Merry Christmas from a Newbe

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Veteran Member
Dec 23, 2018
Vessel Name
Kimberly Dawn
Vessel Make
1984 Marine Trader 40 Sundeck Trawlet
Hello, greetings, and Merry Christmas from a Newbe and trawler-owner/Looper wannabe! I've been a boater most of my life, on a mix of sail and power boats ranging from a 17' ski boat, 17' & 22' sailboats owed/sailed all over the country, and 29' - 39' "club" sailboats on Lake Michigan, off Chicago.

For the couple of years, I've researched dozens of 25 - 35 year-old 35' - 42' Sundeck-style & Europa-style trawlers, and the history of Taiwanese-built trawlers. A 1987 Tradewinds 38 Sundeck in Michigan has recently captured my attention, for a variety of reasons. I think it was probably built/imported by Marine Trader/Marine Trading International (MTI); so arguably, could/should it be called a Marine Trader Tradewinds 38 Sundeck? If not, can anyone tell me what the difference(s) between a Marine Trader 38 Sundeck and a Tradewinds 38 Sundeck is (are)? Just hull/keel design? Is anyone familiar with the Tradewinds 38 Sundeck's pros and cons?

If I can buy a mid- to late-80's 40' Sundeck trawler, comparably equipped and in similar condition, for the same $50K +/- price, BUT the 40' boat was a lifelong year-round-use saltwater boat (not a six-months-of-the-year use freshwater boat), would anyone advise getting the bigger boat for the same initial investment? Thanks in advance to anyone who responds to share their knowledge, experience, and insight with me.

Peace and blessings,

Larry Buchman
Welcome aboard. We have a 41’ President. It came from saltwater so I have been doing quite a bit of work cleaning up the boat. As to the brand of boat from that vintage, a lot of the Taiwan boat builders swaped molds around and built their own boat out of another brands mold. Good luck in your search.
Thanks for your reply. At your convenience, could you elaborate on, and provide any details regarding, the "quite a bit of work" you've been doing "cleaning up the boat?" Was this work you could do yourself or work you had to hire/pay someone to do for you? Expensive work? Given that, and living in Michigan and boating on Lake Michigan/the Great Lakes, if you had your choice between a freshwater versus a saltwater boat, would you still choose the saltwater boat? Why or why not?

Peace and blessings,

Larry Buchman
I don’t hire much work on any of my boats. There was some corrosion in places that required some polishing and replacing some items that were corroded beyond what I liked. I have done lots of fiberglass work and painted the whole boat, but that wasn’t really a result of saltwater but rather PO neglect and poor docking skills. I did all the glass work and prep for the painting and had a pro come in and spray the hull. We have made new enclosures on the flybridge and sundeck. Sure for the same price I would pick a freshwater boat, but we could not find what we wanted here and besides the trip home with the biat was awesome. I am retired and love to work on my boat so I don’t count my labor. Most of the work we have done is not a result of saltwater.
Larry, my boat came from Lake St. Clair and was generally in pristine condition. Still is, pretty much but it now needs a wash and wax.

Given the choice between a saltwater boat and a freshwater boat I'd pick the freshwater one. Saltwater tends to corrode all things metal to some extent. It's a little tougher on the gelcoat than fresh water, but neither is as tough on gelcoat as the sun.

Also, if you're looking at a boat with a lot of wood trim, be prepared to spend quite a bit of time keeping it looking nice. When we were boat shopping one of the "MUST HAVE" items was no wood on the exterior of the boat and as little as possible on the interior. I wanted to use the boat, not spend my time refinishing wood.

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