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Veteran Member
Oct 28, 2010
We are considering buying a trawler to live on. We currently live on a sailboat and know we need more space. Unfortunately we know little about trawlers. If this forum is anything like some sailboat forums than me asking about whom made good ones and who made poor ones will start a brand fight and I dont want to do that so feel free to e-mail me with such opinions.
We are looking for something in the 40 foot with 2 berths range. The Thompson Trawler interest me being US built, but I have not seen one in person yet. Anyone have pictures of one on the hard so that I could look at the bottom?
*Are the Thompsons hand laid fiberglass? Speaking of hand laid I understand that a lot of Asian boats were done with chop gun. Does anyone know which ones were done that way? Or were Asian boats a crap shoot and who knew what they were getting?
I am curious where Defever, Marine trader, Ocean Alexander, and other stand in the pecking order of quality.
I am looking for a respected brand name that needs some work. I owned a heavy equipment repair shop and have worked on a lot of diesels and transmissions etc, and feel I am capable of just about any repair but admit I dont like working with wood. The boat I live on was bought totaled by Hurricane Ike and we restored her. You can check out my website at to learn about me.
Like I said trawlers are new to me. Any advice will be appreciated.
albin 43s are alot of boat for the money, they have the same problems as every*taiwan trawler, decks, fueltanks, windows ect but im extreamly happy with mine. they are well*built and usally have the twin lehman 120s which are a pretty basic engine with alot of good support from american diesel corp in va. cant go wrong. I cant say much for other brands but theres alot of good trawlers out there and its deff a buyers market.

-- Edited by albin43 on Friday 29th of October 2010 09:04:48 AM
Greetings and welcome.
First I should ask what you want to do with the boat?
What is your price range?

Are you planning on crossing oceans.?*
Costal crusing or just to live aboard?

This would give a little more to go on as to answering your questions.

** Mr. cd30ketch.* Welcome as well.* SD asked the right question. "What do you want to do with the boat?"
** As a43 mentioned there seem to be several "generic" problems with many imported boats BUT, that being said, every boat is an idividual.* As I'm sure you are aware, the care and maintenance of any vessel will determine it's value in the market place and with you.
** Just to play the devil's advocate a bit, have you considered a motor yacht instead of a trawler?* A Bertram or Hatteras MAY suit your needs and they're made in the US of A.* I'm definatly NOT trying to talk you out of a trawler style boat,* I'm just sayin'....
** Whatever you DO get, enjoy the chase.
Hello Kevin and welcome to the trawler world. I took a look at your site. Looks like you have a great life and are always ready for adventure. I recently bought a trawler after owning a sailboat for many years so I can relate to your situation. The more time I spend on my boat the more I like it. I too needed more space. I got myself an old Marine Trader. It's a fixer upper but of course I got a really good deal and I enjoy working on it.

Answering your question is difficult as it depends a lot on your needs, your budget and your personnal tastes. Personnally, I like the sedan style because the aft cockpit is a great entertaining space. Some people prefer the double cabin style because they need more accomodation. The best advice would be for you to charter one and go talk to owners at your local marina. As you gather information you will have a better idea of what you like and don't like in a trawler. And rememder, buying a boat is buying a set of compromises. You just have to figure out the ones you are ready to make.

Enjoy the adventure.

-- Edited by Fotoman on Friday 29th of October 2010 12:23:36 PM
Most boats are good when they're new. Even the dreaded Bayliners and Sea Rays were good boats when they were new. The differences start showing up as the boats age.* Some makes will age better if neglected than others.* But how they're treated has a lot to do with it, too. * A twenty-five year old Bayliner that's been used, kept up, maintained, and cared for by its owners can be a better boat than a fifteen year old Grand Banks that's been poorly operated and maintained. So it can be difficult to impossible to say "this brand of trawler is great, this one sucks."

SD listed some questions you need to answer before you can start zeroing in on what kind of boat might best meet your needs. But you need to ask and answer a lot more. I'm not going to list everything I can think of but things like how many guests do you anticipate having on board, do you want your guests in a room at the other end of the boat from you (we do), how many heads, do you want an electric galley or propane, and on and on and on.

Are you going to be doing "coastal" cruising or deep-water cruising? If the answer is deep water that will REALLY narrow your search down.

How much do you want to spend? Not just on the boat, but on it's ownership costs, which are generally said to be ten percent of the purchase price or value of the boat per year. (Ownership costs don't include boat payments, by the way, if you're going to finance the boat. They're on top of boat payments.)

Most trawler brands are/were made overseas. The majority of them were made in Taiwan. The fiberglass Grand Banks have all been made in Singapore with a second plant being added relatively recently across the strait in Malaysia. The original wood GBs were made in Kowloon across from Hong Kong. Island Gypsies were also made (I'm pretty sure) in the Hong Kong area.

Today several popular trawler brands are made in China (the PRC, not Taiwan). Nordhavn is made there as is (I believe) Selene.

The so-called tugs, which some people consider to be "trawlers" are mostly made in the US. Nordic Tug, Ranger Tug, and American Tug are made in the Pacific Northwest. The beautiful and long-out-of-production Lord Nelson Victory Tug was made in Taiwan.

Two other questions are how fast do you want to go, and how far do you want to go between fill ups?

And how many engines do you want? Single or twin, there are advantages and disadvantages to both and the "discussion" as to which is best is unending and unwinnable. You have to decide for yourself which best suits what you want to do and what you want out of your boating experience.

Most of the trawler-type boats that those of us on this forum have have a fair amount of wood on them. Even our fiberglass GB has an interior that is all wood. So no matter what you get, unless it's a new production boat like a Sea Ray or whatever, the chances are you're going to be dealing with wood at least to a degree.

Wood is a personal matter of preference. Some people like teak decks (like me) others swear they'll never have one. Some people like the look of a lot of exterior teak trim and are willing to put in the effort to keep it looking good, some don't want a stick of wood on the outside of their boat. There's no right or wrong answer here--- it's a matter of what the individual likes.

You have sailboat experience--- I don't know if you have any powerboat experience--- but one thing you might consider when you narrow your potential boat list down to a few is charter one to see if you really like the boat (or this kind of boating). Sure, it will cost you a few thousand dollars but better to spend that and find out you don't care for that type of boat than to spend a hundred thousand dollars or more and find out the same thing.

-- Edited by Marin on Friday 29th of October 2010 02:04:51 PM
My price range is under 100000 dollars. If I can help it, then, way under. For me quality is important. My sailboat is a Cape Dory 31 and they have a good following. The workmanship is good and it fits my desire to sail blue water. I plan to keep it and do some solo sailing .My wife is saying she is not interested in long sailing trips so the trawler will be our house here in Corpus and we will use it for taking trips in the area. She also wants a real bed and likes the aft cabin. I use to think that twin diesels were what I want but a single is starting to sound better. Being in south Texas a generator big enough to run the a/c would be nice. We like the sun deck but dont see many of those as fixer uppers. I really want a fixer as it feels good to not have much debt and I like adding my own touch to things. want an inexpensive, high quality, fixer upper?* In my experience the better the quality the more it costs and the less likely you are*to find one as*a fixer upper as those owners who can afford the boat in the first place tend to maintain it.* Of course there must be exceptions, but they may be few and far between.
If you are going to live aboard and stick with coastal cruising, you may want to consider one of the many ACMY's (I bought one) that are semi planning or planning hulls and usually twin powered.* You can often*buy these for less than a fully found displacement boat and they have typically an interior layout that is more 'liveable' with aft cabin, large salons, roomy flybridge and galley down (or galley forward, etc.) configurations.* This is the second 'Taiwan Trawler' I have owned and was made for Vista by Horizon Yacht in Taiwan who built many boats that were branded with different trade names (including the 'high line'*Monte Fino*as well)*and this is quite common.**Marine Traders are another brand built at various yards.* *My boat is hand laid and very heavy construction as was my first of these, an Albin.* Many of the older boats were actually 'over built' as the Asians came into the fiberglass boat construction late in the game and did not understand the properties of the material too well and figured more was better, which of course is not necessarily true.**Consequently, many of these 'planning' types are so heavy that actually getting them up on plane is a real challenge.* However they run pretty economically at displacement speeds, don't roll around too much because of the hard chines and flat bottoms (many, like mine, have small stub keels)*and*are very acceptable quality for most purchasers.* I am docked next to aa immaculate, captain maintained,*classic GB45 and*don't have the eye appeal he does by a fair margin, BUT I have a lot more room in two less feet of boat, a sundeck with a hardtop and a hardtop flybridge and a much more comfortable salon in which we don't sit across from the sink or stove.
I did have some window leaks and various other issues on my 'turn key' budget*purchase, but now that these things have been addressed we are dry, cozy and very happy buzzing up and down the East Coast of Florida.* You could definitely find a 36' or larger one on your budget.
I believe it's Aft Cabin Motor Yacht and is a descriptive term for a particular configuration. Like CPMY which is Cockpit Motor Yacht. And so on.
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