|© 1993 - 2015 CaptainJohn.org
| Whether you are cruising America's Great Loop or sailing the seven seas, the type and size of boat, the
distance you plan to travel, the time it takes, the amenities on board, are all important factors. The most important of these however, is
to remember that the moment you choose your boat, you predetermined your cost of cruising and ownership. Most often, it is the
shocking reality of on-going expenses, why so many great "used boats" are on the Market for thousands of dollars in savings.
When you think about a boat and budget for living a-board and cruising the Great Loop, you must think first about what it
takes for you to be comfortable and happy. For sure, the boats that are great for over-night or long weekends simply won't work over
the long haul of a year or more cruising the Great Loop.
Indeed, If you choose the right boat, then your individual choices in lifestyle will be the majority of your cruising cost. This means
you can spend the majority of your budget on yourself and on what makes you happy, rather than on your boat, fuel and boat related
expenses. Choose the wrong boat, and in many cases, it will end up being a vessel of burden, rather than a vessel of freedom and
happiness. In all areas along the way, we come across "Looper boats" for sale, simply because the boat proved too expensive to cruise
on, and many are still there when I cruise by them the next year.
|Cruising the Loop in a sailboat - click NEXT
|The "Trawler" is by far the most popular boat on the Great Loop, and for good reason. For its length, the Trawler offers
more interior live a-board space and open airy cabin than any other vessel on the market. Be careful however when
shopping for one, as some are not really "a true trawler" at all - it just looks like one. (The one above in the picture, for
example, is not.)
A "true" trawler will have a full-displacement hull. That means it will most likely have a single engine, a slow (10 mph) cruise
speed, and it will NOT get up on plane. A true trawler, like a sailboat, has a hull designed to move smoothly and
economically through the water at a slow speed - not on top of it.
The "true" pleasure boat trawler: The 'true' pleasure boat trawler has a full-displacement hull, a single engine, and a top
cruising speed of about 9 - 10 knots or 10 mph. Displacement hulls are a trademark of ocean capable vessels. These hulls can
carry more payloads due to their design. The hulls do not plane and all the power, power train, and hulls are all designed and
engineered to simply push the hull through the water.
The other type of (so called) "Trawler" - looks like a trawler above the water, but it sports a semi-displacement hull. The
semi-displacement hull is designed to provide lift and therefore partially raise the front of the vessel out of the water to help it get on
plane. These vessels most often have twin engines and offer more speed (typically 18 knots or about 20 mph, Yes, you get 2 times
the speed, but it comes at 4 times the fuel.
Typically trawlers have a large fuel and water capacity to enable extended cruising and offers interior live a-board space and
creature comforts that are simply unmatched by any other type pleasure vessel afloat.
What the difference means to you:
1.) The full-displacement trawler is designed to direct all its power to pushing your vessel forward through the water.
2.) The semi-displacement trawler is designed to lift as well as push your vessel through the water. Therefore, much of
vessels fuel economy is lost (even at very low speed) in trying to lift the vessel out of the water rather than move it smoothly
3. ) The semi-displacement trawler's fuel economy is much the same as Cabin Cruisers and Motor-yachts. These
vessels were engineered for more speed, and simply not designed for economy.
4.) The full-displacement trawler is built for 8-10 knots sustained cruising speed (barely faster than a sailboat). It will
burn much less fuel at its designed cruising speed than a semi-displacement trawler will burn at a near idle speed.
5. ) The semi-displacement trawler, along with cabin cruisers were designed for higher cruising speeds in the 17-24
knot sustained cruising range, and have a very poor (make that terrible) fuel economy.
Trawlers in the 28 - 40 foot range: make excellent live a-board vessels for a cruising couple. They make for a great
long-term and long-distance cruising vessel.
Trawlers in this range: are easy for a couple to handle and very comfortable for long-distance cruising. They often have
two heads and showers (dumb) but they are plenty large, comfortable, and can accommodate guests for longer stays. By the
time most "Looping couples" are halfway into their voyage, they have already converted the 2nd head & shower in these
vessels into additional closet and storage space.
Both full and semi-displacement Trawlers can be found with both single and twin engine configurations. Most true
full-displacement Trawlers however will only have one relatively small diesel engine.
The primary advantages to twins is maneuvering at close quarters (I love it). The disadvantage in twin engines is twice
the cost to maintain two of everything, and lots more than twice the fuel consumption (I hate that).
That's right! Don't let any boat salesperson try to convince you that two engines won't burn twice the fuel as one. It
simply is not true - they will! Small single engines offer much lower fuel consumption but are truthfully more difficult to handle
in close quarters. The other advantage of a single engine is easier access and engine maintenance due to more room in the
|:: The Great Loop Boat - Part 3 ::
| Some would have us believe cruising America's Great Loop is ONLY for the rich.
Trawlers and Trawlering not long ago featured an article on "The Great Loop's Ideal Boat" wherein, they outlined all the
wonderful features of a Trawler - and indeed, they are wonderful features. What they failed to mention however, is that the
"Trawler" in question was a twin engine with a semi-displacement hull. It was a 36 footer and had the vessel's actual final stats
for cruising America's Great Loop: Total fuel consumed = 8,724 gallons. Average cost of fuel = $4.17 per gallon. Total cost of fuel
Of course, I enjoy reading Trawler and Trawlering Magazine as much as anyone, but problem is they are certainly not
about to offend any of their primary advertisers who want to sell you a Trawler. . . I don't have a problem offending their
advertisers. So, if you think spending $36,370 for fuel is NBD (No Big Deal) go right ahead and buy that trawler. I assure you,
they make wonderful live a-boards. In fact, I don't think you will find one better. My problem is, they should tell you there are
It is articles like this, along with many Great Loop "Looper blogs" that fuel my fire to keep this website going. . . As
many Loopers would have you believe it takes $250,000 plus to purchase a "Looper" boat, another $20,000 or so to
properly outfit her, $40,000 in fuel, and $20,000 in Marina fees. When the fact is, you don't have to do that. It is a matter of
choice - not a requirement.
|If you plan to go cruising on a frugal budget:
Then the problem with Trawlers is that
there is not a problem. . .
|My boating philosophy:
I am much more about the voyage
than the boat. My dream is the voyage
and all the freedom that comes with it.
The entire purpose for my boat is to
get me safely where I want to go and
back again comfortably!
My boat is not to show the world how
far I've come, it is to discover for
myself how far I can go.
As a result, "more fun than fuel" is my
never ending quest.
It is all about voyaging on a frugal
budget, going small, staying out
longer, and keeping my boat and
everything on it as sweet and simple
|The very popular Trawler
for cruising America's Great Loop
|My "Pet Peeve"