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Looking for Great Lakes trawler advice

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by GJackson, Dec 5, 2009.

  1. GJackson

    GJackson Guest

    I'm looking for some general advice on a couple of areas:

    1) I'm accustom to 3" draft on a shoal draft sailboat, but I'm looking at trawlers with 4' 6" or more. Is that going to keep me out of a lot of harbors? From the charts, it looks like I cannot dock on Beaver Island in Lake Michigan and staying in-channel in lots of places becomes critical.

    2) Will hydraulic stabilizers be of much help in Lake Michigan or Lake Superior? We'll get some significant wave patterns, but it seems pretty short period relative to the ocean and I wonder if active stabilizers even work much.

    As background, I'm looking at just occasional cruising, a week or two at a time, around Michigan, Superior, and Huron. I've had a small sailboat for years, but it's too much challenge for my wife. The only way we're going out is to upgrade the comfort level, lower the work required, and stop leaning. I'm looking at slow trawlers like Krogen 42 or DeFever 49 and budgeting $180K to $230K. I'm still working, but I can take a lot of time off.

    Any other boats I should be considering? I have a strong preference for pilothouse designs as I don't want to steer from the salon. I also have little interest in fast or express cruisers. 8 knots is just fine for me.

    Thanks,

    G. Jackson
  2. Henning

    Henning Senior Member

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    Good questions, I've only worked the GL commercially, so I can't comment on what harbors you enjoy you'll be restricted from with an extra 18" of draft. However, there are some semi displacement hard chine trawlers in the 40s' that draw around 3'-3'6" and will run around 15-18 kts when pressed to it. They give up only a small margin of efficiency in the 8-9 kt range, but they can prevent you from getting caught out in a storm. What I do remember about the GL is that it can go from clear to cruddy in a rather short period with little advanced warning except the standard "Thunderstorms likely this weekend" that may or may not show up, and may or may not be bad. It's awfully nice to be able to put the throttle down and reach protection before it gets fully ugly. As for stabilizers, while nice, in a boat of this size range, I'd rather not have them. They are high drag and inefficient. I'd choose a design with a lower CG and hard chines. If I wanted more stability than that provided, I would see if I could fit it with a flume tank. There is also rudder stabilization.
  3. PropBet

    PropBet Senior Member

    Joined:
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    G-

    1) You should find many a places of interest in visiting even though you have a boat drawing more than 3.5' of water. In our lake boat, we draw 5.5' with a 62' boat and rarely feel limited in harbors and such to visit or explore or go spend a weekend in with friends and family. Although we typically stick to Lake Michigan, we'll at times do an extended trip through Lake George, passing through Swiggy and into Lake Superior. Stops at Beaver Island, just outside the straights shouldn't be a problem for the most part. You should easily be able to get into St. James Harbor, as well several several others. Garden and Hog Islands will be a little more challenging. Outside of that, most of the UP and Eastern UP are wide open with general access pretty wide open to boats with a 5' draft. Bayfield Sound is one of our favorites. I wouldn't let a 4.5' to 5' draft boat push you away. There are many a places to visit to make a good long summer well worth it.

    2) I'm a fan of stabilizers, even on 45ish foot of boat, but that's personal preference. We spend most of our time with children on board, and simply enjoy a boat with them, versus one without. It's extra drag, yes, but it's less spills, and less 4 and 6 year old heads whacked against a hand rail, davit, or (insert item of choice here). Conditions on the lakes can change rapidly, so having a boat that will get up and go, and well do so without the pitch and roll are nice to haves.

    3) Both Krogren and Defever would be great boats for the lake(s).

    There are a few others in the forum from Michigan, so hopefully they'll chime in with some other comments and their input.

    Best of luck to you.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2009
  4. JWY

    JWY Senior Member

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    I don't have a problem with stabilizers on this size yacht and consider the drag to be a non-issue particularly for full displacement trawlers which are usually fuel efficient anyway. And active fin stabilization does make for a better, safer ride. I would recommend stabilizers particularly for the Defevers. Although a semi-displacement hull will help to outrun a storm, it might not be the most seakindly ride if not performing at hull speed.

    The choice of Krogen 42 and Defever 49 seem quite appropriate. The other Defever that could work is the 49CPMY, the Defever 44 + 5. The cockpit is a nice addition for the family and makes access, fishing, and water sports easier. Although it is not a raised pilothouse, it does have steering from the flybridge which can be "Izenglass" enclosed.

    Keep an eye on pricing - there's some price movement starting in the trawler market and perhaps a Nordhavn or other rph's will come into your budget range. Don't forget, the prices on the web searches are asking price.

    Judy Waldman
  5. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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    Buying either the Krogen or the DeFever without stabs would be a mistake, IMO.
  6. veggie_burger

    veggie_burger New Member

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    where there is water
    Lakes Draft

    I have 20 years in the Lakes. Yes 5' can dock at Beaver. No 5 foot won't restrict you a lot. I have cruised there with 6.5 and nearly 100' and I don't think I have not been able to go to many spots due to draft, more to length. I have felt so bad for folks in Krogens with out stabilizers. As I'm sure you know the Lakes, ALL of them can be very nasty in a hurry. Erie is the worst. Watch out in following seas in Erie. Slow down and watch for broaching. Join the Great Lakes Cruising Club and get the DVD guide. Worth owning.

    VB
  7. PropBet

    PropBet Senior Member

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    VB makes a good point. You are usually limited in terms of length as to where you can go before you are with regards to draft. Particularly in marinas and such.