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Economical Cruiser/Trawler

Old 10-22-2018, 06:15 PM
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Default Economical Cruiser/Trawler

Looking for suggestions for an inexpensive cruiser/trawler. I would like to be able to cruise a couple hundred miles so I can go from Florida to the Bahamas or Key West to Dry Tortugas without carrying extra fuel. Want to have an air conditioned sleeping space. It would be nice to keep the cost of purchasing the boat under $80,000, really like lower than that. Good fuel economy is a necessity. Short duration live aboard that I can fish from is the idea. Would like to trailer, but that might not be an option. Thanks in advance for the ideas. I have found THT to be a great source of information.
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Old 10-22-2018, 06:18 PM
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what do you consider "good fuel economy"?
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Old 10-22-2018, 06:44 PM
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Something that will not break the bank when I go somewhere. I have been looking at Worldcats as a reasonably priced outboard with plenty of room. I would need to use a generator and portable a/c since most do not have built in a/c. Then I have been looking at Grand Banks as an inboard trawler. Boy I'd hate to fill up that 1000 gallon plus fuel tank. What do you have in mind Lookinup76?
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Old 10-22-2018, 07:34 PM
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For economy at displacement speeds making longer crossings, and to run a genset for AC etc you will probably do better with a diesel than gas engines. At displacement speeds it is also often nice to have the engine weight down low in the belly of the boat. At displacement speeds to get the economy you need to realise that longer boats can often go faster with better economy. i.e. a 40fter at say 8knts can be more fuel efficient than a 28fter at 8knts which is probably beyond it's efficient displacement speed. So for optimum economy on a smaller boat you may need to travel a bit slower. If you are going to be travelling around you may want to look at what engines are the most common for ease of getting parts and servicing in remote areas. Something like the Cummins 6BT range maybe if going diesel. My 44ft sporty does better than 2mpg at 8knts which is my speed for trips where fuel management is required. Also a good trolling speed ;-). A true displacement hull will possibly do better, but a lot of modern boats are built with a wide beam to create space internally and that makes them less efficient. Long and narrow is the general form of an efficient displacement hull.
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Old 10-22-2018, 07:54 PM
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Just a thought but a Downeaster could work. And keep you out of trouble when the seas aren’t happy

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Old 10-22-2018, 08:02 PM
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also factor in running slower while using less fuel means more hours on the equipment and thus increased maintenance cost

i just did 300 miles on one tank of fuel and still had reserves

i was able to go 24 mph on average, i got around 1 mpg, it took about 12.5 hours

going at hull speed at ~9.8mph probably would've meant 31 hours running, so more than double, and i probably would've gotten ~2 mpg, meaning i burned half the fuel, a savings of $400

i value 18.5 hours of my time more than $400 though...

at about 6.5-7 mph i can get 6mpg but that trip would've taken 46 hours

it comes down to how much time you have, how patient you are, and if you dont mind racking up engine hours and doing maintenance more frequently

i've traveled over 4,000 miles by boat this year. i unfortunately did not have time to do it at 5 knots or hull speed
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Old 10-23-2018, 05:10 AM
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mystery, that is another thing to consider. I am retired and not in a hurry, but don't need extra wear on equipment. Also, don't mind going ahead and getting where I am going. What is the make and model of your vessel? Thanks RT
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Old 10-23-2018, 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Aliboy View Post
For economy at displacement speeds making longer crossings, and to run a genset for AC etc you will probably do better with a diesel than gas engines. At displacement speeds it is also often nice to have the engine weight down low in the belly of the boat. At displacement speeds to get the economy you need to realise that longer boats can often go faster with better economy. i.e. a 40fter at say 8knts can be more fuel efficient than a 28fter at 8knts which is probably beyond it's efficient displacement speed. So for optimum economy on a smaller boat you may need to travel a bit slower. If you are going to be travelling around you may want to look at what engines are the most common for ease of getting parts and servicing in remote areas. Something like the Cummins 6BT range maybe if going diesel. My 44ft sporty does better than 2mpg at 8knts which is my speed for trips where fuel management is required. Also a good trolling speed ;-). A true displacement hull will possibly do better, but a lot of modern boats are built with a wide beam to create space internally and that makes them less efficient. Long and narrow is the general form of an efficient displacement hull.
This. A sportsfisher is surprisingly efficient at hull speed, plus you have the advantage of much higher speed if you NEED it. They are also a lot more stable.

Size of the fuel tank is irrelevent. The bigger the better, IMO.
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by mystery View Post
also factor in running slower while using less fuel means more hours on the equipment and thus increased maintenance cost

i just did 300 miles on one tank of fuel and still had reserves

i was able to go 24 mph on average, i got around 1 mpg, it took about 12.5 hours

going at hull speed at ~9.8mph probably would've meant 31 hours running, so more than double, and i probably would've gotten ~2 mpg, meaning i burned half the fuel, a savings of $400

i value 18.5 hours of my time more than $400 though...

at about 6.5-7 mph i can get 6mpg but that trip would've taken 46 hours

it comes down to how much time you have, how patient you are, and if you dont mind racking up engine hours and doing maintenance more frequently

i've traveled over 4,000 miles by boat this year. i unfortunately did not have time to do it at 5 knots or hull speed
This is questionable. The service maintenance really does not change that much with hours. It is more a function of how much fuel goes through.
If you run 80% load you might change your oil and fuel filters at 100 hour. if you run 40% load you might go 3-500 hours. So there is little difference.
A working boat , trap, clam, bay man may put 100 hours on in 2 weeks. he does not service his engine 2 times a month.
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:40 AM
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Some good posts above. Really need to start with a project brief of requirements, with numbers for each criteria.

I like to do the same kind of cruising, but currently doing it in an outboard pilothouse without ac. More like camping. Speed is a safety measure too, coming back from the Tortugas this spring we had a small weather window and were able to scoot back in a few hours. Currently get 2-3.5mpg depending on load and speed, generally cruise 12-15mph if rough and 25 if smooth.

In retirement Iíd be interested in lower speed, more range, safer in bigger seas, and more interior space. Been tinkering with some longer ~35í, narrow, semi displacement designs. There arenít many on the market as most people want more speed, or luxury, or load carrying capability. There are quite a few designs available for a custom or home build.

One example Trawlers Midwest

The Nigel Irens rangeboat is another, more fancy example.
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:43 AM
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Spend 60k get a cc, and use the other 20k to get a room. Also you can trailer when you arenít using it. Bahamas are only 40 miles from FL. You can get a room at bootle for $140. Tortuga isnít far either, go the 6 months out of the year when you can camp. Look how much fuel youíll use with that ac blasting all night.
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:58 AM
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Sailboat, and a poling skiff on the front deck.
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:58 AM
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Get a diesel trawler/cruiser with gennie and AC and you will be out of trailering. You will need to rent slips or find other type of in the water storage. Cost of in water storage can blow away any fuel savings.

Old single diesel trawlers can be found in your budget, around 35-40', but lots of them are rough.
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Old 10-23-2018, 08:05 AM
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Albin 28 would be my choice for your requirements.
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Old 10-23-2018, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by fireisland1 View Post
This is questionable. The service maintenance really does not change that much with hours. It is more a function of how much fuel goes through.
If you run 80% load you might change your oil and fuel filters at 100 hour. if you run 40% load you might go 3-500 hours. So there is little difference.
A working boat , trap, clam, bay man may put 100 hours on in 2 weeks. he does not service his engine 2 times a month.
This...running 8 or 9 knots for 200 hours will take you across the GOM the long way...twice. Any diesel (or gasoline engine) will happily tolerate 200 (or more) hours of such use between maintenance cycles.

An 8 kw diesel Westerbeke burns about 3/4 gal/ hour at full load. 8 - 10 hours of such running is a lot cheaper than any hotel I want to stay in.
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Old 10-23-2018, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by HTJ View Post
This...running 8 or 9 knots for 200 hours will take you across the GOM the long way...twice. Any diesel (or gasoline engine) will happily tolerate 200 (or more) hours of such use between maintenance cycles.

An 8 kw diesel Westerbeke burns about 3/4 gal/ hour at full load. 8 - 10 hours of such running is a lot cheaper than any hotel I want to stay in.
When you are under warranty you will probably want to follow the manufacturer's maintenance schedule...

The only thing most give leeway on is oil changes if you sample it and send out for analysis to a lab regularly

Yes most things are 200 hour maintenance schedule, some are 100 hour but imagine you do 400 hours in a year because of slow speeds when you could've done in 200 hours at full cruising speed. now most items had to be done a second (extra) time, and some an extra 2-3 times. if you are not handy and can't do most of it yourself just based on part cost (some companies OEM parts are super expensive so parts alone may even you out), you will be paying thousands extra in having a pro do the maintenance, if you can even find a pro where you are at the time. that would immediately wipe out and probably exceed any fuel savings.

Last edited by mystery; 10-23-2018 at 10:30 AM.
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Old 10-23-2018, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by RustyTurn View Post
mystery, that is another thing to consider. I am retired and not in a hurry, but don't need extra wear on equipment. Also, don't mind going ahead and getting where I am going. What is the make and model of your vessel? Thanks RT
its not only having the time, its also the weather. some times you have to make decisions to leave and push forward others wait it out. things get dicey certain times of the year with small weather windows.

my boat is way out of your budget, even older models
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Old 10-23-2018, 10:34 AM
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There is a 2000 or so camero (sp?) listed. It is a trawler that looks nice and may fit your bill. Look at the boats for sale
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Old 10-23-2018, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by mystery View Post
When you are under warranty you will probably want to follow the manufacturer's maintenance schedule...

The only thing most give leeway on is oil changes if you sample it and send out for analysis to a lab regularly

Yes most things are 200 hour maintenance schedule, some are 100 hour but imagine you do 400 hours in a year because of slow speeds when you could've done in 200 hours at full cruising speed. now most items had to be done a second (extra) time, and some an extra 2-3 times.
I'll be you Huckleberry

A couple of thoughts here - boating 400 hours a year sounds exactly twice as cool as 200 hours - to me. Others that are destination focused might not feel the same. That said I kinda think the OP is looking for the former. And some of us are weird and actually enjoy wrenching on the boat. But let's use the real world economy from post #5 above and do a little exercise.

400 Hours x 2.3 GPH @ 10 MPH = 920 gallons x $4 = $3680 fuel cost
200 Hours x 11.4 GPH @ 20 MPH = 2280 gallons x $4 = $9120 fuel cost

The cost of 2 or even 3 vs 1 maintenance cycle on a single screw boat doesn't begin to encroach upon the fuel cost delta. If ones mechanical ability is limited to googling up a mobile mechanic then certainly is some swing the other way but not $5500 worth. And in the long term burning 920 gallons of fuel vs 2280 in a diesel is pretty durn exactly 60% less wear and tear.
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Old 10-23-2018, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by bluedart View Post
There is a 2000 or so camero (sp?) listed. It is a trawler that looks nice and may fit your bill. Look at the boats for sale
Camano 31. Pretty neat looking boats and probably close to what the OP is looking for. Not easily trailerable, but as they say, every boat is a compromise.
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