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Old 19-05-2014, 07:12   #16
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Re: Searay or Cruisers boats?

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Originally Posted by tuffr2 View Post
I

I want to cruise from Florida to the Bahamas and beyond.

Two boats that I like are the 38' Cruiser Yachts and the Searay boats the same size.

Of these two boats is one better than the other?

Or what else should I look at in the used 100k range?

There are Sea Rays, and then there are Sea Rays. Ditto Cruisers. Both brands roughly equal quality. But efficacy for a given design will depend on your requirements, budget (including fuel budget), etc.

If you meant the Sea Ray Sundancer express cruiser models (and Cruisers equivalents), living space at anchor or in a marina may be an issue for you... unless you're mostly OK with living down below decks. If you meant a flying bridge model, you usually get more space altogether -- some above decks but protected (or air conditioned), for a given length.

Check out Yachtworld, use a search parameter of about $120K, see what comes up... then do some thinking about how a given design might suit your intended lifestyle... and your travel preferences (wanna get there fast? or is the underway time equally important? and so forth).

It's slightly easier to help once you home in on more specific boat styles and models, etc.

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Old 19-05-2014, 07:40   #17
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Re: Searay or Cruisers boats?

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BandB - Not sure what you mean by the captain being seaworthy? I view seaworthy as a degree of knowledge that no-one ever reaches.

I doubt that I will ever be as seaworthy as the crew of the cheeki rafiki .
I mean more experienced than you currently are but not necessarily as experienced as you once will be. Probably a good bit of coastal cruising before any crossings to Bahamas or Caribbean. Probably some training of some sort. There are many captains who will train and also various types of schools still short of full Maritime training.

Great if your first time being more adventurous you have a friend along perhaps who has more experience than you. We came from inland boating as well. Two years ago we had never lived on the ocean or owned a boat for coastal cruising. Now, many thousand miles later we're far more comfortable and capable. But we've had a lot of training and a lot of experience. Still less than a month ago we did our first cruising in the PNW and found out how different conditions were there to what we were use to. Now we have experience in moderate wind waves of 4' or so accompanied by 10' and greater swells at long periods. A lot of new experiences ahead.

Part of the excitement is new experiences. First time you leave the sight of land. First time crossing the gulf stream. First overnight run. Not necessarily as excited are things like the first time conditions really become bad unexpectedly or first time you encounter trouble (engine or otherwise, probably first will be fuel related) 50 miles from land.

I've read books written by those who had virtually no experience and boats that would hardly be labeled dependable or seaworthy and undertook a circumnavigation. They made it successfully. Not what most prudent sailors would recommend however. Most prepare and plan and build up to things. Maybe some too much. It's like anything else though, a learning process.
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Old 19-05-2014, 08:09   #18
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Re: Searay or Cruisers boats?

One boat that has peeked my interest is a 2003(ish) Cruisers 3750 Motoryacht. If that boat is too small for the Bahamas / Caribbean let me know. It has an above deck salon with sleeping quarters below deck.

In 2 1/2 weeks I will be staying near lake Michigan. I plan to look at boats while I am there. They have most types of boats. Sail, Trawlers, Cats, Motor Cruisers, Go Fast. I think that covers it.

Anyway - I plan to look at trawlers and cruisers.

(Hope a 'go fast' does not catch my eye)

Oh - My budget after purchase will be around $3000/mo. for fuel, maint, ins., food.
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Old 19-05-2014, 08:28   #19
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Re: Searay or Cruisers boats?

While there are better designs for what you propose, both are perfectly fine for island hopping but they will eat you alive in fuel costs. If you move a lot, $3,000/mo could be just your fuel bill. I would suggest looking at single engine trawlers or sail boats (even if you don't plan to sail).

In some respects the express cruisers are probably safer as it may only take 2-3 hrs to cross the gulf stream if conditions are reasonably calm, so you can safely cross in a smaller weather window.

Someone mentioned using a sailboat as a trawler. If you leave the mast on, that can work OK (most sailboats on the ICW are essentially doing exactly that). If you pull the mast, a criteria called the roll moment of intertia comes into play. You will find without the mast, most monohulls will roll and wallow much worse. If it's a sail-catamaran, that's a different story.
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Old 19-05-2014, 08:40   #20
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Re: Searay or Cruisers boats?

I have done a ton of research on this type of question, so I'll share a bit with you. Note that none of this is yet tempered by experience. I have just begun the purchase of my first cruising boat, a Grand Banks 42 trawler.

For reasons why many are skeptical about Sea Rays and Cruisers, check out David Pascoe's yacht reviews.

Boat Reviews by David Pascoe, Marine Surveyor - Index

He would put you on a Bertram or Hatteras, but check fuel consumption numbers before you choose that route - they get under 1mpg in the size range you're talking about.

If you can tolerate low speeds, the trawler is the best type of boat considering its spaciousness. It's worth spending a few extra bucks for a true powerboat as compared to a sailboat shorn of sails, mainly because maintenance is much easier when engines and machinery are easy to access. Maintenance is almost prohibitively difficult on many sailboats. The smaller the boat, the harder it will be, because things are packed together very tightly. Check out Pascoe's review of the La Fitte 44 for more information on this topic.

Trawler interiors tend to have beautifully crafted dark wood finishes. They look a little like an old style gentleman's club. Depending on your wife's sense of style, she might love or hate it. Punch up trawlers in Yachtworld and see what she thinks of the interiors. Give her a budget for home decor items and she will probably brighten up the interior a bit with linens and be happy with the result.

Trawlers have big windows and tend to be light and bright for this reason. Contrast that with sailboat interiors and your wife will probably see reasons to love a trawler compared with competing boats.

There are two types of trawlers: "True" trawlers and semi-displacement. Almost all trawlers sold are semi-displacement, because they are faster. The Grand Banks, Marine Trader, CHB, etc are all semi-displacement. Kady-Krogen and Nordhavn are full displacement.

Full displacement boats are considered better in extreme weather conditions, and essentially force economy on you, because they cannot go fast. The "hull speed", a figure based on boat length at the waterline, is essentially their top speed no matter what power they have in them. In the 42' range, hull speed is about 8 knots. So with a full displacement, you absolutely, positively, cannot exceed that speed. Fuel economy is going to be around 3mpg.

Semi-displacement boats are likely to be the wiser choice for most people. The Grand Banks 42 is the most popular and well liked version of this design, but there is a bewildering array of choices. The 42 almost always comes with twin engines, which make it significantly easier to control, albeit more expensive to run. It gets about 2mpg at 8 knots. You can get to 12 knots as top speed with twin 135hp engines. At your price range, you are unlikely to find faster engines.

A major problem with the full displacement designs is that they have layouts designed for miserable conditions. The Nordhavn 46, for instance, is designed for almost exclusively indoor living. There is no flybridge or significant outdoor spaces for lounging. It is beautifully made - perhaps even more so than the Grand Banks - but it's woefully impractical for enjoying the tropical lifestyle that you (and I) want to experience.

A Grand Banks is considered a superior quality brand, and for that reason is significantly more expensive than other trawlers. There are two schools of thought regarding this: First is that you get what you pay for, second is you pay for what you get.

That is, you get a higher quality boat with Grand Banks, but at the age we are talking about, quality maintenance and upkeep is more important than original boat quality. So if you can find a Marine Trader that has been completely rewired and redone by a passionate owner, it's likely to be a better deal than an average condition Grand Banks. However, you are more likely to find a Grand Banks in that kind of condition, because most Grand Banks owners have a lot of pride in their boats. This in turn helps resale values.

At the same time, if you do buy a Marine Trader, and upgrade it to superb condition, you are likely to lose almost all your money on resale, because nobody will really believe you because they are familiar with the reputation of the boat. In other words, no matter what, the higher quality brand will keep its value better and most likely be less frustrating to keep running.

Not that a boat is an investment, you understand. It will decline in value. But a brand name known for quality will decline less in value, and be less difficult to resell.

As you can see, this is an exceptionally complex subject. There are a lot of parameters you should understand. Bear in mind that you are spending close to the purchase price of a house on boats like these, and so you should put the same amount of care into the purchase.

Hope that helps.

David
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Old 19-05-2014, 08:53   #21
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Re: Searay or Cruisers boats?

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Originally Posted by tuffr2 View Post
One boat that has peeked my interest is a 2003(ish) Cruisers 3750 Motoryacht. If that boat is too small for the Bahamas / Caribbean let me know. It has an above deck salon with sleeping quarters below deck.

In 2 1/2 weeks I will be staying near lake Michigan. I plan to look at boats while I am there. They have most types of boats. Sail, Trawlers, Cats, Motor Cruisers, Go Fast. I think that covers it.

Anyway - I plan to look at trawlers and cruisers.

(Hope a 'go fast' does not catch my eye)

Oh - My budget after purchase will be around $3000/mo. for fuel, maint, ins., food.
That's a nice boat but here are the issues regarding Bahamas/Caribbean and other places. First, I didn't look through all listings, but did look through six and they are all gas, not diesel. The fuel capacity is 300 gallons. On twin Mercruisers that would give limited range plus I question gas for the type use you have suggested. I see many are located in coastal areas so obviously used for coastal cruising. I would be concerned about 13 - 15 year old gas engines, but a survey could verify their condition.

Deciding too small or worthy of going to the Bahamas and Caribbean is ultimately a personal decision. All I can say is that if my cruising was Lake Michigan or going to be primarily coastal or ICW type cruising, then I'd consider it. However, it is not the boat I would select if trips to the Caribbean were a large part of my plan. Also you indicated you wanted diesel and for heavy long term cruising I'd agree. It's a nice boat, a nice layout. You just need to think more about your needs and your usage.

Just looking quickly, I saw a number of Defever's, some Hatteras LRC's, Ocean Alexander, Grand Banks. What I'd suggest is to go to Yachtworld and enter criteria with your size and price range and select Trawler and see what you find that tweaks your interest. Just do some window shopping that way.

I would say this too. Seldom do we end up where we start off headed. We learn as we look and evaluate. We do a lot of eliminating, realizing boat X doesn't meet my needs because. It may be seaworthiness, it may be the galley. We also rethink our use. Then we compromise. The perfect boat doesn't exist to fit all needs. But the right boat for each of us is out there somewhere.

Would your home port be Florida?

Also, looking at Cruisers, I noticed the 405 more often comes with Diesel and is a little more boat. Still not my builder of preference for the Caribbean, but by comparison to the 3750.
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Old 19-05-2014, 09:17   #22
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Re: Searay or Cruisers boats?

Generally, Michigan boats are good because the fresh water is less corrosive but watch the cooling systems. Many are raw water cooled (ie: they pump sea water thru the engine block to cool the engine). It works fine in fresh water but can be bad news in salt water.

You want a fresh water system (poorly named but it's a closed system that pumps radiator fluid thru the engine block with a heat exchanger that cools the radiator fluid with seawater in a seperate unit, so the salt water never gets into the engine block).
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Old 19-05-2014, 09:36   #23
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Re: Searay or Cruisers boats?

Those boats that you chose will cost approx seventy five cents per mile in fuel burn to run . A trawler will be some what per mile cheaper to run plus a much more substantial hull with enough space to carry provisions for several months . Sea Rays are for rich people in a hurry ! As you are retired it will make very little difference whether you travel twenty miles in 3 hours or fifty miles , forget the Sea Ray . This is my opinion and you are not bound to it !
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Old 19-05-2014, 10:07   #24
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Re: Searay or Cruisers boats?

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Those boats that you chose will cost approx seventy five cents per mile in fuel burn to run . A trawler will be some what per mile cheaper to run plus a much more substantial hull with enough space to carry provisions for several months . Sea Rays are for rich people in a hurry ! As you are retired it will make very little difference whether you travel twenty miles in 3 hours or fifty miles , forget the Sea Ray . This is my opinion and you are not bound to it !
I'm just being difficult now but a new Grand Banks is more rich people territory than a sea ray.

I suspect your $0.75/mile figure is way low. I used to have a 31' silverton that got 1.5mpg at cruise speed. At $4.50/gal, that works out coser to $3/mile and the Op is looking at larger boats (It's even worse in the islands where gas/diesel is more expensive).

Of course, figure 3-5mpg for a single engine trawler if you keep the speed moderate, so the trawler is still up around $1/mile.

In the end, I agree that an express cruiser makes no sense if you are on a budget.
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Old 19-05-2014, 10:26   #25
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Re: Searay or Cruisers boats?

Please re read this blurb I posted in post #5:

"I tend to think the biggest mistake most folks make is not knowing just what they expect/want/need their boat to do. Your comment that you want to go to the Bahamas and beyond kinda means to my you don't yet know what you want to do with your boat. How long will you be cruising in the Bahamas. Will you be fishing, diving, drinking, or something else? How far is beyond?

Answering these questions and figuring out your cruising kitty will make it easier to pick the right boat."

Plenty of folks are happy with a fast boat they can take from South Florida to Bimini and then to the Abacos or similar places. Even a trip to the Keys and Dry Tortugas can be a lot of fun.

There are also a lot of boats in Georgetown because their owners got that far and for what ever reason determined this is where the easy part ended.

Before you buy a boat you may want to spend some time determine if you would be happy going to the Dry Tortugas, the Abacos and/or Georgetown or you want to extend your cruising range.
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Old 19-05-2014, 10:50   #26
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Re: Searay or Cruisers boats?

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One boat that has peeked my interest is a 2003(ish) Cruisers 3750 Motoryacht. If that boat is too small for the Bahamas / Caribbean let me know. It has an above deck salon with sleeping quarters below deck.
OK, that makes it easier to comment. "Motor Yacht," NOT an "express cruiser." Here's a diesel 3750 model in SC. It's not too small for navigation in the Caribbean, assuming the space is adequate for your intended life style. Looks like a nice boat.

You'd likely have a higher fuel consumption rate than with a trawler of similar size, but OTOH you can zip (a relative term) across the Gulf Stream faster than most trawlers can, too. Or you could watch for likely weather windows, and putter across at displacement speeds like most trawlers do.

Maybe use the 3750 as a yardstick while you continue looking. Compare other boats to that -- until you find something you might like better. Repeat as necessary.

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Old 19-05-2014, 11:00   #27
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Re: Searay or Cruisers boats?

I think a trawler for comfort and fuel economy is best. It will take you longer to get there, but you wont have to stop at every fuel stop wherever you go. They also tend to be open and airy in the cabin which is nice.
Have you looked at the fuel consumption for the boats you are considering? it could cost you hundreds a day to operate!
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Old 19-05-2014, 11:28   #28
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Re: Searay or Cruisers boats?

My perception of Searay, is that they are owned by clueless people that run down the ICW tossing huge wakes weaving through traffic, with no consideration for others. It's like watching a moron in rush hour traffic willing to risk everyones life just to get a car length.

You see Searays at the dock, restaurant dock and the local weekend islands/sandbars, not out cruising. I did see one at Pelican Bay ... tied to the dock for a day trip!

Please look for a nice trawler that will serve your mission.
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Old 19-05-2014, 11:32   #29
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Re: Searay or Cruisers boats?

Yes, more fuel $$ than some other styles...

OTOH, the operator has control over what "a day" is. A 3-hour fast hop for us from Lauderdale would cost about $300. But we usually go someplace and then stay for a while... so might not move for a while... and the next time we travel it might be at hull speed (depending on destination, sea states, etc.), roughly 2 GPH, ~7 knots, ~3.5 NMPG.

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Old 19-05-2014, 13:07   #30
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Re: Searay or Cruisers boats?

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SNIP

Please look for a nice trawler that will serve your mission.
The first thing the OP needs to do is figure out what his mission is. Maybe all he really wants to do is get from South Florida to Bimini, spend a night, and get to the Abacos in a day or two and spend some time there.
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