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Old 11-06-2021, 08:22 AM   #1
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Sailor to Trawlerer

Is there such a word? Trawlerer?
My wife and I decided to search for our next boat and listed our 41 Hunter AC sailboat. While we are sad to leave the sailing community and friends, we are anxious for a different means of cruising the US eastern coast esp the Chesapeake Bay.

In the past 2 weeks we have perused many trawler listing between 37 and 43 ft in the $125k and down range from Maine to the Gulf. So many to choose from but we have a lot of boxes to check off. So far itís been disappointing when I think I find the right boat with most of the amenities, Iíll find it powered with twin 350hp engines. Coming from a sailboat, I always thought of trawlers being a bit more economical that sipped fuel. Being used to visiting the fuel dock every month or two and spending no more than I would for a nice meal, I have to grapple with the idea of always checking my fuel gauges (if they even work).

But alas, the convenience of pointing the boat in the direction I want to travel, combined with the more friendly layout and ample space is worth the trade-off. I am looking forward to finding my next boat.

Iíd welcome any suggestion on makes. We see the many Mariner Traders, Presents, Grand Banks, Presidents, Albins, DeFevers. Just looking for the right one. Thanks for reading
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Old 11-06-2021, 09:47 AM   #2
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Your observation on engine size tells me you are looking at semi-displacement designed hulls which require the power to "get up and go". While you have the option of throttling back and going slower (less fuel) most diesel engines are not designed for that lower RPM range.

If you are looking for something slower and more economical you may want to focus your search on full displacement hull designs (Nordhavn, Kadey Krogen, Willard are a few examples. These boats will be single engine (with a couple of exceptions on larger boats) and very fuel efficient. You will be looking at sailboat speed (6 - 7 knots for a 40') but if you are not in a rush this will be the trade off. These boat will have hulls closer to your sailboat and with stabilization can be very comfortable.

Suggest you read the book Voyaging Under Power to get a feel for these types of trawlers and cruising. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions. I enjoy talking about trawlers. By the way I'm going the opposite direction and just purchase a small sail boat to try something different.

John T. N4050, N4061, N3522, H38E former owner.
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Old 11-06-2021, 10:04 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forum!

Lots of choices for sure. In the price range your in, brand will matter less and condition (how the previous owners took care of it) will matter more. While not always, a smaller boat for the same money will often be in better condition. Lot to be said for single engine boats below 40'. Finally, have big engine(s), doesn't obliterate you to go fast. Pushing the boat through the water at a given speed takes about the same amount of HP regardless of engine size. Lots of owners on this forum cruise with 25 to 50% of their engine(s) HP.

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Old 11-06-2021, 10:16 AM   #4
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Depending on the boat, having big engines isn't necessarily a problem. Diesels scale well efficiency wise, so as long as the engine stays warm enough to run happily, most are still pretty efficient when running at a very low power output. So just because you have the power to go faster doesn't mean you need to use it regularly. And you'll only pay a small efficiency penalty for it in most cases (the loss of efficiency with big engines is partly offset by faster boats typically being lighter in weight).

In my case, we've got 2x 340hp engines in a 38 foot boat and are powered to cruise on plane at 17 - 18 kts continuously (without beating on the engines, as WOT is ~25 kts). But realistically, we spend a whole lot of time with the engines loafing along doing 6.5 - 7 kts for lower fuel burn.

Unless you're looking at full displacement hulls, most semi displacement and planing hulls of a given size will be in the same ballpark for low speed fuel burn regardless of engine size. In general, I'd expect a 40 footer with diesel power (single or twin) to return 2.5 - 3.5 nautical miles per gallon at 6.5 - 7 kts, varying a little based on the exact hull, engines, weight, etc. A full displacement hull will do at least a little better.
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Old 11-06-2021, 11:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digger54 View Post
My wife and I decided to search for our next boat and listed our 41 Hunter AC sailboat. While we are sad to leave the sailing community and friends, we are anxious for a different means of cruising the US eastern coast esp the Chesapeake Bay.

I won't try to give you any advice, since there are many others on here who are much more qualified to do so, and will gladly share their expertise.


I will say, however, that I made the same decision, back in 2012. Sold my Allied Mistress 39 ketch and went to a trawler. For the reasons you cite.



Not a day has gone by since then that I have not missed my sailboat. It is a different lifestyle with a trawler, and the "crowd" is different. Not saying one is better than the other. Just different. I can't just bop over to Isla Mujeres now and spend the winter anchored in the lagoon. I miss that.



Anyway, best of luck in finding what you are looking for. Including the boat.
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Old 11-06-2021, 11:07 AM   #6
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Good advice above indicating don't ignore high hp boats. You can run the slow and almost as efficient as a lower hp engine if you want.

I too made the transition from sail to power. I went from a full keel displacement sailboat with 38 hp weighing about 20,000 lbs to a 20,000 lb semi displacement trawler with ten times the hp. I ran the sailboat under power at 6 kts and burned about 1.5 gph. I ran the trawler at 7 kts and burned about 2.5 gph. But I would sometimes run the trawler at 12-13 kts burning 10 gph. Fuel was one of the lowest cost catagories for both boats.

So don't pay too much attention to hp. More is ok, maybe even better if you occasionally want to go fast.

David

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Old 11-06-2021, 12:09 PM   #7
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I can't just bop over to Isla Mujeres now and spend the winter anchored in the lagoon. I miss that.
A bit above OPs budget, but definitely capable of bopping over to Islas Mujeres. Unfortunately, wrong coast.


https://www.yachtworld.com/yacht/197...0-fbs-7918936/

To the OP: a 40 foot sailboat under power is slower than a 40-foot displacement trawler. Sailboat often have less engine torque, and props are often optimized for sail and not very efficient under power. When I did the 800 nm Baja Ha Ha on a Willard 40 in the company of over 150 sailboats, we were routinely in the first 10 boats to arrive at each stop, often, by over a day.

Good luck in your search

Peter.
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Old 11-06-2021, 02:24 PM   #8
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Have to agree with Peter above, the Willard 40 is indeed a sailor’s trawler, and capable of confidently going places sailors go. There’s a few other full displacement hulls out there that may stretch your budget but are worth considering. Some of those are Hatteras 42 and 48 LRC, Pilgrim 40 & 43, Krogen 42 and Manatee 36, Willard 40, 36 and 30, and some DeFevers. If you absolutely can’t escape the urge to stay with the sailboat form, there’s the Island Packet PY Cruiser (pricey), the Shucker 40, and Gulfstar 36 & 44.

As mentioned above, there may be a whole lot more semi-displacement hulls that could fit better with the $ figure you had in mind, both single and twin engined. Check out the styles names like sedan, Europa, Sun Deck, CPMY, Aft cabin, Down East, etc. on Yachtworld and see what design fits you the most. Best of luck and have fun!
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Old 11-06-2021, 02:32 PM   #9
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I have an Island Packet Trawler Sailer.

It has a decent amount of room and I still get to fiddle with sails.

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Old 11-07-2021, 09:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidM View Post
Good advice above indicating don't ignore high hp boats. You can run the slow and almost as efficient as a lower hp engine if you want.

I too made the transition from sail to power. I went from a full keel displacement sailboat with 38 hp weighing about 20,000 lbs to a 20,000 lb semi displacement trawler with ten times the hp. I ran the sailboat under power at 6 kts and burned about 1.5 gph. I ran the trawler at 7 kts and burned about 2.5 gph. But I would sometimes run the trawler at 12-13 kts burning 10 gph. Fuel was one of the lowest cost catagories for both boats.

So don't pay too much attention to hp. More is ok, maybe even better if you occasionally want to go fast.

David

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That's our situation. Our boat isn't really a trawler (in fact it's a motor yacht built on a sport fish hull). But, being sailors for a really long time, doing six or seven knots is fine with us, and the fuel burn is not horrific at those speeds.

But, it is nice to be able to run up to 14 knots or so if we really need to, and don't mind having our fuel burn doubled (or worse).
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Old 11-07-2021, 10:16 AM   #11
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That's our situation. Our boat isn't really a trawler (in fact it's a motor yacht built on a sport fish hull). But, being sailors for a really long time, doing six or seven knots is fine with us, and the fuel burn is not horrific at those speeds.

But, it is nice to be able to run up to 14 knots or so if we really need to, and don't mind having our fuel burn doubled (or worse).
Same basic story for us. The big key to using a planing hull at low speeds effectively is that it needs to be a slower planing hull (design cruise below 20 kts generally). Those will often have somewhat of a keel, bigger rudders, etc. and will handle better at low speeds.

An example of that is my boat vs the 39 foot Sea Ray it's sitting next to on land right now. Both boats have identical engines. The Sea Ray runs a few knots faster, but honestly less of a difference than I'd expect considering the differences in the hull and the Sea Ray being about 6000 lbs lighter.

The hull designs are noticeably different. My boat has a bit less deadrise, no prop pockets and has a keel. And I draw about a foot more water than the Sea Ray. The forefoot on my hull is much deeper, so easier to keep it from pounding going upwind in rough water. I've got deeper reduction gears, bigger props and nearly twice the rudder surface.

Looking at those differences, it's not surprising that the owner of the Sea Ray indicates that his boat is a bit sluggish to respond and doesn't handle or track great at low speeds, while I find mine handles quite well under the same conditions. At higher speeds, it's a bit different. My boat handles nicely at 17 - 19 kts on plane, but that's about it. Pushing it harder (which it's not powered to do continuously) leads to less than great handling, as the hull starts to get up too high in the water and the keel causes behavioral problems at high speeds. On the other hand, the Sea Ray can happily cruise at 20 kts and would be fine cruising faster if it had engines with a higher continuous output.
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Old 11-07-2021, 12:58 PM   #12
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Two manufacturers that I recommend that might scratch the itch for needing to raise a sail are the Krogen 54 and Diesel Ducks.
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Old 11-07-2021, 01:33 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Digger54 View Post
So far itís been disappointing when I think I find the right boat with most of the amenities, Iíll find it powered with twin 350hp engines. Coming from a sailboat, I always thought of trawlers being a bit more economical that sipped fuel.

Just go slow. See my avatar; it's actually relatively (?) frugal (?) running our 1800 horsepower at about 8Ĺ kts. In the neighborhood of 4-6 GPH total, latter when against heavier tide/current/wind.

I'm told ours is a 32-knot boat at WOT. (And the MAN tech told me the engines will be happy at WOT.) Residual data in the one working plotter says the top speed it's achieved sometime since about 2016 is 33.1 kts.

Ummm.. maybe not gonna happen on my watch, though.

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Old 11-19-2021, 02:18 PM   #14
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Well I have my Albin 40 up for sale. I want to go back to sail. In box me if you have any interest. Maybe a trade? Haha
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Old 11-19-2021, 02:25 PM   #15
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Could you explain to this newby what you mean when you refer to a powerboat "capable of confidently going places sailors go"? It's obviously not a draft issue. Seaworthiness? Range?
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Old 11-19-2021, 02:26 PM   #16
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Wow. Lots of opinions. Take your time and wait until you find the boat that strikes your fancy. I own a 1982 Ocean Alexander with twin 120 Ford Lehmans. Darlin. Cruise speed is 8.3 knots Combined fuel burn is 4.3 gph. I just completed a survey. She was valued at $95k. She had a $50k refurb and engine rebuild 5 years ago and looks new. Good for another 5,000 hrs. I've cruised her from San Diego to Juneau, Alaska and now cruise the Sea of Cortez 6 months of the year. Defeaver makes a similar vessel and usually sells for less. Boats of this vintage were built during the first Arab oil embargo and are relatively fuel conscious. Find one that has been lovingly cared for with covered moirage and you can cruise comfortably.
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Old 11-19-2021, 03:02 PM   #17
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Old 11-19-2021, 03:05 PM   #18
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We made the switch from a Caliber 47 sailboat a couple of years ago to a Heritage East 36. We loved the Caliber. It was perfect for what we bought it for, which was to cruise the Carribean, which we did for 3 years. It was a perfect boat for doing that. Then we came back home to NC. It was too big for the intercoastal rivers we live on, too deep a draft, too hard to maneuver, and not enough open space for sailing. So we decided to buy a trawler. We were looking for something 40' or less, with ONE engine and no ladders, since we had since acquired a 78 lb. German shepherd and needed her to have access to the whole boat. We ended up buying a Heritage East 36, which we love. The steps from one level to another are all molded steps, easy for our GSD, and us with our aging legs, to maneuver. We do all of our driving from the fly bridge, which has a full enclosure and is VERY comfy on a cold day. We've since turned into marina queens, courtesy of the dog, and miss the sipping of a sailboat at the fuel dock, but are very happy with the livability of the boat. We bought it in Clearwater, FL and brought it home at a nice leisurely pace, taking 6 weeks to meander home. This summer we took it up to the Chesapeake Bay, our old stomping grounds. We enjoyed not having to wait for many bridge openings! It's a very comfortable boat. It handles the water differently than a sailboat. We now look for days with winds under 10 kts, just because it's a more comfortable ride and is easier to dock under less wind. Take a look at the Heritage East 36 (the 42 has 2 engines). Enjoy the search!
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Old 11-19-2021, 03:57 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by jwnall View Post
I won't try to give you any advice, since there are many others on here who are much more qualified to do so, and will gladly share their expertise.


I will say, however, that I made the same decision, back in 2012. Sold my Allied Mistress 39 ketch and went to a trawler. For the reasons you cite.



Not a day has gone by since then that I have not missed my sailboat. It is a different lifestyle with a trawler, and the "crowd" is different. Not saying one is better than the other. Just different. I can't just bop over to Isla Mujeres now and spend the winter anchored in the lagoon. I miss that.



Anyway, best of luck in finding what you are looking for. Including the boat.
I had to look up that Island. It looks amazing and I can see how you miss it. I can’t make it there either at least not without going through the Panama Canal - and you make me want to! Sigh. A boat for each coast would be nice! Dreams.
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Old 11-19-2021, 05:01 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Digger54 View Post
Is there such a word? Trawlerer?
My wife and I decided to search for our next boat and listed our 41 Hunter AC sailboat. While we are sad to leave the sailing community and friends, we are anxious for a different means of cruising the US eastern coast esp the Chesapeake Bay.

In the past 2 weeks we have perused many trawler listing between 37 and 43 ft in the $125k and down range from Maine to the Gulf. So many to choose from but we have a lot of boxes to check off. So far itís been disappointing when I think I find the right boat with most of the amenities, Iíll find it powered with twin 350hp engines. Coming from a sailboat, I always thought of trawlers being a bit more economical that sipped fuel. Being used to visiting the fuel dock every month or two and spending no more than I would for a nice meal, I have to grapple with the idea of always checking my fuel gauges (if they even work).

But alas, the convenience of pointing the boat in the direction I want to travel, combined with the more friendly layout and ample space is worth the trade-off. I am looking forward to finding my next boat.

Iíd welcome any suggestion on makes. We see the many Mariner Traders, Presents, Grand Banks, Presidents, Albins, DeFevers. Just looking for the right one. Thanks for reading
Did you look at the helmsman 38 or 43? They may be of interest.
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