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Old 05-06-2020, 12:16 PM   #1
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Question Why a Trawler

I grew up on a lake, so have been around small boats all my life. Whenever we'd visit the coast I always enjoyed checking out the marinas with all the big saltwater boats. They always seemed too fancy & expensive to own unless you lived nearby, or actually lived full-time on the water.

Now that I'm retired and sitting around bored during the COVID-19 closedown I've been killing a lot of time surfing the web, which eventually led to looking at boats that are large enough to live & travel on. Browsing the yachtworld.com classifieds it's obvious that powerboats are much more popular than sailboats. I assume that's mainly because they fit under bridges, go where you point them, and don't depend on the wind.

I'm sort of drawn to the romantic freedom of a sailboat. Crossing big water, visiting exotic lands, being one with nature, etc. I realize that the wind doesn't always blow, but a powerboat is limited by the range of its fuel tanks. I do imagine that zigzagging upwind is probably a drag in a sailboat, especially when you're running late, or out of alcohol or TP.

I live near Charlotte, NC and there aren't any navigable rivers nearby, so I don't know much about cruising inland by boat. It must be popular, but it doesn't seem very exciting compared to visiting tropical or foreign places. I'm sure it's a lot less stressful than worrying about hurricanes and pirates, and also very comforting to always have assistance nearby.

Can someone share a link of a map that shows all the navigable inland waterways in the US, or around the world if available?

Also, I'm curious about the fuel costs, and the typical range of trawlers. I assume you can't cross the Atlantic on most of them, but maybe I'm wrong about that? I guess you could cross both the Atlantic or the Pacific if you take Northern routes, but that doesn't seem practical.

I realize I've posted a number of rambling general questions. So, feel free to answer whichever you like and ramble as much as you want. Also, feel free to straighten out any and all of my ignorant misconceptions.


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Old 05-06-2020, 12:34 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard!
If you want to do coastal cruising anywhere from the Mississippi River east, between the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, most trawlers can handle that. For globetrotting and ocean crossing then big sail will be a better fit generally speaking. There are exceptions for both of course.
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Old 05-06-2020, 12:43 PM   #3
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If you are in good physical and mental health, and you dream of crossing oceans I would get a Sailboat. Take a look at the Pacific Seacraft boats available on Yachtworld. Even the smallest are blue water boats. The design and build quality is top notch. Ocean crossing in a Powerboat you just need a huge bank account. Trawlers are great for careful coastal and inland cruising Just depends what you want to do. Even just dreaming about it can be fun in a Pandemic. Enjoy the research.
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Old 05-06-2020, 12:51 PM   #4
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Welcome aboard. You need to decide for yourself what you want/need in a boat. However having said that we have owned 1 sailboat and 22 powerboats. We had the sailboat 3 months and my wife told me to go get another boat.
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Old 05-06-2020, 12:57 PM   #5
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Long ocean passages are not for everyone. Plenty of YouTube sail channels, though when the weather gets crappy, they're a bit busy for filming so what you get are at-anchor bikini shots and Thor-discovers-fire remedial explanations of simple tasks. All I can say is that of the people who switch, at least 80% go from sail to power, probably more (probably a lot more). A few return to sail, but not many. Romance only takes you so far when you're cold, wet, tired, and can't find a way to get comfortable after 2-days of sitting in a cockpit with saltwater sores on your arse.

As far as costs, I pulled this from CruisersForum.com, a sail-oriented sister site to TrawlerForum. Shows monthly average expenses for a guy in a sailboat. Most expenses except for fuel are same for sail or trawler - I must say that many longterm cruisers who have switched between sail and power state the costs are about the same - puts and takes on both sides, so choice is not cost based (exception would be circumnavigators - as others have stated, sail can be done with relative economy, power is a much different price point).

EXAMPLE: I recently saw a Defever 40 for sale on CruisersForum by a couple who had cruised her from San Diego to Florida over 2-years. Basic single engine boat similar to many boats on this forum. Asking price was $50k, so there's a lot of economical cruising to be done without crossing an ocean. They likely burned around 1500 gallons of diesel on their 4500nm trek, which cost them around $5000, or around $210/month, or around $90/month more than the sailor represented in the chart below - considering all other costs, that's around a 3% premium. I can promise you they didn't get off the boat in Miami and say "We should have gone with a sailboat - no need for the island queen berth in the stateroom. And we could have saved a hundred bucks a month..... Next time, sailboat for sure!"

But to give context on fuel, for my slow displacement boat and at $4/gal, I figure about $0.75/mile in fuel at 6.5 kts. My buddy with a Horizon PowerCat 52 spends $8/mile at 18-20-kts. He has two icemakers and a center console dinghy. I make ice cubes in a tray and have a standard RIB with pull-start. He has a range of around 400 nms, I have a range of about 2000 nms. Mostly, I identify with sailors, except for the saltwater sores....and I'm partial to standing watch in slippers.

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Old 05-06-2020, 01:11 PM   #6
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Welcome,

Charlotte is suppose to be a very nice place to retire. But, the lack of cruising options ranks it down lower on our list from other potential retirement areas.

I think there is a fair amount of cruising done on the Tennessee River, but it is a 4 hour trip to Knoxville from Charlotte. If you wanted to only cruise part-time on a smaller boat, the Tennessee River would probably be doable.

My suggestion is that you really focus on how you might use a boat, either power or sail. It's a romantic dream of many to sail off to Tahiti or some other exotic locale. In reality, however, very few folks will actually do this.

While one could do coastal cruising in a 'blue water' boat, it doesn't really make sense to do so. It would make a lot more economic sense to buy a good coastal cruiser (power or sail) if you decided that your actual cruising would be the U.S. and Bahamas.

Jim

p.s. I too love Pacific Seacraft's sailboats. If I were going to do blue water cruising, it likely would be in one of these.
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Old 05-06-2020, 01:23 PM   #7
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Greetings,
Welcome aboard. https://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/...1-a-14905.html
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Old 05-06-2020, 01:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
Can someone share a link of a map that shows all the navigable inland waterways in the US, or around the world if available?
Pickup Jimmy Cornell's World Cruising Routes for passage planning. Another good book on Trawlers is "Voyaging Under Power" by Robert Beebe (updated by Jim Leishman of PAE/Nordhavn fame).

For navigable waterways, spend some quality time figuring out OpenCPN, a free charting software program. All US ENCs (Electronic Nav Charts) are available at no cost and can be downloaded. It's a bit tricky to get the hang of it, but you can add to your list of self-isolation activities in between binge-watching Money Heist or Marvelous Mrs Maisel.

Good luck

Peter
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Old 05-06-2020, 02:42 PM   #9
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However having said that we have owned 1 sailboat and 22 powerboats. We had the sailboat 3 months and my wife told me to go get another boat.
I love this!
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Old 05-06-2020, 04:06 PM   #10
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Check out, and possibly join "Americas Great Loop Cruisers Association" There are ads for lots of once used charts and maps. Lots of insight also. Lots of comparisons between motor and sail vessels.

If you are already retired, that puts you on the cusp between sail and trawler. There are many, many sailboaters who are converting to trawlers as they age a bit. Generally speaking there is more room on a trawler, often less work and generally easier traveling.

Sure, the crossing oceans, Panama Canal, Mediterranean vacations on your own boat is romantic and appealing to many. The bottom line for you though is: You are probably not ready.

For one thing, you need a LOT of money. You may very well have enough, you don't really say. For another, you need a lot of experience, an experienced crew and a capable boat. Either sail or power.

Cruising up and down the ICW or to the Bahamas or BVIs can be compared to a Jimmy Buffet song, sort of Marguritaville ..Crossing an ocean is more like a test of your knowledge and endurance, not for the timid.

Buy a 40 foot trawler, move on board and do the Loop.

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Old 05-06-2020, 06:00 PM   #11
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Glenn,

I think the two big questions that you will have to first answer are:

- What is your budget? Both for the initial purchase of the boat, and all-in?
- How do you intend to use the boat?

This would determine the next set of questions to ask.

My own personal initial choice for a coastal cruiser/Bahama boat might be different from a boat that would also do the Great Loop or cruise to far-away lands.

Jim
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Old 05-06-2020, 06:49 PM   #12
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As you probably know, most boats with the trawler "look" are sitting on a planing hull with engines too small to push them over the bow wave. So if you're asking why "trawler" versus a typical power cruiser like a carver, searay, etc....the difference comes down to the look, and the engine size/speed capability. Many boats like a Carver or Bayliner, for example, make a lot more sense in practical and cost terms.
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Old 05-07-2020, 12:16 PM   #13
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Welcome aboard!

Best of luck with your power/sail decision and in your search for and purchase of the right boat for you and the family/crew. Look at all of the boats you can, try a few, and decide what you and the folks you'll share the adventure with need to be comfortable and happy. That part can take years, and the investment in the time it takes is worth it. If you can't rent or borrow, find someone who'll share their boating experience with you. I had friends with boats and offered to crew and/or provide food and beer for the experience. I had many hours on both power and sail and new early on that power was the best for me.

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Old 05-07-2020, 02:06 PM   #14
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Also, I'm curious about the fuel costs, and the typical range of trawlers. I assume you can't cross the Atlantic on most of them, but maybe I'm wrong about that? I guess you could cross both the Atlantic or the Pacific if you take Northern routes, but that doesn't seem practical.
Welcome. We've had a sailboat and are currently on our second trawler. Certain trawlers, with the right hull form, range and machinery can and do cross oceans. Check out the book "Voyaging Under Power" for more details about what to look for in a trawler if this is your dream.

I'd say most entry level trawler have enough fuel onboard for about 400nm. Some more (our last 40' boat had an 1100nm range). Given a lot of trawlers don't see more than 200 hours a year of engine on time fuel costs are generally pretty small compared to moorage, insurance, etc.

Passagemakers (Nordhavn, Kadey Krogen, Selene, etc) can carry enough fuel for 2500 - 3500nm non stop. Our KK54 has a 2500nm range at 8 knots, 3500nm at 7 knots. As of right now fuel in the PNW is about $1.50/gal so a trip down to San Diego would cost about $2K in fuel.

Many people will tell you need a huge budget to do this (Nordhavn 55 for $1.5M and tons of fuel and maintenance) but there are those who've done it (Richard on Dauntless, a Kadey Krogen 42) on much smaller budgets.

I will say, trawlers live well with larger interior and entertaining spaces with more sight-lines above the deck. They are also warm and dry underway when it's raining sideways and 40 degrees F outside. Finally, they tend to make crossings when the weather is calm and the sailboaters are still waiting for more wind.

The trick is to find something that works for your real world goals and budget. Many ocean crossers give up interior space for fuel and purposely build narrow interior spaces so you can brace yourself underway. Others give you a nice balance between living and passage-making.

I always tell people to walk the docks and boat shows and see as many boats as you can. No faster way to determine what you need/want/like.

Good luck, keep us posted on what you decide.
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Old 05-07-2020, 05:39 PM   #15
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I appreciate all of the great advice. You've all given me a lot to consider and answered many of my general basic questions. I will definitely try renting a few boats before taking the plunge and buying something. Can any of you recommend good places to rent boats on the East coast, and maybe recommend good places for a beginner to cruise? Will I need to take any classes or pass some type of certification to pilot boats over a certain size? If so, it would be good for me to start reading up on that too.

Thanks,
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Old 05-07-2020, 05:53 PM   #16
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Can any of you recommend good places to rent boats on the East coast, and maybe recommend good places for a beginner to cruise? Will I need to take any classes or pass some type of certification to pilot boats over a certain size? If so, it would be good for me to start reading up on that too.

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Old 05-07-2020, 06:03 PM   #17
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Hello and welcome aboard. I choose to respond to your question about inland cruising. We are in New Mexico with ties to Tennessee and plan to retire late next year. We purchased an Atlas Acadia 25. It is diesel, trailearble, has a small comfortable cabin and standup wet shower. It is too small to liveaboard (for us) but comfortable (for us) for extended cruises up to a month plus. Our plan is to inland and trailer cruise for first year or two after we retire then look at upgrading for great loop boat in 36-44ft range.

Some examples of or planned trips in that with Acadia: 1) Start in Knoxville and Cruise Tennessee River to Pickwick Lake. 2) Start in Nashville and Cruise the Cumberland River to Tennessee River then back to Pickwick Lake. 3) Start in Pittsburgh, PA on either the Allleghney or Mononghaela river to Ohio River then down the Ohio to Tennessee River then back to Pickwick Lake. 4) Do the Erie Canal from the Hudson River (Waterford area) to Lake Erie (Buffalo NY). 5) Do the upper Mississippi from Minneapolis area to St. Louis. 6) Start from Page, AZ on Lake Powell to Bullfrog, UT. 7) Starting in Long Beach, CA and go to Catalina Island (Gonna try this one before we retire). 8) Also want to look at Snake River, ID to Portland, OR.

Figure after all that will trade the Atlas Acadia 25 for a 36 - 44 ft Trawler and do the Great Loop and Bahamas.
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Old 05-07-2020, 11:21 PM   #18
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The cost of a set of sails nowadays would put enough diesel in my boat to do several crossings!
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Old 05-08-2020, 01:40 AM   #19
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Re: Navigable US waterways:



https://coyotegulch.blog/2016/10/23/...sin-in-the-us/
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Old 05-08-2020, 07:37 AM   #20
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Reason for a trawler, IMO, is fuel economy and internal space.

Training, Chapman in Stuart. They even have an inlet for practice. Yah, I went to their school.
I should add, they have rooms on campus too.
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