July 1, 2013
When The Water Calls ... We Follow


June 20, 2013
New Adventures


May 31, 2013
Storing Our Shiny Red Tug


May 13, 2013
Viva La Difference


May 6, 2013
Swinging Free & Easy


April 15, 2013
In The Middle


March 29, 2013
On The Hook


March 18, 2013
Tinker Time


February 28, 2013
Jumping Into the Mix


February 15, 2013
Time Travel


February 6, 2013
Charlevoix - A Small Town With A World-Class Reputation


January 15, 2013
The Perfect Ending


January 1, 2013
Magical Weather & Mysterious Ports


December 15, 2012
Collins Inlet, Killarney, & Little Current


December 1, 2012
New Neighbors


November 16, 2012
What Makes a Perfect Anchorage?


November 1, 2012
Are We There Yet?


October 15, 2012
CHANGE OF LATITUDE


October 1, 2012
Womens Roundtable


September 15, 2012
Freedom to Discover a Southern Gem


September 1, 2012
Promises


August 15, 2012
Nice to Have Options


August 1, 2012
Go West!


July 15, 2012
The Perfect Boating Vacation Destination


July 1, 2012
Propane


June 15, 2012
Flagler’s Folly


June 1, 2012
Everglades Detour


May 15, 2012
Making New Friends


May 1, 2012
Something Old and Something New


April 15, 2012
Florida’s Wide Open West Coast


April 1, 2012
Life On the Water in a Trailerable Trawler


March 15, 2012
Becoming Second Nature


March 1, 2012
Last Dance


February 15, 2012
Call it Romance or Mystique


February 1, 2012
Natural Wonders Abound


January 15, 2012
Hardly a Care in the World


January 1, 2012
Wide-Eyed Anticipation


December 15, 2011
Winding Our Way to Lake Powell


December 1, 2011
On to New Cruising Grounds


November 15, 2011
Sharing the Love


November 1, 2011
On the Water Again


October 14, 2011
First Impressions


October 3, 2011
Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Fun


September 15, 2011
Getting the Show on the Road


September 1, 2011
Lets Dance!


August 15, 2011
Getting Our Ducks in a Row


August 1, 2011
Summer Without a Boat


July 15, 2011
The Water and The Boater Home


July 1, 2011
One Step Closer


June 15, 2011
Time Keeps on slippin’ Into the Future


June 1, 2011
Made in the USA


May 15, 2011
Making the Right Truck Choice


May 1, 2011
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder


April 15, 2011
What Goes Around Comes Around


April 1, 2011
Wishing Star Interlude


March 15, 2011
Helping Hands


March 1, 2011
THE PERFECT BOAT!


February 15, 2011
Weighing the Options


February 1, 2011
Making a List, Checking it Twice!


January 14, 2011
The Science of Towing


December 30, 2010
The Upside of Downsizing


December 15, 2010
The New Plan!


December 1, 2010
Homeward Bound-The Final Leg


November 15, 2010
Somethings In The Water


November 1, 2010
Our Turn to Relax & Smile


October 15, 2010
Gem in the Rough


October 1, 2010
Whats Your Favorite Place on the Loop?


September 15, 2010
Reflecting Pool


September 1, 2010
Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder


August 15, 2010
Canadian Wonderland


August 1, 2010
"Low Bridge, Everybody Down"


July 15, 2010
One Day At A Time


July 1, 2010
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!


June 15, 2010
Lets All Do the Rendezvous


June 1, 2010
On the Hard


May 15, 2010
Falling in Love With Key West


May 1, 2010
Helping Women Get On Board


April 15, 2010
Key West - A Repeat Performance


April 1, 2010
Unexpected Pleasures


March 15, 2010
Mom Cruise


March 1, 2010
Okeechobee Bound


February 15, 2010
Chance Encounters


February 1, 2010
Three Nights in Paradise


January 15, 2010
New Frontiers


January 1, 2010
First Time Experiences


December 15, 2009
A Friend In Every Port


December 1, 2009
Dealing With A Temperamental Lady


November 18, 2009
You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello


November 13, 2009
A Cult Following


October 15, 2009
Somewhere in Time


October 1, 2009
Unlocking Our Minds Eye


September 18, 2009
Its In My Nature


August 15, 2009
The RBS Antidote


August 1, 2009
Crab Crazy


July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay


July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay


June 15, 2009
Our Last Leg North


June 1, 2009
Northern Migration


May 15, 2009
Priceless


May 1, 2009
Hello Goodbye


April 15, 2009
Let The Sun Shine In!


April 1, 2009
Dont Worry, Be Happy


March 15, 2009
Bahama Bound


March 1, 2009
What Do You Do All Day?


February 15, 2009
Slow Motion


February 1, 2009
On The Hook With A Million-Dollar View


January 15, 2009
High Anxiety


January 1, 2009
A String Of One-Night Stands


December 15, 2008
Pushing Into New Tennessee River, Upstream To Adventure


December 1, 2008
All Together Now


November 15, 2008
Kismet in the Aftermath of Hurricane Ike


October 31, 2008
Our Love Affair With The River


October 16, 2008
Big City Lights


October 1, 2008
The Adventure Begins


September 15, 2008
Prepping For The Loop


September 1, 2008
The Space Ship


August 15, 2008
Jumping Aboard In Seattle


August 1, 2008
If We Knew Then What We Know Now!


July 10, 2008
The Second Time Around


July 1, 2008
Our Turn For The Great American Loop

   

Making a List, Checking it Twice!
By Kismet, Tuesday, February 1, 2011

By Jim Favors

It must have been a dream, maybe even a wish that I would get a trailerable trawler for Christmas! I suppose, in reality that would not have been a realistic way to go about acquiring our next dreamboat. Besides, we had not even made a “list” yet of what we wanted in our next boat let alone checking it twice.

When it comes to buying a boat, new or used, it’s important to know what you’re looking for before you get too serious. Not only is it important to know what your desires are in a boat but just as important (probably even more so) are what your significant other’s desires or needs are. For me, I need to make a list of what’s important, what’s not and what we, Lisa and I, cannot do without. So, you see making a list and checking it twice works well whether it’s during the Christmas season or looking for a boat at any other time of the year.

 

 

This Rosborough RF-246 has three power plant configurations, including a single outboard, a diesel I/O, and the twin outboards shown.

 

 

Over our lifetimes, Lisa and I have owned about 15 boats between the two of us; the list includes everything from a small sunfish sailboat, ski boats, and flybridge convertibles to the Fathom trawler we recently sold. Heck, I even built a hydroplane boat from scratch in my high school shop class during my senior year however during all this time of boat ownership it’s hard to believe we’ve never set foot on a trailerable trawler. With that in mind, it’s even more important to start putting together a wish list of specs and equipment we want on our next boat. After the list is completed, our goal would be to compare the specs on the trailerable trawlers we’ve been gathering information on. Let the fun begin!

First things first – for the guys out there – If you’re married or have a significant other in your life it’s really important that you are both involved in the decision process. I found it made my life easier if I followed this one simple rule. I learned this lesson a long time ago with a non-boating choice I made arbitrarily without Lisa’s knowledge or input. I decided to, and did, buy a new truck. When I brought the shiny truck home and presented it to her for the very first time I noticed she seemed to take a deep breath before she slowly said the following: “Nice truck, but let me see if I have this correct, just so I have a clear understanding for future reference. You went out and bought an $18,000 truck (1995) without consulting me or even informing me, so naturally it stands to reason that it would be OK with you if I went out and bought something for myself, or us, for about $18,000 without asking or informing you?” I thought about that for a moment and decided right then and there that it would be better for our long-term relationship (and our financial well being) if we both included each other in major decisions, the kind you both have to live with for a long while.

This Nordic Tug 26 photo displays the advantages of a raised pilothouse I wrote about.

There’s no such thing as the perfect boat, all one can do is try to get as close as possible. I’ve learned you may have to give up on some things to get the boat that achieves your overall objectives. In our case, we’ve narrowed our new “dreamboat” down to a trailerable trawler; we are somewhat limited (without special permits) to 8 feet 6 inches or under on the width and the length to around 29 feet or under. With the playing field starting to narrow a bit, the real work now begins.

We’d prefer a small diesel inboard with a hull that has a keel for added stability and protection for the running gear. The new diesel engines are quiet, fuel efficient and very durable. The only downside I might find in a 25-29-foot boat, with an inboard, could be the limitation of storage. If the boat’s design were such that storage is so minimal that outboards make the boat more desirable then I’d welcome powering our boat with these gas workhorses. With that said we’d have to wait this one out until we have our onboard inspections. We prefer a diesel inboard but gas outboards will certainly work for us.

One of the advantages of a trailerable trawler is more clearance ability when going under bridges. See how tight the clearance was, for our old Fathom trawler, under this bridge in Chicago.

I’m not a professional engineer by any means but based on what I’ve read it’s my understanding that the longevity and durability of fiberglass has come a long way in recent years. One of the big problems fiberglass boats can have though is the gel coat blistering on the hull on boats, which stayed in the water for long stretches of time. In older boat construction gel coat was more susceptible to becoming porous thereby allowing water and chemicals to absorb through which in turn would cause the blistering. Vinyl ester resin is used in most new hull construction today because it is more resistant to chemical and water permeation than the traditional polyester resin. In addition, the vinyl ester resin has better bonding capabilities and an overall higher strength. Because we do not plan to leave our boat in the water for long stretches of time I’m not too concerned about blistering but the added feature and benefits of vinyl ester’s bonding and strength would definitely be a plus looking forward to resale considerations.

A pilothouse with sliding doors to port and starboard would be ideal for us. The doors allow easier access to the bow for anchoring or docking, especially when solo cruising, (yes, there may be times when I will have to move this boat without Lisa’s help) along with providing great cross through ventilation. We also like raised seating for better visibility. The Rosborough has sliding doors while the Nordic Tug and North Pacific have both a raised pilothouse and sliding doors. The C-Dory and Ranger Tug do not have these features, but another feature may take precedence over this configuration, so, it’s not a deal breaker, as any final decision will depend on many other factors on our list.

It’s said that knowledge is power, especially when you get it from the pros.

 

The standard or optional equipment on our list would include: a bonded electric system; a windlass with helm and bow controls; microwave; stainless sink; refrigerator; bow thruster; drip-less shaft; 6.5 feet of interior head room; aluminum fuel tanks; bronze sea strainers; stove w/oven; generator; inverter/charger; house batteries; electric head w/holding tank; hot water tank; air conditioning with reverse heat; enclosed shower; non skid decks and a dual racor fuel filter system (if we end up with a diesel powered boat). This is just a partial list of desired components, as we start our research in earnest we’ll add to it. The important thing at this time is for us to start the list, have ongoing discussions and eventually come to a mutual agreement on the order of importance so when we physically start to inspect the boats we’ll have a better idea on what to expect. Then we should easily know if we should continue to consider a boat or not.

Ideally, it’s important that we have done some initial research before we actually step onto a boat. Some of the best places to gather data prior to visiting a boat show are to talk to current owners of trailerable trawlers. By doing a search on the Internet, I was able to locate several blogs of such owners. In checking the company websites of C-Dory, Rosborough, North Pacific, Ranger Tug and Nordic Tug I also found that each had, either a list of owner blogs, owner groups, or forums. For my money, I don’t think there’s a better place to glean information about a product’s quality, reliability, and customer satisfaction than with current owners. With this in mind, I’ve been reading several blogs and have made contact with a few of these owners.

 

The durability of a 22’ C-Dory was chronicled in River Horse, by William Least Heat-Moon about his cross-country boating adventure!

Another place to find an experienced owner is to walk the docks of marinas in your home cruising grounds or during your travels. When you’ve spotted a model you have an interest in you not only get a chance to visually inspect it but if the owners are aboard it will give you a chance to ask about their personal experiences. In addition, keep an eye open for current boat reviews in any of the leading boat magazines such as PassageMaker, MotorBoating, and Lakeland Boating. They can provide an independent technical analysis that typically covers fuel burn, handling characteristics and much more. As an example: John Wooldridge wrote “Adventure Ready,” a very informative article that covered his personal experiences while piloting a Ranger Tug 27. This article appeared in the Jan/Feb 2011 issue of PassageMaker and is a good example of the kind of boat review that is helpful when looking at buying a boat. I also found that you can do a Google search by simply typing in the boat make, size and the word “review.” I was amazed at how many boat reviews showed up.

While surfing the boat builder’s websites, I discovered that each of them had an extensive list of their respective boat’s standard and optional equipment. When comparing boats, it’s important to compare apples to apples in order to obtain a fair financial comparison and that’s really the ancillary benefit of the “list.” By taking the time to gather this information we’ll develop the knowledge needed to make a more informed boat buying decision once we actually step onto the boats. We’ve made our list, we’re checking it twice so, let’s get on to the boat show!