Trawler Yachts - Which to Choose?

Published: 09th October 2009
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When looking for the right power boat, remember that they come in many different styles . But for the most part, they are the same, all having staterooms, saloons, heads, etc. When picking out one that meets your needs, its essential to know what you plan to do with it. Will your boat remain primarily at the dock or will you be cruising her? Is a fast moving boat the right one for you or do you like to take it slow and easy? Do you like the sound of 6 gallons of fuel per hour or is 40 ok? How about the way she's built? A wooden yacht has her charm but requires more bottom maintenance and insurance may be an issue. All of these must be deliberated.

If a slow pace is your style, a trawler may be the ticket for you. Taking it slow and easy stopping to smell the salty air and watch the osprey soar overhead. So why pick a trawler? The popular trawler is homelike, roomy, well-balanced and seaworthy coupled with reliability and economy of operation.

A modern trawler should not be confused with a fishing vessel but the original idea did originate from them. Trawlers in general are yachts with long, deep keels to prevent propeller damage in the event of grounding, boats with top cruising speeds of 7-10 knots, and boats with large panoramic windows for good views. Trawlers carry large water and fuel supplies making them ideal for extended cruising vessels. The primary draw of a trawler is the conventional salty lines that turns heads at every dock.

The advantages of owning a trawler may not be so obvious. In addition to the refined lines, here are some of the most important features.

•Very inexpensive to operate. A trawler uses only from 2-8 gallons/hr. at cruising speeds of about 9 knots.

•Trawlers have large fuel and water capacities.

•Very large onboard storage in the many lockers, cabinets and drawer.

•Large rudders make docking simple.

•Most trawlers were built in the Orient with teak which is resistant to rot.

•Slow RPM diesel engines produce anywhere from 10-20,000 hours of use before any serious work is needed.

•Trawlers by and large have a high resale value due to the supply.

Unlike cruisers and motor yachts, the trawler market exceeds the supply.

In choosing a trawler, one needs to choose between full displacement and semi-displacement hulls.

Displacement hulls are typically found on sea-going vessels with such names as Nordhavn and Krogen. These hulls can carry more payloads due to their design. The hulls do not plane and power is directed to pushing the hull rather than lifting it. The hulls are generally rounded which brought on a soft ride.

Semi-displacement hulls merge round bottoms forward and flat bottoms aft. As the boat propels forward it partially raises from the water. These boat hulls provide a bit more speed while sacrificing a softer ride. These hulls are meant for coastal cruising and are not blue water yachts.

There are five trawler expressive styles. Each style sports unique floor designs and layouts.

Trawler styles are as follows.

•Classic or Trunk

Classic styles are thought to be the earliest of the trawler styles. They have wide walk-around decks and access to the salon from both side doors. Gunnels are low making boarding easy. The bridge is usually about three steps up from the cabin. It has lots of seating room for guests. The traditional mast with boom holds a sail to prevent rolling in heavy seas. The boom can also be used to splash the tender. The Classic provides an aft stateroom and head. Two steps up is a large salon for entertaining. Forward is the galley, which may be up or down. A dinette may be provided close to the galley. Further forward is the guest quarters with another private head. The Trunk cabin trawler is a salty style but does not offer shelter in the event of bad weather.

The Sundeck style made its appearance in the 1980s. Sundeck models are akin to the classic trunk styles except that the sundeck is enclosed allowing access to the bridge via the sundeck from the salon in inclement weather. Sundecks have wider bodies with decks higher than trunk styles. This allows for a very large master stateroom. A swim platform allows access to the sundeck and dingy access. Some are fitted with wet bar on the sundeck to entertain. The bridge on the sundeck is usually quite large allowing many guests . If you consider yourself to be an outdoor person, this is the model for you!

The Sedan style of boat is preferred to many because of the fewer stairs to deal with. Almost everything is on one level except the flybridge. The Sedan has all of its cabins forward and are somewhat smaller than the Classic or Sundeck. There is a salon aft, with the galley forward generally with a dinette up. Both staterooms are forward of the galley with a shared bath. A small cockpit aft of the salon offers a covered area for entertaining.

Many boaters, especially in northern climates, prefer the Pilothouse model. The Pilothouse model boasts a single-enclosed helm. It affords outstanding visibility. A galley, salon and cockpit are found on a single level similar to the Sedan style. The master stateroom is usually forward and below the pilothouse itself. The guest stateroom and head is situated forward with the master stateroom. A fly bridge overhang protects the aft deck and side decks. A large deck extends beyond the fly bridge providing room for tender storage etc. A distinct advantage of this yacht is operating in foul or cold weather. The main disadvantage is having to run the generator to supply air conditioning during hot weather.

Passagemakers are the last type of trawler, which are designed, and intended for making the Trans-oceanic passage. Passagemakers are usually full displacement and over 45 feet in length.

In the next posting we'll discuss the different sizes, accommodations and engine selections.

Mike Dickens, the author, is a trawler owner and owner/Broker of Paradise Yachts in Florida USA.

Paradise Yachts offers used quality yachts to customers worldwide.

Visit the Paradise Yachts website to view our selection of Used Trawlers, Used Motor Yachts, and Used Sailboats for Sale

National and international sales. We ship Used Yachts and Used Boats worldwide. Located in Florida, USA. 904/556-9431

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