A good reason to give up the sailboat for a trawler?

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Oct 1, 2007
I spotted this boat on Galveston Bay in August.* They were just cruising along like nothing happened!


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Wish I had kept a record on the Loop of the number of marine motorists either at the end of a tow rope or limping to a haul for yet another set of shafts and rudders.

If you want to contemplate reliability underway , simply ask Sea Tow,

Hmmm, I don't have to ask Sea Tow. Just watching the every day boating here in the Galveston Bay / Clear Lake Texas area, It's obvious what the ratio is. There must be close to a 10 to 1 ratio of Sailboats vs motorboats being towed in down here.

Hey FF, based on your mostly negative comments about power boats / trawlers, and the fact that you never identify who you are, where you are, or what kind of boat you have, I assume you are a sail boater? Just makes me wonder why you're so active on a trawler site.
Just for the record, Boomarang has seemed to find itself in water less than 42" deep on about 20 some odd instances in 10 years of sloppy boating.

Total number of tows...zero
Total number of pulls for ungrounding...zero
Total damage to date $0.00

Full keel with shoe and protected rudder, Priceless!*

Of course the gooey slop on the bottom of SE Texas waters helps a little.

-- Edited by dougd1 at 14:40, 2007-10-14
"FF, based on your mostly negative comments about power boats / trawlers, and the fact that you never identify who you are, where you are, or what kind of boat you have,'

My "negative comments" are usually reserved for the condo boats that never leave the slip.
Unsafe at any location but dockside .

And the old Tiawan Tubs that were built with an extrime budget by many overnight yards, of ZERO experience.

Frequently a bare hull would be a wedding present for a 20 year old newlywed, he was "set" IF it could be completed and sold to anyone.
Remember sailing and boating were ILLEGAL in Tiawan , so there was NO experience base.

I believe the vast majority of marine motorists are doing mental masterbation** , with dreams of offshore work with most production boats today.

*Run the inside passage too AK, fine , the Island hop to visit Comrade Chavez , no biggy , only the Mona Passage to cross.

But dreams of going somewhere on a Mainship , Carver , Sea Ray , are dumb,and dangerious.

I do prefer smallish (35 to 45) ft sailboats for folks with Circumnavigation on the brain , as thousands have actually done it, over the past 50 years.

Even the highest priced motorboats have to gang together to stagger across the smallest ocean in small steps, with swimming tech help available.

Most SAIL Circumnavigators are couples , with limited finds , no million dollar boats and huge support crew.

We have an offshore 33ft 90/90 that will be readied for sea , should the need come after the next election.
*A biological attack is probably in the cards if the Apeasement folks win.

Our current motorboat is a 50 ft Uniflite , ex NAVY launch, built properly with Fire Retardant Resin, Foam Flotation and construction superior to virtually any other hull. A solid roving laminate , no chopped strand mat at all.Too difficult* and too expensive for any* BUT Uncle SAM

Last few years,We have run from Maine to FL ,
*Back to CT to loop right ,
*Richelu and Rideau canal, Lake Champlain,
*Loop Left this year , Trent Severne North Passage and all that , about 4400 miles , returned to FL 2 weeks ago.

The trip,went as planned , UNEVENTFUL!!

Have you left the dock this year?


-- Edited by FF at 05:56, 2007-10-17
Brent havent you traveled about 500 miles in the last month on your Taiwanese Tub?
4400 miles in two years? That averages to 180 miles a month, I do almost that and I am a weekend warrior with a full time job.
Have you left the dock this year?

Yep, sure have. 4 coastal trips of about 500 miles each. One river trip from central Tenn to Pine Bluff, Ark, somewhere just under a thousand miles. Many, many 2 or 3 day weekend trip. Let's see, close to 4000 miles in less than a year.

Just all of it with a much better attitude than you have.

Oh, and I figured out who you are, and you're right. It will be interesting to see how long the moderators let you stay on this forum.
I think they should leave him alone, makes things interesting when your bored at work....
"Brent havent you traveled about 500 miles in the last month on your Taiwanese Tub?"

Actually, closer to 1,000. In the past "few years", Just since I've owned this "tub", I've done around 13,000 miles, including a trip in this tub from Staten Island, NY to Clear Lake Texas.

Certainly not all "uneventful", but all fun!

Man, that 20 year old newlywed sure did a fine job on this tub!

To be quite honest with you I think it is sailors that suffer from the "dream" with starry eyed romance in their eyes.**We live*in one of the most highly concentrated areas of sailboats in the country.* ANd there are thousands upon thousands of "bluewater" sailboats that go absolutely nowhere...and Catalinas and Hunters that go out every weekend.* SO who is the more accomplised boater in that group?....the guy with the bulletproof double ended tank that goes nowhere or the one that gets out there every weekend?*For the most part, powerboaters know what they have and they have no plans of crossing any oceans in your common production motorboat.* I guaran-damn-tee you(that's Texan language if you hadn't figgered it out) that the dude that buys a Sea Ray or a Carver has absolutely no intentions of offshore work, they just want to get on the water and can you blame them.* And I happen to one one of the brands you lump into your (worthless) pile....and where exactly is "somewhere"?* Because I would be happy to take it many places and have....with over 240 hours of use in less than a year of ownership.* I boat with the responders above and will have to say that you are picking on the wrong folks as far as boat usage goes. I, like Troy, have a job that keeps me away and I still manage to use my boat about 2-3 times A WEEK even if it is just for a Sundowner and a fish taco.

There is an artist down here that sings about the Galveston Bay area.* A song called "Redfish Island".* A line in it goes..."....He sweared that in a year or two, he'd lay his law books down.* Now the boat's for sale, and Jimmy's in the ground."* You can plan and dream all you want but get your azz out on the water because you ain't gonna live forever.

FF, boating is not just going around the world or even going across oceans.* We all do it differently and for different reasons(I have a job and a career)* It is enjoying life on the water.* ANd whatever gets you out there is the best boat for you or anyone.* I have always said that the closer*expectations*are to reality*(concerning a particular boat) the more likely that boat will be used often....it is as simple as that.

BTW, welcome to the Forum and I mean that sincerely.* You or your boats are not superior to anyone else's.* They are the ones that work for you.* Now lower your nose or you might run aground.

-- Edited by Baker at 16:36, 2007-10-17
"BTW, welcome to the Forum and I mean that sincerely. You or your boats are not superior to anyone else's. They are the ones that work for you. "

Superior heavy duty construction does exist , just its hard to pay for new.

I am one of the few (I think ) folks that has a less romantic view of boating.

Indeed the sailors seldom go offshore ,as "bestitis" is far more fun than a few weeks of crappy weather .

"As soon as I have XXX , I'll be ready", I've seen them wait 20 years!

My opinion is a boat is a TOOL that has to perform a job, (YOUR style of boating) really well to be useful.

Sure as a liveaboard house , most anything with mere volume is a Great boat.

And for lakes bays and rivers , a Boston Whaler up makes a fine cruiser.
Even Mainships , (which have interiors that are the results of loads of marker research , and are spectacular), can cross a lake ot run the ICW.

What bothers me is the folks that think "Trawler" might have ocean abilities , just from the add agencies use of the name on a motorboat.

The fact is most "trawlers" would be a dangerous choice to go OFFSHORE CRUISING.

What some folks think of as passagemaking .Only 1% of motorboating at best.

SOME boats really are superior as a tool for a specific job!

I hope ( with my comments) to help folks attempt to be honest with themselves , and chose wisely .
Its a lot of time and ca$h when mistakes get made!!

I write for the WANABEES , not for the old salts that have made their choicees and must live with them.

Caviat Emptor


-- Edited by FF at 17:08, 2007-10-17

-- Edited by FF at 17:09, 2007-10-17
I removed my previos post, and apologize to anyone who had to read it. I should have not let myself get sucked into such a stupid argument.

Like the saying goes, "Never argue with a fool, the observer may not be able to tell the difference"

-- Edited by Brent Hodges at 14:12, 2007-10-18
And my point is there is no reason to buy a bluewater boat if you aren't going bluewater cruising. That is simply a waste of money. And you are right. Very very very few motorboats do any offshore passagemaking......so do very few sailboats. Why buy a Hans Christian when a Catalina will do just fine. Why buy a Nordhavn when a Mainship will do just fine. TThe bottom line is buy the boat that matches your expectations of the type of boating you will be doing....which is what I stated above.

The right boat for you*isn't necessarily*the right boat for me.

-- Edited by Baker at 04:04, 2007-10-18
, there have been Carvers, SeaRays, Mainships, heck even waverunners that have done the same thing.

Sure , but how many did a relaxed UNEVENTFULL trip?

We were in the Rideau and were horrified to watch a senior couple (75 a guess)with a Mainship , purchased NEW specifically for the Loop. They were swinging wildly in the lock hanging onto the lines BY HAND! The factory "sales rep" had sold them a dreamboat , that could NOT be secured in a lock, for the Loop!

Aft were pretty SS hawse holes that could not be fed a lock line , forward the cleat was so tiny the lock line couldnt be wrapped , even a half turn.

Midships , where a big generous cleat would have saved the day , the rep claimed the hull was not set up for a cleat , so could not be installed. They were heading home , to dump the boat , their dream crushed by reality.

Their cruising life will be really UNEVENTFULL , sitting home by the fire.

We had a Carver 45 or so come by , again a new boat run from Canada to FL, the hassle and danger of running down , with thin water and crap in all the rivers had this captain swop boats (no more exposed twin props) as soon as he got to a dealer in Kent. .

THink of the hit of purchasing 2 new boats in a 3 year period!

We prefer a military or commercial hull as most are built to scantlings and outfitted with marine gear many steps over "yacht grade" .

One example on our own boat are heavy duty MONEL fuel tanks , with proper filtering in the tank, and a bottom drain.
No biggie , but nice that once a year a pail will get the asphault particles and condensation. So fuel failure is not on the fun list , even after almost 40 years.

Thank goodness for taxpayers that can afford this level of construction.I sure couldnt new!

FF, the only thing*these people*are exemplifying is poor judgement.* It doesn't matter how poorly or well built the boat is, if there is an ignoramus behind the wheel, the results will be the same.* Judgement is the number one tool foor a captain....not a well built boat and not electronics.* I don't know what kinda mainship you saw but every single one of them I have seen(even my lightly built 30) has had a pretty decent midship cleat.* My rear hawsepipes are about 6-8 inches in diameter so if they were to throw me a line larger than 8 inches(which I seriously doubt...I don't think I could even hold one up and if it hit someone, they might be kilt!!!), then I would be SOL.* I understand your scenario, but I think there is a little "imagination" in it to make your point.* Every brand new sparkling dream killing Mainship has a midship cleat.
BTW, cool boat. I do have at least one objection though. There are no lifelines/rails. So where do you safely put the bikini clad women??? Seriously, though, no lifelines are an issue. Who cares about tying up in a lock when your significant other is swimming in it.
The discussion has wandered a bit.* There are a few trawlers that sails have been added, and have consider/thought about adding sail to the Eagle some day.* I think in the very near future because of the cost of fuel that more hybrid trawler with sail will come to the market.* Motor sail next to use is being re rigged at a cost of 30 grand and I have spend some time helping, learning and talk a bit about adding sails to the Eagle.*

One thing I have learned/observed over the years the right side and left side inside passage are quite different which require different boats and capability.* The vast majority of the pleasure boats are for protected waters and maybe doing the right had side inside passage but to the right side in side passage and coastal cruising.*

I think that many sail boater convert to trawler in due time as they begin to realize that a strait heading of 6 to 8 knots is fast and less distance the a zig zag course and its much more comfortable being in an environmental protect heated/air condition helm. Besides most are actually motoring anyway.* (-;

The main point is to now YOUR boat and your own capability first and not as much as the other persons.* I would much rather be the one lending assistance than being the one assistance is being given to.* You know what I mean?
This is a Trawler site, right??? Saw this on one of the conversion tugboat sites and thought it was too funny to pass up.

Top Lines From the Sailboater

We had the right of way.
We can't go out it's too windy.
Can I borrow your hose?
Do ya mind if we tie up for a few minutes?
Could you turn down the music?
Could I borrow some diesel?
What time do the restrooms open?
Could you help me pull my anchor up?
12:00 a.m. - Clang! Clang! Clang,Clang,Clang! Clang!!!
Pass me my rain gear!!!!
I had not seen this thread until a link was recently posted to it in another thread. I apologize if you were all hoping it was dead.

Regarding the photo that kicked it off, I'd have to give the folks credit for going home under power after their dismasting as opposed to on the end of a rope. I've crewed in some races back in the early 80s where boats were dismasted by sudden gusts and there's not a whole lot you can do except motor on home. It's a mess on deck and cutting sails and cables and sawing stuff apart is best left until the boat is tied up unless it's an open-ocean accident that has to be dealt with on the spot.

I've met a lot of trawler owners who used to sail. The reason given for the switch is often the fact that a sailboat got to be too much physical work. In some cases, someone's mobility wasn't what it used to be and getting around on a sailboat deck was getting too difficult. Some said they'd met their quota of hours in open or semi-open cockpits in the rain and wind during the winter and decided to make the switch to power rather than give up off-season boating.

My sailing experience is limited to a few seasons of racing in the early 80s and a bit of inter-island cruising in Hawaii in the '70s. But I've known a fair number of sailboaters and I've noticed that to most of them the voyage is the thing, not the getting there. This is something I can strongly relate to. As with my floatplane flying and even driving trips, I am always a little bummed out when we get where we're going in the boat. To me, and to a fair degree my wife, the enjoyment is in the going. The destination is just an excuse to take the boat out. And by destination I mean a town, a harbor, a marina, etc. We consider a remote bay that we might anchor in to still be a part of the "getting there."

Going slow, observing what's going on around them, watching the seabirds, watching the light changing on the water and islands are reasons I have heard from sailboaters who chose a trawler when switching to power. A slow powerboat most replicates what they enjoyed about going out in their sailboats.

I took this photo while we were following Carey's lobsterboat north through the islands back in late August.* The fog was burning off and the water was calm.* To me, this is what it's all about.

-- Edited by Marin at 15:43, 2007-12-27


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Never sailed so am somewhat ignorant of the process, but I am amazed at the number of sailboats, not dismasted, I see under tow. I had a slip next to a sailboater who always brought it into the slip under sail. He said it was no big deal. So why all the towing?
Having been around sailboats a fair amount I would hazard a guess that a good chunk of the reason has to do with the types of engines they use. They don't have to be very large, and since in theory the engine is just along for the ride 90 percent of the time, the objective is more about size and weight than about power or reliability. So I think a lot of sailboats have "not great" engines to start with. The diesels that are the core of the marinzed engine are most likely low-power, lightweight car engines or two or three-cylinder industrial engines, etc.

What happens in reality, particularly up here, is that during the summer and fall there is not that much wind, or wind consistent enough to move a sailboat along at a decent clip for a decent amount of time. Add in the the 20 kabillion islands which make the winds even more squirrelly and inconsistent, and most sailboats you see between here and SE Alaska are proceeding under power. So you have a boat with a "not great" engine depending on this engine 90 percent of the time.

But even if the engine is a very reliable unit like a Perkins or Volvo or Yanmar, in a sailboat it's still intended for minimal use--- in and out of the harbor basically--- so little thought is given to making it accessible. Space is at a premium in a sailboat hull to begin with, so the engines tend to be boxed in by storage compartments, water and waste tanks, even berths in some designs. Which means getting at it to change the oil, change the raw water impeller, etc., can be a real pain in the butt. And since most of them end up being mounted under the cockpit, headroom is pretty much zero. So its physical location discourages anyone from making the effort to get in there and maintain it.

I have noticed that when it comes to maintenance, some/many/most sailboaters have the attitude that we'll use it until it breaks and then we'll fix it. Now add to all of the above the tendency of many sailboaters to ignore their engines because they have no interest in them and you have the recipe for coming home on a rope.

As to your second question, while your slip neighbor may feel that sailing into his slip is no big deal, for most sailboaters it IS a big deal, and may actually be downright impossible no matter how good they are.* Every marina layout is different and winds and currents can come from different directions.* If there is not enough room in the fairway to tack or come about, or if the prevailing wind is not from a direction that will let you luff the sails and slow the boat, then sailing into a slip may not be an option at all.* All the sailboat owners I know would much prefer to be towed in than attempt to sail into a marina.

-- Edited by Marin at 15:25, 2007-12-28
"They want to have that fridge,"

Most would be better off with ice, or spending the bucks for a dockside Eutetic system , and rebuilding the ice box to last 3 days.

A weekend could be done with ice cream and cold beer! And NO dead batts.

I have been following this subject for awhile. I think that you are all right to a degree. The most important aspect in buying a boat is to have a clear idea of what kind of sailing you want to do. We were both sailboat people and for all the reasons listed before we chose to buy a trawler. We knew that we couldn't afford great diesel bills nor did we want to support big oil companies. We wanted to enjoy the experience and we were not going to be in a hurry. Not being in a hurry has its advantages but also some problems. We don't want to look for bad weather but going slow doesn't allow you to out run a storm. Also, we know that there are problems on the ICC and we will have to go on the outside in many areas. We wanted to be able to have a boat that could withstand some weather. If we were on the outside, knowing that the boat could handle it, would give us the confidence to keep cool and make the right decisions. What we ended up with was a lot more boat than we thought we needed at first but we feel that it has opened more sailing opportunities for us. Our horizons are now further than we had originally planned and we look at that as an opportunity. Our sister ships are sailing on their own from China- people just like ourselves. A couple of them are in the Philippine Islands, a few in China still. One has already made it to California from China. We are headed down to Mexico and Guatemala next year. So I guess what I am saying is that more and more power boats are becoming world cruisers and I think that the decision developed into the right one for us. There is no one right way to have a dream or in fact the right boat for everyone- just the right boat for the particular dream might make it a reality.
"So I guess what I am saying is that more and more power boats are becoming world cruisers ."

A great trend , and sure to grow BUT most MUST to do as you do and get a purpose built boat .

Not many of the GRP cookies are built with offshore scantlings , and the few that are well done are really expensive , and rare.

My fear is a wannabee , that does no homework,loads up on electric goodies and sets off "Offshore " in a 30 year old "its a Trawler isnt it?" for the cruise of a lifetime.

It could be quite an experiance!

Those that set off without proper planning and provisions will pay the appropriate price. Generally these are older folks so it won't help the gene pool, but it might serve as a good lesson for others.

I feel no need to "mother" everyone. Let them take their chances and learn their lessons. It seems like people aren't allowed to fail anymore. How many of their friends will take off without proper preparation if the first one has a poor experience?

That's not to say I wouldn't help anyone who was in trouble, needed help planning, etc. I just think people ought to be held accountable for their actions, not allowed to blame someone else because they didn't get to do it, or because it failed.

Ken Buck
" I just think people ought to be held accountable for their actions, not allowed to blame someone else because they didn't get to do it, or because it failed."

Spoken like a true Libertarian , and I totally agree.

The problem is these folks are not dumb , just uninformed, and hopefully LOOKING for information.

As everyone seems to be in a great hurry , the E world gets searched , and unfortuniatly advertisers pop up more than knowledgable sources.

Ever read Circumnavigator? A Phony "magazine" selling a boating "Lifestyle".

A real eye opener art how desperate this China builder is to shlock product, not realistic information.

I made a comment about sail boats on another website just the other day and got slammed and called names for preferring a trawler. I tend to agree most "sailors" seem to be hopeless romantics that dream of crossing the oceans, but never leave the docks.

For me anytime on the water is OK, even anchoring in the tidal creeks suits me.

"Or maybe you could start your own magazine...a consumer's report for the boating world"

No need to , Practical Sailor does lots of "road tests" and the vast majority (but not ALL) are gear that most marine motorists would be making a selection of.

Dave Pascoe has done a fine job of sharing the results of 30 years as a surveyer, and covers all types of boats free on his website..

Boat Diesel does a great job , for $25 a year.

Both PS and Pascoe both charge for their BEST information , so it might be out of reach to ex sailors.

"Slamming production boats that are not built to your offshore standards"

Most production boats are not built to ANY offshore "standards" , which is fine as probably less than 1 in a thousand folks want to Voyage across any ocean.

The 300% usual price difference between lakes or bay boats , or coastal cruisers and true offshore scantlings quickly changes folks DESIREMENTS.

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