Originally Posted by Jeff F
Welcome. I go both ways :-)
Question: why do you want a Trawler? Why not a sailboat?
Great question. I think it has to do with deciding how I was going to use the boat. If I wanted to cross oceans, a solid sailboat set up for motor sailing would make the best sense for me. I realized that even on charters when i absolutely LOVED the ability to sail... a Helia 44 for instance, from Ft Lauderdale to KW, I had three days of broad reaching at speed of 9-10.6 kts; but even on those trips I used the motor at least 50% of the time.
This was consonant with the experience of serious cruisers on the interweb, and a cost analysis by Steve Dashew and others pointed out that an efficient motorboat was actually less costly than a similarly capable sailboat. And the forces on the rig are less predictable and potentially more cruise ending than a reliable ICE. The maintenance necessary to keep the skinny stick pointed upwards and the sails drawing full & useful is enjoyable, but a missing cotter pin can end in tears. I am much enamored of efforts like Randy Repass' Wylie 66 which tries to do away with much of the extra hardware yet achieve an awesome exploring vehicle, but you are still limited by the air draft while on the ICW, or from cool nooks and crannies with modest or shallow depth.
So I contemplated Chuck Paine's Steadysailer idea, since it incorporates a tabernacle for canal cruising as brought to life by Ed Joy. But it's a one-off, and I wasn't sure if the paravanes really work with sailing... wouldn't they get in the way?
I really liked the purposeful design and adventuresome intent of these boats, with good engine room access and solid anchoring platforms, forward facing pilothouse and room for dinghy storage and launching. And so slowly I sequed into trawlers, diving deep into issues like keeping fuel clean and bypass oil filters and preventing scaling. I realized that as much as I enjoy tweaking sails and anticipating wind shifts, I could enjoy mechanical design prevention as art, enabling the routine maintenance that would prevent a cruise-limiting event, while providing greater freedom of route planning.
And what do I want to DO with the boat? Well, my wife and I are at the peak of our careers, just a few years and we will have funded our kids' education and paid off our primary dwelling with ample reserves. We'd love to have access to water while winding down and retiring, but have never strongly considered purchasing a beach house... we are peripatetic tourists, enjoying change of scenery and new towns. We spent a week in Charleston, ostensibly for a running race, and took tours, ate meals and learned so much that we knew we wouldn't want to go back there again that quickly. We'd much rather recreate that experience in another area.
Boats with the ability to carry bikes and dinghies are a great way to do that, so I started researching the Great Loop. Warm waters in the winter and NE tours in the summer? Sounds ideal for a few years.
Long winded answers are my style, apparently. But that's how my process got me here.