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Old 21-04-2014, 04:15   #1
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Trawler, Cuddy or houseboat?

Hi there, we are new to boating and are overwhelmed. Just trying to make good choices (new to me) We love the water, the lifestyle, the people etc. etc. We don't fish or party (please don't stop reading!!) We have kayaked all over the world and approaching 70. We are ready to take the plunge but there is so much to consider. We are looking at small trawlers with a diesel engine (chb etc) or 24' cuddy cabins etc. and a 28' trailer able houseboat with twin gas volvo engines.
What are the + and - of each choice based on your experience. We are interested in puget sound, the san juans, lake shasta, lake powell, we don't want to cross oceans, just move around the edges in safety and comfort with out spending and arm and a leg (we are prepared to spend an arm) thank you for any advice.
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Old 21-04-2014, 05:10   #2
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Re: Trawler, Cuddy or houseboat?

I sail myself but if I were to make a move to the power side I would be interested in the trawler/tug style boats. Good space, easy on fuel, sea worthy (you never know when the wind will pipe up, even in well foretasted areas) and very nautical looking. A good cabin keeps you out of the rain and makes even nasty days enjoyable.
There are smaller versions of lobster type boats and Ranger makes very nice tug style boats, I was on the 21 and 25 at the boat show last winter.

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Old 21-04-2014, 05:37   #3
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Re: Trawler, Cuddy or houseboat?

House boats are lake boats, or at least the ones I'm familiar with are, down South here cuddy cabins are sweat boxes plain and simple, Cuddy cabin boats are usually a lot faster boats than trawler or house boats so in a different category of boat? House boats are in my opinion not really meant to move much or very often, they are meant to be floating houses, not boats.
Volvo's, especially older gas Volvo's are a real cause for concern, again an opinion, but I wouldn't have one, much less two.
So, while I have no idea what a chb trawler is, that type of boat I think you will find people here have a much higher opinion of than say a house boat.
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Old 21-04-2014, 07:21   #4
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Re: Trawler, Cuddy or houseboat?

Hi Zinco,

Sounds like you want a trailerable boat with decent living accomodations, and with a fair amount of seaworthiness as well (needed for San Juans etc).

I'd ask: what's your budget? And don't forget to consider operating and towing costs.

If budget were generous, from what you've said so far I'd think a Ranger 27 or 25 would be pretty near perfect.

For quite a bit less, maybe a used Sea Sport 27 Navigator or Pilot. Sea Sport also made a nice 24 XL.

With outboard power, C-Dory boats are great - really well designed for cruising, very simple, economical, and seaworthy, ranging from 22 to 26 feet.

Another outboard option is a Rosborough RF246.

We started with a C-Dory 22 Cruiser, and after Lake Powell and several other big lakes graduated to the San Juans and BC's Gulf Islands, further north in BC, then on to a summer in Southeast Alaska in ours. We've since moved to a much heavier 26-foot diesel powered cruiser, with more comfort and amenities than the 22 C-Dory.

There are so many tradeoffs. For instance, one key one is how much weight are you willing to tow, and thus how big a truck do you need. Of all the above boats, maybe only the C-Dory 22 and 23 are safely towable around the west with a Grand Cherokee.

To make a good choice, you'd need to think through several aspects of how and where you might use your boat. Kinda hard to do without cruising or at least boating experience. Or, you could start small and simple as we did, learn some, and maybe switch to a bigger more complex boat later.

To consider some of the tradeoffs in boats, boat design, and equipment, you might find it interesting to check out my book on small power boat cruising of the Inside Passage, "Cruising in a Big Way". It's available with a sizable preview to look at on Also on Amazon.
Richard Cook
Dream Catcher (Nordic Tugs 37)
"Cruising in a Big Way"
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Old 21-04-2014, 07:31   #5
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Re: Trawler, Cuddy or houseboat?

New moon gave ;you very good advice. The only thing I would add is: take your time and look at the different type of boats you think you might be interested in with an objective eye. Boating on Puget sound and the Juans is a bunch different than lake boating.
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Old 21-04-2014, 14:26   #6
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Re: Trawler, Cuddy or houseboat?

Originally Posted by Tbrad View Post
New moon gave ;you very good advice. The only thing I would add is: take your time and look at the different type of boats you think you might be interested in with an objective eye. Boating on Puget sound and the Juans is a bunch different than lake boating.

Do you want to live on the boat? You posted under live aboard, however the boats you have mentioned are not really live aboard for the Puget Sound area. If you going to venture into the Puget Sound, straits, San Juan Island then take houseboat off your list. If you plan on living on the boat then take cuddy cabin off you list also. The cuddy would be OK for the Puget Sound and maybe the Sam Juan’s.

So if you could provide a little more detail as to what you are looking for.

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