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The New Plan!

By kismet - Published December 15, 2010 - Viewed 925 times

By Jim Favors

When Lisa and I embarked on our first Great Loop trip in 2005, we never, ever could have fathomed that we would have become full-time “liveaboards” for a period of five years. We didn’t start with this as an objective, it just kind of fell into place as we, very quickly, fell in love with the nomadic lifestyle, which is very much the nature of full-time cruising. So, after five years of traveling by boat on U.S. coastal and inland waterways including Washington’s San Juan Islands, the Bahamas’, Canada’s Trent-Severn Waterway and North Channel, Gulf of Mexico and many of America’s rivers, bays, sounds and bayous, just to name a few, we have decided to sell our home of five years – our Fathom 40 trawler. We haven’t completely lost our senses though (those of you who have followed our blogs and logs know that adventure is key to our mental well-being). As a matter of fact, we think we are not only headed towards a NEW adventure but our plan will afford us a lot more flexibility in some of the cruising we plan to do in the future!

Tab, the new owner of Kismet, and me stopping to pose for Lisa when we were reviewing the mechanics of the Fathom in Key West.

Before we get to what we’ll be doing for the next phase of our boating life I thought I’d mention a pattern we’ve noticed with a large percentage of Looper veterans. Soon after completing the Great Loop boat trip, many Loopers seem to quickly sell their boat. After making the decision to do the Loop, after all the planning, securing the proper boat and equipment, and finally completing this amazing trip, many Loopers decide to move on to new adventures. While we know a few boaters who have permanently taken up the liveaboard lifestyle, the majority tend to move onto other pursuits. Some decide to travel by motor home, some may relocate their land base home to one of the places they’ve visited while on the Loop, many just return to the lifestyle they left behind before becoming a Looper. We know of one family who bought a boat just to do the Loop and upon completion, unpacked the boat and returned home never to see the boat again. It’s not that they didn’t enjoy the adventure; as a matter of fact, it was the adventure of a lifetime for them. It boils down to what your priorities are and, of course, this is different for everyone.

 

 

Kismet pulling away from the dock in Key West, heading north, up the ICW, to the new owners home waters of Virginia.

For the last five years, Lisa and I spent most of our time on our boat cruising. Our mothers each cruised with us at different times as wells as our three sons, Bart, Skyler, and Ross. We had friends join us along the way over the years and it was all very fulfilling for us. We returned home to spend time with family and visit friends and the time spent was very rewarding but it was beginning to make us feel somewhat divided and out of sorts. I guess a good way to describe it is: Now that our insane desire for adventure was somewhat satisfied, another yearning demanded our attention. So after five years of the carefree boat life, we decided it was time for a change. We wanted to spend more time with our family and hometown friends. We also didn’t want to get burnt out on boating.

With that in mind, we've put a plan in motion. The beginning of the year we decided to buy a house in our hometown of Traverse City Michigan, sell our 40’ Fathom trawler, and buy a trailerable trawler. As I write this log Lisa and I have just completed the sale of our beloved Kismet to a nice family in Virginia and the purchase of a house in our hometown of Traverse City, Michigan was finalized 8 months ago. With the sale of the Fathom behind us, we’ll now start our research for the “new” boat of our dreams, a trailerable trawler.

You might ask, “Why on earth do you want to downsize to a 25-29 foot trailerable boat, especially after living on a spacious 40’ trawler?” This question deserves some explanation so lets explore the benefits. In our new mindset, we see flexibility as being one of the main benefits to choosing a trailerable trawler with economy being a very close second followed by lifestyle choice and diversity.

The benefits I’m referring to are from our perspective but I think they’re universally acknowledged. For us the flexibility we’ll receive means Lisa and I can leave our home in Northern Michigan, trailer our boat south in the fall and be cruising on the Tennessee River in a matter of two days. If we wanted, we could then follow the sun farther south and head to Florida’s St. Johns River. Many new summer trips could include the Chesapeake Bay, Erie Canal, Canada’s North Channel, Trent-Severn Waterway, or Rideau Canal. Once we get on a role, we’d like to branch out and explore area’s that are harder to reach with a big boat sitting on the east coast, for instance: Lake Powell, the Pacific Northwest’s Inside Passage, Columbia River, Lake Yellowstone, or Washington’s San Juan Islands. Not to mention that during most of the summer months we could further explore areas close to home by just dropping the boat in for a long weekend, a week or more. We do realize it will be more like camping out compared to the amenities and accommodations of a larger boat but we’ve seen some of the trailerable trawler models and they look surprisingly comfortable and more than adequate for the shorter term boating we plan to do in the future.


Tab, in the middle, along with Lisa and I toasting the exchange of ownership of Kismet.

Being able to pick up and trailer our boat across country would give us the kind of flexibility we didn’t have with our 40’ trawler. We’d be able to explore places we could not easily do with the larger boat. So, simply from an adventurer’s standpoint we really are freeing ourselves even more to explore, not only more of the waters we’ve cruised for the last 5 years but our home waters and waters new to us – flexibility, it sure sounds good to me.

One of the beauties of this plan would be that we’d cut out a lot of long, boat travel days by driving to the heart of a spot and dropping the boat in. We could also avoid much of the open water trips, which we’ve enjoyed but don’t need to do any more. We’d opt for routes that are more scenic in our new plan.

We traveled with Tab for a week to help him with the learning curve of a new boat; here we watch the sunset during dinner at Jewfish Creek, Florida.

 

When I stated that one of the benefits of a trailerable trawler was economy I was referring to how this type of boating doesn’t dig so far into your wallet. The expenses of boating will continue, however the dockage, insurance, storage, and maintenance will all require less money than a 40-footer. Less outlay of cash, at least for us, means we can justify our boating habit without feeling like we have to watch all our nickels and dimes quite so closely.

As an example and just for rough comparison purposes, the insurance for a new $150,000 27-foot trailerable trawler with a trailer would be approximately $600 for a year. The comparable insurance for our three-year-old, just sold trawler was roughly $1,500 per year. The difference of $900 per year is a 60% savings. Similar savings occur when you compare dockage. Whether the daily transient rate is $1.00 or $2.00 per foot per day the percentage savings is the same. Lets say a 40-foot boat docks for 100 days at $1.00 per foot ($40.00 per day) that would equal $4,000. The same 27-foot boat at $1.00 per day ($27.00 per day) would equal $2,700 for 100 days. The difference of $1,300 is 32% less than the 40-foot boat. When we go to store the boat, during off times, we have a place in our driveway where the boat can sit conveniently on its trailer, no storage costs or concerns. I guess one way to look at the trailerable boat economy, for me, is to say that what I would save on dockage alone would pay for my insurance for a year and I’d have money left over. I like the economy of a trailerable trawler!

Kismet docked in Ft Lauderdale after our third day working our way up the coast of Florida… three years of ownership went by quickly.

 

We would have liked not to have changed the type of liveaboard boating we’d done for the last five years however it was time to return home and own some dirt and garner some quality face time with family and friends, at least for half of the year. Lisa and I felt, from our personal perspective, it was hard to justify owning a boat worth more than our house, especially now that we wouldn’t be able to use it more than six months out of a year – therefore the reason to sell the larger boat. Because of the economy of a trailerable trawler we felt our downsized boating lifestyle would really not be compromised. Quite the opposite, we both feel our boating lifestyle will be enhanced because of the added flexibility. Do you see how all this goes together?

Our boating experiences started on a small 21-foot Four Winns runabout. We have many endearing memories of the territory we covered and the lazy afternoons spent on that boat. We know in our hearts there are new memories just waiting around the corner on our future, smaller boat.

 

Tab and I getting ready to depart New Smyrna, Florida and my last day of travel on Kismet.

Diversity means different things to many people, but for us it means Lisa and I have the ability to revisit and cruise some of our favorite navigable waters we’ve plied for the last five years or we have the ability to explore the many inland lakes and rivers. It also means we can trailer our boat across country to seek out new destinations. We could have done this with our 40-foot boat however not without a great deal of dismantling, shipping, (roughly $14,000 for a one way transport) and reassembly. It all gets back to the economy and how deep someone’s pocket book is. For us the economy of a trailerable trawler will give us the freedom to have a more diverse boating experience by letting us be able to explore more places, most we would not have been able to cruise with the 40-foot trawler.

One of the benefits of cruising is meeting up with friends along the way. On our last night in Florida we met up with Roy and Ellen (in the middle) and their friends for dinner in Palm Coast.

With all I’ve laid out as background information, Lisa and I will start our research into trailerable trawlers in the 25 to 29-foot range. It is our intention to attend boat shows, visit various boat manufacturing factories so we can make an intelligent decision. The boat manufacturers we’ve put on our wish list to explore are: North Pacific, Nordic Tugs, Ranger Tugs, and Rosborough (please let us know if you heard of any others).

Check back soon to see what we find out.

 

 







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