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How to choose the right trawler?

Discussion in 'General Trawler Discussion' started by MountainGuy, Dec 27, 2018.

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  1. MountainGuy

    MountainGuy Member

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    Dear experts, I'm in search of a small trawler type boat with following requirements, as we want to spend more time on the water (I'm sailing offshore regattas on "big boats) and own a 30ft sailing boat for many years):

    • 2 real cabins for parents + kids plus possibility to have 2-3 friends overnight (saloon sleepers)
    • good seakeeping
    • below 40 ft
    • economical
    • med use (sunbathing & shadow)
    • easy maintenance

    I'm in love with classic boats therefore new is not a requirement, a reliable oldtimer is perfect aswell. If I look at the new lineup new boats include Swift Trawler 35 and Merry Fisher 1095 up to Nimbus 365. But I'm also in love with boats like Axopar 37AC, except it has no toilet room and no galley. I'd like to have the possibility to relocate the boat to north Europe and cruise up Norwegen (heating/seakeeping).

    What is your input? Do you have any recommendations?
  2. JWY

    JWY Senior Member

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    Plese provide additional preferences as to speed, hull material, and price range.
  3. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Be careful to define your requirements before trying to select the boat. You've described several entirely different boats in just the little bit you've said here. You want to be able to sleep 7, but you want it under 40'. You want seakeeping ability but you want to sunbathe in the Med. You talk about the "right trawler" but then you mention boats that traditionalists would not classify as trawlers and you toss in one boat that is about as far from trawlers as possible. You talk about Northern waters and Norway and the Med, decidedly different cruising grounds. The fact is every boat is a compromise. You need to focus on your 95% usage and find the boat that fits it and then figure out the other 5%, but don't buy a boat for that 5%. For instance, if 95% is four people, then you don't worry about the other two. They can use air mattresses and sleep in the floor or stay in hotels. Then you make no mention of price range. Now, Judy asked about speed and hull material. I'd say speed is very important as the truest trawlers in the size range you mention are 6 to 8 knot boats and yet you have listed boats decidedly faster. You talk about Seakeeping and yet you have listed boats with only moderate seakeeping ability. Judy asks about hull material, but I'd say that's something to be determined by your requirements.

    So, let's go back to boat selection 101 and talk about how you intend primarily to use the boat and what you're willing to pay for it. Don't use the word trawler yet either as you haven't determined a trawler is the right fit.
  4. MountainGuy

    MountainGuy Member

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    olderboater, verry true what you said, but this is exactly my "problem", and probably the problem of many of us choosing a boat according to rational criterias, compared to simply falling in love, as I did with my small one in the avatar...
    I would like to have a boat stationed in the norther med, where I can reach it easily, I want to cruise it there with my wife and kids and sometimes have guests on it for a long weekend. Therefore 2 cabins plus option for a few more saloon sleepers (we have the some-in-hotel sleepers situation at some of our regattas, but its not the same, and at some med anchorages there are no hotels...) . In 2 - 3 years I also want to go round Europe up north and explore the coast of Norway, Sweden, England. I do not want to buy a new boat for that. My trawler reference was more to comfort over speed preferences. My input with Axopar is, that boys love toys, and as right as you are with the compromise, a little of fun and emotion ... you know.
    Judy: speed is definitly not the major requirement, I'd be fine with fiberglass, currently I sail wood and I know the maintenance issues. Price: not more that 150k for used boat, incl updates if necessary.
  5. ranger42c

    ranger42c Senior member

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    Given that budget, I'd suspect a reasonable approach is first to learn just what's available on the secondary/used market in the Med area. Selection will likely be (very?) limited, and I'd guess won't include any models currently being made/offered as new.

    Pick some that float your boat, including some that could be viable if eventually moved to Kiel or Norway or wherever (perhaps focusing on those that could be moved there on their own hull, even if only during certain weather windows).

    Afterwards, if you can then name a few of your favorites from that exercise, folks here might be able to comment on pros/cons.

    -Chris
  6. JWY

    JWY Senior Member

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    I just did a brief YachtWorld search with the parameters being Europe, between 35 - 48 feet, priced between $100,000 and $175,000, pilothouse and trawlers, and 79 boats came up. Swift Trawlers might be your best bet however, I consider them "coastal cruisers." Several Grand Banks but they are old, be wary of iron fuel tanks.
  7. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Swift Trawlers are extremely popular and I know many happy owners, although some common issues that it seems many have faced. However, it takes the broadest definition to call them a trawler. They are semi-displacement boats and "coastal cruisers" is a more appropriate term. While many owners swear about how well they've performed in rough water, we need to be careful as "rough water" has many different definitions. I think most are referring to 4-6' and not 10-12' or more which is what I'd consider rough. While it's a design criteria and certainly not the end all classification, I keep in mind that Swift Trawlers are CE Classification B with normal passenger loads. Not even the 50' is A. The official definition of B is
    • Category B – Offshore: includes boats operating offshore with winds to 40 knots and significant seas to 13 feet.
    That's as opposed to A which is
    • Category A – Ocean: covers largely self-sufficient boats designed for extended voyages with winds of over Beaufort Force 8 (over 40 knots), and significant wave heights above 13 feet, but excluding abnormal conditions such as hurricanes.
    Note also that while this doesn't seem to be an issue for you as you'd only carry 6 passengers or so, all ST's have additional ratings for extra numbers of passengers and I'd consider those when loading a boat especially heavy. Those are C ratings.
    • Category C – Inshore: is for boats operating in coastal waters and large bays and lakes with winds to Force 6, up to 27 knots, and significant seas 7 feet high.
    Most cruisers in the size range are Category B although our 44' Riva is an A. However, more traditional trawler brands would be Category A.

    Again, a Swift Trawler is a very popular and well liked boat and has been a huge success for Beneteau. It may be excellent for a good bit of your usage. The northern cruising though is questionable. One other thing to consider is that most at cruising speed have range of only about 350 nm and even at 10 knots no more than 450 nm. One needs to slow to 8 knots or so to get the range up to 600 nm. They have limited fuel capacity as their general purpose is not long exposed ocean trips.
  8. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

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    The CE classification from A to B does not offer a good perspective on stability and seakeeping without diving deeper.
    It does represent a successful mathematical analysis but has some holes, as seen with a 44 Express gaining a Cat A grade . No one in their right mind would go out in CAt A seas states of Force 8 in a. Express as seen b6 the representative picture of those types of seas:

    upload_2019-1-1_18-52-0.jpeg

    As you can see, the significant wave height is 5.5 m but in reality can go up to 7.5m (25ft) with a few larger ones thrown in for good measure.

    The CE calculation definitely favors an express style boat with a low profile and creative down flooding points, but you have to pick your poison wiser than replying on Cat A or B assessments.
  9. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    I haven't the faintest notion of my boat's classification, but I ain't voluntarily going out even in C category conditions (assuming breaking seas not swell), especially in a trawler, which means "rolly polly" to me without a SeaKeeper. Good sized sailboat perhaps ….
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2019
  10. cleanslate

    cleanslate Senior Member

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    Yeah what Beau said...Me, I'm becoming more of a Class ''D'' guy when I can , 4'-5' or less...o_O. My boat is , IMO , a class C boat or I run it like one.
    Class B weather would be thrilling for sure on my Sunliner. :(
  11. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Awl Come-on. Lieutenant Dan would just call you chicken.
  12. Gratton

    Gratton Member

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    On that topic...I often see some widebody trawlers in the 30-50 range and I assume for simple marina hopping and anchoring the lack of side decks is not a major issue, but I recently saw an ad for the new Selene 60 and 72 Ocean Explorer yacht which had the widebody option without any side decks. Doesn't it start being quite problematic at this length, especially if owner operated? Transiting locks, tying up, placing fenders etc...
  13. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    They offer three versions, the full widebody, the port wide body and the standard side deck.

    I would absolutely have no interest in a wide body. However, those who own them in other boats love them. They've conditioned themselves and have good access fore and aft of the cabin area. Owner operated generally means two persons crewing. They've worked our things with one fore and one aft. Even single handing on smaller boats but I wouldn't expect single handing on Selene 60's and 72's.

    It would be interesting in the future to know the sales of each version although not likely to have enough volume anytime soon to call it a pattern or trend.
  14. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    The requirement of good sea keeping in a trawler less that 40 ft ? Unless it is a commercialvessel or a true down-easter is that possible in anything more than 2 feet of beam seas?
  15. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Not in full displacement trawlers that I'm aware of. But not aware of many in that size range. As to a Beneteau Swift Trawler, semi-displacement, not a trawler, it's got better than some but it's still a coastal cruiser. Some of the tugs are decent in at least more than 2' beam seas but also not trawler type hulls. KK once built a 36's. Grand Banks built lots of boats in the 30-40' range and they did not have the beam sea issues. However, the whole idea of a trawler under 40' just doesn't compute.
  16. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

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    One of my favorite stories is the owner who took delivery of his 40' Cheoy Lee Trawler at the factory in the late 70's, then took it through the Philippines, up the Suez Canal, through the Med, across to the Atlantic and finally to Miami. Stock trawler, no stabilizers, 2 man crew only. Where there is a will, there is a way!

    Here's one for sale in Italy: https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1976/cheoy-lee-40-2557670/
  17. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    The OP is going to have a stack of people though - 2 children and their friends? What are the normal northern med conditions?
  18. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

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    Looks like a perfect fit, just add some heating:

    upload_2019-1-3_13-47-27.png
  19. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    The closest thing I can think of, and it's even more fuel efficient than most all trawlers if run at 10 knots (or below) is a 43/44' lagoon power cat. At 10 knots they'll get 3 mpg. They're stable, roomy, plenty of space to sun bath. 3 staterooms. etc.