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Catamaran vs Trawler

Catamaran vs Trawler: Which Boat Is Right for You?

When it comes to choosing the right type of boat, the decision can be overwhelming. Two popular types of boats that often come up in comparison are catamarans and trawlers. Both boats have their own unique features and advantages. In this article, we will explore the differences between catamaran vs trawler, and the factors that should be taken into consideration when choosing between the two.

Overview of Catamarans

Catamarans are multi-hull boats that have two parallel hulls connected by a bridge or deck. These boats are known for their stability and spaciousness. Because of their two-hull design, catamarans tend to have a wider beam (the width of the boat) than monohull boats of similar length. This means that they can have more living space and storage capacity than their monohull counterparts. Additionally, catamarans have a shallow draft, which means that they can access shallow waters that other boats cannot.

power catamaran vs trawler

Overview of Trawlers

Trawlers , on the other hand, are typically single-hull boats that are designed for long-distance cruising. They are known for their fuel efficiency and sturdy construction, which allows them to handle rough seas. Trawlers are often equipped with a displacement hull, which means that they are designed to move through the water slowly and steadily. This design allows them to travel long distances without burning too much fuel.

power catamaran vs trawler

Comparison of Catamarans and Trawlers

Here’s a quick comparison table that highlights some of the key features of catamarans and trawlers:

Keep in mind that these features are generalizations and not absolute. It’s important to consider the specific model and make of the catamaran or trawler, as well as your individual needs and preferences, when making a decision.

When comparing catamarans and trawlers, there are a number of factors that should be taken into consideration. These include:

1. Stability

One of the most significant advantages of catamarans is their stability. Because of their two-hull design, catamarans have a wider base than trawlers, which makes them less prone to tipping over in rough seas. Additionally, the two hulls provide more buoyancy, which means that the boat will float higher in the water. This can make for a smoother ride in choppy conditions.

Catamarans also tend to have more living space than trawlers. Because of their wider beam, catamarans can accommodate more cabins, bathrooms, and common areas than trawlers of similar length. Additionally, the deck space on a catamaran is usually larger than that of a trawler, which makes them a popular choice for those who like to entertain on board.

power catamaran vs trawler

3. Fuel Efficiency

When it comes to fuel efficiency, trawlers have the edge over catamarans. Trawlers are designed to move through the water slowly and steadily, which means that they burn less fuel than boats that are designed to go faster. Additionally, trawlers are often equipped with diesel engines, which are more fuel-efficient than gasoline engines.

4. Handling

Because of their two-hull design, catamarans can be more difficult to maneuver than trawlers. They have a wider turning radius and can be more difficult to handle in tight spaces. Additionally, catamarans tend to be more sensitive to wind and currents than trawlers, which means that they require more attention when docking or maneuvering in close quarters.

Catamarans are generally more expensive than trawlers of similar size and age. This is partly due to their popularity and the demand for them in the market. Additionally, catamarans require more maintenance than trawlers, which can add to the overall cost of ownership.

power catamaran vs trawler

Catamaran Pros:

  • Stability : The two hulls of a catamaran provide greater stability than a single-hull boat, making it less prone to tipping over in rough seas.
  • Space : Catamarans tend to have more living space than trawlers of similar length due to their wider beam. This can make them more comfortable for extended trips or for entertaining guests.
  • Shallow Draft : Catamarans have a shallow draft, which allows them to access shallow waters that other boats cannot, making them ideal for exploring coastal areas or shallow bays.
  • Speed: Catamarans can be faster than trawlers due to their lightweight and streamlined design. This can make them an ideal choice for those who enjoy sailing or racing.
  • Comfort: The wider beam of a catamaran provides more stability and greater comfort than a trawler, particularly in choppy conditions.

Catamaran Cons:

  • Handling: Catamarans can be more difficult to maneuver than trawlers due to their wider turning radius and greater sensitivity to wind and currents. They may require more attention when docking or maneuvering in close quarters.
  • Price : Catamarans are generally more expensive than trawlers of similar size and age due to their popularity and high demand.
  • Maintenance : Catamarans require more maintenance than trawlers, particularly with regards to the two hulls that need to be maintained and repaired.
  • Limited Berthing Options : Catamarans may have limited berthing options due to their wide beam, which can make it difficult to find suitable mooring spots in certain marinas or harbors.
  • Reduced Comfort in High Winds : In strong winds, catamarans can become uncomfortable due to the greater surface area they present to the wind, leading to more pitching and rolling.

Trawler Pros:

  • Fuel Efficiency : Trawlers are designed for slow and steady movement through the water, which means that they burn less fuel than boats that are designed to go faster. Additionally, they are often equipped with diesel engines, which are more fuel-efficient than gasoline engines.
  • Sturdy Construction : Trawlers are built to handle rough seas and long-distance cruising, making them a reliable choice for extended trips.
  • Long-Range Cruising : Trawlers are designed for long-distance cruising, with a displacement hull that allows them to travel long distances without burning too much fuel.
  • Fishing : Trawlers are often equipped with features like fish lockers, live wells, and rod holders, making them an ideal choice for those interested in fishing.
  • Comfort: Trawlers are designed for comfort and often have more headroom, storage, and living space than other boats of similar size.

Trawler Cons:

  • Speed: Trawlers are designed for slow and steady movement through the water, which means that they may not be suitable for those who enjoy sailing or racing.
  • Limited Berthing Options : Trawlers may have limited berthing options due to their draft, which can make it difficult to find suitable mooring spots in shallow waters.
  • Less Stability : Trawlers are less stable than catamarans due to their single-hull design, making them more prone to tipping over in rough seas.
  • Less Space : Trawlers may have less living space than catamarans of similar length due to their narrower beam.
  • Difficulty Maneuvering in Tight Spaces : Trawlers can be difficult to maneuver in tight spaces due to their large turning radius, making them less suitable for navigating in crowded harbors or marinas.

power catamaran vs trawler

Which is Right for You?

Ultimately, the decision between a catamaran and a trawler comes down to personal preference and intended use. If you are looking for a boat that is spacious and stable, and that can handle shallow waters, a catamaran may be the best choice for you. However, if you are looking for a boat that is fuel-efficient, sturdy, and can handle long-distance cruising, a trawler may be the better option.

It’s also important to consider the type of activities you plan to do on your boat. If you are interested in fishing, a trawler may be the better option, as it is designed for slow and steady movement through the water, which is ideal for trolling. Additionally, trawlers often come equipped with features like fish lockers, live wells, and rod holders.

On the other hand, if you plan to entertain guests or host parties on your boat, a catamaran may be the better option. The wide beam of a catamaran provides plenty of space for socializing, and the shallow draft allows you to anchor in shallower waters closer to shore.

Another factor to consider is your level of boating experience. Catamarans can be more difficult to maneuver than trawlers, particularly in tight spaces. If you are a novice boater, a trawler may be the better option, as it is generally easier to handle and maneuver.

Finally, it’s important to consider your budget when choosing between a catamaran and a trawler. As mentioned earlier, catamarans are generally more expensive than trawlers of similar size and age. Additionally, maintenance costs for a catamaran can be higher due to the need for two hulls to maintain and repair.

The Final Verdict

Choosing between a catamaran and a trawler requires careful consideration of a number of factors, including stability, space, fuel efficiency, handling, and price. Ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference and intended use, and it’s important to take into account your level of boating experience and your budget . With the right information and careful consideration, you can choose the boat that is perfect for you and your boating needs.

power catamaran vs trawler

Roy Franklin is a writer and editor for Stellaroutdoorlife.com. He enjoys fishing big lakes, rivers, and streams for trout, largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, panfish, and whatever else he can catch on live and artificial bait. Roy shares his expertise with everyone who wants to learn new ways and tactics to catch fish. He loves testing and rating new products and recommending fishing gear people can try.

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The Planing Power Catamaran: A Different Kind Of Cat

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Planing powercats deliver the high speeds dayboaters and weekend anglers crave — but without so much pounding in choppy seas.

Rear view of a dual hull catamaran with two 200 horsepower outboard engines, a bimini top with fishing rods attched to it moored  in turquoise blue water

The air cushion ­created between the two hulls dramatically reduces wave impact at running speeds. (Photo: World Cat)

Powercats are different beasts than sailing cats, and the powercats you're most likely to see on your local waters are those in the 20- to 40-foot range (like my 22-foot Glacier Bay). Unlike the big cruising powercats, which are more like cat trawlers with top ends maybe a little over 20 mph, smaller cats have planing hulls that perform much like today's modern powerboats.

Depending on the engine package, there are a few cats that top out in the lower 30s, lots in the lower 40s, some in the 50s, and a few that break 70 or even 80 mph.

While a similar length monohull may have a 40-mph cruising speed in a 2-foot chop, the monohull captain will pull back the throttles and cruise at 30 to avoid being beaten up. The cat guy, on the other hand, may be able to keep on doing 40 thanks to the smoother ride. But having two hulls underfoot does create some interesting similarities in how these different types of boats react to input from the helm. So you'll see a few of the tips here mirror those used for sailing or cruising catamarans. Whatever type of cat you may be captaining, remember the following:

  • Center the wheel and use only the throttles to control the boat. Powercats have their engines exceptionally widely spaced apart, and are far more responsive than monohulls when steered via throttles. Generally speaking, turning the steering wheel will only serve to reduce the effectiveness of working the throttles. This, of course, is assuming you have two engines. There are a few rare cats with one engine.
  • At identical rpm, the engine in forward will create more thrust than the engine in reverse. So even if the throttles are set evenly when opposed, the boat will likely slide forward a bit as opposed to spinning in its own length. As a result, when attempting to speed up the maneuver it's usually best to favor giving the reversed engine extra oomph as opposed to the one in forward (assuming you don't want to move forward while turning the boat).
  • Check the speed and direction of the wind before docking , and remember that some cats, particularly those with low draft, can be blown around more easily than many monohulls as there may be less hull below the waterline.
  • When docking in a new slip for the first time with lines that haven't been preset, bear in mind that once you're docked, securing the boat can be difficult in some situations because few powercats have centered cleats. Most will have a single cleat on either side, in some cases obstructed by a bow rail and/or pulpit, which can make crossing lines difficult.
  • Never shut those engines down until all the lines are secured . Again, remember that many cats can get blown out of kilter faster than the average monohull, and if you don't have lines preset, it may take a moment to figure out how to best secure them. Many a captain has done a perfect docking job and then shut off the engines, only for a gust of wind to push the boat right back out of the slip before the lines can be tied. Keep those engines running until the boat is 100% secure so you can apply power, if necessary, to maintain position.

Why Two Hulls?

Like all boats, catamarans come with distinct advantages (smooth ride, draft), and areas of compromise (docking, turning). Regardless of design aesthetics, the first question is usually: Why two hulls?

Mike Myers, vice president of product development for World Cat explains: "Catamaran hulls experience little to no drag or resistance to get on plane, resulting in greater fuel economy. They have a steady rise in speed and fuel burn with little to no spikes in fuel consumption."Planing powercats have a unique trait — which many cat lovers consider the top advantage over monohulls — the impact-absorbing cushion of air created by a compression tunnel between hulls.

And when it comes to beam, catamarans' parallel hulls create reliable stability, which helps to avoid heeling and capsizing, and greatly reduces the vessel roll at rest and at trolling speeds.

"Many boats are primarily designed around comfort for the captain. This usually means anyone at the front or sides of the boat takes most of the jostling,"Myers says. "The catamaran-style hull delivers ride comfort, smoothness, load distribution, and stability."That stability draws anglers to powercats of typically 20 to 40 feet; and cruisers to sailing cats 40 to 60 feet and beyond.

— Rich Armstrong

Taming The Cat

When it comes to handling powercats in open waters, the most important thing to remember is that all boats are different. Just as you wouldn't lump the handling characteristics of all monohulls together, the same goes for powercats. But many have a few common traits to consider.

  • Some powercats have relatively low buoyancy in the bow compared to monohulls, as many have very narrow hull entries . As a result, in some cases, idling into a sea can allow waves to break over the bow. Gaining some headway so the bow rises a bit and packs air into the tunnel can alleviate the issue.
  • Some planing powercats will run smoother at faster speeds than slower speeds, as they compress air in the tunnel between the two hulls. In these cases, speeding up may actually provide a more comfortable ride in some sea states as compared to slowing down. Depending on your boat, its tunnel may result in other differences from the monohull that you may be familiar with. Learning about these will improve you experience.
  • Some powercats display a "snap roll,"which is a very fast righting motion that can rock the boat uncomfortably, especially when drifting in a beam sea. In these cases, people who may want to drift often (such as anglers) will sometimes deploy a drift sock off the bow to reduce rocking and rolling.

Man wearing a white long-sleeve t-shirt fishing off the bow of a power catamaran as it cruises through the water

Photo: World Cat

  • In general, powercats are often more weight-sensitive than monohulls, especially when the bow is loaded down . It's always best to be aware of how you're loading your boat, and if the tunnel is slapping or the bow is digging into waves, consider shifting weight aft.
  • Some powercats, particularly older models, lean out in a turn rather than banking in. There's no way to eliminate this phenomenon (although trimming up an outboard engine when initiating a turn may reduce it a bit), so it's important to give passengers a warning to hold on before making any aggressive maneuvers.
  • "Sneezing,"or blowing a puff of mist out the front of the tunnel that the boat then runs through (getting everyone aboard damp), is a phenomenon associated with some powercats. In many cases, trimming the bow up a bit will significantly reduce or even eliminate sneezing.

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Lenny Rudow

New Boats, Fishing & Electronics Editor, BoatUS Magazine

Top tech writer and accomplished sports fisherman, BoatUS Magazine Contributing Editor Lenny Rudow has written seven practical boating books, won 30 awards from Boating Writers International — many for his marine electronics articles – and two for excellence from the Outdoor Writers Association of America. He judges the NMMA Innovation Awards, and is Angler in Chief at FishTalk, his own Chesapeake-based publication. A great teacher and inspirational writer, Lenny hosts many of BoatUS Magazine’s very-popular how-to videos, which can be found on the BoatUS YouTube channel, or at BoatUS.com

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Your source for the latest news on yachts, boats and more. Read through our articles to find out how to compare boats and find the right fit for you!

Power Catamarans: A Complete Guide

Dec 06, 2023

less than a min

Power Catamarans: A Complete Guide

Power Catamarans, often termed as the epitome of modern maritime engineering, are gaining popularity for all the right reasons. Their distinct design, enhanced stability, and cruising efficiency set them apart from traditional monohull boats and even their sail-driven counterparts. This guide dives into the world of Power Catamarans, shedding light on their advantages and how they compare to other vessels like monohulls and trimarans.

Historical Prelude:

The concept of catamarans traces its roots back to ancient maritime cultures. However, the power catamaran is a relatively modern innovation that marries the traditional twin-hull design with powerful engines, offering a unique blend of speed, stability, and space.

Distinguishing Design:

Power Catamarans are characterized by their twin hulls, which significantly reduce the drag, thus enhancing speed and fuel efficiency. Unlike monohulls, they have a broader beam, which contributes to increased stability and more living space. The absence of a ballast for stability further lightens the vessel, contributing to its speed and fuel economy

Speed and Handling:

One of the significant advantages of power catamarans is their speed and handling. The twin hulls allow for a smoother glide over the water, making them particularly favorable for watersports enthusiasts. Their handling in rough waters is superior to monohulls, thanks to the inherent stability provided by the dual-hull design.

The stability of power catamarans is unparalleled, especially when compared to monohulls. The wide beam and twin hulls provide a stable platform, reducing the rocking and rolling common in monohulls. This stability is not only comforting in rough seas but also crucial when docking or anchoring.

Comfort and Space:

The spacious design of power catamarans offers homelike livability, with ample room for cabins, lounges, and even onboard amenities like grills and bars. The wide beam also allows for large deck spaces, ideal for sunbathing or enjoying the scenic ocean vistas.

Economy and Redundancy:

Power catamarans are economical, with fuel efficiency being one of their selling points. The redundancy built into their design, with separate engines for each hull, provides an added layer of safety, ensuring that the vessel can return to shore even if one engine fails.

Regular Upkeep and Care:

Power catamarans, given their unique design and structure, come with their own set of maintenance requirements. Like all boats, routine checks and upkeep are essential to ensure smooth sailing. The twin hull design means double the underwater gear – from propellers to rudders, which necessitates regular inspections for any signs of wear, tear, or fouling.

Antifouling:

Given that power catamarans have a larger surface area underwater due to their twin hulls, they may be more susceptible to marine growth. Regular antifouling treatments can help in keeping the hulls clean, ensuring optimal performance and fuel efficiency.

Engine Maintenance:

One distinct advantage of power catamarans is their dual-engine setup, but this also means double the engine maintenance. Regular oil changes, cooling system checks, and filter replacements are crucial. It's beneficial to synchronize maintenance schedules for both engines to ensure consistent performance.

The lifespan of a power catamaran largely depends on its build quality, materials used, and how well it's maintained. With proper care, a power catamaran can last for several decades. The engine's maintenance significantly impacts the catamaran's lifespan, with gasoline engines requiring maintenance at 1,200 to 1,800 hours and diesel engines at around 5,000 hours​​. The construction materials play a crucial role; for instance, fiberglass catamarans, when well-maintained, can last for many decades, while aluminum cats might change ownership after 10-15 years but can last a lifetime with proper care​.

World-Renowned Builders:

The power catamaran sector boasts several reputable manufacturers such as Lagoon, Leopard Catamarans, Fountaine Pajot, and other notable names like Seawind Catamarans​.

Lagoon, a revered name under the Beneteau Group umbrella, has carved its niche in crafting luxurious, spacious catamarans. A prime example is the Lagoon 630 Motor Yacht, embodying opulence with its nearly 250 sq. ft. aft deck and 900 sq. ft. interior, comfortably housing up to 12 guests. Known for its superyacht styling, it boasts superior fuel efficiency and a commendable average velocity-made-good of 9 knots.

Leopard Catamarans:

Emerging from the reputable Robertson and Caine shipyard in South Africa, Leopard Catamarans is synonymous with innovation and efficiency. The Leopard 53 Powercat is a testament to this legacy, showcasing excellent seakeeping abilities, offering 3 or 4 cabin configurations, and achieving a top speed of 25 knots.

Fountaine Pajot:

A trailblazer since 1976, Fountaine Pajot constantly redefines catamaran design. The Fountaine Pajot MY6 is a shining example, encapsulating the brand's visionary ethos. Stretching 15 meters, the MY6, equipped with dual engines of up to 2 x 353 Kw and 2 x 480 hp, promises dynamic sailing. Crafted meticulously by Pier Angelo Andreani, the interior mirrors a 20-meter monohull's spaciousness, reflecting modern aesthetics and comfort that stand as a benchmark in the Motor Yacht world.

These manufacturers continue to innovate, offering a blend of luxury, performance, and efficiency in their power catamaran models, making them a popular choice among maritime enthusiasts.

Comparing with Monohulls and Trimarans:

While monohulls are traditional and often cheaper, they lack the stability and space offered by power catamarans. On the other hand, trimarans, with three hulls, provide even more stability but at the cost of additional drag and less interior space.

TheBoatDB - Your Gateway to Maritime Exploration:

If you’re looking to delve deeper into the world of power catamarans and other vessels, TheBoatDB offers a comprehensive boat database. Explore various catamaran models, compare them with monohulls, trimarans, and other types of boats, and make an informed decision on your next maritime adventure.

In summary, power catamarans encapsulate a modern engineering marvel in the maritime domain. Their blend of speed, stability, comfort, and economy makes them an attractive option for a broad spectrum of boaters. Whether you are a long-distance cruiser, a water sport enthusiast, or someone who cherishes the tranquility of the sea, a power catamaran could be the vessel that transforms your maritime adventures into unforgettable experiences.

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The Ultimate Trawler Boat Buying Guide

ultimate guide to buying a trawler yacht

I have been writing about trawlers and powerboat cruising for many years. It is both an obsession and a fascination for me, as I witness hundreds of people, mostly couples, embrace the trawler lifestyle as a healthy alternative to routine living on land. While the last several years certainly got a lot of people and families to escape from a confined existence, choosing a freer life on the water away from so many imposed restrictions, the trawler lifestyle was already alive and well in North America.

(Below: "Growler", a Custom Zimmerman 36 Trawler once owned by Bill Parlatore, founder of Passagemaker Magazine.)

trawler boat owned by bill parlatore

What is the appeal of this lifestyle? For me, living aboard and operating trawler yachts represents a quality of life that embraces the values of self-sufficiency and independence, and adventure without sacrificing comfort. One is free to move as the mood dictates, finding a balance of nature while engaging as much—or as little—in society, careers, and other activities that compensate with convenience, glittery things, nice cars and houses, and other material things. Many come to realize at some point they are but distractions from a more grounded existence.

Operating a trawler does not demand the skills and experience required from a similar size sailboat . And it is relatively easy to learn the nuances of engine and vessel maintenance, navigation, and proper seamanship. Depending on what kind of powerboat one chooses, they can be economical to own and operate, and offer a pleasant home experience that often rivals luxury living ashore. And a point often missed when discussing this lifestyle, the skills needed to competently run a trawler offer stimulating physical and mental challenges that are immensely valuable at the stage of life when most of us pursue this life direction.

It is rewarding to gain confidence and a sense of accomplishment with every new port, every new challenge. Dealing with the vagaries of life on the water makes one stronger, more resilient, and better able to deal with just about anything life throws at us. A t-shirt captured that sentiment: “Calm seas never made a skilled sailor.”

And a final note before I begin. While we’ll look at the cost of admission into this life, most of us are at a point in life where we have more financial worth than time, so the cost of getting into this lifestyle is more than made up by a quality of life that most agree is hard to beat.

This guide to buying a trawler yacht  serves several functions, and I hope to satisfy them in the following pages. We will discuss the choices one has in the trawler market, and hopefully explain the value of each type as it relates to selecting the right boat. At the same time, I hope to underscore this discussion with a greater appreciation for what I believe is often missed. Choosing the right boat is only the beginning. There is much more to the selection process than simply choosing a layout that seems comfortable or a boat that comes with all the bells and whistles. Walking through a boat during a boat show is only the first taste of what a boat has to offer. I trust my guide will help people avoid falling in love with the wrong boat. If I am successful, we will keep such misplaced passion to a minimum.

TRAWLER BUYER'S GUIDE - TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • What Is A Trawler?
  • What Are The Different Types Of Trawler Boats?
  • What's The Difference Between Trawlers & Cruising Boats?
  • What About Catamarans?
  • Hybrid & EV Powerboats
  • How Many People To Take On Your Trawler?
  • Where Should You Take Your Trawler?
  • How Long Should You Cruise On Your Trawler?
  • What Does A Trawler Boat Cost?
  • Completing The Process Of Buying A Trawler

I. What is a Trawler Anyway?

I looked back at some of the references and definitions I offered over the years, as well as those presented by our editors. I keep coming back to the one that still resonates best with me, even as I look over the current field of trawlers and cruising yachts out there. Some are very similar to what was sold years ago, but not all, and each supports a lifestyle that is capable, comfortable, and relatively easy.

I am confident that, as we get ready to start 2024, the word “trawler” is best considered a metaphor for the cruising lifestyle it so well represents. Yacht brokers may disagree with me, but I stand firm. Back in the 1960s, power cruising pioneer Robert Beebe suggested that boats aren’t good for “voyaging” under power if they do not strongly resemble “true” trawlers. He referred, of course, to those husky fishing vessels that remain at sea for long periods, surviving anything the weather and sea throws at them, and safely bringing the catch and crew home when the job is done.

Today that analogy is not even remotely fitting for many powerboats that can capably make passages at sea, complete extended coastal and inland cruises, and serve as comfortable and safe homes for their owners. There has been a continuous evolution of the cruising powerboat genre for years now, and they now come in an assortment of styles, hull shapes, and sizes. And there is no better time than now to look at the field of available trawler choices.

In addition to traditional yacht designs that continue to be refined, we now also have new choices that really push the envelope beyond traditional shapes and concepts. And the introduction of powerful and reliable outboard propulsion has brought along a new category of cruising boats that simply did not exist before.

It is all very exciting. I once observed that comparing the cruising characteristics of a full displacement steel trawler to a displacement power catamaran or a larger Downeast cruiser is pure folly. Each can make a superb cruising boat for owners. Which is the better athlete: a football player, a hockey goalie, or a ballet dancer?

Once you understand the many kinds of boats on the market today, and the choices you have, given your budget and other considerations, it is important to match whatever boat you choose to your style of cruising. This is at the heart of this buyer’s guide. Yes, it is vital to know what is out there to choose from, but it is even more critical to understand your needs and what kind of boat will best fit those needs. While this may be a challenge for some, hasty mistakes can lead to broken plans, create unnecessary anxiety, and put an unfortunate end to one’s dream cruising plans. All of which is totally avoidable.

Let’s begin with a practical look at the main types of hull shapes to understand the positive and negative aspects of each as they relate to cruising. Then we’ll look into how they may fit your needs.

(Below: Trawler owners meet up during the Pacific Northwest Nordic Tug Owners Rendezvous. Also called PANNTOA .) 

friends enjoying their trawler boats

II. Choices Come in All Shapes

Full Displacement

What was once the only real choice for those intending to cruise under power is the full displacement hull shape. It is the earliest form of powerboat and most commercial and fishing vessels are of this type. It is the most seaworthy and efficient hull shape. Many popular cruising boats are full displacement, such as:

  • Northern Marine
  • Hatteras LRC
  • And dozens of custom steel and fiberglass trawlers.

These vessels travel efficiently through the water, with no unnecessary energy spent trying to lift the hull up onto the wave in front. They are well matched to lower horsepower engines, as they offer minimal resistance going through the water.

These boats are very forgiving at sea, which makes them very seaworthy. Rather than resist wave action, they give way, and roll to let the wave energy pass by rather than resist it, which keeps them safe at sea.

The full hull shape has the most volume for a given length, which translates into superior inside dimensions for accommodations, large tankage, and exceptional storage. They make fantastic liveaboard boats and for long distance cruising these small ships can carry all your stuff. Onboard weight is not an issue compared to any other type of hull shape.

(Below: A Northern Marine 57 is a good example of a full-displacement trawler yacht.)

northern marine 57 full displacement trawler

Again, the low energy requirements to travel through the water, rather than try to get on top of it, means they are best powered by relatively small diesel engines to run at the displacement speeds within the maximum hull speed of 1.34 times the square root of the waterline length. This is Froude’s Law and is the limit of their speed potential. Combine this lower horsepower engine with huge fuel tankage and owners have the range to travel long distance. In some of these full displacement trawlers, one can make across-and-back ocean crossings, or enjoy a full year of cruising, without stopping to buy fuel.

For efficient and economical cruising, a full displacement trawler is the way to go, for many reasons. Rather than bother with the generally tedious sailboat mentality of electrical and battery load management, owners of full displacement trawlers just don’t worry about it. The boat is fitted with one, two, or even three generators that supply all the electrical power needed to run even a full suite of domestic galley appliances, HVAC, and pilothouse electronics.

Not only do these gensets make for relatively unlimited self-sufficiency whenever the trawlers remain at anchor, but the better builders take advantage of the hull volume to thoughtfully plan accommodations during construction. Generators are then strategically located to minimize noise and vibration throughout the boat. Just like being on a small ship, one is vaguely aware that a generator is running somewhere. The boat is designed and built around that concept, so there is always plenty of quiet, available electrical power. Whatever sense that one has of distant humming from running machinery, it is nothing more than evidence of shipboard activity. I have always loved the sense of independence and freedom it provides. On the right boat, it is so muted that it does not detract from the feeling of being one with nature, as when alone in a quiet anchorage tucked inside a rugged Alaskan island coastline.

Some high-end expedition trawlers go one step further. Northern Marine, for example, often designs the boat around a pair of identical 20kW generators to share generating duty. There might also be a small third unit for nighttime use when loads are much reduced. And much like the commercial and working vessels that are the heritage behind the company, nothing is hidden or tucked away. Serious business demands serious access.

(Below: The Northern Marine 57 has two 20kW generators for long-distance adventures.)

generators on the northern marine yacht

There is always a downside, of course. Full displacement boats are limited in speed, and cruising at 7-10 knots is about all one can expect no matter how much horsepower one theoretically adds. It is simply a full shape traveling in its sweet spot in the water. But in conditions where lesser yachts need to slow down to handle the rough seas, these boats just continue on at their normal cruising speed, no big deal and perfectly safe.

The other issue is that such seaworthiness comes at the expense of rolling in a seaway. Yes, it is why these boats are so safe. But it can be uncomfortable for crew, and over time can wear down even the hardiest crew.

That is why most full displacement boats have some form of stabilization. They lack sails to remain steady. These trawlers instead rely on some form of stabilizing technology, either active or passive, and they are quite effective reducing rolling at sea. Active fin stabilizers, flopperstoppers, gyrostabilizers, even flume tanks, have been used with varying degrees of success to manage the roll of a full displacement yacht. And active systems keep getting better, with more sensitive electronic controls and sensors to reduce movement. The current generation of gyro systems, such as the SeaKeeper, are proving popular in the trawler community and for good reason.

Full displacement boats are not the best for close quarter maneuvering, especially as many have a single diesel engine. Learning to drive a big displacement trawler is a worthy skill to develop as it builds confidence. One must understand the ship’s main rudder is designed and sized for optimum performance at sea, not close quarter maneuvering. That is why these boats have bow and stern thrusters. Just like every commercial ship out there. The right tools for the job.

Another potential downside of this hull shape has to do with where one cruises. These boats typically have deeper draft and so would not be ideal for shallow water cruising as one is finds in the Florida Keys, the ICW, and the Bahamas and Caribbean.

Having gone many thousands of miles on full displacement trawlers, I have great respect and appreciation of the beauty of this hull shape. Once out of sight of land, speed becomes the speed du jour, no big deal without reference on land. And a stabilized full displacement trawler is a great ride at sea, easy running and comfortable. Even in heavy weather there is generally little cause for concern…if at all.

One more comment on the speed of travel. I always found the underway travel and motion quickly settles crew into a normal routine, with everyone going about their day as if they were in a marina or back on land. Laundry gets done, writing takes place, leisurely cooking in the galley, maybe a brisket in the crockpot. There is always the need for some maintenance, catching up with cruising guides, email with family and friends, and other activities. This is in sharp contrast to traveling at speed, where the motion forces one to hold on, firmly seated at the saloon table, or wedged into a corner cushion. Baking cookies was a favorite memory and one the rest of that crew surely remembers. The boat smelled fantastic, even if I could barely keep up with the disappearing cookies off the cooling rack.

For many reasons, life on a small ship has much to recommend it.

Semi-Displacement

The other hull shape that defines the trawler style cruising boat is the semi-displacement hull. It is perfect for those who don’t need the fuel and storage capabilities of the full displacement trawler, and do not intend to spend a great deal of time making passages, cruising remote areas, or going all season without buying fuel. The semi-displacement trawler is a fabulous compromise. Designers have come up with ways to get more performance, reduce draft, and still serve as a comfortable home while traveling or living aboard.

One way to improve performance is to lose weight in the form of fuel and water tankage, reducing both the size and number of tanks in the boat. They may also cut back on some of the backup redundant equipment and tighten up accommodations. Going on a diet is definitely a path to higher performance. While those granite counters and flooring seem right at home in a full displacement trawler yacht, substituting lighter weight materials will result in a higher speed potential in a semi-displacement yacht. With less weight there is less boat in the water, less draft, wetted surface, and resistance, especially without a deep keel.

Changes to the hull shape come from modifying the typically rounded stern into a flatter hull form aft with hard chines. The flatter hull form will reach higher speeds when adding more horsepower to drive the boat up onto the leading wave. And the flatter stern adds stability, taking out some of the inherent roll associated with a full displacement trawler.

While these boats are quite happy to run along at displacement speeds, the semi-displacement cruiser can also really get up and go, if there is enough horsepower. With bigger engines pushing the boat, it can break free of the water, traveling at 12-15 knots or higher, depending on how much horsepower is in the boat.

This is by far the most popular trawler hull shape primarily for this reason. It can be powered by a variety of engines, still has good load carrying and accommodations, has reduced draft, and provides many—if not all—of the benefits of the full displacement trawler yacht.

Most trawlers in our cruising community are of the semi-displacement type, and brands like:

  • Grand Banks
  • Nordic Tugs
  • Ocean Alexander
  • American Tug
  • And dozens more prove it is a wonderful all-around platform for cruising

(Interestingly, almost all the trawlers built in Asia during the 1970s and ‘80s were semi-displacement trawlers. But they were powered by low horsepower diesels, often the venerable Lehman Ford 120hp and 135hp engines, so they were priced to sell and provide the economical trawler experience to a wide range of buyers. The fact that these boats could only run at displacement speeds gave many the impression that they were full displacement trawlers, a confusion that continues to exist today.)

(Below: The Nordic Tug 40 is a good example of a semi-displacement trawler.)

40-foot nordic tug trawler boat

The top speed of a semi-displacement trawler is limited by how much horsepower the builder reasons is sellable in the new boats. In my opinion, it was downright shameful when the management of the high-quality Grand Banks brand, the hands down bullseye of the trawler market for many years, decided at one point that all its models had to be capable of cruising speeds above 18 knots. The phenomenally successful and classic beauty of the original GB hull did not lend itself to a pair of high horsepower engines. It was painful to watch the amount of water pushed by a Grand Banks making 22 knots, made worse by the fuel burn to achieve that performance.

To some extent, larger semi-displacement trawlers also take advantage of generators to supply onboard electrical power, as there is not enough room for dozens of dedicated house batteries for the boat’s electrical needs. In most cases a running generator is not as quiet or unobtrusive as one comes to expect on a full displacement trawler, but a modern installation with underwater exhaust does much to reduce the impact of a running generator.

The benefits of the semi-displacement trawler clearly explain why it remains the most popular choice for most people. It has reasonable storage and fuel capacity, comfortable accommodations, and can run at higher speeds. All things considered, for most people it is the best package of features one looks for.

But it is not perfect. One of the disadvantages of the hull form is its less-than-ideal handling in rough seas. Some of these boats have small rudders to allow better control at higher speeds. The boat’s motion tends to lose its normal composure in rough water, when the boat must slow down, and the rudders are less effective.

(On modern boats, this is somewhat negated by stabilizers and gyrostabilizer systems. They do a remarkable job of reducing the rolling motion in these boats, and owners are more than satisfied to have motion under control on their semi-displacement trawlers.)

Owners of semi-displacement boats really appreciate being able to run faster to their next destination. The difference between eight knots and 11 knots is readily apparent when one can see the destination ahead and the crew is anxious to get there.

One of the tradeoffs of the semi-displacement trawler is that when they achieve high speed, they burn obscene amounts of fuel, and quickly. To own a large, semi-displacement trawler capable of 20+ knots is an exercise in balancing economy with distance and time. Those who don’t have the time will spend more at the fuel dock. It is just that simple.

Everything considered, the semi-displacement trawler is justifiably very popular for most cruising, even when that includes long distance travel. Flexibility is its best feature.

Big and small, fast or slow, the full displacement and semi-displacement hull shapes are what we talk about when we talk about trawlers and the trawler lifestyle. Motoryachts most often fit into the semi-displacement category, and one will find them cruising along with the trawler crowd. But the motoryacht is much better staying at a luxury marina will full shorepower and other hookups. One rarely finds motoryachts anchored out for days on end, where trawlers often spend their time. It isn’t what motoryachts are designed to do.

For many years, the cruising scene consisted of sailboats and trawlers, and that was it. Visit any popular cruising destination, from Marsh Harbour to Roche Harbor, and the anchorage and marinas were full of sailboats and trawlers. Both excel at life on the hook, and the constant scurrying of crew, dogs, provisions, and gear by speedy dinghies are as much a part of the cruising life as sundowners on the beach watching for the Green Flash.

III. Not All Cruising Powerboats Today Are Trawlers

There are two other kinds of powerboats that we find cruising in North America today. And they have really grown in popularity in recent years.

One has taken the world by storm, in my opinion. Almost every sailing couple I know who came to the Dark Side has gone in this direction, but they are certainly not the only ones who choose these boats. For many people, the lure of being on the water, even if it is only for weekends, must be satisfied in short order. People with limited time have a need for speed that full-time cruisers do not. These people want efficient, high-speed running, and it is more desirable than load-carrying ability or accommodations. Without a planing hull, they can’t go.

The planing hull quickly moves from hull speed up on top of the water. A burst of horsepower drives the boat up, and it doesn’t take as much power to stay there. It is an efficient speed machine. Some boats in our niche can really blast along in calm water, cruising efficiently at 25 knots…or higher. Some examples are:

  • Nimbus Boats

A planing hull has a shallow draft, with a sharp entry and a flat, minimal underbody. This allows a planing boat to reach its destination quickly and then slow down if owners choose to gunkhole in skinny water. But watch that running gear, as there is nothing to protect the props and rudders designed for minimal drag.

This boat is best suited for those in a hurry. But they are still cruising boats, and they open up possibilities for those with only so much available time. The Great Loop becomes possible for those who can’t spare a year or more. Boaters headed to Florida for the winter and don’t have months to do the ICW. Puget Sound owners with weeks instead of months to explore the Inside Passage, or East Coast boaters who want to experience the Abacos but don’t have all winter to do so.

Get there quickly, then slow down and smell the flowers. Sounds like a plan to me.

(Below: Sidonia & Fred kept their 62-foot trawler, but purchased this Nimbus 405 to complete the Great Loop. Read their story .)

couple cruising the great loop on their nimbus boat

One potential disadvantage of the planing boat is that high-speed efficiency is directly tied to weight. Given that many of these boats are built with the latest infused fiberglass construction, often using high-tech cored material, the goal is to save weight where possible. Keeping weight down is important. And limited bilge and accommodations spaces don’t offer much general storage anyway.

But this is not a problem for owners not planning to live aboard. They are not spending weeks on the hook, nor are they expecting guests to accompany them on their Great Loop. They are bringing along just what they need to enjoy the boat as is, and no more. (Our recent series following a couple doing the Loop on their Nimbus 405 Coupe showed this lifestyle perfectly. A great trip on the Great Loop.)

Unfortunately, when the weather turns sour, any boat designed for efficient, high-speed running will be at a decided disadvantage when it is time to slow down, where they experience less control. Some handle this transition better than others, but generally small rudders do not have enough surface area to be effective at slow speed. But these boats are still all-around great cruising boats which explains they popularity and growing numbers out cruising. If the weather is bad, they don’t go anywhere. Their speed potential allows them to pick their travel when the weather window improves.

A relatively recent move is to power these boats with outboard engines. Using one or two large outboards (or up to four engines on some of the more extreme machines) makes a statement about using technology to advance boat design. The area in the hull usually dedicated for machinery and propulsion is now open for tanks, storage, and a more relaxed interior for accommodations.

The move to outboards eliminates the need for rudders and traditional steering systems, which removes complexity from the boats. Modern outboards are quiet and smooth, and this translates into a better running experience under way. Many find it a worthy tradeoff to the longer engine life offered by diesels. The access on outboard engines makes maintenance easier, and systems integration simplifies the boats at the same time.

Some builders tell me how easy life becomes when one can lift the engines out of the water when they are tied up in a marina. No more worries about underwater growth on running gear, eliminating corrosion issues, and fouled surfaces that require frequent cleaning.

During those times where one is living on a planing boat at anchor or without shorepower, the smaller house battery bank means one must run a generator more frequently, often several times a day. That assumes there is a genset on the boat, which is usually required if the boat has air conditioning.

The degree of self-sufficiency on a planing boat is directly tied to the need to keep things light and only having the essential systems, tankage, and accommodations. If your cruising involves staying at nice marinas with great facilities, who needs all that storage and extra staterooms? For Loopers, it offers flexibility and travel at a different level than chugging along, mile after mile, seeing the same landscape all day long.

The motion on a boat doing 20+ knots does not allow much activity on the boat and crew is restricted in what they can do while making miles to the next destination. That is not to say it isn’t thrilling to blast along, threading the needle among the San Juan Islands. Heading down Chesapeake Bay at speed is satisfying in ways that eight knots just doesn’t cut it. The same is true along Hawk Channel, Biscayne Bay, or Lake Ontario.

IV. Catamarans

The second type of cruising powerboat that does not fit the description of a trawler is the power catamaran. A somewhat fringe boat within the cruising powerboat category, power cats are nevertheless a great platform for anyone looking for a cruiser that offers space, outstanding maneuverability from widely spaced engines, and excellent shallow water cruise ability.

Power cat builders have evolved mostly from builders of sailing cats, so it is not surprising that the early boats were nothing more than sailing cats without masts. But more companies came out with boats design as powerboats. (The compromises of creating a power cat from a boat designed for sailing went away for the most part.)

Companies that offer (or did offer) power cats included:

  • Fountaine Pajot

Some of these companies are no longer in business but made enough boats that they are usually available on the used market.

There is a lot to be said for a cruising catamaran. Economical cruising at 15-18 knots is the domain of the displacement catamaran, while planing cats, which are not suited for liveaboard cruising, can run quite well at 30+ knots.

The advantages of power cats include relatively shallow draft, great initial stability, and open interiors. The bridgedeck adds great living spaces, where one might find extra accommodations.

Many cats can be safely beached without a problem, which is a unique ability for any cruising boat.

(Below: Example of an Endeavor Power Catamaran.)

example of endeavor power catamaran

The economy of running a power catamaran is quite addicting. I owned a 41-foot power cat that would run along at 18 knots with hardly any wake, while getting exceptional fuel burn at that speed. The wide platform made for great living aboard, and the separation of the twin diesels, particularly when running at speed from the flybridge, seemed magical. It was quiet with lack of vibration, and quite relaxing as we reeled mile after mile on calm seas. It was a great cruising boat with outstanding maneuverability from widely spaced engines. I could literally walk the boat sideways using the two engines, while everyone on the dock assumed I used bow and stern thrusters to make it happen. (The boat had neither.)

The only issue I have with the power cat is the height of the bridgedeck between hulls. If it is too low, it can slap in head seas with an unnerving bang and motion that feels most unsettling, as if the boat is going to break. Multihull pioneer Malcom Tennant took me around several waterfront marinas in New Zealand to show me various interpretations of power catamaran bridgedeck design. When the bridgedeck nacelle stayed 36 inches or more above the water, the power cat would not slap under any conditions. The buoyancy of the hulls took over long before the bridgedeck met waves. And I reminded myself this was in New Zealand, where going to sea invariably involves rough seas and strong winds. (From my limited experience, the definition of pleasure boating in New Zealand has a decidedly different definition from anywhere else!)

While the displacement power catamaran has reasonable load carrying ability, it is generally prudent for a power cat owner to still keep an eye on weight and its distribution around the boat. While the larger power cats (one Tennant 20-meter cat comes to mind) can take 3,600 gallons of fuel for extremely long legs, cats under 48 feet are best kept light when possible.

I am quite smitten with the concept of the power cat for general cruising. I wish more builders would enter this market with well-engineered, lighter weight designs that showcase the benefits of the concept rather than simply building stable platforms that can hold a crowd. But unfortunately, heavy party barges are what one sees at the boat shows.

V. Hybrid and EV Powerboats

I suppose I would be negligent to not mention the push for electric and hybrid boats to mirror the somewhat political trend in the automotive world. To be honest, we own a Prius, but I much prefer driving my older Porsche. I also happen to like the smell of a diesel engine. In automobiles, I’m just not sold on a concept that requires such major (and overwhelmingly expensive) changes to our nation’s infrastructure.

As it relates to recreational boating, electric and hybrid power has come and gone in a variety of prototype cruisers, from Reuben Trane’s early solar catamaran to Greenline’s models of hybrid powerboats. I know the sailing community is generally united in their campaign to ditch the diesel engine, and YouTube influencers are falling all over each other trying to get the first serious system that offers a viable solution.

As well articulated by experienced broker, Seattle Yachts’ Dan Bacot, we won’t see much interest in this form of power cruising until someone builds a boat that can honestly make 100 miles in a day at six knots under electric power. That will make it feasible for the Great Loop and other cruising plans.

Until that milestone is reached (and I’m sure they will) such alternatives are just not worth serious consideration.

The Lifestyle

Now that we have looked at the various hull shapes and categories that define the trawler and other cruising boats, let’s see how to find a match from these different platforms to fit your plans.

It is important to think through this process with as much honesty as possible. It is so easy to slip into the unrealistic world of the ultimate boat. But most eventually agree these are more fantasy than anything remotely close to what any of us will do. Buying a boat that is capable of crossing oceans to reach exotic places like Tahiti is just not appropriate if you really intend to do the Great Loop in the next few years. That is also true if the idea of spending winters (or summers) in the tropics or the rugged Northwest Territories isn’t ever going to happen because you can only take a couple of weeks off at a time.

VI. How Many People Will be Aboard?

Is it just the two of you for most of the time? Will you have guests or family only occasionally, or do you expect to have others with you for most of the cruise? Families with growing children will have different needs than retired empty nesters who rarely have company.

The answer to this question will help determine the size of the boat, its layout and accommodations, and help define the boundaries of your search.

(Below: Obviously this image from the Mid-Atlantic Nordic Tug Owners Get-Together would be a little much!)

too many people on this trawler boat

A word of advice from the stories of many cruising couples: Don’t buy a boat bigger than you need and make the assumption you will always have company to share your adventure. As I’ve heard many, many times, couples go ahead and buy a boat with multiple staterooms with the above assumption. Once they leave home and begin cruising, however, they make lots of new friends, all on their own boats. After a couple of years, they realize they don’t use those extra staterooms very often. And they can accommodate occasional family members with other arrangements, such as setting up the saloon. They eventually downsize to a smaller boat because they don’t need that extra room and a smaller boat is easier to handle and less expensive to own.

Two people can comfortably cruise on a boat that is 36 feet or so. This is certainly true for people who are down in the islands for the winter on a Monk 36, or cruising north on a Nordic Tug 37. No problem. But they are not living full time on the boat, or cruising with friends enough to require separate cabins. Both will drive up the space needs considerably. And it is not just about space. A water and holding tank large enough for two people will seem much smaller after only so many days. And I’m not talking about rationing water or limiting showers. This is cruising, after all, not minimalist camping.

A boat’s layout is as important as size, at least until one reaches the greater flexibility afforded by larger boats. There is a classic separation of living spaces in some boats, such as the Grand Banks 42 and the Selene 40. They have two nice staterooms, with the master in the stern and guest stateroom in the bow. That works great, offers privacy, and people share common spaces in the saloon and galley. Other boats group all staterooms forward, with the master and one or more guest cabins located near the bow. This is what one finds on the Nordic and American Tugs, Fleming, Krogen, Northwest Yachts, and most others. And all have proven successful, especially when extra people are family.

VII. Where are You Going?

I am not going to spend time with trawlers best suited for crossing oceans, as so few people really intend to do that these days. The world is a different place, the changing climate has more severe weather, and the relative ease of shipping one’s boat worldwide makes this a lot less desirable than it was decades ago. And a boat designed to cross the Atlantic to explore Europe is not the best type of boat for exploring Europe once you arrive, particularly if you want to head into the extensive canal systems.

Not to get off the point, and before anyone questions why I am such a fan of full displacement boats like the Northern Marine when I admit having no plan to cross oceans, let me clarify that the joy of owning such a great yacht is much more than being able to cross an ocean. All the benefits that make these great boats are just as valid for living aboard and coastal cruising, and many other adventures. One does not need to spend two weeks at sea to enjoy them.

The majority of people have plans that include the Great Loop, British Columbia and Alaska, the ICW on the East Coast, the Bahamas and the Caribbean, Mexico, the Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake Bay, Canadian Maritimes, and New England. One can spend several lifetimes exploring right here in North America. Doable, affordable, and close enough to family, friends, and support.

The best boats for many coastal and inland adventures are more about ease of operation and maneuverability, and keeping the draft down and the height within whatever restrictions exist for the chosen cruise.

It is quite possible to travel from Alaska to Maine as one big extended coastal cruise, although that would be a long trip. And all of it is within sight of land with very few and short exceptions. If you consider the new SeaPiper 35, add a truck and suitable trailer and you are good to go!

(Below: The Triangle Loop is a great trip for trawler boat owners.)

map of triangle loop trip

VIII. For How Long?

Which brings up how long one expects to be on the boat. Obviously, a full-time liveaboard couple will have space requirements unlike those planning a month on the boat. And the need for creature comforts is also a sliding scale, as occasional cruisers can live without comforts that would be unacceptable if the same people were to spend several months on the boat.

For example, if you use a dishwasher at home, you might be fine with hand washing dishes after each meal on the boat…for a time. But after a while that might seem too much like camping and not what you had in mind when you dreamed of cruising. The same goes for a separate shower versus the wet head found on smaller boats. (Definitely consult your spouse on these points!)

Again, I feel that 36 feet is about the minimum for full-time living aboard and cruising. Some have gone smaller, or somewhat bigger on a planing boat, but it is accepted because the duration of the planned cruise is short. The couple who did the Great Loop on their Nimbus 405 Coupe had plenty of space because they had what they needed, and nothing more. It served their needs for this trip. They take their longer cruises aboard their other boat, a 62-foot custom trawler.

Some couples expect to have the same creature comforts on their trawler as they enjoy ashore. But that usually means a generator, air conditioning, and/or a diesel furnace. While they may not know it, they also require large water tanks as they are not thinking about water management, and they want space for all the provisions and personal possessions. If they are liveaboards, where do they plan to store holiday decorations?

For most people, the length of time they expect to be aboard dictates comfort levels and determines which compromises they are willing to make.

These points also point to their style of cruising.

The diversity of cruising is its chief attraction, and each day brings something new, something different. Anchor out or stay in a marina…or even reserve a slip at a luxury marina with lots of facilities? Eat aboard or enjoy local cuisine? Wait for a perfect weather window or go no matter what? Move from one location to the next or stay in one place for a long time and take lots of small side trips?

As should be obvious, your style of cruising will have a huge impact on selecting the right boat. If you tend to be the sort who has a plan and follows the plan no matter what, then you will be far happier with a more seaworthy boat that can take whatever conditions come up each day. That is quite different from the fair-weather cruiser who waits for ideal weather and is content to wait.

If you like the idea of keeping on the move rather than staying in one place, then you will likely be more interested in the underway characteristics of the boat than one that is most livable when tied up at a marina.

Boat speed figures into this question as well. I know successful cruisers who swear the best plan is to get under way as early as possible and run the boat at speed for four or five hours. On a faster boat this gets them miles down the road, but then they stop early in the afternoon. They refuel, wash everything down and then play tourist for the rest of the afternoon. It is far more leisurely than nonstop travel. And they also take days off. Three days running, then two days off, staying put wherever they stopped. It keeps the cruise from becoming a blur.

Those who lust to spend weeks on the hook in paradise are going to be very unhappy if they must run the generator twice a day to keep the refrigerator running, and which requires them to refill their water tanks frequently. As for the holding tank, that is obvious as well.

On the flip side, if you love the energy and varied activities of resort marinas, you will be thrilled with the conveniences of an all-electric boat that relies on shorepower facilities, using the generator only when away from the dock.

IX. What Does A Trawler Boat Cost?

This is where an experienced broker can make all the difference. One can expect to pay anywhere from between several hundred thousand dollars to a couple of million to find a suitable boat. It may not be close to home, and a good broker will use the available resources to identify the right boat and then find one that fits and is in the condition one is willing to pay for.

New boat prices are high, and I don’t see that changing. Working with a broker is vital to success here, even after you have done your homework and know (or think you know) what you want. The broker will help locate boats that may be close enough to what you are looking for, and he or she may even steer you in a slightly different direction if they think it may serve you better for what you describe as your ideal trawler.

I strongly recommend buying a new or newer boat whenever possible. It just makes sense, and I would go down in size rather than get an older boat. A newer boat will be less problematic than an older boat with vintage systems, engines, wiring, plumbing, and construction. Leaks are a pain to deal with, and you are not buying a boat as a project.

Honestly, spending your time looking for discontinued parts and then repairing a boat when you and your spouse are supposed to be out cruising is no fun. It sucks. And it quickly wears down the excitement of the adventure, even if you like to tinker on the boat. And your spouse will get tired of reading books on the settee while you make another repair. This is not what you both planned. I’ve seen it over and over, enough to be 100-percent convinced.

Buy a new or newer boat and just enjoy the adventure.

Keep in mind there are other costs beyond the purchase price, and your broker will be very helpful, flushing them out and identifying some you may have missed. There is annual maintenance, for example, insurance, dockage, and the need for occasional repairs. Parts wear out, which will happen most often on an older boat. The mindset of “out of sight, out of mind” doesn’t make it go away. That hidden cutless bearing needs replacing on occasion, as do many other moving parts on a boat.

There is a ballpark figure that floats around the cruising community. Some suggest 10 percent of the cost of the boat is about right for these annual expenses. I have never verified that to be accurate with my own boats, but it is worth considering.

(Below: Currently a pre-owned Nordic Tug like this can range from $250,000 - $600,000 and more.)

pre-owned nordic tug trawler boat

X. Putting It All Together

From my experience, validated by many owners over the years, it is easy to spend too much time agonizing about what kind of boat to buy. If it allows you to enjoy your time on the water, it can be made to work. No boat is perfect. They all represent compromises in one way or another.

Besides your efforts to find the right boat for the kind of cruise you intend, there are two other key factors that contribute to a successful ownership experience. The first, and one that I have been making throughout this guide, is to buy a boat that is as new as possible, even if it means you might have to downsize a bit with your available budget. If it will work for you otherwise, but you must lose the hot tub on the flybridge, it is a worthy tradeoff. You will still have a genuine cruising boat.

The horror stories of old Asian trawlers built to low standards are now mostly irrelevant, as these examples of boats to avoid are now so old one should not even consider them. Besides, there is the reality of today’s marine insurance industry, hit by the large number of damage claims from named storms in recent years. One will find it difficult to get insurance for boats even at 20 years old, let alone 50+ years.

There is another factor that should figure into this buying equation, and it will make all the difference between wonderful and satisfying ownership and a money pit that needs continuous repair by outside services wherever one travels.

That is accessibility. If you can’t get to everything easily, things will be neglected, and system parts will wear out and break. Being able to see, touch, inspect, and take apart every major component on the boat is vital, no matter if it is a Nordic Tug, a lavish Hampton motoryacht, or an expedition trawler. It is even more important on a planing boat like the Nimbus or Back Cove, where available space is at a premium and the builder had to be creative during construction to fit it all in.

Owning a boat with a non-working stern thruster that can’t be inspected, serviced, or repaired without removing the genset shoehorned just above it would cause me great distress, to put it mildly.

If you study the differences, pros and cons, and other considerations, you will be much better equipped to step aboard boats at a boat show. All lined up with brokers standing by to answer your questions, it will feel good to examine each boat on your list to see how it feels, and whether it might fit the needs of what you hope to do. This process can take a couple of years, which is fine. In fact, I know folks now searching for their retirement trawler that is still five years away. There is nothing wrong with taking one’s time.

I would caution, however, not to take too long. Because life goes on, and things happen. Reality changes. Aging parents, volatile portfolios, world stability, and inevitable family medical issues are all things that command our attention at some point.

In addition to the above issues, it is good to remember that nothing in life remains static. When you find your plans or goals change, it is okay if that perfect boat is no longer the right choice. Edits may be needed to the original blueprint. It is very important to realize and accept this.

The notion that there is only one boat to satisfy every dream is totally wrong. But there is a boat for everyone looking to go cruising, that fits every plan, purpose, or budget.

My purpose for this guide is to help you find a boat that brings you the most fun and adventure, in comfort and safety and within your budget. Successful cruising can happen on most any boat.

The key to this adventure is to get started and go!

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The Power Catamaran Compilation

  • By Yachting Staff
  • Updated: December 21, 2018

Power Catamarans have been growing leaps and bounds in popularity, and, in lengths and widths. And for good reason. These cruise-centric yachts offer homelike livability for avid travelers, are fuel efficient and are fairly intuitive to run. Power cats are popular in the bareboat charter market too, for these very reasons.

Here, we take a look at 12 catamarans ranging from a cruising-couple-size 36-footer to a 78-footer for friends, family and some more friends. And there are myriad power options: outboards, diesel inboards, hybrid or even all-solar power.

Fountaine Pajot MY44

fountain pajot my44

The Fountaine Pajot MY44 , a creation of Italian architect Pierangelo Andreani and French designer Daniel Andrieu, has a main deck that’s open from the aft-deck seating all the way forward to the starboard helm station. The sense of spaciousness is significant, for several reasons. First, four glass panels aft can all slide to port, creating an indoor-outdoor space with the aft deck and salon. In the salon, 32-inch-high windows extend for 12 feet down the sides of the yacht, with three sections per side, bringing in natural light along with the three forward panes that comprise the windshield. Finally, 6-foot-6-inch headroom provides vertical clearance, with a 21-foot-7-inch beam that adds interior roominess while keeping the yacht stable.

Read more: Fountaine Pajot MY44

Silent-Yachts 55

silent 55 yacht

The ideas about which solar panels, electric motors, inverters and the like to use — and more importantly, Michael Köhler says, how to configure them — became the basis for the brand Silent-Yachts. The company offers 55-, 64- and 79-foot catamarans that run on solar-electric propulsion. The Silent 55 premiered this fall, and the 64 is sold out for the next two years, Köhler says.

Read more: Silent 55

Horizon PC74

Horizon PC74

As founder and director of The Powercat Company, a Horizon Power Catamarans distributor, Stuart Hegerstrom had long believed that catamaran builders needed to design their yachts to more stylish standards.

“The boats were very boxy,” he says, based on his years of experience with cats in the charter market. He and his partner, Richard Ford, asked Horizon to produce models that had high-end finishes and looked good inside and out.

The Horizon team brought in mega-yacht designer JC Espinosa to work with its own craftsmen. The result aboard the Horizon PC74 is a catamaran with exterior styling, layout and functionality that should appeal to private and charter owners alike.

Read more: Horizon PC74

aquila 36

The Aquila 36 is a departure from her sisterships in that she is an outboard-powered, express-cruiser-style catamaran, but she also adheres to MarineMax’s philosophies.

With a single main living level from bow to stern and a beam of 14 feet 7 inches, the Aquila 36 is like a bowrider on steroids. She has seating that can handle 20 adults for outings and barbecues, and there are two staterooms below, one in each hull, for family weekending. The staterooms have nearly queen-size berths, en suite heads, stowage and 6-foot-6-inch headroom.

Read more: Aquila 36

Lagoon Seventy 8 Powercat

Lagoon Seventy 8

Lagoon is a division of Groupe Beneteau, the world’s largest builder of sailing yachts, and the Lagoon Seventy 8 Powercat is a developmental sistership of its Seventy 7 super sailing cat. The Seventy series yachts are built at Construction Navale Bordeaux in France, which had to add a new yard to construct these catamarans because they require separate stern molds for the power and sail versions.

Read more: Lagoon Seventy 8 Powercat

Horizon PC60

horizon pc60

To understand the Horizon PC60 power catamaran , you need to put aside preconceived notions about midsize yacht amenities. For example, main-deck master suites are the province of yachts over 100 feet length overall. Incorrect. This 60-footer has an elegant and spacious owner’s stateroom on the same level as the salon. If you want a 14-foot center console tender on a 60-foot yacht, you have to tow it. Wrong again. On the PC60, you hoist it onto the upper deck, no problem.

Read more: Horizon PC60

40 Open Sunreef Power

40 Open Sunreef Power

Sunreef is known for pushing the boundaries of catamaran design, incorporating four adjustable hydrofoils into a twin-hulled speedboat.

The Polish builder is one of several European builders (including Evo, Fjord, Wider and Wally) transforming the open ­day-boat category with creative designs. ­Beyond its hydrofoils, the 40 Open Sunreef Power ‘s cockpit has side “wings” along the aft gunwales that fold out at anchor, widening the beam from 17 feet to 22 feet 9 inches.

Read more: 40 Open Sunreef Power

Sunreef 50 Amber Limited Edition

50 Amber Limited Edition

Sunreef Yachts introduced its 50 Amber Limited Edition , with plans to launch just 10 hulls of the exclusive design.

The Sunreef 50 Amber Limited Edition will have a carbon fiber mast and boom, four layout options and numerous amber-colored elements, including the hull.

Read more: Sunreef 50 Amber Limited Edition

Lagoon 630 Motor Yacht

Lagoon 630 motoryacht

Fitted with the optional twin 300-horsepower Volvo Penta D4 diesels, the Lagoon 630 MY burns only 1.64 gph total at 6 knots, giving a theoretical range of 2,952 nautical miles with standard tankage of 793 gallons. Hull No. 1 had an optional 502-gallon tank, giving it transatlantic range.

Luxury, stability and economy are all hallmarks of Lagoon’s return to luxury motor yachts. If you can take a ride, it will be worth your time.

Read more: Lagoon 630 Motor Yacht

Fountaine Pajot MY 37

Fountaine Pajot MY 37

The Fountaine Pajot MY 37 easily accommodates the seafaring family with three- and four-stateroom options. In the three-cabin version, called ­Maestro, you’ll find an owner’s suite in the portside hull with a queen-size berth and en suite head. Two double-berth cabins and one more head are available for the kids. If your brood is bigger, the Quator setup features four double cabins with two heads.

The 37 is a traveler and can be powered with twin 150 hp or 220 hp Volvo Penta diesels. Top speed with the smaller engines is 17 knots, while it’s 20 knots with the bigger power plants. Interestingly, at 7 knots, the fuel consumption is the same, with either set of motors offering voyagers a 1 ,000-nm range.

Read more: Fountaine Pajot MY 37

Solarwave 64

Solarwave 64

Many yachts boast eco chops because they have a handful of solar panels that power the microwave or navigation lights. The Solarwave 64 , launched last summer, has the potential to run on sunshine alone. The vessel’s 42 solar panels generate 15 kW that are stored in batteries weighing about 1,300 pounds. They connect to electric motors.

Read more: Solarwave 64

Glider SS18

SS18, Glider Yachts

This British builder says it strives for design innovation and the Glider SS18 displays that DNA, the result of 8 years of research and development. She has a head-turning, catamaran hull form constructed from aluminum and composite materials. She is 60 feet LOA with a 17-foot beam, and has a relatively shallow 1-foot draft. Powered by quad Yamaha 300 hp outboards, she can reportedly reach 50 knots, and with her Stability Control System (SCS), should give a smooth ride while doing it.

Read more: Glider SS18

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Comparison between trawler vs catamaran boats  .

  • Post Written By: Boater Jer
  • Published: July 14, 2022
  • Updated: August 7, 2022

Trawler vs catamaran

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Looking for answers about trawler vs catamaran boats? You’re in the right place. Trawlers and catamarans are ideal sailing vessels for various use in terms of commercial transport, fisheries, sea patrols, research, and more. The distinct feature between the two boats is the hull composition. Trawlers consist of a single hull or monohull, while catamarans are double-hulled vessels. ( source )

Catamaran vs trawler

Additionally, these two vessels differ according to several essential parameters: speed and stability, comfort, space, fuel consumption, carbon emission, manufacturing cost, maintenance cost, and depreciation value. The features of the two vessel types are briefly described in the following sections. ( source )

Catamaran vs Trawler – Speed And Stability

Catamarans are known to be faster than trawlers. The high speed of catamarans is attributed to the double hull design, which promotes lighter weight distribution coupled with high stability and a higher speed along a straight line. ( source )

Relatively, trawlers tend to have lower stability and a slower pace. However, the double hull connected by a platform of catamarans is challenged during rough sea conditions and is more prone to capsizing than trawlers. Furthermore, maneuverability is limited in catamarans due to the need for a higher sea surface resulting in slower turns relative to monohull vessels. ( source )

Trawler Vs Catamaran – Comfort

This parameter would pertain to motion sickness , noise, and vibrations experienced by passengers on catamarans and trawlers. Passengers were observed to indicate high importance to motion sickness and were more prone to it in catamarans than in trawlers, particularly in rough sea conditions. ( source )

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Additionally, passengers indicated more noise and vibrations in a catamaran than in a trawler but with low importance relative to motion sickness. However, noise and vibrations would likely decrease with a modification of a resiliently mounted structure in a catamaran. ( source )

Trawler Vs Catamaran – Space

The catamarans’ configuration enables its surface area to accommodate passengers or payloads greater than trawlers. Alternatively, it can be a shorter catamaran than a trawler but has similar payload capability. Hence, smaller crew members may be necessary for a catamaran. ( source )

Fuel Consumption

Fuel use in trawlers is higher than in catamarans. Trawlers generally rely on fuel for propulsion. On the other hand, there are hybrid catamarans. These catamarans can alternatively use solar energy and fuel for propulsion. Furthermore, luxury catamaran yachts have sails that serve as an alternative to fuel for propulsion during favorable wind conditions. ( source )

Carbon Emission

Catamarans produce lesser carbon emissions due to their hybrid capabilities (i.e., utilization of solar and wind energy). Hence, these vessels are more environmentally friendly than trawlers. ( source )

Manufacturing Cost

Experts estimated catamaran manufacturing costs to be higher than a trawler. Specifically, the estimated manufacturing cost for a catamaran is USD 4,991,040, while the trawler is USD 4,644,440. ( source )

Maintenance Cost And The Depreciation Value

Expenses for maintaining these vessels are estimated to be 400 hours per year at USD 278 per operation hour (i.e., machinery refits to slipping vessel life) with an expected 2% per annum maintenance increase. Terminal/marina costs would vary per location. However, the terminal cost in Kangaroo Island, Australia, is estimated to be USD 346,600 per year. Both vessel types have a life expectancy of 20 years and are estimated to have a 5% residual value. ( source )

The catamaran and trawler vessel types have their advantages and disadvantages. However, selecting the appropriate vessel dramatically depends on the intent of use, budget, and personal preference.

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  • D. Setyawan, I K. A. P. Utama, Murdijanto Murdijanto, A. Sugiarso, A. Jamaluddin, Development of Catamaran Fishing Vessel, http://iptek.its.ac.id/index.php/jts/article/view/90
  • Robert M. Stevens, New Dimensions For Naval Catamaran, https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/AD0742083.pdf
  • Ferry M, Comparative Study Of Hybrid Catamaran Versus Diesel Monohull Boat As Ferry For Short Distance Routes, Faculty of Maritime Studies, Malaysia, https://ejournal.undip.ac.id/index.php/ijna/article/view/4968
  • Rodrigo Pérez Fernández, Francisco A. González Redondo, On the origin, foundational designs and first manufacture of the modern catamaran, February 1, 2022, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/08438714221075417?casa_token=PraA_GSYuSkAAAAA%3AMrV0GTytEBIrHrY2jOKf2SjgHMiLKxUDLLZwNxQqahD-6b_Bao9Ez-y2AxHFEJjswvrUS-fPYtqrUg
  • Aditya Rio Prabowo, Evan Martono, Teguh Muttaqie, Tuswan Tuswan, Dong Myung BaeEffect Of Hull Design Variations On The Resistance Profile And Wave Pattern: A Case Study Of The Patrol Boat Vessel, https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Tuswan-Tuswan/publication/358271503_EFFECT_OF_HULL_DESIGN_VARIATIONS_ON_THE_RESISTANCE_PROFILE_AND_WAVE_PATTERN_A_CASE_STUDY_OF_THE_PATROL_BOAT_VESSEL/links/61f9adfd007fb504472e24cb/EFFECT-OF-HULL-DESIGN-VARIATIONS-ON-THE-RESISTANCE-PROFILE-AND-WAVE-PATTERN-A-CASE-STUDY-OF-THE-PATROL-BOAT-VESSEL.pdf
  • H.B.Moraesa, J.M.Vasconcellosb, R.G.Latorrec, Wave resistance for high-speed catamarans, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0029801804000927?casa_token=BH_TZv-eEsgAAAAA:50A6A30Y1zvnGCOCRyeFZ48u8ngakoq6KVqh1ydAic3UhSlQ5qc-aRWhgkB2iS75XCDztTy3uLg
  • Vincenzo Piscopo, Antonio Scamardella, The overall motion sickness incidence applied to catamarans, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2092678216300395
  • G. Thomas, P. Tomic & A. Tuite, High-speed catamaran or monohull? How do you choose? Pages 137-147, April 3, 2009, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17445300701430317?casa_token=oQickdxOAzQAAAAA%3A_KVzLu9cB2zQNf7eXFA0sHaSwQk8NCqCB4Fao4oTv61lfqTuZ1Z9ywu_FpPybUV104HT5pULIDw_yw&journalCode=tsos20

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Long range power catamarans

Peter Brady provided a brief history ( Multihull World Magazine, #142 ) of how he saw the development of long distance power catamarans:

Arthur Defever 1960’s (“long range cruising” monohulls) –> Robert Beebe 1974 (“passage maker” monohulls) –> Malcolm Tennant 1990’s (catamarans) &  Roger Hill 1990’s & Peter Brady 1990’s in Australia (catamarans).

power catamaran vs trawler

The qualities of the “passagemaker” were defined by Beebe as 2,400nm range at 7.5kn, self-sufficient for at least two weeks.

Brady opines that 2,000nm at displacement speed is a “reasonable bench mark”, with 55-65′ boats making 8kn at “displacement speed”.

This “displacement speed” indication is perhaps a better metric and allows calculation of the standard “ hull speed ” calculation of 1.34 x sqrt(LWL), with a “displacement speed” changing the multiplier from 1.34x to 1x or 1.1x (so a 49′ boat would average 7-7.7kn, a 64′ boat would average 8-8.8kn).

It is worth saying now that many trimarans and catamarans are acknowledged as NOT being limited by this theoretical hull speed as the formula is based on the hydrodynamic (wavemaking) properties, but hulls that are very narrow for their length (some say 8:1 or more on LWL:BWL) may instead be more limited by the interaction properties of the waves off each hull. There is not

So as a working definition, a passage maker or long range cruiser can be classified as being able to go at least 2,000nm on standard tanks at a speed of 6-8kn (depending on length, but 36-64′ covers most cruising size boats).

I have collected fuel consumption, displacement and size for quite a collection of power catamarans that I consider cruising boats. By this I mean they have considerable range and autonomy, have a displacement or semi-displacement hull shape, and can sleep at least two couples. This precludes the larger and smaller fast fishing boats (hull shape; range), patrol boats (comfort; sleeping), and all the smaller aluminium cats.

Based on the data I have collected, for production boats, these are long range passage makers:

  • Sunreef 70 – range 3200
  • Africat 420 – range 2800
  • Fountaine Pajot 46 Cumberland – range 2100

and for non-production boats, these are those I can find enough data to support as long range:

  • Tennant 66 Domino – range 7000nm+
  • Tennant 60 Catbyrd – range 6000nm+
  • Tennant 54 PH8 – range 3000nm
  • Tennant 44 St John – range 2000nm
  • Roger Hill 66 Tenacity – range 2500nm
  • Roger Hill 66 Lola – range 3200nm
  • Brady 17.5 Passagemaker – range 3200nm

By definition, these power catamarans (a mix of one-off and production boats) are not long-range:

  • Fountaine Pajot 37 Maryland (with 75hp engines, not 150hp) – range 1500
  • PDQ 41 – range 1500
  • Pachoud 49 Solitaire – range 1250
  • Fountaine Pajot 37 MY – range 1200
  • Lagoon 43 – range 1200
  • Horizon 52 – range 1150
  • Fountaine Pajot 35 Highland – range 1100
  • Fountaine Pajot 44 MY44 – range 1100
  • Ligure 50 – range 1100
  • Aquilla 48 – range 1050
  • Fountaine Pajot 40 Summerland – range 1000
  • Fountaine Pajot 44 Cumberland – range 1000
  • Leopard 51 – range 1000
  • Leopard 43 – range 1000

and those with less than 1000nm range at the requisite speed:

  • Aquilla 45 – range 950
  • Leopard 37 – range 900
  • Fountaine Pajot 34 Greenland – range 900
  • Aspen 120 – range 750
  • PDQ 34 – range 680

power catamaran vs trawler

Going non-production, you are generally into one-off builds. Even though the big-name designers may have sold multiple hulls of the same initial design, these are often modified over the build so that they may only partly resemble each other once finished.

power catamaran vs trawler

Lastly, the technical list of non-long range power catamarans ignores the fact that all of those referenced have an excellent range of at least 900nm. There are few times in a passage maker’s travels where more range is needed – the Pacific (Panama-Marquesas) and Atlantic (Bermuda-Azores, Cape Verde-Barbados, Cape Town-St Helena) are such, but these are an extremely small part of the time on water a passage maker spends compared to being close to land and places where diesel – quality or not – is available.

power catamaran vs trawler

As a final warning, almost all of the above it theoretical waffle. It doesn’t take into account some vital points of decision: is the boat designed and built to handle the conditions of a long passage? Are the people aboard capable and ready for such voyages?

If you know of other long range power catamarans and can provide at least three data points of speed-consumption, please let me know and I can add them.

Other interesting articles about power catamarans are:

  • Shuttleworth on his Adastra
  • Some of Malcolm Tennant’s ideas
  • Alex Simonis on the Leopard 43 and why Power Catamarans Don’t like to go Uphill
  • Noah Thompson on hull fuel efficiency

and for some first hand information, Domino and SnoDog are fantastic.

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3 thoughts on “Long range power catamarans”

I didn’t know this about power cats. So few go long range! How interesting.

[…] the range you can travel a lot (no ocean crossings and possibly no multi-day trips). We want to go long range cruising […]

Thanks for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do some research on this. We got a grab a book from our area library but I think I learned more from this post. I’m very glad to see such great info being shared freely out there.

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Power Catamarans vs Sail Catamarans, What’s the Right Choice For You?

Sail and power catamarans are both great boats with distinct advantages. To choose what is best for you, think about how you will be using the boat. The good news is they both work with our Business Yacht Ownership ® program.

Sail Catamarans

Sail Catamaran : Power Catamarans vs Sail Catamarans

  • Sailboats are better if you want to follow the sun or do longer range cruising.
  • With the right prop and engine, sailboats can do 9-10 knots and are very sea-worthy. They provide comfort at sea. If you just feel like laying back and relaxing, you can almost forget the mast is there. But, when the conditions are ideal, you will be able to sail. New designs and technological advancements make sail handling easier than ever.
  • Sailboats are quiet and promote socialization. Generally, they can handle more guests at a time, whether they are socializing or sleeping.
  • Sailboats cost less per cubic ft. of volume. The Helia 44 has as much or more room/volume than the Cumberland 47.

Power Catamarans

Power Catamarans: Power Catamarans vs Sail Catamarans

  • They have low clearance. If your cruising plans involve a bridge with height restrictions, a power boat may be the better option.
  • A properly, dedicated purpose catamaran powerboat gives significantly better speed and range than a comparable monohull powerboat.
  • The Fountaine Pajot Motor Yacht offers the exceptional characterics of the catamaran platform, giving you a very comfortable ride and virtually eliminating rolling at anchor.
  • The Fountaine Pajot Power cat is less expensive to run than a monohull and can compete with the economy of a trawler. The power cat also offers the efficiency of the hull, which allows you to go faster when you need to (up to 22 knots or so). This is not possible under normal conditions with a trawler or sailing cat.

Learn more about power catamarans

Senior Sales Consultant, Partner [email protected] 410-703-5655 More from Eric >>  Boat Business Webinars, Videos, Blogs, Learning center and more.

Disclaimer :  The  information,  views ,  opinions , and conclusions   expressed in  any  article , blog, video, or other form of media posted or linked herein  are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the  views of Atlantic Cruising Yachts, LLC.  Nothing contained herein has been approved or otherwise endorsed by Atlantic Cruising Yachts, LLC and such company shall have no liability for any content.

ESE, LLC is totally responsible for the content of this article. We are not tax advisers. You should obtain tax advice from a professional tax adviser for any matters relating to setting up a business, or tax implications .

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Trawler vs. Catamaran

Trawler vs. Catamaran

We have traveled thousands of miles on both a trawler and a catamaran. The time spent on both boats was thoroughly enjoyed. This article is here to explain to you the pros and cons of a trawler vs. a catamaran.

Trawler vs. Catamaran?

Neverland → adrenaline, the positives of our trawler:.

Trawler vs. Catamaran

Look at that view!

Living area. Neverland had a very big open galley with plenty of head room. She also had lots of counter space which made preparing meals super easy.

Helm. There was a helm station both inside and out on Neverland. Our favorite spot to steer was up on the fly bridge. If the weather was nasty we always had the option to steer inside out of the elements.

Weight. She was built to chug along loaded down. Weight was never an issue for us on Neverland. We carried much more than we would ever need and also towed a very large (16ft. Boston Whaler) dinghy.

Draft.  Neverland only drew 3’6″ which made it super easy to get close up in the best anchorages.

Slips. At only 34 feet long and 12 feet wide we never had a problem fitting into boat slips.

The Negatives of our Trawler

Trawler vs. Catamaran

Where to next?

Speed. They say slow and steady wins the race. That is not the case when trying to out run a storm. At a MAX speed of 7 knots, we always had to keep a very sharp eye on the weather forecast.

Comfort underway. When it was calm we were super comfortable.  Choppy seas, however, would not be smooth sailing. Neverland liked to roll side to side in anything more than a foot of chop.

Reliability. Having one engine while traveling in remote places was always a little nerve-wracking. Our fingers were always crossed hoping for a safe Gulf Stream Crossing.

Docking. Have you ever tried docking a big boat with one engine with the wind and current not in your favor? It takes mad skills.

Fuel. Diesel prices can fluctuate but at the end of the day we were still paying for every mile we traveled.

The Positives of our Sailing Catamaran

Trawler vs. Catamaran

Home Sweet Home.

Wind-powered.  The majority of our miles are completely FREE. The wind fills the sails and we are on our way. Check out how little we spent sailing the Bahamas for 60 days! 

Stability. Having two hulls makes us extremely stable in unfavorable conditions. There is very little roll and the motion is very tolerable even in rough waters.

Speed. Adrenaline’s max speed is 13.8 knots! That is almost double what Neverland could go (for FREE)!

Engines. If we get a lull in the wind we also now have TWO diesel engines. This is also a nice piece of mind in case one engine goes we always have a backup.

Docking. Going from a single diesel to twins makes docking a breeze!

Outside space. Have you ever laid on the trampoline of a catamaran while sailing? If not I suggest you put it on your bucket list. This is a great place to hang and relax or chill out with friends.

Separate Cabins. Unlike most catamarans, Adrenaline’ s hulls are not open to the main cabin. We like this set up because when we have guests over everyone has their own separate space. This is also a big help because Jetty is not too fond of “others”.

Negatives of our Sailing Catamaran.

Trawler vs. Catamaran

Are there really any negatives??

Low head room. Luckily we are both short. Adrenaline was designed for racing so everything is sleek, simple, and very short. This does not bother us but some of our friends would have a hard time cooking or sleeping comfortably.

Bigger is not always better. Between two engines, multiple sails, rigging, and seven more feet of boat to handle something is always needing maintenance. Then again what do you expect? It’s a Boat.

Weight sensitive. In order to keep her fast, we need to keep her light. That means limiting everything! Which is not necessarily a bad thing. It helps us keep life simple:)

Outside Helm. Our helm station is very exposed to the elements. We recently made a hard bimini for shade but we still get pelted by rain drops when we find ourselves in a storm.

Slips. Having a 20-foot wide berth makes finding a suitable boat slip difficult. Some docks simply cannot accommodate us.

Rudder. We only draw 3’8″ with our dagger boards up, which is not much more than the trawler. Unfortunately, our rudders are the deepest part of the boat. This means we have to be extremely careful in shallow water, if we lose a rudder we lose our ability to steer. It is also a big pain in the but with areas populated by crab traps. If we accidentally run one over they get stuck around the rudder and are a big pain to get off.

Everything has its own set of pros and cons but I can safely say that we are now forever catamaran people. Our trawler was an awesome boat and we do not regret having her for a second but the speed and stability of a catamaran is like nothing else!

Thanks for reading:)

power catamaran vs trawler

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5 comments on “ trawler vs. catamaran ”.

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Thank you for the great article. Adrenaline clearly takes the contest for highest possible speed, but I am curious about what average speed you use to plan legs . . . Or maybe you’re wiser than me and simply don’t worry about it.

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Hi Tula crew. Thanks for the detailed comparison. I’ve lived in Florida for forty years but only been on a cat once. I spent several hours just laying on the trampoline. It’s like riding a magic carpet. I hope you all have a great summer and look forward to following the next great adventure.

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Nice work on this comparison Sierra. Navigating in the shallows seems stressful. Do sailing vessels ever carry a spare rudder? Let’s say I have a motor boat, was wondering who can give a tow back to port in the Bahamas? I doubt SeaTow operates there – what do you do if you break down in a remote place?

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Everthing is a compromise, Im trying to decide on trawler or cat. The article was great, I wonder what your dog likes best? Cats have a higher coolness factor, we all want to have some of that lol. And there is the power cat that goes 20 knots. The nice thing is most of these are for rent so you can go and rent a cat or trawler if you have the cash. I hope a thousand people show up at the boat show to meet you guys. You have quite a following. Take care and thanks for all the info.

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I wished you also compared catamarans vs trawlers with sails like e.g. Nordhavn 56 MS, Diesel Duck, Shannon 53 HPS, as there are many who say that motorsailers have the best of both worlds.

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IMAGES

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  2. Catamaran Vs. Trawler (A Complete Comparison)

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  3. Catamaran vs Trawler: Which Boat Is Right for You?

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  4. Trawler Highland 35 Power Catamaran

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  6. Catamaran Vs. Trawler (A Complete Comparison)

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VIDEO

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  4. Aquila 42 Yacht Special Edition 2023 Power Catamaran

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  6. Leopard 46 Powercat

COMMENTS

  1. Aquila 44: Power Catamaran or Trawler? Yes.

    The new Aquila 44 is a power catamaran with the performance of a trawler, the comfort of a luxury condo, and the privacy of a much bigger boat. The all-new Aquila 44 is, much like its larger sibling the Aquila 48 power catamaran, intended to make long stays aboard a pleasure. No surprises, there. What is surprising, however, is that even with ...

  2. Catamarans vs. Trawlers: The Differences Explained

    Catamarans are double-hulled yachts that come in both sail and power editions (two diesel engines). Trawlers are single-hulled displacement boats powered by one diesel engine. Trawlers have better loading capabilities but cats are faster and more stable. For anyone not very familiar with boats or sailing, it can be challenging to decide on the ...

  3. Power Cats vs Trawlers for Passage Making

    The new Journey 45 Long Range Catamaran (LRCat) upstaged traditional trawler designs at the recent Fort Lauderdale Trawler Fest. Designed by Kernan Yacht Design, the Journey's wave-piercing bows provide the foundation for the power catamaran's speed, performance and eco-friendly profile.

  4. Catamaran vs Trawler: Which Boat Is Right for You?

    Speed: Catamarans can be faster than trawlers due to their lightweight and streamlined design. This can make them an ideal choice for those who enjoy sailing or racing. Comfort: The wider beam of a catamaran provides more stability and greater comfort than a trawler, particularly in choppy conditions.

  5. The Best Power Catamaran Boat Brands

    Photo via World Cat Boats. World Cat is one of the most recognizable brands in the world of power catamarans — in fact, according to the company they're the largest producer of power catamarans in the world. Their line is a mix of center console and dual console fishing and family boats ranging from 23' to 40'.

  6. The Planing Power Catamaran: A Different Kind Of Cat

    This usually means anyone at the front or sides of the boat takes most of the jostling,"Myers says. "The catamaran-style hull delivers ride comfort, smoothness, load distribution, and stability."That stability draws anglers to powercats of typically 20 to 40 feet; and cruisers to sailing cats 40 to 60 feet and beyond. — Rich Armstrong.

  7. Power Catamarans: A Complete Guide

    Distinguishing Design: Power Catamarans are characterized by their twin hulls, which significantly reduce the drag, thus enhancing speed and fuel efficiency. Unlike monohulls, they have a broader beam, which contributes to increased stability and more living space. The absence of a ballast for stability further lightens the vessel, contributing ...

  8. The Ultimate Trawler Boat Buying Guide

    The second type of cruising powerboat that does not fit the description of a trawler is the power catamaran. A somewhat fringe boat within the cruising powerboat category, power cats are nevertheless a great platform for anyone looking for a cruiser that offers space, outstanding maneuverability from widely spaced engines, and excellent shallow ...

  9. Year of the Cat

    While switching from a single-engine trawler to a twin-engine catamaran does increase the initial investment, and while the wider beams of larger powercats demand special berths, these boats offer livability and accommodations that same-length monohulls simply can't match. ... Horizon Power Catamarans has updated the PC52 with a new high-low ...

  10. Powered Catamarans vs Trawlers

    Boat: 50' Ligure power cat. Posts: 119. Re: Powered Catamarans vs Trawlers. Interesting that reportedly Malcolm Tennant said that the only change he would make to his 60' long-range power cats (like Domino) was to add a mast. The mast didn't even need a sail, but would assist to slow down the flick speed of the roll.

  11. 12 Power Catamarans Reviewed

    The Aquila 36 is the first vessel in the builder's series with outboard power. Aquila Boats. The Aquila 36 is a departure from her sisterships in that she is an outboard-powered, express-cruiser-style catamaran, but she also adheres to MarineMax's philosophies.. With a single main living level from bow to stern and a beam of 14 feet 7 inches, the Aquila 36 is like a bowrider on steroids.

  12. The Top Catamarans of 2020

    Leen 56. The Leen 56 power trimaran is a long-range cruising multihull, perfectly capable of transatlantic voyages or living aboard in high latitudes. Built in a highly efficient, new hybrid composite panel system, this power trimaran has a range of 5,000 miles and may only be fueled up once a year. 3. Gallery.

  13. Power Cat vs. Trawler dilemma: Please Advise

    Catamarans, Multi-hull Power Cruisers . Power Cat vs. Trawler dilemma: Please Advise ... What are the pros and cons of a Power-Cat like 37' Fountaine vs a 44' DeFever trawler. Hope to be fishing, scuba and snorkeling, island exploring. Budget is 250K. Apr 22, 2016 #2 G. GFC Guru. Joined Nov 14, 2012 Messages

  14. Comparison Between Trawler Vs Catamaran Boats

    Catamaran vs Trawler - Speed And Stability. Catamarans are known to be faster than trawlers. The high speed of catamarans is attributed to the double hull design, which promotes lighter weight distribution coupled with high stability and a higher speed along a straight line. ( source) Relatively, trawlers tend to have lower stability and a ...

  15. Powercat trawlers vs traditional Trawlers

    The interior is everything your mate could desire. Roomy (3 queen size staterooms in a 44ft trawler!), luxurious quarters and very economical twin hull efficiency (about 3gph at 8knots}. You really have to live aboard to appreciate the differences. A power cat is a roomy, seaworthy home on the water.

  16. Long range power catamarans

    To this, the production capability for power catamarans really took off when the French company, Fountaine Pajot, started their prolific line of "trawler" yachts in the last 1990's, continuing to this day. The qualities of the "passagemaker" were defined by Beebe as 2,400nm range at 7.5kn, self-sufficient for at least two weeks. ...

  17. Trawler vs Catamaran

    Posts: 1,461. Re: Trawler vs Catamaran. A sailing catamaran might be the best solution for you. A cat will bounce and roll (a bit) in rough water and the sail will give some stabilization unlike a pure power cat. On most points of sail a sailing cat will be faster, maybe much faster than an equivalent length monohull.

  18. Power Cats vs Trawlers for Passage Making

    The new Journey 45 Long Range Catamaran (LRCat) upstaged traditional trawler designs at the recent Fort Lauderdale Trawler Fest. Designed by Kernan Yacht Design, the Journey's wave-piercing bows provide the foundation for the power catamaran's speed, performance and eco-friendly profile.

  19. Power Catamarans vs Sail Catamarans, What's the Right Choice For You?

    The Fountaine Pajot Power cat is less expensive to run than a monohull and can compete with the economy of a trawler. The power cat also offers the efficiency of the hull, which allows you to go faster when you need to (up to 22 knots or so). This is not possible under normal conditions with a trawler or sailing cat. Learn more about power ...

  20. Power Catamaran vs Motor Yacht: Fuel Efficiency Put to Test

    As an added bonus, power catamarans require less throttle to achieve equivalent speeds. This pust less strain on engines, significantly increasing their working life and reducing maintenance requirements and potential failures. " The power catamaran delivered 36% better fuel efficiency at 3000 rpm ". Thanks to tests performed by Yamaha ...

  21. Power Cats vs Trawlers for Passage Making

    Oct 12, 2007. Messages. 22,552. Cats do better at higher speeds where their lower wave making is used. At crawler speeds the added hull wetted surface area is a drag penalty . It takes about a 6-1 L/B ratio on each hull to actually get lower wave making. Feb 26, 2020. #37. M.

  22. Power Cat vs. Trawler

    Power Cat vs Trawler We looked long and hard into getting a Trawler. We had our sights set on a KK 44. After a couple of deals fell thru we expanded our horizons into the Power Cat arena. We eventually bought a 47' Maine Cat (primarily a Sailboat company, built 9 power cats). We draw 2'10" and are powered by a couple of Volvo's (D3 220).

  23. Trawler vs. Catamaran

    Some docks simply cannot accommodate us. Rudder. We only draw 3'8″ with our dagger boards up, which is not much more than the trawler. Unfortunately, our rudders are the deepest part of the boat. This means we have to be extremely careful in shallow water, if we lose a rudder we lose our ability to steer.