After 30 some years as sailing boaters we have just gone to the "dark side" and are now trawling.
We have about 10000 miles under our keels of sailboats up to 47 feet. We loved that experience, but gave it up when the foredeck work and other things became more than we wanted to handle. We took a break of three years and looked for over a year to find a trawler
There are myths about each option that all of us buy into depending on how each of us expects things will be good or not. A myth of sailing is that it is not power boating. With a few exceptions, that simply is not the case as almost all vessels are auxiliaries with all the same maintenance
issues of power boats. And often the auxiliary is the only way to charge the batteries and so you end up using it quite a bit.
A myth of power boating is that the people are not as smart or cool as sailors. That has been mentioned in this thread. We are the same people we were on as sailboat owners. Please don't apply generalizations to either type of boater.
As we are discovering what power boating is about we constantly compare our decades of experience as sail owners. So here are some early findings:
1. It is easier...no question. Without a rig the work level is way down.
2. It is a good ride, but different in that beam seas cannot be handled as easily.
3. It is more accommodating. We had a Freedom 45 with 14 feet of beam, two heads, a great galley
. The trawler has a tiny galley
by comparison, but the salon
is much larger, decks are more usable at anchor
, and the master s/r is about the same. The single
most noticeable difference is that when in the salon we can enjoy a 360 view of all around us...no cave mentality.
4. The aft deck
of both boats are large. The trawler deck
is really a big back porch and it is wonderful at anchor
. The foredeck is also quite large and a great place for eating, and just relaxing. The center cockpit
of freedom was large and comfortable. The flybridge on the trawler is way more large and a fun place underway or at anchor.
5. The trawler is somewhat "faster" than the freedom. East Coast
sailing usually means about 60% of the time you are under power and at best 7 knots and more often 5 or 6 knots. We just finished a 600 mile passage
on the trawler and averaged 7.9 knots. We average about 3 gal per hour at 1700 rpms. Our range is over 1000 miles.
6. Regarding fuel, the comparison clearly favors the sloop
. But a fair comparison to sail would include all the costs of the rig and sail maintenance.The gennaker
on the Freedom was $4000 item and the new main was a $7000 item. Replacing lines, caring for the rig, winches and blocks all costs money
. Fuel on a trawler is not the biggest cost by any stretch. Insurance, general maintenance, per diem travel and other things easily trump the cost of fuel.
I could go on. The experience you desire should lead you to which way to go. If you prefer the challenge and intricacies of sail, as we did for years, then go that way. If you prefer to cruise
in more comfort and less challenge then go for power. The community of people does not change. And for us that community is a major reason for boating.
We made our decision based on key parameters. Overall length to not exceed 40 feet. Accommodations primarily for two, with very very infrequent overnight guests. Refrigeration
for staying out weeks. Water
for at least 10 days. And finally to our surprise we went with two screws. The newer "fast" trawlers with one engine are very attractive, but also suck up the diesel like crazy. Smaller engines going slower was our choice. Cruising is what it is called for a good reason.
There are so many good options on both sides. Our experience taught us that knowing our 3 or 4 high priorities was very key. It took time to discover what those are, but when we figured it out the options quickly narrowed.
Take your time, investigate very thoroughly, take nothing at face value and be prepared to spend more than your budget