If you are looking to buy a Trawler, you really need to understand the difference between the "Slow" or traditional true Trawler and it's look-alike cousin
the "Fast" or fake trawler. The slow trawler or "true" trawler has a full displacement hull and most commonly comes with a small single engine. The "Fast" or
fake Trawler, normally comes with much larger twin engines. However, the major difference doesn't stop there. The big difference is "hull design".
This is a hot subject for dockside debates, and I agree that arguments can be made to support either point of view. Diesel engine experts will tell you a single
engine is best and their opinions should be taken seriously. Did you know for example nearly 100% of all the commercial fishing and work-boat vessels of all
sizes, are "single engine" vessels? That goes for Shrimp boats, Lobster boats, Charter fishing boats, Long liners, Crabbers, Seiners, etc., these vessels are all
powered by a single diesel engine.
If you are one that thinks two engines are best in case one fails - that should tell you something! For one, (according to the diesel experts) a fuel related
problem that kills one engine 99% of the time will kill both engines. If you maintain your engine, be it one or two, you simply won't have the problem. The
emergency "redundancy" issue simply doesn't hold water - least not in reality.
For the past 30 years or so, diesel engines are more likely in fact, to be more reliable than anything else on your entire boat. Additionally, if you are in the
market for a good USED trawler, keep in mind that anybody who buys a 'true' trawler is not a go fast kind of boater. These vessels are cruising at a speed that
matches or slightly exceeds that of a sailboat. These boaters simply do not abuse their engines - so with regular maintenance they last much longer than their
The problem with "fast" trawlers . . .
When comparing fuel consumption of a sailboat and a single engine traditional trawler, the single engine full displacement hull trawler will burn almost twice as
much fuel as a sailboat the same size 'motored' around the Loop. Now if we compare the "fast" trawler to the single engine "traditional" trawler, it will burn at
least twice as much fuel. In fact, the "fast" trawler will "normally and most probably" use 300% more fuel than the traditional true trawler.
To be perfectly fair and unbiased about this however, I admit, 2 engines at very low speed equals slightly less than 2x the fuel of one engine. Problem is (and
we all have it), where more speed is available, you will use it. Therefore, in doing so, you will burn much more fuel.
Sailboats & traditional full displacement hull trawlers don't have this problem. Both will only go so fast, and that's slow. In fact if you installed a jet engine on
the back of any vessel with a full displacement hull, you would sink it before it would rise on top of the water and get up on plane. That's because they are
designed for maximum efficiency "in" the water vs "on" the water. Maybe, some homework and understanding this rule of water dynamics and hull design, will
help you will better understand the energy, speed and fuel dynamics between a Slow and Fast trawler.
Fast trawlers are actually not trawler. Yes, they look like one above the water, but below the water they are very different. A fast trawler's hull is not a full
displacement hull. Instead, to gain more speed, their hulls are designed to "lift" the bow of the vessel to the top of the water. The engineering design theory here
is less wet area = less drag and more speed. While the theory in fact works, the result is that a large portion of energy is used to "lift" that heavy bow vs move it
efficiently forward. The result gives more speed, but it comes at a great cost.
To determine for yourself how much more energy (and therefore fuel) it takes, compare a 36 foot single engine full displacement hull trawler with a 36 foot
"Fast" trawler. The slow trawler will have a 90 to 135 hp diesel motor (depending on age). While a "fast" trawler will have two (twin) 175 to 350 hp motors. And
the CRUISING SPEED difference may only be about 15 mph. So you see? We have between 135hp pushing one vessel through the water at a slow 8 knots vs
another vessel pushing the vessel up and across the water using 350 to 700 hp simply to gain 15 mph.
Published and public Sabre Trawlers' claim a cruising speed of 14 knots for its 36-foot “fast trawler”. This is a screaming speed compared to the 8 knots of a
full displacement true trawler, but still, it's only 6mph increase in speed and it comes with a 250% increase in fuel. That of course means little to someone that
uses their boat locally on an average of every other weekend during boating season. It is a whole different ball game however if you are cruising 6,000 plus miles
in a year or less.
|- 36' Sailboat - - 36' Trawler -
|The advantages of sail of course, is you can go sail around the world on just a few hundred dollars in fuel. Sailboats have the
advantage of going long distances that most 'pleasure boat' Trawlers simply can't go.
Aside from minimum fuel usage, sailors have the huge advantage of being able to sail parts in some amazing areas around the Great Loop.
They can also 'go out' and sail the Atlantic, the Outer Banks and for the most part, from Oriental to Ocracoke and on up to Kitty Hawk as well as
the Chesapeake. Obviously, one has to have the mast stepped (taken down) before entering any of the Canals and put up again on exit, but they
are free to sail across the Great Lakes from Buffalo NY to Chicago.
At Florida, the options for sailing are limitless. The Bahamas? The Caribbean? Bimini? Cuba? Aruba? What about Jamaica? The only real
caution over Looping in a sailboat is the water's depth and the every so present conditions of shoaling. For Looping, whether it be a Trawler or
Sailboat, both have concerns about running aground as in some areas the water is too shallow. That's just another reason why slower is better
than faster when cruising the Loop - no matter what kind or vessel you are in.
Bottom line however, a sailboat - even motored the entire way around the Loop - will be your very most economical fuel efficient vessel.
|These 4 pics are of a 36' Trawler.
Could you live on this for a year?
Lots of boaters do!
|- Inside a 36' Sailboat - - Inside a 36' Trawler -
|© 2013 - Find your Anchor - All Rights Reserved
|Here are the two most popular boats for cruising America's Great Loop.
|These 4 pics are inside a 36' Sailboat.
Could you live on this for a year?
Lots of boaters do!
For cruising America's Great Loop, the above pictures (both the Trawler & Sailboat) are 36 feet. As you can see by the pictures, this size
vessel can fit most any cruising couple's needs for comfort and safety. In fact, it may very well be the medium size "Looper Boat". From the
reports I've received, vessels between 32' and 42' feet are the most popular for cruising the Loop.
In addition, I encourage everyone to go see and board a few vessels of both types before getting serious over one or the other. Sailboats (for
example) come in several different types. There are the typical sloop & ketch designs, but there is also the Motor Sailers and Pilot House
designs. Trawlers however, all basically look alike from the outside, but the insides can be set up amazingly different.
Boat shows are a great place to "look". Not so much a great place to buy however, even though they make you feel the prices will never be
better (I have friends in the business), generally the prices are in fact never higher. In fact, much like autos, the Boat Dealers make the bulk of
their money off Brokering you boat loan, selling you insurance, extended warranties, and all the extras and amenities on your boat - also, keep in
mind as "most experienced boaters" do, buying used can save you a hundred thousand dollars or more just on the boat. Additionally, you
normally get several thousand dollars worth or extras thrown in on the deal with a used boat.
Keep in mind when buying a live aboard size boat:
The very moment you select your boat - You have selected
your cost of cruising and boat ownership!