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Jul 17, 2010
Hello All,*

Hopefully everybody can bear with me here and provide some your life lessons for a prospective new trawler owner as I go through the process of buying. *I've been looking at boats for a few years now and have decided that this is the year to take the plunge.

My ideal boat would be a 42 Nordic Tug or 40 Nordhavn, however nothing in life is ideal and I should probably limit my budget to ~$30,000 (or less!) for the boat itself. *I know many are going to say this number is unrealistic for any quality boat - but it is what it is. *I could potentially raise this number slightly, but it would mean delaying any purchase for another year or it would eat into repair/maintenance funds.

Features I'm looking for are a raised pilothouse for good visibility (or dual helm's), a lower rear transom (ruling out an aft cabin), diesel engine and solo handling abilities. *'Luxury' items would be a bow thruster, swim step, crane & space for a dingy ontop of the cabin and flybridge. *Fuel consumption is a consideration - so although I may have to settle for gas, dual gas is a no go.

This all being said, what models would you guys advise me to check out? *Any pointers for the buying process?
Ben I don't mean to be cruel, but... Boats truly are the hole into which you must throw money. Lots of money. That being what it is, the only recommendation I can make is don't buy anything you can't pay for with cash. After that point, there will be plenty of opportunity to rid yourself of loose change.

Assuming you have thirty thousand cash to start, you will need to plan on careful purchase of materials and all do-it-yourself labor. Even so, I would hope you can place the boat in your back yard and spend quite a few years dreaming and working toward your goal. Honestly, you are under capitalized.

My own approach would be to continue saving for another five to ten years, and set your expectations in the thirty to thirty five foot range.

Don't give up the dream, but don't get in a hurry. Welcome to the forum, and again, I don't mean to be cruel, just realistic. I would hate to see you or anyone go in too deep and have to abandon your dream. And that's just my opinion. There are many others about to be revealed. *


-- Edited by Carey on Saturday 17th of July 2010 10:49:51 PM

-- Edited by Carey on Saturday 17th of July 2010 10:51:31 PM

At the risk of being a downer at a time when you are elated to be looking for a boat, I couldn't agree more with the advice given by Carey. *Your present budget is adequate in this economy for a very nice diesel in the thirty to thirty-five or thirty-six foot range if you shop around.

There are larger boats out there in the forty foot range, but they will be gas power only. *A forty footer, with a good diesel, would most likely be a fixer-upper and be a woody. *While many swear by wood boats, they should only be purchased by people who have a good knowledge of working with wood.

Nortic Tugs only started making the 42' in the 1990's, and therefore you'd be unlikely to find a boat anywhere near your target price that's still floating.

I agree with Carey's assessment to either shop for a smaller boat or keep putting money away for that larger boat. *You live in a great area to see all sorts of boats so walk the docks and see if you can board a few trawlers to compare shop. *Most boaters are eager to show folks their boats and you may find there's more out there to consider than you thought.

As Carey said, don't give up the dream. *Take your time and you'll find the more knowledge you acquire about different boats the more you'll come to know what kind of boat you really would be happy with.

Brookings, Oregon
Carey and Mike sum it up pretty well. In addition to the actual purchase of the boat you need to be able to afford the ownership costs. These include insurance (required by more and more marinas), moorage, fuel, maintenance, repairs, and upgrades. The commonly used, very average figure for ownership costs is ten percent of the purchase price (some people say value) of the boat per year. Some years will be less, some more, but that ten percent figure over the long run proves to be pretty accurate. So if you buy a $30,000 boat, figure an average of $3,000 a year for ownership costs. Or maybe more since $30,000 is at the bottom of the envelope for the type of boats most of us have.

However---- you have a very good option while you are following Carey's advice to save up for a boat and that is to charter one from time to time. This gets you away from the purchase and ownership costs and lets you ease in to this kind of boating so you can see if you really like it. My wife and I chartered a Grand Banks to see if we liked the boat and liked this kind of boating before we made the decision to buy our own boat.

While there are a lot of boats in the $30,000 range there aren't a ton of decent ones in terms of trawler-type boats..* Even an old (1960s-early 70s) Grand Banks 32 woody in decent shape will cost a lot more than $30,000.* One boat you might look into, however, is the Tollycraft 26.* This is a single-engine (gas unless it's been converted) boat with a flying bridge, a decent size cabin and cockpit, and so on.* There are a lot of them in this area and they can be had from the lower teens for an older, rather rough one up to the low 20s for a really nice one.* Well made boat, we know several people who have them, and they all like them.

-- Edited by Marin on Sunday 18th of July 2010 01:54:31 AM
You all have brought up a good point that I neglected to mention. *I'm coming over from classic car restoration, so I'm well aware with the money pit concept*
. *I appreciate your concerns and don't see them as a downer at all.

Considering that a boat will fall squarely into the toy category, financing any purchase is out of the question. *I know I need to draw a line in the sand somewhere and the number above is where I feel comfortable for an initial purchase. *In fact, I'm assuming that in the first year I'll have an additional 100% in costs associated with my new hobby. *I know I'm not looking to spend a considerable amount, but I think it should be adequate to get me into the market and safely afford the maintenance.

I'm looking in the 26-32 ft range, both for budget reasons as well as manageability. A 40 ft boat sounds great, but it's not necessary for my needs. *Solo docking of any boat is a major concern of mine. *The bottom boat that I'm seriously considering is infact the 26 Tollycraft model that you mention Marin. *I'm willing to overlook it's lack of diesel for the reduced price, I have a co-worker who highly recommends one. Going up from the Tolly, I've been readings about Willard trawlers which seem to have the best price / feature ratio in my range. *The 30 Sundowner is also an attractive model, but given that asking prices start in the 50k range; I might be looking at too much boat. *Finally, both the 26 and 32 Nordic Tugs are hard to ignore but again, they would both require additional savings. *If there are other models to consider, I'd like to hear about them. *I'm trying to avoid wood hulls.

Oh yes, regarding chartering. *Luckily I have quite a few friends in the area with boats of their own and have been out on the water quite a bit. *I can't charter any model that I'll be able to realistically consider so it's probably not a decision maker. *I can take the 32 Nordic out for a weekend, but I already know that I'll enjoy it (and can't afford it)!

-- Edited by BenG on Sunday 18th of July 2010 02:38:15 AM
"a prospective new trawler owner as I go through the process of buying. I've been looking at boats for a few years now and have decided that this is the year to take the plunge."

No problem , just why a trawler.Read Dave Pascoe

Recently we saw a 40 ft Hatteris with DD 6-53 power go for a bit over $20K.

A solid fiberglass boat (no TT Chinese "composite (buried house plywood).

$30K is PLENTY for a cruiser , if you simply want to cruise.

Pascoe will help, and the book price is chump change to the loss on some ego machine.
David, that is funny. I was just going to suggest a Prairie 29. I have owned one and they are EXCELLENT boats. Check this one out. It is a little rough on the outside(although a claim of new hull paint...topsides look rough). I believe this to be an EXCELLENT buy for someone like the OP and far from a project boat. Views of the interior definitely show that the boat has been loved. My wife loved our Prairie and mourns it's sale on a regular basis. If we were boatless, I would have a hard time keeping her off of me to buy it....better yet she has actually mentioned buying it herself!!!!

-- Edited by Baker on Monday 19th of July 2010 01:23:32 PM
"28 Trend 1979 "Sonny I " Very healthy, spunky and economical. Volvo Penta 200 hp single diesel (1600 hrs). refurbished interior. Winter & Summer covers. Good electronics, spacious cockpit. Lots of extras. Asking $28,000.00 Contact Eugene Fenton 604-889-2988"
That is a current listing. Located in Vancouver.
Keith....the maker of the boat is "Trend"???
Thanks everyone for the advice so far.

FF, I believe that I've read every book that I could pick up locally so far. However, I have not seen David Pascoe's book yet (though I have seen his site). I may order it for some more background. Cruiser is probably more accurate than blue water trawler for my purposes. I don't expect to get a vessel that can take me outside of the Sound.

David & Baker, I have actually looked at that particular Prairie listing and it's very similar to what I envision ending up with. Something that needs some cosmetic clean up... If it weren't in FL, I'd put it on my list to see in person

The step that I need to make it over in the next month or so is from researching models online to actually checking them out in person. I've heard many times now: 'look at a lot of boats first' and I plan on spending my time doing just that. Everybody lists their boat as in 'great condition', however I doubt that they all are.

What are the favorite questions of the bunch when contacting a seller for the first time? I don't want to waste anybody's time to find somebody's 'excellent condition' really needs a lot of work.

Second, what's the general consensus on CHB and HWA?

You asked about the CHB, so let me tell you what I've learned. *Great boats for coastal cruising. *Normally run the single 120 Lehman diesel, which are bulletproof units when cared for, although I have seen twins occasionally.

The big thing to watch for in these boats is the decking. *Teak looks great but you have to check for leaking. *Check on top of the fuel cells to see if there's any evidence of water leaking thru the deck and onto them. The problem would be the potential of rusting the fuel tanks; necessitating their replacement.

I would list the equipment you feel you would not like to do without when you shop. In my case, I didn't care about radar and most electronics, as most boats you'll find have outdated stuff anyway and will most likely be replaced. *I wanted an autopilot, because I knew that was a high dollar add-on but makes cruising MUCH more comfortable.

You'll want a survey on any boat you settle on of course, but I'd also suggest getting a diesel survey. *It'll cost you a couple hundred, but there will be an oil analysis that will give you a baseline for the engine and also tell you the general condition. *Money well spent.

The last thing is kind of obvious; give the boat a good sea trial with the owner (or his agent) and run it for a while at speed, which would be 1800-2000rpm. *See if the temperature stays around 180' under load.

The little 34' CHB's normally are a little higher than your stated budget, but with this economy I wouldn't rule them out. *As far as seaworthiness goes, you'll give up before the boat does! *They're well built.

Hope this helps.

Brookings, Oregon
The HWA you are mentioning might be related to Chung Hwa Boatworks.....aka CHB.
Trend, and no I haven't heard of them either. I have seen the boat. It looks a lot like that vintage bayliner. decent shape, great engine.
BenG wrote:

Second, what's the general consensus on CHB and HWA?
Don't know about HWA unless it's as Baker said and is*just another branding name for a*CHB.* But in addition to teak decks on boats like CHBs another thing to check for are soft spots in the cabin sides.* For a bunch of reasons many of the so-called "Taiwan Trawlers" have inconsistent build quality, particularly from the 1970s and 80s.* So hull number 507 of Brand X*could have been made with marine-grade plywood as stiffeners in the fiberglass cabin sides where hull number 508 of Brand X*could have been made with bits of old packing crates and pallets for stiffeners.* If--- or rather when--- a window starts to leak and moisture starts getting down into the sides of the cabins, guess which kind of wood is going to succumb to dry rot first?* This is yet another reason that you need to get a really good surveyor who is familiar with the make of boat you're interested in to check it over thoroughly.

But you need to define exactly what you're going to do with a boat and what you want it to do before you start worrying about specific brands.* Otherwise you'll be chasing all over the place looking at all sorts of things and not have a benchmark to evaluate them against.* A number of us have written fairly extensive posts on this subject in the past, and a search of the archives should unearth them for you.

But at this point in your search the brand name and model should be about the last thing to be concerned with. Far more important is to draw up a list of every requirement you can think of.* I don't mean just the*hardware you want on a boat*but how you're going to want to use the boat, where you're going to use it, how much you can reasonably spend, how much you can reasonably afford in ownership costs, how many people you'll be wanting to take with you,*and on and on and on.* Only then will you have something concrete and consistent to judge the 657,319 used boats on the market in this area against.

Once you know what you want the boat to accomplish and what you want to accomplish with it, don't rule out using a broker to help you find something that will work for you.* There are good, honest brokers out there who genuinely want to put people in the right boat for them.* We were fortunate in that we had a broker like this when we decided to buy a Grand Banks.* Yes, there are brokers who are not worth your time, but if you are in a quandry about what will work and what won't, a good broker can at least point you in the right direction if not actually find the right boat for you.

"Once you know what you want the boat to accomplish and what you want to accomplish with it, "

Great advice , the most important concept in boating is the Round Trip.

Cost to buy , fix if needed , and then sell.

If your ego could handle it a landing barge and $500 house trailer would probably have best round trip. If only minor offshore ability is needed.

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