Suggestions for a used trawler

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Apr 9, 2009
Fellow Boaters,

Probably like many boaters on this forum I have been an avid sailor. I am approaching 60 years old and am getting a little tied of bending under the bimini, contorting myself to get in the head and, what I call, monkeying around the boat. So, I have made the decision that comfort outweighs the excitement of moving a boat across the water for free.

And like many in my situation, I have decided that the fun of boating will always be a part of my life and the solution is to move to a trawler. But also like many in my situation I don't have a clue as to what trawler will suit my purpose.

I'm hoping that some of you on this forum can offer some advice. The basics are these:
Ready to cruise with little or no maintenance required to use
Shallow draft for the west coast of FL
Comfortable enough for 2 and a dog
Prefer a boat with reputation for quality over size.
Low maintenance, that means no teak decks

I should mention that maintenance does not scare me as I have done all my own maintenance on my previous boat. I just don't want a fixer upper and I don't want a boat with teak decks that what I've head is a constant repair issue due to leaks.
I'm looking forward to your suggestions,

Tim:* Welcome to the "Dark Side." I know exactly where you're coming from as I think a sail boat is about the prettiest thing on the water BUT they sure are a lotta work when you hit 60.******** YachtWorld 2 if you go to Yachtworld and type in "trawler" for the key word & then your price range, you will be surprised at what comes up. GOOD LUCK!


-- Edited by SeaHorse II on Thursday 9th of April 2009 10:12:25 AM

-- Edited by SeaHorse II on Thursday 9th of April 2009 10:12:57 AM

I think we could all type for pages and pages on this subject. It really all depends on what you want.
I will start by saying there are 3 basic styles of trawlers...The Sedan...Sundeck...or Trunk Cabin(Classic)

The Grand Banks Europa...Many of the Mainship Trawlers...Mainship Motorcruiser...etc.

Advantages: main advantage is basically all one level of living. The only steps involved on these boats is the ones from the saloon to the forward berth area and also the flybridge if you want to count those. Line handling is very easy as there are wide side decks that are easy to navigate. ALso, dinghy access is usually quite easy as it is usually accessed thru a transom door right onto the swim platform....very nice for taking the dog landside. The aft cockpit area is a great place to "lounge" as well.

SPACE!!! The smallers ones(which is what you will be looking at in that price range) are generally a saloon with galley up and then down to a V-berth area with a head. The ones in the mid 30ft range might have a second pullman style stateroom off to one side. WHich brings up another issue....privacy. If you have guests they will be sleeping 5ft away from you.

The Sundeck....aft cabin motoryacht style

SPACE!!! You can basically flip the advantages and disadvantages of the sedan with this one. The sundeck offers a full width aft cabin stateroom along with a forward V-berth area for more space and also privacy. It also has a saloon in between with the galley usually down but not always. It also has a nice outside area(the sundeck) aft above the master stateroom which is great for socializing and sundowners.

Multiple levels which requires many sets of steps and climbing. Not really an issue if you get around well. But still, there is a lot of climbing around. Also, line handling can be a challenge as you are trying to handle aft lines from the sundeck which requires handling them through any canvas/eisenglass enclosures as well as being 4-6ft ABOVE the dock. There is obviously ways and methods people do it but it is not nearly as easy as a sedan.

The Trunk Cabin/ Grand Banks Classic

Advantage: it is somewhat a hybrid of the above to. You have the forward and aft cabin seperated by a saloon....galleys are usually up on these. Main advantage is line handling from good side decks and easier/safer access to the flybridge.

You can't have your cake and eat it too. Trunk cabins are usually "squeezed down" to make room for their side decks so interior space is compromised. Saloon width is usually very narrow....especailly in the smaller boats. ANd while you have an aft cabin, it still competes for space with the overhanging side decks. ALso, because of the "uneveness" of the outside decks, there is very little space to "lounge" are pretty much relegated to the bow area or flybridge. There is a sundeck in theory, but again, the side decks encroach upon it and relegate it to dinghy storage area. I have seen people try to put biminis over this area with chairs and such but that is not the norm. It is just too cramped and the "walkway" to the flybridge usually interrupts this space.

In summary:

My last boat was a Prairie 29. I know that sounds small but it was a great boat and was in the price range you are looking at. I think, for that price, the older smaller sedans are what you are looking at. When I shopped the Prairie, it was up against the Californian 34 and The Mainship 34. The "disadvantage" to the Californian was that they are usually twin engined. The Mainship and Prairie usually singles. ALl three of these boats were AMerican made and have stood the test of time. You might find some Taiwanese sedans and trunk cabins in this price range as well. Their main problem is they are loaded with teak and teak decks and the older ones need to be very well surveyed as quality was spotty on older models in this price range. You will be hard pressed to find a sundeck in this price range. But they are out there....almost. Senator makes one as does CHB(I think they are one in the same). I have seen some 35ft sundecks that are good looking little boats. The problem with these is that yyou are getting too small to take advantage of their advantages....IOW, all spaces become compromised because of the lack of size.

There ya have it!!!!

Talkst amongst yo'selves!!!
I'll go along with almost everything that John said other than a few details (Sedan and Europa are similar configurations but they aren't the same thing). Also walk-around decks on a tri-cabin (or sedan or Europa) do not automatically have a negative impact on the interior space, but they do add significantly to the user-friendliness of the boat. But all this will depend on the make and model.

However your stated price limit of $50,000 is going to put many of the "traditional" trawler brands--- Grand Banks, CHB, Island Gypsy, etc.--- out of reach. Sure you can find a GB for under $50k but you won't want it.

You may be able to find an older Nordic Tug 26 inside your price range. It's a tug design as opposed to a "trawler" design, but they are very good boats. Economical, good layout for the size, etc. This was first boat the company introduced in 1980. They've gone on to make various sizes up to 52 feet, although they have recently re-introduced the 26. Nordic Tugs are very popular in the PNW, partly because they are made here. I don't know how common they are in other parts of the country.

A boat with a very good reputation is the Willard 30. I have no clue what the prices for a used one in good condition are these days. They are a full-displacement boat so are not fast, but they are VERY economical and extremely well built. At least one participant on this forum--- Eric Henning--- is very familiar with Willards so perhaps he will provide some input on them.

There are a million boat brands, most of which I'm not familiar with. You're starting off on the right foot, which is to define everything you want to do with the boat, and that you want it to be capable of doing. It's like buying a computer. You don't want start with what computer you want, you want to start with what applications and functions you want to be able to do with it. Then you figure out which computer will run that stuff the best.

There is one make that I will get kicked off the list for mentioning, but their boats aren't actually as bad as folklore makes them out to be, and they can provide a great way for a person to get into "trawlering" without spending a ton of money. And that is Bayliner. Not all Bayliners, just some of them. I'm thinking of older models like the 3288 (I think that's the right number). Bayliner made several models in the 32 to 38 foot range in the 1980s that, while they look like faster boats, are actually fairly low-speed, economical boats. And some of these models have a huge amount of usable space in them, like a stateroom partially under the main cabin in the 32' and so on. Most of these model numbers end in "80" or "88." I have no idea why.

I know several people with this type of Bayliner, and more of them use their boats year round and take long cruises up to Desolation Sound and even up the Inside Passage than the owners of virtually every other production brand around here except GB.

Bayliner has a reputation for cheesy quality, and this is definitely true for many of their boats, particularly the smaller, entry-level runabouts and cabin cruisers. But their larger boats actually have a pretty good reputation among people who know about these things, like surveyors. Sure, their engine access could be better and the hardware--- hinges, latches, etc--- are not the highest quality. But in their larger models--- 32 feet and up--- they set out to make a decent boat at a price more people could afford, and at this they succeeded, very, very well.

I'm not trying to convince you that Bayliner is the way to go, but simply suggesting not to rule it out automatically because of the image--- much of it very exaggerated---- that this brand conjurs up.

Once you get down to a short-list of potential boat models that will fit your requirements, a smart next step is to charter one if you can. We charted a GB36 for awhile before deciding that, yes, we wanted one of our own. Even a long weekend charter is better than a quick test drive in the bay. Living with the boat, even if just for a few days, will help you quickly decide if you like the make and model enough to buy one.
I concur with just about everything Marin said. I, too, had a negative attitude towards Bayliner until a close friend of mine bought a pilot house 45. Except for a very tight engineroom, I was very impressed with the whole boat. Brokers in my area (San Diego) have told me that the Bayliner 45 & 47 are two of the most sought after brokerage boats. I have personal experience with the 38' and consider it a good weekend trawler. I don't think, however, that you will find one in your price range. I could be wrong, however.

The Bayliner 3288 is definitely a good boat and maybe in the price range. And Marin, I was just using a GB Europa as an example of a sedan. All europas ARE sedans....not all sedans are Europas....Europa is just a style of sedan.
Baker wrote:

I was just using a GB Europa as an example of a sedan. All europas ARE sedans....not all sedans are Europas....Europa is just a style of sedan.
Yeah, I'll go along with that I guess.* I tend to use the GB designations for the various configurations since we have a GB.* In their language, a Sedan is*the configuration with a step-down*forecabin and a main cabin with a cabin sole that is flush with the main deck, but no aft cabin.* It has no overhanging boat deck over the aft deck, and no overhangs over the side deck.* It was the least popular of the GB configurations in the GB36 and 42 models.* All the GB32s are Sedans.

The Europa as defined by GB is the Sedan two-cabin configuration*but with the boat deck extending aft over the aft deck and to the side over the main side decks.* Same as everybody elses' Europa.

In*my wife's and my opinion the Europa*the best GB configuration for the PNW (for two people) because the large, covered aft deck, which can be enclosed with clear curtains, is user-friendly even in our 24/7/365 rainy weather.* The Classic (until recently this was GB's term for the tri-cabin configuration) has the advantage of two staterooms that can be closed off from the rest of the boat, but in rainy weather you'll either want to be inside or have the flying bridge enclosed.* Since we never use our flying bridge and so have no reason to enclose it we have to stay inside if we don't want to get wet.
Hey Guys,
*** The man says he wants shallow draft! My boat, and I thank you Marin for your comments about the Willard but the smallest Willard ( 30' ) draws 3.5'. The only boat youv'e mentioned so far that could be called shallow draft is the Bayliner 32' Explorer. The 32 and 37' foot BLs are good looking boats and the 45' Motor Yacht is very good looking* ..* but not in the price range. Ive heard many tales about the 32' having questionable hull issues, layup in paticular, but the design of the stern is the biggest problem. The soft chines and the tunnel stern both suck the stern down under power and in quatering following seas there isn't much of anything to keep the boat on course. Many of the 32s have been modified w hard chines aft of amidships to reduce the squat but I think the engines are aft too and then there is the tunnel stern so the best thing to do may be to buy a different boat.*I don't want to get into an argument w Baker but you ( Tim ) should know that there are many ( at least ) but not a majority that think that twin screw boats are better* .. I am among them. I think we've done that already. Check the arcives Tim if you want to know what we think of that. I don't know where you live Tim but if your'e near the NE perhaps you should look at lobster types. It is very likely you could find a lobster type that would fit your needs* ..* inexpensive, shallow draft and reasonably seaworthy. If you have the ability to build a boat then a large sedan Dory flat and wide aft if you want speed or like the Banks Dories if you want economy. half a gallon an hour to 30 gallons an hour or more* ..* all depending on the stern shape.*
*** Eric Henning
*** 30 Willard
*** Thorne Bay Alaska
Fellow Boaters,

Thanks all for your replies, especially to John Baker and Marin Faure for your valuable input. I live and will cruise on the west coast of FL and I am not exaggerating when I say there are plenty of boats to choose from.
I will say that my $50,000 is a starting price and may find I will have to increase that a bit to get what I want.
There are plenty of bayliners for sale in this area and quite frankly I did not consider such a boat for the reasons several of you have mentioned. I will take another look at that.

I am just in the beginning stages of looking and have not sold my sailboat yet. My wife and I are planning a week long cruise on it down south toward sanibel island as we've done for the last several years. However this will probably be our last as we will probably prepare it for sale when we return.

With the economy being what it is, my guess is that prices for used boats have dropped a bit. I'm counting on that and am hopeful that $50,000 will buy more than it used to. I'm prepared for that when selling my sailboat.

One last comment or perhaps question. In asking questions about trawlers, my boatyard owner has mentioned that teak decks seem to be a maintenance issue due to the expense of repairing leaks which he mentioned seems be a common problem with them. The marine trader line which is a popular boat here in FL seem mostly to have teak decks. Additionally the boatyard owner mentioned the expense and probability of having to repair fuel tanks on this boat as well. I'm familiar somewhat with the issue of moisture in diesel with ethanol added, but he mentioned the fuel tank issue was more of a problem with marine traders. I have not narrowed my search to this boat, it's just they are so common here.
Anyone care to comment?

nomadwilly wrote:


*** The man says he wants shallow draft! My boat, and I thank you Marin for your comments about the Willard but the smallest Willard ( 30' ) draws 3.5'.
Eric---* Of course, to an ex-sailboater, a 3.5' draft boat might BE a shallow draft boat...

Your suggestion of a lobster-type boat is a good one.* The ony real downside is that most of them are powered to go pretty fast---- 15 knots or more---- and when fuel prices start back up again that could be a damper on one's boating.* My good friend Carey with his 36' lobsterboat cruised it down at about 8.5 knots when fuel got real pricey.* He went barely faster than we do.* At*this speed his Cat engine makes temperature, but the bigger issue is the way the boat handles in rougher water.* Where our heavy, semi-planing boat shoulders its way through the waves with relatively little fuss, his much lighter semi-planing hull isn't too happy.* Lots of spray kicked up, wallowing around, etc.* When he opens the throttle some, the boat settles down and cleans up*very nicely.* But this uses more fuel so.......
timjet wrote:

In asking questions about trawlers, my boatyard owner has mentioned that teak decks seem to be a maintenance issue due to the expense of repairing leaks which he mentioned seems be a common problem with them.
I can't say much about iron tanks other than to repeat things I've heard about them, good and bad, since the previous owner of our boat replaced the boat's original iron tanks with tanks made of something else.

I can comment on the teak deck question since our 36-year old boat has them (and they are the original planks).* Teak decks are not the maintenance nightmare most people who don't have them think they are.* That said, they are not maintenance-free.* As with everything, the longevity and trouble-free aspect of a teak deck will depend a huge amount on how the deck was put together in the first place and the quality of materials and workmanship.

I won't go into the details of the proper way to maintain a teak deck in this post--- I may have written something of this in an archived post on this forum, and you can visit the Grand Banks owners forum (*) for more information in their archives about teak decks than you're going to want to read.* If you want to know the proper way to take care of a teak deck PM or e-mail me and I'll be happy to spell out the process.

Don't get me wrong--- a teak deck can be a nighmare of problems.* But this is always because an owner has allowed it to become one.* If the seams are good and the plugs are in place over the screws (unless the deck is glued down which you aren't going to find in boats that are in your price range--- it's a relatively new process) the deck requires no more ongoing maintenance than a fiberglass deck.* Basically, you have to keep it clean.

Teak is one of the best--- if not the best--- deck materials with regards to traction that there is, wet or dry.* However....... in climates like yours it can get REAL hot in the sun.* No problem if you wear shoes but if you like to go barefoot, a teak deck can be like walking on a sand*beach in the tropics at noon.

My wife and I like a teak deck even though ours is old enough to require more maintenance and spot repair (to seams) than a newer one would require. So assuming the deck was well-laid to start with and is in good condition today, I would not walk away from a boat just because it has one.

But if you want a boat that requires almost no effort whatsoever with regards to the exterior, then a teak deck (or any teak trim, handrails, caprail, transom, etc.) is probalby not what you want.

Replacing a failing teak deck with a new one is way expensive.* The last cost I heard to put a new main deck on a GB36 was $20,000 to $30,000 depending on who was giving the bid.* Replacing an existing teak deck with a fiberglass deck is not an easy job either.* It's not just a matter of removing the teak planks and there you are.* The teak provides some strength to the deck, be it a fiberglass or cored deck, so you have to put that strength back after you take the planks off.* This is usually done by adding at least two layers of new glass to the deck and then finishing with a non-skid surface of some sort.

If you have a boatyard do it, I wouldn't be surprised if you'd getspretty close to that magic $20k figure by the time it's all done.* You can do it yourself if you know how--- it's not rocket science but you have to be able to remove the teak and all the sealant underneath, prep the fiberglass subdeck, and then apply the layers of new glass, fair it all in,*and then do the non-skid application.* A fellow on our dock with a 36' or 37' Island Gypsy did this the other year.* He did a beautiful job, adding FOUR layers of glass after removing the teak.* The teak is amazingly strong but*it took him a summer and a half of working almost every day.* The end result is outstanding--- better probably than most manufacturers would do---* but he told me when it was done that had he known what it would entail he never would have done it.


-- Edited by Marin on Thursday 9th of April 2009 05:54:24 PM
Marin and Eric** * I must also point out that lobster boats are not particularly shallow draft. With a full keel, my 36' Spencer Lincoln design draws 3'10", and is typical of other lobster boats. As Marin said, a sailor might see that as shallow draft.
** * Also, what Marin says about seakeeping at low speeds is so true. 2' and under seas are fine at 8 knots, but over that, I have to go up to my designed cruise of 15 knots in order to get the best ride. That takes me from my 4gph cruise up to 15gph. Almost double the fuel consumed per mile.*
** * * * * Carey * * * * * * * * * **

-- Edited by Carey on Thursday 9th of April 2009 05:51:24 PM

You asked about Marine Traders. Most(all) of the sedans/europas and trunk cabins have tons of teak and teak decks. Ocassionally you will find one that has been "de-teaked". I have seen a CHB 45 Europa that was done very well with no exterior teak. ANyway, there are versions of sundeck Marine Traders that have no teak. Take a look at the Marine Trader 36 Sundeck. A very handsome boat as well. They are a little narrow in the beam which makes them have a little less space. You can find them in the $70ish range. Some have singles, some twins. This boat would be on our short list if we could ever sell ours. A single Lehman with a bow thruster would be IT! Anyway, to answer your question, there are teakless Marine Traders out there but they are all sundecks and they are above the $50k price point. "Labelle" and "Tradewinds" boats are also "made" by Marine Trader and are "teakless". But I think the smallest Tradewinds made is a 38 and that will put you in the $80ish range. The smallest Labelle I think is 40ft and command a loftier price. The Californian 38/43(the 43 is a 38 with a 5ft cockpit) prices have come down and they are damn good looking boats and have that quality appearing larger on the inside than they are. Strangely, you can usually find the 43s for cheaper than the 38s. The cockpit does solve some of the "problems" you have with a sundeck boat but you will also be paying for it by paying all costs that are associated with length of boat.

Stick to your guns as far as the teak and teak decks go. Marin is correct in his assessment. But why bother? And Marin also has a GB and they are probably the most consistently built trawlers out there. Teak decks and exterior teak are a deal killer for me. But the do feel great under foot.

We would like to get back into more of a trawler type good of a boat this Mainship has been.


PS...Carey, Good to see ya around!!!!

-- Edited by Baker on Thursday 9th of April 2009 08:01:55 PM

John makes a good point about teak trim. The maintenance required to keep teak trim looking good makes a teak deck look like self-cleaning fiberglass in comparison. Our fiberglass boat has a rainforest of exterior teak on it--- caprails, handrails, grabrails, cabin and door trim strips, transom, hatches, hatch sliders,*control consol and seat*base*trim on the flying bridge, nameboards,*bow pulpit and probably other stuff I can't remember. This is not unique to GBs of this era ('70s). Other trawlers like CHBs from that time period*have even more exterior teak on them, which I wouldn't have thought possible but it is.

Now, I like wood and (so far) I enjoy maintaining wood. It gives a boat the look I like, which is irrelevant when it comes to the look you or anyone else likes in a boat. So I don't mind all the wood and the time it takes to maintain it. Partly because a lot of the maintenance can be done when we're using the boat and are in a bay or something.

I'm not much for sitting around on the boat*doing nothing, so putting some new finish on a section of the boat's trim is actually rather relaxing for me. One reason we bought the boat we did was that I wanted a sort of ongoing hobby in terms of messing with it.* I bought a Land Rover new in 1973 and today*it's the same thing for me.* Runs good but there's plenty of things that need doing and I enjoy doing them.* But that's me.

My friend Carey, who we boat with a lot, hates dealing with exterior wood trim. He's an accomplished woodcarver and has done some really neat things on the inside of their custom lobsterboat, but the weather doesn't start beating it up the moment he puts down his tools. But screwing with maintaining exterior trim is something he's not interested in. So his boat doesn't have any. Well, two pieces maybe. But for his style of boat, I don't find the lack of wood a detriment at all from an aesthetic standpoint. Commercial lobstermen don't want to screw around with sandpaper and varnish either, so if their boats are wood they're painted and if they're glass any trim and rails and stuff are stainless.* So in terms of exterior maintenance, Carey has found a very distinctive and good looking boat that also satisfies his requirement to have no cans of varnish on board.

So if you're concerned about maintenance requirements, add varnished wood trim to your list of "don't wants." Because if you get a boat with lots of it and you don't keep it up, the boat will look like crap even if it's mechanically perfect. You can paint it over, and some people do, but usually the boats that have varnished*trim have it for aesthetic reasons, so if it's painted, the boat still looks like crap.* Best not to get a boat with it in the first place.

-- Edited by Marin on Thursday 9th of April 2009 08:45:35 PM
Lots of good advice , so I will add an opinion.

Since you are in FL and have a home , there is little need for endless caves and caverns (called cabins) to sleep armies of guests.

Probably you will run mostly in the "good" season , so the ability to carry tons of stores and cubic yards of water , wish to commission and de-comission a water maker would not be useful.

My suggestion would be for a sedan, that has a good genset instalation. KISS

Daytime you will will be able to enjoy the light , air and roominess inside, weather buttoned up and breathing canned air or simply with the screens keeping back the airborne flesh eaters.

Teak is fine if its your hobby , otherwise a huge pain because of the damage it causes over the years to the usual trawler deck construction.

I would shoot for a silent winter boat. The 4 winter months are the most enjoyable in terms of temp and lack of bugs.So a HOLDOVER FREEZER / FRIDGE and a large enough variety of hatches and opening windows will do nicely , in SILENCE.

Most of FL is good holding and quite shallow , so a manual windlass is not a hassle.

With 5000+ lightning strikes per day in summer , electronics would be a hand held VHF & Gps and a very repairable auto pilot.

If you love working on boats , do it for your friends for CA$H , and not as a requirement to enjoy your own boat. That way you can stop when it gets old.

A yankee's view of 15 years of FL cruising.

Visit us in Ortona , up the river from FMY .Winters only.


a $1.SPENT TO LEARN . that saves $10,000 is a wise investment.

Also avoid unpopular boats , EG, Steel may make the burgy bit bashers drool, but its not well loved on this side of the Atlantic,

Ditto WOOD in Fl is hard to love ,live with, or even get a boat yard to haul out.

-- Edited by FF on Friday 10th of April 2009 04:25:35 AM

-- Edited by FF on Friday 10th of April 2009 04:26:52 AM
Hi again folks,

I'm so glad I found this forum. I've learned more in the last 24 hours about trawlers than I ever knew. I will take some time to reread all of your posts and digest this information. It's good to hear experienced opinions, even if they sometimes differ.

The teak vs no teak discussion could go on for several threads, but I already know enough about this topic through personal experience and your comments. The teak deck and loads of teak accompaniments will probably not be part of my next boat. I am an experienced woodworking hobbyist having made much of the furniture in my home as well as adding cabinets to boats I've owned. That being said, I do not enjoy maintaining lots of teak though I do enjoy and appreciate the looks of* a well maintained teak boat. In south FL teak is a constant maintenance headache if done right. Unless I can get a seller to include a bikini clad teak refinisher......

In my very limited research I found that as several of you have mentioned, a look at the 38' Bayliner is a possibility. It appears this boat does have a good reputation as a value boat and does not seem to share the quality issues of some of it's smaller cousins. A quick look at Yacht trader found 15 or so '84 thru '88's located in the southeast somewhat in my price range. There are 2 issues I had not comtemplated with this boat. First the cost to maintain and use 2 engines. As a professional pilot I appreciated the safety of that second engine, but as a soon to be retiree on a fixed income, I'm a little concerned about the long term costs of feeding that second engine. Chuck Husick in the January 2009 issue of Boat US Magazine discusses the wisdom of running a twin on one engine to conserve fuel. He mentions that at the proper speed it is an effective method. My research indicates that at a speed of 15 kts the 38 Bayliner burns 15 gph which is more than I had considered. This of course is at a much faster speed than I would normally cruise.* Anyone know what one could expect in fuel flow at 7 or 8 kts.
The second issue with the Bayliner is the second stateroom. I had not considered this except that some sundeck trawlers in the 34 to 38 ft range do have a 2nd stateroom. I believe the Albin's in the mid 30 range is an example. For the type of cruising I am considering, that seems like a waste of space, perhaps better used in the saloon or cockpit. Of course that 2nd stateroom would make a nice storage area.
And of course the 38 Bayliner is not really a trawler, and doesn't even attempt to look like one, though if asked I'm not sure I could say what defines a trawler.

FF, your wise beyond words. But aren't KISS and comfort oxymorons. An AC is a must if cruising beyond May is a consideration. I am not going to buy a boat for 50 to 70 grand and use it for 4 months. But that adds the generator and the maintenance of a 2nd or 3rd engine. Lots of opening windows and hatches is a must in FL and I'm fortunate my sailboat has these. Certainly not all do.

In summary I'm trying to define the issues that are important and then place a priority on them. Everyones input is helping me to define those priorities. A value boat that is easy to resell will be high on the list as well as an economical one to operate. I don't enjoy lots of boat maintenance so that will have a place in the upper echalon as well. However comfort, if I am to get my wife to accompany me, may trump everything and that requires an AC, generator and engine with the accompaning maintenance. In FL it will be difficult to find a 34 to 38 ft* trawler or motor cruiser without AC, so that is a given.

Thanks folks for all your input. Any more comments will be greatly appreciated. Like FF wrote: a $1.SPENT TO LEARN . that saves $10,000 is a wise investment.

Funny Tim- that you would bring up the pro's and con's of twin engines
. That will get us going!!

timjet wrote:

*There are 2 issues I had not comtemplated with this boat. First the cost to maintain and use 2 engines. As a professional pilot I appreciated the safety of that second engine, but as a soon to be retiree on a fixed income, I'm a little concerned about the long term costs of feeding that second engine.
I fly with a bunch of ratings too, albeit not professionally.* The plane I fly now has a single engine, and its an engine manufactured originally during or before WWII although it's been overhauled many times since then.* My wife and I have flown this plane up and down the Inside Passage more times than we can remember, and we've never had a concern about having only one.

Our boat is a twin, not because we were shopping for a twin--- we actually didn't care one way or the other---- but because the GB that best met our needs and boating budget happened to have two engines.* We have needed that second engine four times in the ten years we've owned the boat.* But were we in the market for a different boat today we would not hesitate to buy a single if that's what happened to be the best boat for us.* I prefer twins personally, but that's because I like engines and the more I can operate at any one time the happier I am.

As to costs of singles vs. twins,*two of the most popular GB models, the GB36 and GB42, were available with single or twin engines.* Yes, the twins do*burn more fuel, but not exactly*twice as much.* To go the typical cruise speed of about 8 knots, the one*engine in a single has to work harder than the two engines in a*twin.**From what I have heard from other GB36 owners that have single and twin engine boats with the same engines as ours (FL120), the single burns about 3 gph to go a bit over 8 knots, the twin burns a total of about*5 gph to do the same speed.** But that's for the GB36 with those particular engines.* Other boats with other engines will not have the same numbers, obviously.

When it comes to the Bayliners, I think--- but could be way wrong--- that the models we're talking about are all twins. I don't believe there were single-engine options in these particular boats.

But*I think a much*greater consideration with regard to operating costs of singles vs twins is not so much the fuel but the service, maintenance, and God forbid, repairs.* You're going to change twice as much oil, buy twice as many filters, and so on.* If the engine mounts in the used boat you buy are nearing the end of their life, as ours were, you're going to have to change twice as many mounts and lift and otherwise screw with twice as many engines.* Which if you don't do it yourself means twice as much time on the shop labor bill.* Same with exhaust sytems, water pumps, etc.

You've got two sets of cutless bearings wearing out, two props that might need tuning at some point, two rudders that might need repacking at some point, and so on.

Against that, of course, is the fact that unless you starve both engines of fuel or take on a fuel load that's full of salamander poo, you've got a second engine when the first one has to be shut down for some reason.* None of our four engine shutdowns had anything to do with the engines themselves.* Three were cooling issues that required a precautionary shut down, and one was my fault for letting a tank empty itself completely during a fuel transfer which resulted in the engine getting a big slug of air.* But in each instance, we were able to complete the run on the other engine instead of on the end of a rope.

My wife, who knows intellectually that one engine is just as good as two and who has sat behind the one engine on the plane for hundreds of hours over very unforgiving terrain, feels more secure having two engines under the floor in the boat.* This may not sound like a big deal, but having your boating partner feel confident when you're out on the boat has a major impact on the enjoyment you both get out of each trip.

But that emotional and personal preference stuff aside, a twin engine boat will, over time, cost a not-insignificant amount more to operate than a single.

And on the subject of engines, it's a good idea, I think, to buy a boat with an engine that the shops in your area are familiar with.* The FL120 is a pretty safe bet because there are zillions of them around and lots of shops and mechanics know how to work with them.* But if you find a great boat with Volvos but few or no shops in the area you're going to boat in are very familiar with them, it might be something to consider.
Suggest you spend a lot of time walking the docks and looking at boats for sale. Even if*the vessels*do not fit your budget, you will learn why some vessels are cheap and others not. A cheap boat will not save you money if it has fundamental issues like leaky teak, blisters, rotting wood and saturated core. Unfortunately iwth boats, you usually get what you pay for -*if you buy carefully.

Resale is a key component for me - if I can't sell it easily I won't buy it.*If you are interested in Bayliners, look at fresh water boats over those that are currently in FL. A properly dry stored Great Lakes Bayliner could be a gem in disguise. After a few years of ownership you can then decide if Trawlers are for you. And a good Bayliner will resale easily.

Airplanes and boats are similar in many respects when it comes to operating them, but very different in the area of safety. There are many light twin engine airplanes that can't really maintain altitude on one engine making the likely hood of a forced landing twice as great as a single engine airplane. But that's a discussion for a different day.

The maintenance issue considerations concerning 1 vs 2 engines is something I had not put a lot of thought into probably because in both my sailboats I never had any real engine maintenance issues other than oil and filter changes. I had 3 and then 2 cylinder Yanmar's in my sailboats and I would trust my life with these engines. Perhaps I was lucky or perhaps Yanmar is really as good as I think it is, don't know but I love those engines. Since ease of maintenance is high on my priority list along with economy of operating the boat, I think you have convinced me to stick with a single engine model which was my original thinking anyway.


Funny thing you* mention looking around the docks. I had to do some minor maintenance on my sailboat yesterday and when done did exactly that. One thing that such a exercise does is familiarize one with whats popular in your area. And yes, a top priority if not the first priority is resale and the ease of resale.


I am not that familiar with Marine Traders but they are very popular in FL. I can't remember seeing one without loads of teak, but I'll take a look more closely at the ones you mentioned.

It seems that the Marine Traders I've seen here in FL seem to be less cared for than other trawlers and motor cruisers. It may be because the teak looks so bad and in FL unless you are willing to consider it a second job, maintaining lots of teak probably won't get done.

Mainship is a popular boat in this area, Tampa bay. In fact there is one just down the slip from me and I will engage the owner in conversation next time I see him. I didn't know Mainship was not considered a trawler, but my ignorance is showing again so I better take a closer look at this boat. Incidently, I'm not looking for a particular boat, trawler or motor cruiser. I'm just looking for a boat that will meet my #1 need: to have fun on the water without a lot of worries.* Silverton and Carver are also both popular boats in FL and neither are considered trawlers.

You mentioned: "We would like to get back into more of a trawler type good of a boat this Mainship has been".
I'm wondering, why?

timjet wrote:

You mentioned: "We would like to get back into more of a trawler type good of a boat this Mainship has been".
I'm wondering, why?

Space!!!* And the aforementioned "cave effect" of being down below.* There just isn't enough space on this boat to give it that comfortable homey feel.* It has been a great boat in a day boat application.* The Mainship I am talking about is the one in my avatar.* It is an express cruiser/lobster boat/picnic boat style.* Like I said, a great day boat but not something I really want to spen a week or more on.*

There are different types of Mainships and what has made their name are their trawlers.....their 35ft Sedans in particular.* They have held their value well and have flattened out in the mid $ well outta your price range(and mine).* The Mainships I was referring to are the 34 foot ones that were made in the late 70s/early 80s.* They can very easily be found in that price range and they made a ton of them....which means there are a lot out there with plenty of support.* They have their issues of course*but they are single engined sedans with very little teak.* And I think $50k is in the "cream puff" range as you can find them all the way down into the $20s.* Mainship is owned by Luhrs....which also owns Hunter sailboats*and Silverton.....if that means anything to you.* My only knock against those Bayliners we are speaking of is an aesthetic one....and that is their dark interiors.* They all have dark wook with black trim...just looks yucky to me.* Other than that, they aren't bad.* ANd Marin was right.* I don't think you will ever find one as a single.* Most are powered by Hino engines which likely have a lot of support since there were so many of those boats made.* Hino was never popular here but they are extremely popular in Japan.* They were "bought out"(the American arm of it)*by American Diesel if I remember correctly which would be a BIG plus....but* I might be getting my companies crossed up.

I highly suggest you do an "advanced seach" on Yachtworld with all ofyour criteria.* Searching on there is an art in and of itself.* There are some amazing deals to be had right now!!!!

PS....Yanmars are great engines.


You didn't mention the size of your Mainship, but I'm guessing it's one of the 34's. Before you posted your last message I was attempting to get more information on the 34. Seems they made 3 models the Mark I, II, and III spread over several years. They range in price from like you said a low of 20's to the high 50's up until about '85.

They have little teak, one engine and a sedan configuration, which I think is what I'm going to focus on. My wife has stated her wishes* for a walk through transom to accommodate easy entry for both us and our dogs and only a sedan seems to have that. I'm a little concerned about the space issue, but I'm moving up from a 29 foot sailboat so the 34 will seem big, at least at first.

One concern I have is about the v berth. I hate them. But I do recognize unless I'm willing to move up into the 38 ft range I will have to live with this.

Teak decks are not the maintenance nightmare most people who don't have them think they are. That said, they are not maintenance-free.

There are two styles of "Teak Decks".

The mostly problem free is the one you would find usually on a sailboat for 200 years or so.

This is seperiate 2x2 (or so) planks screwed or bolted to the deck frames , calked and then gooped with a compound to be tight. Wonderful, a leak is EZ to spot and EZ to repair.Heavy.

The other "teak deck" is actually a teak paint job over a plywood deck that may have a layer of fiberglass .

The problem here is the screws which fasten the teak to the ply (Chinese Composite) eventually fail as does the calking. This allows water into the plywood (frequently not even "marine") and the rot sets in. tO ADD INSULT TO INJURY MANY OF THE PLANKS ARE REALLY WIDE so what looks like 5 planks is actually one wide board that a 12 year old apprentice calked and plugged to look like planking , not just a plank.Frequently a 1/2 dozen screws is all that holds it in place , which plugs are dummies and which are the leakers is a grea GAME.

Same with deck houses and pilot houses , the thin layer of glass is punctured to install windows doors,ports, fittings and all eventually have the goop fail , AND THE ROT SETS IN.

IF a vessel has a GRP deck without a phoney teak paint job , it is a far better FL ( or anywhere) boat .

This will be found in most USA built boats , read Dave Pascoe!!!!!!!

Hey FF, the 3rd kind is what GB is doing now. They are glueing them screws.

And Tim, yes you are right about the older Mainships. We gravitate to the Mk1 simply because it looks more "trawler like" with the cockpit overhang. The Mk2 and 3 look more like Sportfishes. If you do pursue thhese Mainships, lemme know. I do know a bit about them as I have shopped them heavily and a buddy of mine just bought one. He got a pretty clean one for $34k. I woulda bought it in a minute.
timjet wrote:

Since ease of maintenance is high on my priority list along with economy of operating the boat, I think you have convinced me to stick with a single engine model which was my original thinking anyway.


You touch on an important point in this comment, and that is that in the typical trawler in sizes up to at least 42 feet (again, my mindset tends to be the GB line) engine access is WAY better in a single than in a twin.* I'm 6'3" and I can "get around" to where I have to in the engine room of our GB36.* But with two big straight-six engines (FL120s may only be 120 horsepower but they ain't small) AND an old-generation (aka big) 7.5kw generator in there, getting around behind either of the engines is not a barrel of laughs.
We used to charter a GB36 with a single, straight-six Cummins engine and no generator, and the engine room had way more empty space in it than occupied space.
With regard to teak decks, I've not seen the type FF describes, which has wider sheets of teak that are scribed, caulked, and plugged to look like multiple planks.

The teak decks over fiberglass subdecks I've seen are like ours, or the ones on Island Gypsies, etc. Each plank has a shallow step, for want of a better word, routed down each edge. So the planks are butted together along their lengths but the recessed step above the butt joint provides a groove for the sealant that keeps moisture from getting down through the butt joints. It's very important that the sealant not adhere to the bottom of the groove, only the sides. So tape (I was taught to use automotive striping tape but I don't know what the factories used) is laid down the bottom of the groove to keep the sealant from touching the wood.

In a properly applied teak deck, it's rare that water will actually seep down around a deck screw even if the plug above it is missing. But because the deck "works," and as the seam material gets older and more weathered, or if it wasn't applied correctly to begin with, one side or the other of a seam can pull away from the edge of the groove. This allows water do get down to the butt joint and then through to the fiberglass subdeck below. Once there, it can migrate around and if it encounters a deck screw it can migrate down into the wood core (if the deck has one) as FF describes.

This is why, when you wash a teak deck, you should always use salt water. If salt water gets down under the planks and down around a screw into the subdeck's wood core, it will be less likely to encourage dry rot. This is also why, on the advice of a shipwright we know who does a lot of work on teak decks, when we re-set a deck screw we always dip the tip of it in a non-adhesive sealant like Lifecaulk. Then when the screw is inserted, the Lifecaulk seals around the threads so if moisture does get under the planks it won't follow the screw down any further.

Higher end boats like GBs, Flemings, etc. now glue their teak decks down. The older style decking like the type that was installed on our boat did have a bedding/adhesive peanut-buttered all over the subdeck before the planks were laid down and screwed, but this material did not have sufficient adhesive power to hold the planks down on its own. Hence all the screws.

-- Edited by Marin on Sunday 12th of April 2009 08:18:05 PM
and as the seam material gets older and more weathered,

Yup, , sealants are good for 7-10 years , so the amount of work is ongoing , the loss for any lack of maint is huge and the repair is very very difficult.

Its NOT shmerering more goop , the teak must ALL be removed and the deck rebuilt structuraly.

Far too expensive to R&R , so our yards solution has been to simply lay a foam core deck on the existing deck.

And ithat AINT cheap, but will stand the full force of a breaking sea with out any hassles.

An all GRP boat is far less maint or risk to your wallet or life..

Caviat Emptor!

FF wrote:
Yup, , sealants are good for 7-10 years , so the amount of work is ongoing , the loss for any lack of maint is huge and the repair is very very difficult.

Well, no.* Our boat is 36 years old and the adhesive/sealant the factory put down before laying the teak planks is still good.* Even when we first bought the boat and many seams were separated or had been sanded away in spots, no water got down into the boat through the deck screws and there are no soft spots in the wood core of the fiberglass subdeck.. Of course Howard Abbey at GB used good wood back in 1973, so that's part of it.* We had the entire main deck regrooved and reseamed a couple of years after we bought the boat, and while it IS a long and tedious job, it is by no means difficult.

-- Edited by Marin on Monday 13th of April 2009 10:44:39 AM
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