New member from Phoenix Arizona

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Apr 22, 2020
Hi everyone. My name is Steve

You are probably wondering what a guy from Phoenix Arizona is doing on a trawler forum.
Well my wife and I are going to retire next year. Our plan is to buy a 40ish foot trawler and do Americas Great Loop and the Bahamas over about a 12-18 month duration. At the end of the trip we will either sell the boat or sell the house :).

I have so many things i need to learn.

Any special training to pilot a 40 foot yacht vs a 21 foot ski boat and any special radio instruction.....
What yacht to purchase for safety, seaworthiness, reliability, comfort and resale......
How to purchase a yacht for the great loop from Phoenix Arizona, 1000's of miles away from the loop................
Best place to purchase the boat.............

My wife and I love boating, but the only boating experience we have is 30 years of piloting ski boats on Arizona lakes. The latest being a 1994 Chris Craft Concept 21 open bow inboard/outboard for the last 20 years.

I look forward to learning a lot from this forum
Welcome aboard. We used to live in Tucson for 30 years.
i lived in Tucson from for 1.5 years from 1973-1974. Learned how to drive, driving my 71 dodge charger up and down Mount Lemon :) Looking for a bit slower pace now.
Welcome! I never lived in Tucson, but I think I drove through it once.

There are many existing threads that cover the areas you've asked about, but I agree they could be hard to find, and when you do find them, you'll discover there probably isn't a single right answer but lots of opinions which will help you find an answer that's right for you.

Dive in and start learning!

When we retired we decided that we had had enough of the heat so we moved back to Michigan and bought a house on a river. Now we can dock our boat right behind the house. In Tucson we had a 420 mile trip to our boat in San Diego, now it is 75 feet.
Hi Steve, welcome to TF. I'm a snowbird who has a condo in Sun City West and love the winters down there.

As to your boat search, I'll share with you a piece of advice I give to friends who are "moving up". That would be to buy your second boat first.

By that I mean don't just rush out and buy a boat that you think will do what you want a boat to do. Take your time, do your due diligence, do your homework, walk a lot of docks, look at a lot of boats, etc.

A lot of people buy the first or second boat they look at, only to own it a year or two and decide it really doesn't suit their needs. They sell it, take a financial beating, then buy the boat they should have gotten in the first place.

Good luck with your search and feel free to ask lots of questions on here. I'm not a trawler owner but these guys are nice enough to let me hang out here and pick their brains.
Hi Steve and Mrs S,

Welcome to TF.

My dad was stationed at Luke AFB and I was stationed at Williams AFB.

My advise while we are on house arrest is to become a viewer of "boat porn" aka Yacht World. Then do some research on the Loop. There are some boats that will not work because of their height. Down river from Chicago? Also go to every boat show you can.

Then you and Mrs. S write a list. A sorta "go-no go" list. For us any teak on the walk way disqualified. Must have 2 engines etc.

When you find the boat you want both of you and Mrs S will look at each other, smile and say "WOW". That's your boat.

Oh and most important above all else. Don't shop with your emotions. If its a POS, its a POS. Even if you have to walk away.

Good luck.
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New Member-Where do you start?

Welcome to the forum.
1) No special radio training is needed. All this is pretty basic and you can read up and learn as you go
2) Size makes some things easier and some things harder. With your experience moving to a larger 40-50 foot boat should not be a problem but you should try to spend time on similar boats, charter, take courses, etc.
3) Power Squadron courses are a great start to learn the basics. Completing a Coast Guard license course is even better.
4) Here in San Diego there are opportunities to learn more on the water
5) Make a budget for the up front cost and what you are prepared to spend annually. Many sources for that information.
6) Remember as you watch all the YouTube videos you rarely see them covered in diesel or changing out the toilet motor :)

Beyond that start making a list, read many of the threads and don't believe everything you read or see. Especially in the boat adds such as Yachtworld. Enjoy the hunt!
Steve 85
Yup, it is heating up in AZ. Time to go to the PNW but unfortunately can't get the boat in BC. So umbrella drinks by the body of water in our back yard. :mad:

Have you cruised in PNW?
Welcome Steve and the Miss [Mrs]!

Read, study, read, study and then read, study... Ask any question on TF... will likely be answered.

Go to and often "search" feature. Wisdom is inside! :thumb:

Happy "Boat-Learning" Daze! - Art :speed boat:
A lot of people buy the first or second boat they look at, only to own it a year or two and decide it really doesn't suit their needs. They sell it, take a financial beating, then buy the boat they should have gotten in the first place.

I don't disagree with your advice at all, but I see a "but." That would be that many people aren't sure how their boating will go. Or they "know" they are going to want a boat to do X,Y, and Z, but end up loving to do A, B, and C instead.

So I don't know. I can see it both ways. If you were sure you could get your second boat first, I agree with your other points about how it costs a certain amount (time, money and effort) to switch boats. But if you don't know due to you haven't tried yet, sometimes it's hard to do that.
I would look at as many boats as you can, not easy right now. Then make a list of things that you feel are must haves and nice to haves. Then make a list of things that will kill a deal for you. I like Powerboat Guide, it has hundreds of boats specs, line drawing of the layout and a brief review. Then try to get the right boat the first time, but that doesn’t always work out, ask me we are on our 23rd boat now and I would love to get a bigger boat. But our boatyard can’t haul anything bigger so I guess we are stuck with this one... Good luck in your search and enjoy the trip.
Once this covid thing is over.......... what do you think is the most effective way to "look at as many boats as we can"??? My wife and I have lurked many sites on the internet looking at boats over that last few months. Our binge watching evenings are watching boat walk throughs on youtube. We cannot afford to buy new. Our budget is $200K max after taxes, insurance, towing, inspections, repairs, and bottle of champagne prior to launch, so I figure I can realistically assume I could purchase boats priced around $180K or less (not sure how much boats actually SELL for vs advertised price)................ btw based on advertisement pictures, videos, research, etc...we are leaning towards a single screw, Mainship 400 but they seem just slightly out of range..........
Hey Steve, Welcome. There is a lot of good advice from people that have a lot of experience on this forum... I'm not one of them, I have no experience for the loop, Bahamas or Florida. I can tell you that you are 1400 miles from some of the best cruising area around, and as it starts to get to hot down here, the temperature is getting just perfect in the PNW. There are numerous charter companies up there, most will offer some training on boat operation. Charter and learn how to operate a bigger boat first, 40 to 50 footers are not the same as 20 ft lake boat.

We are in the NW of the Phoenix metroplex and getting antsie to head north.
You are on the right track.

Contrary to the advice I generally give, which is to buy a boat close to home, this advice won't work in your case. Phoenix is pretty landlocked.

First off, don't call your new boat a "yacht". (Unless you are a pretentious type of guy). There are many, many definitions of a Trawler. Do a little research so you know what a trawler actually is, so you can explain it to your friends. They will not know what a trawler really is.

Then, I would recommend that you look at boats just a tad smaller. Say around 36 feet. They are easier to buy, easier to handle and easier to learn on. Some even say that 36 feet is the perfect Loop boat. You already know how to drive a boat, no real learning needed there. Go slow, stay sober and pay attention. Pretty simple stuff really.

As for the radio. It's simple. Stay off it unless you need it. Call everybody "Captain". Start on "16" and go to whatever channel the other party suggests. Just listen to other conversations for a few minutes and you will understand it. Or, just buy a C.B. radio, install it in your car and listen for a few days, then DO NOT DO ANYTHING LIKE YOU HEAR ON A C.B. !!!

OK, now for the controversy. Buy a boat on the Great Lakes. Preferably on Lake Michigan, specifically Green Bay. Actually Door County, Sturgeon Bay, Oconto or Marinette. Marina dockage is cheap, flights into Green Bay or Appleton are cheap. People are friendly. Boats are reasonably priced and generally well kept. Plan on a couple two to three week vacations on the boat over the next couple years then leave out for the loop from here. (I'll pick you up at the airport, watch your boat while you are gone and give you coffee until you can buy your own. See how friendly people are around here?)

You will need to do your own research on the subjects we will not get into here. Single vs twin, Gas vs diesel, anchor types, F.B or pilothouse, etc.

Standard advice,

Go For It, do it soon.

WOW! Where to start? Most of the information already posted here is valid, however the desire shown by you & your wife is very strong! I'm not going to shower you with a lot of advice that I'd bet you already know or have done. You have a good idea of what you & your wife want to do so get on with it! Find a boat that really turns both of you on and pull the trigger! (Assuming the surveys have been done and are acceptable) You will make some mistakes, we all have, but the journey is a very rewarding one. Best of luck to you both!
:speed boat::speed boat::speed boat:
Thanks everyone for all of your words of wisdom. Yep we cant wait to "Get on with it". Unfortunately work will still be in the way until early next year, so assuming Covid gets behind us by then......... that is when we will get seriously "On with it". In the meantime, I need to stay tuned for trawlerfests and looper rendezvous to get rescheduled so i can actually look at some REAL boats instead of just pictures and videos. If you guys have any suggestions for the best/most efficient "fests" to go to step on as many boats as possible in my price range catagory please feel free to make some suggestions :) I really need to find some "fests" in California. A lot closer to home.........

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