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Old 06-07-2011, 07:18   #1
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I just landed here I am marveling at the wealth of information and conscientious replies to others' posts. I'm sure everyone here is familiar with some other less cordial boating sites.

Anyway, I am boat shopping. I recently parted with a 26' Pro Line offshore fishing boat and I am accepting the fact that I need to step up a bit in price if I expect to avoid problems associated with cheap boats. I've been looking at direct replacements in the walk-around category with single or twin outboards and these boats are running in the $40K-80K range new. They can be had for considerably less used, but then you inherit someone else's problems. I've run across some nice offshore boats in my searching and I've dismissed them, not only for the asking price, but their inefficiency. I can't justify $1,000 per month payment and another $300 per month for a slip and then another $1,000 in fuel just for the weekend. That totally contradicts the term "pleasure boat"!

Then I ran across and ad for an older trawler. This got me curious. The boat was listed for half of what I was willing to pay for a fishing boat, it held half the fuel, but with only half the horsepower it burned less than half as much. It had amenities not found in anything else I had seen with room for guests and an 800nm range.

I love to fish, but I figured I can fish off anything that floats. We live in Panama City, Fl very close to the bay. We enjoy camping out at the island and even though we haven't yet, we would enjoy cruising the ICW for short over nighters at first, and then maybe extended trips. I eventually want to explore the Keys and make a couple of crossings to Bimini and cruise the Bahamian Islands, but I figured we were a couple more boats away from that. After seeing all that old trawler had to offer, I started thinking that I might not be so far away after all. I showed my wife a few of these boats and explained that she won't ever have to shout, "SLOW DOWN" again. She's on board, but very skeptical. We've had some really bad luck with boats, mainly because I have bought them cheap with the unrealistic expectation that they were ship-shape. That has proven to be a disappointing and costly misconception repeated more than once. I don't care if I have to recommission a Navy vessel, my aim is to avoid another disappointment.

I want a boat with live-aboard comfort and convenience, yet is economical to operate. Age isn't as important to me as is condition. I don't care as much about speed as I do range. I'd prefer redundancy with propulsion, but a good strong single diesel should be fine. I want something with a clean cockpit suitable for four people to fish at one time, and with some fishing features, (rod holders, fish box, bait tank). I don't mind doing a little work. I can update interior fixtures and appliances as well as marine electronics and such. I'm not that familiar with marine AC electrical or generators or heating/cooling systems, but I'm ready to learn.

My biggest question is this...based on the above description of our intended activities and our wish list, what should we be looking at and will $40K"ish" get us where we want to be? I'd love to spend significantly less than that, but since that is what we have sort of committed to spend next year, I guess I can live with that. Should we be shopping for a trawler, or convertible or sedan, or what? I don't want a houseboat. I need something that will go offshore as well as suit our inshore needs. Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-07-2011, 10:12   #2
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Re: Ahoy

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, nehringer.

I don't believe that $40k will get you anywhere near where you appear (to me) to wish to be. A very well-spent $140k might do it.
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Old 06-07-2011, 10:28   #3
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Re: Ahoy

Welcome Aboard Cruisers Forum

A lot of info to be found here

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Old 06-07-2011, 11:11   #4
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Re: Ahoy

I guess a better articulation of my question would be, has anyone here bought a trawler or similar small cruiser for under $50,000 and if so, what do you get for that kind of money? I see a lot of ads but they leave me full of questions.
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Old 06-07-2011, 16:10   #5
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Re: Ahoy

I've looked at a lot of boats in that price range, but I have not found one that I would even consider buying. Running away from, yes.

But I obviously am thinking along similar lines (that's why I've wasted so many days looking at crummy trawlers).

Here is what I've discovered:

1) You won't do it for $50K. $100K or $150K maybe but only if you are clever. $800K to $5M yes.

2) There is nothing existant that is even close to what I want, and what you've said you want. It just is not out there.

3) The cost to build a one-off fiberglass boat (hull, deck, structure, painted) is shockingly inexpensive. Its so cheap that I won't print it, because nobody will believe it or admit it. But you can talk to a real yacht builder about it, and you can explore the two papers by Richard Downs-Honey on this page:

4) The cost of a new custom boat is essentially entirely driven by the stuff installed in the boat. Its not the boat itself.

5) The cost of a new production boat also includes the marketing and sales costs, which are in the same ballpark as the cost to build and equip the boat.

6) If you want all the systems on a boat that you have at home (A/C, TV, internet, many bathrooms, ...) you will have a) an expensive boat to buy, b) an expensive boat to own, c) a boat where some or all of those systems don't work, and therefore d) a boat you'll be happy to sell at a huge loss.

As one world renowned builder told me, "On a customer's yacht, we'll put in everything they ask for. For my personal yacht, I don't start to build until I can't figure out what else I can leave out. I recommend you do the same as I do."

For one concrete example, this builder's own boat simply uses a day tank for a single diesel. The day tank is a box that is about 3 feet high, and a foot ling and wide. The fuel goes in the top via a pump from one of the main tanks. The fuel goes to the engine from the middle of one of the sides. This means he can have 12 gallons of water, and/or 12 gallons of crud in the 25 gallon day tank before anything can get to the engine. Windows into the tank make it easy to stay on top of that kind of problem without using an expensive and intricate fuel polishing system.

Just like a day tank, are many well proven, simple, and cheap approaches to doing things on boats. These approaches are nothing like you will see on a house or car, therefore the typical boat buyer doesn't ask for them, the builder wants to install something easy and expensive, and so the boat builders don't include these well proven inexpensive and reliable approaches.

If you want to learn what a boat NEEDS in order for you and yours to actually have fun, rather than hemorrhaging money on a boat that seems to never work, you will need to put in some time. Time ABOARD not on these bulletin boards.

Pretty soon you'll totally understand why your previous boats have been torture. Almost every boat is designed to be sold, and not to be used, not to be easily and inexpensively maintained. To end the torture, you need to discover what you like about boats, and what you hate about boats. And then pursue what you really like. Not like for an hour, as with a jetski, or maybe a day (or as long as it takes before you need to refill the fuel tanks) as with a high speed powerboat. But for the many years that you should enjoy owning a boat.

And I'll absolutely guarantee, all the boats advertised will be boats you'll hate to own.
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Old 06-07-2011, 16:36   #6
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Re: Ahoy

i have seen some grand banks wooden trawlers for reasnable pricing-- might be something to look into-- they are gorgeous and roomy for living... goood luck and welcome...
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:14   #7
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Re: Ahoy

I'm not completely sold on the idea of a trawler just yet. I am really just doing my pre-purchase research, so I'm not quite to the point of "kicking tires", so to speak. Through just a little research, it seems that a modestly powered diesel is the most economical way to go and I am definately interested in older boats...I just like the look and feel of the aesthetics. I'm not so crazy about the late '70s, early '80s enamel colors on the appliances though, but that's an easy fix. I like lots of teak, mahogany and rosewood inside.

Anyway, since there are some learning points to a vessel like I've described, is there any sense in taking things one step at a time? Meaning, Should I consider starting with a smaller crusier, sedan, express...something with similar systems and accomodations, you know...just to get used to it all with less commitment? I understand that any purchase is a commitment, but I'm just saying on a smaller scale. Or, does it make more sense just to take the time and find what we want and deal with learinging about all of the systems then?

As I mentioned in my first post, I'm not new to boating but I want to take my knowledge and experience up a notch. My last boat had an alcohol stove and a DC fridge that I yanked out..neither worked and I wasn't interested in replacing them. I modified the cabin with some pretty sweet woodwork, including a tip-out trash bin. I've had RV's before and I have an image in my mind of some sort of paralell between RV systems and equivalent marine systems, even though I realize there are some significant differences. I'd like to understand how all of these things work before I make a commitment to getting in over my head. The only diesel I've ever owned was in a truck and it was very maintenance free. Again, I'm aware that marine diesels probably require a little more love.

Anything I buy will be hauled and surveyed within an inch of its life. While on the hard, I will likely have a bottom job done and zincs replaced even if recently done, (over a year). I don't want any surprises out of any of these systems I am not yet wholly familliar with. Carpentry I can handle. Everything else I assume will be addressed through a good survey.

So is there much more to inboard diesel ownership than IB gas? Been there. How about gensets and A/C units? I'm already aware of some marine sanitation nightmares, but I also know that the key to a happy sani-system is proper mainanence and care of use. Of course, you never know what the last guy flushed down there or if he ever pumped it out. I had a blockage in an RV holding tank once. Something formed a dam and the tank wouldn't completely empty. The tank was basically split in two by some solid mass...probably my teenage daughters feminine hygene junk. The business end over flowed, and the discharge wouldn't. I got it fixed, but definately not in the same manner that a marine system could be fixed.

I appologize for my rambling. I really want to learn so that I can make the most educated decision when the time comes. I'm probably a year out from pulling the trigger.
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Old 07-07-2011, 16:50   #8
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Re: Ahoy

40ish, to 50ish will get something very nice for your intended usage.
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Old 11-08-2011, 17:06   #9
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I've had 2 Bayliner motoryachts a 3270 with gas power and our current 3870 with Hino 175hp diesels. The cockpits on them may be to small for the type of fishing you do but other than that they are great boats. The 32 can also be found with 4 cylinder Hinos, very economical & comfortable boats. As with any used boats there are things to be aware of when looking at these and a engine survey should be done. There is a guy that works Hinos around the country named Earl that lives in Florida in the winter, if you get that far he has a website I think you can google hinoguru to find him. Good Luck
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