Thai fishing trawler

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Veteran Member
Jan 14, 2009
Hi All,

New here and also a new trawler owner.* I recently bought an neglected Thai fishing boat, 35 feet LOA, to convert to a family cruiser here in Phuket.* I work in the marine industry here so have access to tradespeople and parts at reasonable to free prices which helps with a project that I do not expect will ever recoup investment from resale.*

First stage is on the hardstand to make the hull stong and watertight and review (actually replace) or create systems.* Engine I will downsize from the 160 HP Isuzu truck engine, with truck gearbox, to a recycled 80 hp Ford Sabre with 3:1 Velevet drive gearbox.

I appreciate the information I have been able to find here in this forum.



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Welcome to the forum. That is quite a project you have and its great to see someone follow their dreams.
Keep us posted on your progress.

Ok now for more info.
What's she planked in, what size planks?
They are certainly sturdy boats and well worth the conversion.
keep us informed and you will allways get help or advice from those on this forum.
If you ever want to chase up stuff from Qz give me a buzz.
Thanks for the replies.* I must admit Benn that wood is not my strong point, more of an engineer really.* This is my first wood boat apart from a ply epoxy sailing cat about ten years ago.* She is built with a local hardwood, looks like a mixture from different repairs over the years.* The work being done now is a local wood called Takien Sai which is a mid grade hard wood here.*
The woodworkers have replaced most of the knees, a few spot patches, added an extra plank to the bottom of the keel and refastened a lot of the boat.* Pretty good going in one week.
The boat has been recaulked and painting starts tomorrow.
Next make a new rudder, fit a steel shoe to the keel incorporating rudder support, thru hulls and sea cocks, cutless bearing and then shaft and prop.*
Then I can start to put in engine, gear, exhaust, some basic electrics and then relaunch.* Don't want to leave it out of the water for long once the painting is done as worried about the heat and seams opening.*
We have the old Isuzu donk out, was going to keep it but turned out to have been quite abused.* Luckily I had a four cylinder Ford Sabre kept aside from a repower last year that the customer left with me.* We have it stripped down now doing a quick overhaul and hopefully should get it back in the boat next week.*
Actual conversion to family use will begin later once I have it seaworthy and running well.*
Cheers, leon.

-- Edited by Phuket at 07:58, 2009-02-04


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wow, nice boat. fishing boats are the best. glad to see you are keeping it alive. i am looking for a troller to redo to a cruiser. good luck on the project. keep us posted.

Why go to the Ford Sabre? That Isuzu engine is a great engine!
You are right the Isuzu is a great engine, very popular here. Most of the commercial boats here are powered by second hand vehicle engines imported from japan - which are very cheap to buy here by the way. I did intend to keep the Isuzu but in the end it was an economic decision. The Isuzu needed new heat exchanger, new exhaust manifold, new raw water pump, new bellhousing to adapt to marine gearbox - I did not really like the foot operated clutch that came with the package, damper plate, tacho, gauges, wiring and new engine mounts. That was before I pulled the engine and had a look inside it - the oil around the rocker arms was like tarmac and the cylinder walls were badly worn - in short a severely abused engine. It would have been cheaper to start off with a new second hand engine - but would still have to marinise it.

By comparison the Ford is complete with all marinising gear, just needs a paint job, 1 new piston and 3 sets of rings. I had a 3:1 Velvet drive left over from another repower two years ago that just needed a seal kit and repaint. Plus when I checked the waterline length and displacement of the boat I see that 80 HP is more than enough to achieve hull speed. So for this year at least I will be running with the Ford. If it turns out to be a good boat and a successfull project then maybe I will change it out later.

Actually the Hino engines seem even more robust here and there is a naturally aspirated 100 hp six cylinder that is a very good boat engine.

The Ford now has crankshaft back in it and all the components were metal primed this afternoon. By the time the piston and rings arrive we should have the painting and chroming finished and be able to re-assemble the engine pretty quickly.

Cheers, Leon.

-- Edited by Phuket at 09:22, 2009-02-05


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