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Old 12-08-2017, 12:10   #1
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Tug compared to trawler as cruisers

Despite their larger interior volume (and lesser deck space) as compared to trawlers of similar size, why are tugs less seen and used as cruisers?
How do they compared to trawlers in terms of engine power requirements, carrying capacity, speed, fuel economy and seaworthiness?
And what are their advantage and disadvantages as compared to trawlers?
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Old 12-08-2017, 12:19   #2
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Re: Tug compared to trawler as cruisers

To my eyes, if there is a difference at all, Tugs are the opposite..... less interior space. But realistically, it's semantics. a tug company could call their boat a trawler and it would be. The only thing I really see different is on Tugs they put on a blunt nose bow to look more "tug like".
It seems tugs are more often restricted to single engine, while some trawlers have dual engines.... but I'm not even sure that is correct.
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Old 12-08-2017, 13:21   #3
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Re: Tug compared to trawler as cruisers

If you are asking about using a conversion of an actual working tug as a yacht, I'd say that unless our have a real thing for tugs, you'd be making a mistake in choosing one as a cruiser.

Tugs are made for tugging (or pushing) things and not for cruising. Propulsion, prop, hull shape, and accommodation are all designed for the sole purpose of tugging (or pushing) things, and don't lend themselves to comfortable, efficient cruising.

On the other hand, if you are talking about purpose built 'tug yachts,' as far as I can see, the only difference to trawlers is the shape of the shear line and the wheelhouse which shouldn't much effect 'cruiseability'...
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Old 12-08-2017, 13:57   #4
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Re: Tug compared to trawler as cruisers

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Originally Posted by sv Grateful View Post
If you are asking about using a conversion of an actual working tug as a yacht, I'd say that unless our have a real thing for tugs, you'd be making a mistake in choosing one as a cruiser.

Tugs are made for tugging (or pushing) things and not for cruising. Propulsion, prop, hull shape, and accommodation are all designed for the sole purpose of tugging (or pushing) things, and don't lend themselves to comfortable, efficient cruising.

On the other hand, if you are talking about purpose built 'tug yachts,' as far as I can see, the only difference to trawlers is the shape of the shear line and the wheelhouse which shouldn't much effect 'cruiseability'...
I see, maybe by appearance they have rounder bow, and the often independent pilot house higher up front for better visibility.
The tug cruisers designs I've seen are mostly from North America, extended saloon cabin and with less deck and exterior space if compared to trawlers.
If they are mostly the same, or could be the same underbody why they are mostly seen on North America and Canada and wasn't as common as cruisers or longer distance passage maker like trawlers?
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Old 12-08-2017, 19:06   #5
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Re: Tug compared to trawler as cruisers

New build "tug" yachts are tugs in name only. The hull is no heaver than any yacht. It just looks cute. Most have no deck space.
A converted tug makes a comfortable liveaboard, but has much more hp than needed for cruising. The prop is sized for pulling power, not cruising speed. You have a bigger engine that uses more fuel and has expensive parts. Generators usually start at 40kw. Way more than you need. Many tugs under 100' have no fixed anchoring system. The anchor gets in the way so is stored on deck. Usually 200# or more and lifted by a davit when needed. Last tug I ran used 25 gallons an hour when not moving something. Another 5 to run the generator. Had a hydronic heating system that used 5-10 gallons a day.
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Old 12-08-2017, 19:56   #6
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Re: Tug compared to trawler as cruisers

Whenever dealing with work boat type yachts you have to be very very clear if you are talking about a yacht built on the hull design of a work boat, or a yacht designed to look like a work boat. They are absolutely different things.

A working tug may have 100 times the installed hp, or more, that a yacht tug has. The hull design is based around driving lots of water to the prop at low speeds, not efficiency. The stern is set to prevent squatting unto tow... i.e. a lot of stuff that will actually hamper a yacht.

The same is true of trawlers btw. The traditional trawler is a low power low speed vessel that maximizes fuel efficiency. Now they are selling trawlers with twin massive diesels that cruise at 30kn. Which simply aren't trawlers as I use the term.
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Old 12-08-2017, 20:01   #7
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Re: Tug compared to trawler as cruisers

Are you talking about a tug that was once used commercially for towing or pushing or the yachts that have somewhat of a resemblance to a commercial tug?

I know of a few instances where people have taken a real actual tug and turned it into a yacht. Some came out really cool looking.
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Old 12-08-2017, 22:26   #8
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Re: Tug compared to trawler as cruisers

I mean tug yacht and cruisers build for recreational purpose.
If the hull can be the same or similar to trawler yachts, and they have even more interior volume, I see why not the design even if exterior only is taken to a blue water motor cruiser?
The pilot house offered great visibility, and the cabin covered deck offered more protection from weather and sprays.

Also tugs have more tuck in flares for lack of better term, what is the purpose or benefit of this design?
And do tugs have lower freeboard?
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Old 13-08-2017, 06:58   #9
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Re: Tug compared to trawler as cruisers

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Originally Posted by Wckoek View Post
I mean tug yacht and cruisers build for recreational purpose.
If the hull can be the same or similar to trawler yachts, and they have even more interior volume, I see why not the design even if exterior only is taken to a blue water motor cruiser?
The pilot house offered great visibility, and the cabin covered deck offered more protection from weather and sprays.

Also tugs have more tuck in flares for lack of better term, what is the purpose or benefit of this design?
And do tugs have lower freeboard?
Search Ranger Tugs, for example. Very nice but I would call them a trawler as well.
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Old 13-08-2017, 07:20   #10
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Re: Tug compared to trawler as cruisers

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Search Ranger Tugs, for example. Very nice but I would call them a trawler as well.
Agree, the bow and tumblehome looks more like trawler.
My last post I mean tumblehome for the term, what is its benefit when it comes to usage on tug hull shape?
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Old 13-08-2017, 08:01   #11
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Re: Tug compared to trawler as cruisers

Lepke is correct IMO... the design of a tow boat is task specific. There is little thought in the design phase for creature comfort i.e., crew. The tugs that I worked on had large wheels driven by significant reduction gear attached to a powerful engine to give the vessel a whole lot of strength but not significant speed.
The fuel burn is a lot higher because of that.
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Old 13-08-2017, 08:08   #12
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Re: Tug compared to trawler as cruisers

A true representation of a tug like this magnificent Benford 38ft 'model' tug have very little freeboard and are quite short on superstructure. As they operate close to home in more protected waters this is acceptable. Trawlers on the other hand were meant to be at sea possibly in all weather.

Still, I kinda like Benfords tugboat series

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Old 13-08-2017, 08:20   #13
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Re: Tug compared to trawler as cruisers

You should research the American Tugs. We recently sold our sailboat and bought one of these and love it. They are manufactured in the NW US on a fishing boat hull design and are very, very strong offshore boats. Ours is the smallest, called a "34" but is 38 feet overall. Lots of room, great cockpit and foredeck. Economical at trawler speeds (8 knots) but will go 15 knots+ when needed. Much more interior room than any other of the purpose-built yacht "tugs" we looked at ...
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Old 13-08-2017, 08:56   #14
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Re: Tug compared to trawler as cruisers

The nomenclature is mere marketing fluff. It has no particular relationship to the performance of yachts - toy ships that have no purpose other than the jollification of the owner. The nomenclature is generated only in order to achieve "product differentiation" and glom a bit of "market share".

It appears that you are interested in pleasure boats, not in working craft. Your concern should therefore be with the fundamental design aspects that make your intended vessel suitable for what YOU intend to use if for in the waters where you intend to use it. Once the design criteria are laid down and the "lines" (the shape of the hull below the waterline) have been laid down, it is, in terms of performance, of very little consequence what you do with the upperworks. You can let your imagination run wild and make the boat look like a tug - a fake tug - or a trawler - a fake trawler. Or a Motor Torpedo Boat. And if you ate daft enuff, you could make if look like a battle ship.

If you are asking these questions in preparation for choosing a motor yacht, then step back a bit and consider the cruisers of yore. Look at the ChrisCrafts of the years immediaty following WWII. Look at the classic yachts designed by William Hand between the wars. Look at the "Tri-cabin" crusiers that were once le dernier cri. You will see an evolution. You will see where marketing and product differentiation set in in the 1970 and '80s, and you will begin to understand the pervasiveness of marketing fluff. And the influence of the "glossy" magazines. And why terms like "tug" and "trawler" should be disregarded in favour of a fair understanding of the vessels fundamental design features.

"Cute" is not the same as "useful". We all get caught up in romantic notions of seafaring now and then. But common sense will serve better. If I were in the market for a motor cruiser, my choice would be a tri-cabin because IMO no design idiom offers more all-around utility.

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Old 13-08-2017, 08:56   #15
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Re: Tug compared to trawler as cruisers

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A true representation of a tug like this magnificent Benford 38ft 'model' tug have very little freeboard and are quite short on superstructure. As they operate close to home in more protected waters this is acceptable. Trawlers on the other hand were meant to be at sea possibly in all weather.

Still, I kinda like Benfords tugboat series

I think they look wonderful with a lot of character, and a lot of interior space for their given size too. The low freeboard would not be as seaworthy I agree, but would it be more maneuverable?

The American Tugs look more like trawler than tugs to me aside of the wheel house placed further in front. They are very nicely finished with good layout and a lot of space and light.

Cruising trawlers could have take the cue from tugs by placing the wheel house further in front, this helps much with visibility and free up more usable space.
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