some good coaching early on, having some crew aboard and on the dock while you are first learning. And, even after that, just don't be afraid to try again later or get help dockside.

Talent helps, but for most driving a boat is overwhelmingly a skill. It just takes time. So pick the opportunities that let your skill grow as you get better, keeping it simple with good support at first.
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Old 08-02-2021, 04:14 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 68camaro View Post
Hello all, I've been lurking her for awhile but finally ready to register and I don't think I can contribute much since I am new to boating but over time maybe that will change.

My first question out of the box is, what size trawler could someone fairly new to trawlers be able to operate single handedly once they get some (limited) experience? (I am not looking to live aboard).

I ask because I could see myself wanting to explore or fish when no one else is available but will this be possible? Spouse will be with me most of time but not necessarily all the time.

I would like to get a 36 - 40' trawler, if not realistic to handle myself, I was thinking a 27 - 31' Ranger Tug or comparable. I do have place in NC and FL that I will take training classes with and I look to hire captain for certain trips to build up experience.

My goal is not "blue water" but instead Chesapeake Bay, near shore Atlantic and Florida's gulf coast. Maybe Loop at some point or trips to Bahama's.

For the 40' trawlers options I am looking at Nordhavn, Beneteau Swift and some down east styles. Are there other boats that compete with the Beneteau Swift that has both slow and faster option?

Thanks
There is a Great Looper who next season will be embarking on his third Loop solo on a 53-footer.
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Old 08-02-2021, 06:20 AM   #6
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Take a look at the American Tug.

https://www.americantugs.com

Finding a used AT maybe difficult and then even more difficult on the east coast.
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Old 08-02-2021, 10:19 AM   #7
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Spinner (Sue) on this forum single hands her Nordic Tug 42 all the time.
I agree with Dan. Have a look at both American and Nordic Tugs. They cruise at 6-8 knots (depending on size) very economically fuel wise, and are capable of up to 17 knots wide open (for short periods - 14 knots more sustained but at a larger fuel consumption). Bow thrusters were standard (on all but the NT 26) and many have added stern thrusters.
Nordhavn and Beneteau Swift are very different boats, designed for differing purposes. These Tugs kind of "split the difference", it you will.

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Old 08-02-2021, 10:47 AM   #8
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I'm generally for the 27-31 Ranger Tug option. They're big enough to do what you describe, provide speed on demand, and are generally set up for relatively easy handling. The options for land storage and transport are greater, and there is an established market when (if?) you want to go bigger.

I travel solo in a 50' boat. It can be done. But I worked my way up to it, and have the skills and confidence to mostly stay out of trouble. Anything bigger than about 35' or 20,000 pounds takes you into situations where muscle on the dock needs to be replaced with technique and fairly specialized boat handling skills. Better to learn on a more manageable platform IMO.
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Old 08-02-2021, 02:13 PM   #9
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Thanks all, it sounds like it could be done with trawler in this size but easier on tug, with correct training and coaching and backup help available. I mentioned Ranger but I am open to others. the only issue with tugs were more narrow beam and lighter weight. Maybe larger tug answer...hmmmm. The tugs setup are really nice. I will not be trailering though and do require a fly bridge.

The appeal to trawler is weight and bulk. Expanding cruise area when experience dictates on heavier boat may be more comfortable.

Retirement is less than 2 years away so pulling trigger next summer on boat would be ideal. This gives us oppty to hit boat shows and maybe trawlerfest.

We are looking for a lightly used, few year old, boat and hopefully market will be in our favor next year.

Choices choices.
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Old 08-02-2021, 02:20 PM   #10
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Hi 68camaro,
You might want to take a close look at this. Look carefully. It's not just another thruster. The "variable speed" solution has led me to change my thinking on what might be able to be done single-handedly. I must admit, I have no direct experience with these, but I'm keeping them in mind should the day ever come when I want to buy and operate a larger boat without the benefit of my mate.
https://www.sleipnergroup.com/leisur...-speed-control
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Old 08-02-2021, 02:33 PM   #11
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Welcome

You found the best forum to assist you with your questions. The most important thing you can do is take your time, research the pro's & con's with each boat (no boat is perfect) and get aboard as many boats as possible prior to making an offer. I like to use a simple little rule I came up many years ago called "The 90% Rule" (who will be aboard 90% of the time and how will you use the boat 90% of the time). Try not to stray too far away and you should make a good decision.

Since you mention "coastal" cruising will be part of your travels and you mentioned the N40 you may also want to look at the KK 39. Keep your questions coming.

John T.

N4050, N4061, N3522 and H38e - previous owner
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Old 08-02-2021, 03:21 PM   #12
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Take a look at the American Tug.

https://www.americantugs.com

Finding a used AT maybe difficult and then even more difficult on the east coast.
Incredibly just today I found a 34 w/ fly bridge within 90 minutes of me that is under contract with at least one full cash offer w/ deposit backup and several other interested parties.

Tug sold significantly more than owner paid several years ago...market red hot right now.
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Old 08-02-2021, 03:27 PM   #13
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Hi 68camaro,
You might want to take a close look at this. Look carefully. It's not just another thruster. The "variable speed" solution has led me to change my thinking on what might be able to be done single-handedly. I must admit, I have no direct experience with these, but I'm keeping them in mind should the day ever come when I want to buy and operate a larger boat without the benefit of my mate.
https://www.sleipnergroup.com/leisur...-speed-control
I just put this on "want" list, even if added later. Looks really helpful.

Thanks
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Old 08-02-2021, 03:33 PM   #14
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Yes, mine sold in 5 days with no broker and only listed on 3 forums like TF. Hot market for sellers, no so great for buyers.
Rangers are a different animal than the American and Nordic Tugs. Ranger owners mostly plane their boats and cruise above 14 knots or so, while the AT and NT owners usually cruise around 7-8 knots. Step on board a Ranger (narrower boat than NT /AT) and the boat will list quite a bit. Step on board the other Tugs and they hardly move (wider beam and heavier boat). No right or wrong, just different boats with different ways of using them.
You may want to charter one of each to get a better understanding of "what you like"?
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Old 08-02-2021, 03:34 PM   #15
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You found the best forum to assist you with your questions. The most important thing you can do is take your time, research the pro's & con's with each boat (no boat is perfect) and get aboard as many boats as possible prior to making an offer. I like to use a simple little rule I came up many years ago called "The 90% Rule" (who will be aboard 90% of the time and how will you use the boat 90% of the time). Try not to stray too far away and you should make a good decision.

Since you mention "coastal" cruising will be part of your travels and you mentioned the N40 you may also want to look at the KK 39. Keep your questions coming.

John T.

N4050, N4061, N3522 and H38e - previous owner
90/10 rule makes sense. For me 90% with someone but I do like to explore on my own, currently have RV that I travel with all the time to fish alone.

Life's too short to be watching from sidelines.
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Old 08-02-2021, 04:14 PM   #16
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I added a wireless remote DockMate to my AT34. I can control either or both single speed thrusters and also the transmission, at idle. They also make a unit for variable speed thrusters too.
There is a remote function, at additional price, for the anchor but, easier just to go fwd and use the foot peddles to raise or lower the anchor, idle speed and if necessary the thrusters.
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Old 08-02-2021, 09:03 PM   #17
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Will you be anchoring or marina based over night? I'm a new boater with a 54' trawler and find soloing to achoring reasonably easy. With single screw and no thrusters, marinas are totally different. For now I don't play nicely with others and avoid them like the plague. Perhaps 2 engines, thrusters and more experience would change that but for now I only see marinas for refuel and then only when conditions are very still.

Remember that actually moving from A to B is easy. It's the panic sessions are the start and end to at need to be catered for.

Good luck
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Old 08-02-2021, 10:08 PM   #18
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Will you be anchoring or marina based over night? I'm a new boater with a 54' trawler and find soloing to achoring reasonably easy. With single screw and no thrusters, marinas are totally different. For now I don't play nicely with others and avoid them like the plague. Perhaps 2 engines, thrusters and more experience would change that but for now I only see marinas for refuel and then only when conditions are very still.

Remember that actually moving from A to B is easy. It's the panic sessions are the start and end to at need to be catered for.

Good luck
With wife I think we will stay at marinas often but not always. By self I would prefer to anchor out.

I have watched too many Youtube videos of failed dockings to not appreciate the importance of doing it correctly. That said, bow and stern thrusters are a must have, and if I go with outboard for some reason, bow thruster still a must at a minimum.

Does single screw mean one engine? And does this refer to IB or IB and OB?

Thanks
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Old 08-02-2021, 10:44 PM   #19
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Does single screw mean one engine? And does this refer to IB or IB and OB?

Thanks
Either. Differential thrust makes any vesssel SO much easier to handle. Especially in close quarters.
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Old 08-05-2021, 08:54 AM   #20
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OP here, just wanted to give a quick update to a trip I took yesterday to look at a Nordhavn 47 and Ranger Tug....I know two totally different boats, but hey... I am just learning...LOL

I'll keep it short. The Ranger was a 2018 27' and while I knew it would be too small for our needs, the step aboard confirmed it. I was considering a 31 but I think that will be too small also. However, I did really like the layout. It really is a smart layout and you seem to get a lot for the money. The bath was pretty roomy for boat size, I thought.

BTW the dealer is current taking orders for 2023, their 2022 slots are taken. They only had the used 27' in stock.

Nordhavn 47 - the main reason for trip was to see a used Nordhavn 47 that was dry docked for repair/cleaning. Although it was under contract a survey was not done and it was in very rough shape so current buyer might want to look themselves. I went to see size and layout.

My immediately thought as I walked up to the boat in the boatyard, looked almost straight up into the sky to see the top was "Oh my gosh, this thing is freakin' huge". It is massive from my perspective while dry docked. As I walked around it I only thought, how the heck do you control this...yikes....

Going on board immediately I could see why people love these. Again, I am newb, but inside is so impressive and well thought out. However, when walking into the pilot house I immediately became overwhelmed and thought " no way" as I was looking at all the guages/ screens and staring over the bow. Beautiful boat but way too big for us...at this point anyway.

As an aside, the marina had a Nordhavn at end of dock and although dock was private the manager I was speaking with was nice enough to walk down the doc with me to see what size the Nordhavn in the water was, it was another 47, in really nice condition, and for some reason in the water it looked less intimidating and the lines are beautiful.

We left at 8am arrived back home at almost midnight, with a stop in Chincoteague, and the trip absolutely helped narrow size we need to look at. I think min 36 due to space we need and max 43 since we don't want to get something we cannot confortably operate.
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