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Thread: What Kind of Boat am I Looking For?

  1. #1
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    Feb 2011
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    Default What Kind of Boat am I Looking For?

    Hiya, folks. Need a little help here.

    I've been dreaming my whole life about building a big wood boat, selling everything I own, and sailing off into the sunset. Until recently, I was the only member of the family that felt this way. However, the wife has decided that she likes this plan, and wants to come along after all. I'm all for this, but she has a few conditions that have caused me to rethink my plans, and given me some questions I hadn't previously considered.

    She is not in any way keen on the idea of getting out of the site of land. There's a small bit of give in this item, but not much - i.e. I can probably cut the corner from Virginia to the Hudson River, or head across the southern end of Lake Michigan, but we're not going to be cruising to Hawaii or Europe or points farther on. I'm okay with this, as, since I've gotten older and more mature, I've realized that deep water scares the hell out of me .

    So, we're planning on doing the Great Loop, possibly the Inside Passage, maybe shipping the boat over to Europe for canal cruising over there someday. Great Loop, for sure. Everything else is a firm "let's see how the first part goes."

    This has brought up a whole slew of issues I didn't expect to have - chief among them being, now I have a whole other person with an opinion about my boat. As the local broker told me Saturday, "She's half the 'yes' and ALL of the 'no'." She likes bigger boats than I would normally be into, and fancier, and newer, and more plastic-y.

    All of that being said, here's my question: We really like the layout of the Viking 44 MY, the Tolleycraft 44 & 48, the Defever 44 and 48 MY, the Atlantic 47, etc. But I don't like the twin, big diesel engines designed to drive these hulls to 16-18 knots and burn 40 GPH. What are some alternatives I should be searching for that are designed & built & equipped more like a true passagemaker (i.e. bulletproof, simple, economical, single diesel turning a big prop, etc.)?

    I come across the occasional Diesel Duck (usually too expensive) or Kady-Krogen (usually too small), but not much else in that vein. Hoping the more experienced readers here will have an opinion to share.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: What Kind of Boat am I Looking For?

    Where are you?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: What Kind of Boat am I Looking For?

    Some of your cruising ideas sound like they want very different boats. An canal cruiser will make a rotten open water boat and vice-versa. You might consider the costs of owning versus the costs of simply chartering an appropriate boat for each of your cruises. That doesn't have the same cachet as "Yacht Ownership" and means you don't have "your" world at hand on the boat, but there's some practicality to it.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: What Kind of Boat am I Looking For?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thad View Post
    Where are you?
    Houston, Texas.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: What Kind of Boat am I Looking For?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh MacD View Post
    Some of your cruising ideas sound like they want very different boats...
    Yes and no. The plan is still to live on the boat, for as long as we find it enjoyable. While I'm no longer planning on cruising over the horizon, I still want something safe and economical to operate - not a floating palace. Was watching a YouTube video the other day of a Tolleycraft during sea trials, and the surveyor could be heard saying, "We're at wide open throttle and only burning 40 gallons per hour!"

    No spank you.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: What Kind of Boat am I Looking For?

    If you want both efficiency and big comfort, the power catamarans are hard to beat. But you wouldn't be shipping one to Europe -- and as said, it's better to charter a canal boat over there. The bridges on the nicer canals are too low for boats not made for the trade. Also, by all means do a week charter on a boat somewhat like what you have in mind to see how it goes. There are dreams and then there is reality.

    On another note, there have been several threads here on ideal "Great Loop" boats. The highly efficient ones don't tend to have big staterooms and hot showers, however. But if you do some searching, you should find a few more opinions.

    BTW -- As you get more experienced, you'll find open horizons comforting and the sight of land a cause for concern. Something to bump into, after all.

    Here's an example of the type I have in mind.

    https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/200...maran-3531076/
    Last edited by Woxbox; 07-28-2020 at 09:12 PM.
    -Dave

  7. #7
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    Default Re: What Kind of Boat am I Looking For?

    Try taking a couple of extended trips on a chartered boat first. The gloss of living aboard can wear thin fast when you're stuck on the hook for a rainy weekend with nowhere to go....

  8. #8
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    Default Re: What Kind of Boat am I Looking For?

    Quote Originally Posted by willin woodworks View Post
    Try taking a couple of extended trips on a chartered boat first. The gloss of living aboard can wear thin fast when you're stuck on the hook for a rainy weekend with nowhere to go....
    This. Plus you get to try out different sorts of boats.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    https://www.facebook.com/HarborWoodworks/

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  9. #9
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    Default Re: What Kind of Boat am I Looking For?

    "Out of sight of land" is the SAFEST place !!!
    The ocean has no sharp corners..well. except for ships.
    Get up stand up...stand up to your wife.
    the boat you seek may have wheels.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: What Kind of Boat am I Looking For?

    LOVE looking around and seeing nothing but flat horizon......

  11. #11
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    Default Re: What Kind of Boat am I Looking For?

    There is another possibility. I own and cruise a sailboat. My wife will join me for a long weekend in Long Island Sound, but farther afield I go with other crew. Sometimes we leave the boat for the winter and visit it together. This meant a boat that I could buy and still keep a home. She wanted a boat with a shower, I found one. It took me two years of persistent searching and boat visits from Maine to Florida. Keep searching, you'll find yours. And make sure your early cruises with her are in nice weather!

  12. #12
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    Bellingham, WA and Ajo, AZ
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    Default Re: What Kind of Boat am I Looking For?

    I may be able to provide some useful advice, as I have the equivalent of a Tolly 44 (a Uniflite 42 double cabin) and we have lived on both planing boats as well as trawlers.

    Regarding what makes a good live aboard power boat: some separation between spaces so you and your partner are not forced to always be in sight of each other. We've found a walk around bed very desirable as we get older for middle of the night nature calls. Don't skimp on the galley if you like to cook. Preparing meals with only a 2' x 3' counter gets very old. Look for a propane stove - properly installed - so you don't need to run a generator all the time when cruising. Have a good heating system if you plan 3- or 4-season cruising anywhere close to Canada. Have a big holding tank or a composting toilet. There's a lot more I could say, but you'll be able to find a lot of info on liveaboards online.

    Boat location: Think hard about where you want to keep the boat, particularly if you're living aboard. This means not only the particular marina, but also the region - if you have that flexibility.

    Boat type: There's a world of difference between planing hulls like the Tolly and Viking and traditional trawlers like (some of) the DeFevers. The planing hulls will use more fuel, even if you only go hull speed or just barely up on step, and handle poorly at slow speeds. Yes, full power will consume huge amounts of fuel, but nowadays almost nobody uses them that way. Our current 42' Uniflite has twin 310hp Detroit 671 naturals. It will likely go 22 knots if we pushed it to the wall and it would use about 40 gph doing that. More reasonable, it will go about 12 knots at about 15 gah, or slightly less than 1 gallon per mile. If you get this kind of boat, you may find yourself not wanting to use as much as you would a more efficient boat, depending on how much you want to spend on fuel and spew carbon into the atmosphere. The good thing about it is that you have reserve power available if you want to force your way through a pass or channel with strong current, get out of the way of a freighter or ferry, or just want to outrun a storm.

    The trawlers, on the other hand are limited to hull speed, which for the size range you're looking at is about 8 knots +/-. Your mileage will very between 1-5 mpg depending on the size of trawler and whether it's a twin or single engine. The engines are a lot smaller (think Lehmann 120hp, for example) and to some extent cheaper to work on.

    If you can stomach a Taiwan trawler look at a variety in the 38-50 range. The build quality is highly variable, so make sure you get a very competent surveyor. Since you mention larger sizes too, look at the DeFever 49' from the early 80s. I've had similar boats (though a bit larger) and they are very comfortable and couple friendly. You can go down in size from there until you get to the point that it's too small for you to want to live on it. Boat prices are all over the place. Just for reference, I think our Uniflite 42 will go for about $50-60k, though will find out for sure when it goes on the market next month.

    I agree with the idea of chartering to get an idea of what you like. There are a lot of chartering companies in my part of the northwest. Once you cruise in our area/inside passage, you'll have little use for the Great Loop. (sorry - couldn't resist).

  13. #13
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    Feb 2011
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    Default Re: What Kind of Boat am I Looking For?

    Thanks for all the thoughtful replies. Couple of retorts...

    I actually like the power cat idea, but, oddly enough, my wife hates them. Something about getting hurt on the netting on one years ago, and she's notorious about being unable to forgive and/or forget. We all have issues, right?

    J.Brown, I've had the same thoughts re: how much I'll want to really use the boat if I'm burning 15GPH at cruising speed. I'd much rather go displacement / hull-speed route, burning a couple of gallons per hour. So far we've toured a 36' Grand Banks (too small), a 40' Mainship "Europa-style" cruiser (loved the exterior living spaces, not the interior so much), a 43' Mainship (we liked it), a 43' Hatteras double-cabin MY (I liked it, she didn't), and a Carver 466 (she really liked it, I thought it was okay but not $40k better than the Hatteras). These are the only boats we've been on in-person.

    Online, we've looked at lots and lots of boats; she's partial to the galley & dinette layout on the Vikings. I like the Atlantic 47 and the Marine Trader 50, along with a few others. So far haven't really found anything "production" that fits the single-engine, slow-moving, trawler-type description. I come across custom builds and one-offs from builders I've never heard of, but haven't been able to get on any of them yet (we really just started looking, and we have 3-7 years to make a decision).

  14. #14
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    Default Re: What Kind of Boat am I Looking For?

    The one that finally made my wife happy enough to spend a lot of time on is the 42' Grand Banks. Excellent build quality, comfort, 5/gal per hour total fuel burn for 8-10 knots. Easy handling, and the wood ones are heavy, which translates into comfortable and easier to handle when arguing with the wind.

    Good luck on your search - C.
    1973 Grand Banks 42

  15. #15
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    Default Re: What Kind of Boat am I Looking For?

    You haven't given us a budget, so anything I might suggest might be too expensive, or not expensive enough. So take this all in the spirit intended.

    The cruise you've described is not far off from one I've been thinking about. For me, it doesn't "work", because I would prefer a schooner, but the draft is too deep for the canals on the loop, and stepping and unstepping the mast will take some of the charm out of it. Also, I've been on boats with the mast lashed to the deck, and that takes up more room than you'd expect.

    Also, some plastic boats come to mind. Trawlers would be less of a fuel burn than a planing, or semi-planing boat, so let's stick with those. It doesn't exactly have to be a trawler, mind you. Just a slower displacement hull.

    Of course, that said: A less expensive "fuel burner" could be a good trade for a more expensive displacement hull. What I mean is, what if you can find a Chris Craft Constellation for fairly cheap. This one listed on Yachtworld is about $30K, and probably burns 20 gallons per hour at speed. https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/195...42-my-2862263/. Of course, I have no idea what kind of work it needs. It's just a for-instance.

    This GB42 https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/197...assic-3153986/ is about $100K. How much fuel can you buy for $70K?

    I know, I know... one is much older, and probably needs a ton of work. I'm just trying to make a point. You can do the same math with a $150K Chris and a $300K Grand Banks. Additionally, I think you'll find that repairing an older boat is still cheaper than building a new boat. Would probably take less time, too.


    Still: Lord Nelson Victory Tugs come to mind. But there we are with plastic. Grand Banks could be wood or plastic.

    Not sure you'll find one "already made", so the cost will be there, but I'm a huge fan of the Devlin Czarinna series. That would make a great looper boat. Back in the day, there was a Czarinna on the cover of Woodenboat, next to an old Puget Sound boat called SCAMPER. I would love to have a lines plan of SCAMPER. Czarinna 30 is powered by two small diesels. Total burn less than 2 gallons per hour. https://devlinboat.com/product/czarinna-30-plans/

    That's smaller than you asked for, but there are study plans for a 36 foot and 43 foot version. More expensive, because the design isn't finished yet. 10 knots, less than 3gph: https://devlinboat.com/czarinna-43/

    Tad Roberts has some great narrow cruisers. I'm really attracted to the Yellow Cedar.


    There's your start. All Looper capable. I'd feel OK on the Great Lakes on any of those. Puget Sound, too. For the European trip, I'd save the shipping costs and charter. Go now (well, maybe when you don't have to quarantine), and learn what you like and don't like. I learned a lot on a one-week narrowboat charter in Wales. Troll the docks. Look around. Talk to people. If you really want to do a Loop, join their web forum, and pay attention to what people have, what they like and don't like, and what might work for you. Have fun.
    Heute ist so ein schöne Tag...

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