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Old 06-12-2014, 05:12   #1
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Boat Type Advice

Hello Everyone,
My wife and I apparently contracted a brain wasting disease causing us to make the decision to sell our virtually paid off house in a comfortable and lovely area outside Gainesville Florida and by a liveaboard boat and move to the keys.
We’ve made the decision completely and will be making the, let’s say “transition” as soon as our house sells.
Currently I’m looking at boats in order to narrow down the types and main features I am looking for.
Here is our projected situation:
Because we will be in the Keys, which are very expensive, we will be living at a mooring field. So a hull design that minimizes wave motion would be best.
We love fishing and hope to soon love scuba diving.
We want to be able to cruise to nearby portions of the Caribbean for weekend trips.
We want to be able to cruise to further destinations on vacations and such.
Would “like” the capability for more extensive trips in the future, south America, thru panama to the pacific, maybe up the east coast.
I’ve been looking at a lot of trawlers because they have nice deck designs for outdoor space, and plenty of room for the length, however they seem to be exceptionally slow, which would be fine for retirement when a week long sail is okay, but for now, I would prefer slightly quicker passage, maybe the 14-18 know cruising speed range.
I don’t want anything faster than that either because more money will go to engine and gas rather than liveability.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to class of boat that best fits my rough criteria to help get me started? I am looking in the used 30-50k range, there are to many choices!!
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Old 06-12-2014, 15:22   #2
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Re: Boat type advice.

Hi:

I'd love to do what you plan on doing, but I have a few cautionary suggestions and comments.

First, all boats, sail or power, are designed and built for a particular use. I think everyone on this forum will agree that no boat can do everything. If it were otherwise, only one brand of boat would exist in the marketplace.

I make this point because your list of criteria includes functions from several different and inherently incompatible classes of boats. I doubt you can cover all, and your questions indicate to me that you might need to do a bit more

Let me give you one example. You say you would like a boat that can cross the Caribbean Sea, do the Canal, then venture into the Pacific. Despite its innocuous name, the Pacific can be mighty hard going. Unlike the US East coast, where there are often inlets from the ocean into protected waters at 30-40 mile distances, in the Pacific you might be at sea for 4 or 5 times those distances to find safe harbors. Thus, you need a strong and seaworthy boat with plenty of fuel (or sails). Such a boat suited to that purpose is not going to offer you 14 kt speeds or likely be within your price range. Well established brands include Nordhavn, Krogen, and a few others. Due to deep, round, full displacement hulls and smallish diesel engines, these boats will cruise at around 8 knots. The cost in the used market will be $200k and well upwards for newer or bigger boats (into 7 figures).

The Bahamas are relatively close to the Keys, and both are similar in often having shallow water. Many types of boats would serve you sufficiently in either place, and if you watched the weather window in crossing the Gulfstream you do not need a bluewater-capable boat for either place. Many "coastal cruising" type boats would suffice, including many of the commonly called "trawler" or "tug" style vessels with semi-displacement hulls. Brands include Grand Banks, Nordic and American Tug, Sabreline, a variety of Taiwanese trawlers from the 1970s forward that were marketed in the US, Mainship, and others. In addition, there are dozens of brands and hundreds of models of coastal capable boats not of the recreational trawler or tug style that would also serve adequately. Do a www.Yachtworld.com search for "cabin cruisers" or "trawlers" or whatever style you prefer. Here, the prices vary widely, depending on age, brand, condition, equipment, and gas v. diesel engines.

Second, I gather you do not have much boating experience. I would suggest that you get sufficient training to charter a coastal type boat for a week before selling the house. Boats are pretty small next to houses. Most 40' boats have less space than your 2 car garage. Can you live in your garage, or a smallish hotel room, for months at a time? Are you prepared to sell or store 95% of your possessions?

The charter might help you discover the features in a boat that are most important to you before you make an expensive purchase mistake.




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Old 06-12-2014, 18:55   #3
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Re: Boat type advice.

To go 14 to 18 knots requires a prodigious amount of fuel to do so and is usually a VERY expensive boat, trawler, think 6 to 8 kts, very much cheaper to purchase and operate and I believe a much better boat to live aboard.

Secondly being in Gainsville, your almost in the center of "cave country", you want to learn to dive, your in about the best place possible to learn to do so. Learn how to dive from a cave instructor even though you have no intent on cave diving and you will have skills most open water divers never acquire, like good trim and very good buoyancy control.
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Old 07-12-2014, 02:54   #4
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Re: Boat type advice.

Thank you for your excellent responses.

1) a64pilot: I had the same idea about the scuba. There's a diner nearby that has a sign saying tiger woods ate here before going diving. lol. I have already signed up for a course diving. I figured with a bit of practice and some experienced advice, I could do some of my own hull cleaning, in addition to the obvious recreational aspects.

2) richardpr. Thank you for such a detailed cautionary response. I've noticed what you meant by boats being fairly specialized, and my list of desires is merely an ideal. I do not have a lot of boating experience with anything over 20 ft. Lots of freshwater and flats fishing, lakes, rivers, big bend inshore and east coast lagoons, but nothing more than 20' and no more than a mile out. Where and how would you go about getting some basic training for the navigation of larger, again 34-44' vessels?

As far as the livability aspect, I practically grew up in campers, we travel a lot on a low budget, we've spent weeks in motel rooms that would make the cabin of a 30' 1944 shrimp boat look like a mansion. =P.

Based on my further research and your responses, I will likely be resigned to the slower vessels. Most of the Trawlers I've looked at so far seem to be the best compromise for my overall needs. My concern with them so far is they seem fairly built upwards, high out of the water. I know they displace relatively deep, but how much will wind effect its handling and daily comfort? does the displacement counterbalance the wind effect?

How well would a 40' heavy displacement trawler style boat handle Caribbean and gulf travel?
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Old 07-12-2014, 05:32   #5
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Re: Boat type advice.

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, essej4269, and richardpr.
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Old 07-12-2014, 08:17   #6
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Re: Boat type advice.

Hi Essej4269

Another Hogtown resident here who has the same disease. Welcome to the forum but don't expect a cure here.

You have gotten good information from previous posts but I'll add my own take on the subject and your questions.

1. Even at 14-18 kts unless you're in a very small boat you will be sucking fuel like crazy like 10-15 gallons/hour or more. Figure a trip to Bimini and back could set you back a few hundred dollars in fuel costs alone. To some degree you can try for the best of both worlds with a boat capable of those speeds but running at hull speed (8 kts or so) to conserve fuel and increase range but crank up when you want to get there fast. However this will be a compromise at best and you will not get the performance, handling and seaworthiness of a true trawler with a planning hull boat.

2. It will take a fairly large, expensive true trawler to have the range to cross the Pacific. You can make the Caribbean with a regular power boat with careful planning and hopping from fuel stop to fuel stop. Very rough guidelines a typical planning boat may have a maximum range of 300 miles or so. To cross any ocean you will have legs of ten times that.

3. From the Keys even at 18 kts you are not going to have time to go anywhere and get back on a weekend trip. It would take most of a weekend just to clear customs into the Bahamas and back into the US and that's not counting the travel time to get there and back.

4. Regarding comfort in waves at a mooring. First moorings are generally installed in a harbor where waves are not an issue. Also, the shape least effected by waves would be a catamaran or a giant, flat bottomed barge which would make a terrible boat. If you're cruising you may occasionally be anchored in an area where swell (waves) rocks the boat and if that's your biggest concern a cat might be the answer.
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Old 07-12-2014, 08:27   #7
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Re: Boat type advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by essej4269 View Post
Based on my further research and your responses, I will likely be resigned to the slower vessels. Most of the Trawlers I've looked at so far seem to be the best compromise for my overall needs. My concern with them so far is they seem fairly built upwards, high out of the water. I know they displace relatively deep, but how much will wind effect its handling and daily comfort? does the displacement counterbalance the wind effect?

How well would a 40' heavy displacement trawler style boat handle Caribbean and gulf travel?
As suggested earlier, there are different categories of trawlers. We are currently living and cruising on a 43' Nordhavn. Along with Krogen and Selene, the Nordhavn is a heavy fill-displacement trawler. The 43 has a displacement of 55,000 pounds. Ours has a 105hp 6-cylinder diesel. We cruise at 6.5 knots, burning about 2.5 gallons per hour. These trawlers are designed for open water cruising - we have the range to cross an ocean.

Unless you want to cross oceans, you can consider coastal cruisers like Defever, Mainship, and a host of others. They don't have the range to cross an ocean, but you can usually get 1000 miles or more out of them. Most of these boats will handle coastal cruising well, but it really comes down to your comfort zone. Our boat can easily handle just about anything Mother Nature can throw at us, but we prefer comfort, so we don't cruise when the weather is nasty.

Our boat has a flying bridge, so we do have a lot of "sail area" that can adversely affect docking when it is windy. Being a heavy boat with a big keel, we are pretty stable. The coastal trawlers tend to have much smaller keels. Any trawler is prone to rolling at anchor. We deploy "flopper-stoppers" to reduce the roll, and we have both active and passive stabilization when under way. Unless you are planning to only cruise when the seas are flat, strongly consider stabilization.

All of this costs a lot of money. It's hard to find a used Nordhavn, Selene, or Krogen under $400k. There are a number of 1980's era Defevers that you can pick up in the low $100's. But if I read your original post correctly, you aren't going to find anything that would meet your needs for 30k to 50k.
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Old 07-12-2014, 09:18   #8
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Re: Boat type advice.

Truthfully I started out my quest for a power boat as I have decent experience with them.
When I started crunching the "numbers" as far as range etc. were concerned I quickly ran into what you are, that is to actually cruise the South Pacific (my dream)
It takes an order of magnitude of more money. I could do it, but it would require almost the entirety of my assets to do so and one day we will be too old for cruising and I want something left for that.

So then I started looking at sailboats, I had never sailed on anything before I bought our current boat, She was initially supposed to be our learner boat, with the intent of keeping it only for a couple of years with the idea of deciding if sailing was for us, but I've decided that there is a lot we like about this boat, and in fact this may be "the" boat.

I had determined that an honest to God real ocean crossing Trawler was going to cost me $.75 Mil to buy and have refit, and even then maybe not be much more seaworthy than a good sailboat.
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Old 07-12-2014, 09:21   #9
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Re: Boat type advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Truthfully I started out my quest for a power boat as I have decent experience with them.
When I started crunching the "numbers" as far as range etc. were concerned I quickly ran into what you are, that is to actually cruise the South Pacific (my dream)
It takes an order of magnitude of more money. I could do it, but it would require almost the entirety of my assets to do so and one day we will be too old for cruising and I want something left for that.

So then I started looking at sailboats, I had never sailed on anything before I bought our current boat, She was initially supposed to be our learner boat, with the intent of keeping it only for a couple of years with the idea of deciding if sailing was for us, but I've decided that there is a lot we like about this boat, and in fact this may be "the" boat.

I had determined that an honest to God real ocean crossing Trawler was going to cost me $.75 Mil to buy and have refit, and even then maybe not be much more seaworthy than a good sailboat.
IP38 for a "learner boat"? I call it a good start of the learning process.
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Old 07-12-2014, 09:46   #10
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Re: Boat type advice.

I think I see that I will be having to compromise on my cruising wish list, however it doesnt deter the dream. I will likely continue looking at the 38-45' trawler setup and deal with the limitations. With that i should be able to make some meadering carribean and s.florida cruises for the foreseeable future safely and have good livability unless anyone sees why not. thanks for all the advice and I will start another thread shortly with some more specific questions. Thank you all.
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Old 07-12-2014, 10:16   #11
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Re: Boat type advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by essej4269 View Post
I think I see that I will be having to compromise on my cruising wish list, however it doesnt deter the dream. I will likely continue looking at the 38-45' trawler setup and deal with the limitations. With that i should be able to make some meadering carribean and s.florida cruises for the foreseeable future safely and have good livability unless anyone sees why not. thanks for all the advice and I will start another thread shortly with some more specific questions. Thank you all.
38-45' trawler would work just fine for FL/Bahamas/Caribbean. If you can live with the slower speeds then the limitations are few.

There are some trawlers that will let you push a little faster than the hull speed, again at the cost of a lot more fuel but will give you the option.

I'm "docked" in north Alachua county just north of Hague. Am out there just about every weekend working on the boat if you want to drop by and talk cruising.
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Old 07-12-2014, 10:47   #12
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Re: Boat type advice.

I remember reading an article by some lieaboard retiree couple and how they were going twice a year to and fro New England to Florida via ICW in a 40' trawler for years. But that was when diesel was $1/g. That trip each way used to cost them $5,000 back then but they figure they were saving on winter rent so it was OK. Later, when fuel was at its highest, $4-4.50, same trip would have been $25,000. That is EACH WAY. Obviously they stopped doing it. So the way fuel prices are today it would still take at least $15,000 per each way trip.
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Old 07-12-2014, 11:12   #13
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Re: Boat type advice.

Even the Big Nordhaven gets 3 MPG, If it's a 3,000 mi trip and I have no idea if it is or not, then that is 1,000 gl in a Nordhaven, it's the planing hulls that burn fuel at big rates, for one of them maybe 25K a trip, but not a displacement trawler.
Course I can do it on 500 gl in my IP, assuming I don't unfurl a sail, those are the kind of numbers I was talking about.

The big MY's that you can get for a good price, don't plan on much traveling in them
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Old 07-12-2014, 12:49   #14
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Re: Boat Type Advice

I agree with the previous posters and won't repeat those points. You probably won't be doing great distances but fuel adds up even in an economic hull. Do the sums.
Secondly I doubt that there are heaps of boats there in that price range which are in good condition and don't require major costs. Take a look at David Pascoe on yachtsurvey.com particularly his review of a Carver and his comments on diesels.
Boatbuying can be a minefield at the best of times even if you know what you are doing. One mechanic reported on his last 20 engine inspections. Nineteen were no buys.
Displacement depends on weight for a given hull shape not height. So you don't have more underwater to match a high superstructure. What you do have is a high centre of gravity that means it rolls more. Moorings are generally sheltered so you will get movement but not as much as underway. Goes with the territory. You won't get a liveaboard cat in that price range.
Do a search on outcomes and costs of those who have tried in your range before you sell up. Of course if you can do all your own work pretty well it will be cheaper but will take time and money.
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Old 07-12-2014, 13:09   #15
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Re: Boat type advice.

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Even the Big Nordhaven gets 3 MPG, If it's a 3,000 mi trip and I have no idea if it is or not, then that is 1,000 gl in a Nordhaven, it's the planing hulls that burn fuel at big rates, for one of them maybe 25K a trip, but not a displacement trawler.
Course I can do it on 500 gl in my IP, assuming I don't unfurl a sail, those are the kind of numbers I was talking about.

The big MY's that you can get for a good price, don't plan on much traveling in them
My understanding of the average fuel use by a diesel is between 1/3 and 1/2 pint per HP/hr. Not total engine's HPsXhrs but used capacity. Say I have a 32HP Universal and I am going in calm conditions using up to its 50% capacity so it's 16hpX1/2pintX1hr=1gal. About right for my actual fuel consumption. And I cover about 5-6 nm.
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