We started out with a dream of sailing around the world, exploring and discovering – then we started to research and quickly concluded that our assumption was correct; it’s not as easy as it sounds.
Although we love the look of monohull sailboats, it didn’t take us long to strike monohull sailboats from our list. The constant heeling (leaning) would drive us crazy and also wouldn’t be practical for our three dogs (they would HATE it). Other than the discomfort of constant heeling, all monohulls we found had very little outdoor space and a fairly dark living space below deck which we didn’t love.
Then, we shifted gears to catamarans, thinking they may be a better choice than a monohull. We reached out to Just Catamarans and spent months looking at which catamaran would be a good fit. Safety was a big concern… what if one of us gets punted off the helm and into the ocean while we’re on night watch? We tried to find a catamaran with an inside helm station, but unless you’re willing to spend more than $2 million on a Gunboat, an inside helm just wasn’t an option for us.
The fear of being outside during night watch brought us to trawlers, power boats that would allow us to explore the world from the safety of an inside helm, with loads of living space, and all of the comforts of home. It didn’t take long for the name Jeff Merrill; a broker specialized in trawlers, to pop-up during our trawler search.
We reached out to Jeff and got started looking at trawlers. Jeff was extremely helpful and is an all-around great guy.
We looked at Selenes, Nordhavns, and everything in between. Leanne loved the look of the Selene, and Kevin was team Nordhavn because of practicality (of course!).
Eventually, we found an incredible 2005 Selene 57 in Florida. At the same time, random luck led a very interesting catamaran to us. We flew to Florida and looked at both… and another trawler we thought we’d hate (but didn’t).
Sailboat vs. trawler. It’s an age-old debate, and there’s people on either side of it that SWEAR that they have the best boat.
In the end, we went with our gut (and a bit of logic, thanks to Kevin), and ultimately decided against a trawler; for now.
We had 3 major concerns when it came to trawlers:
- fuel consumption
- comfort at anchor
We initially used the advertised range to gauge the fuel consumption and cost. Selene advertises the average range of the Selene 57 as 5,000 nautical miles, with a fuel capacity of 1,500 gallons. We used an average diesel price of $3.20 per gallon, estimating that $4,800 should give us 5,000 nautical miles…. then someone told us they got 1,200 miles out of a full tank. More research online led us to reports of annual fuel bills of $36,000 and more. People told us that diesel can get very expensive outside of the United States and Canada, which would really throw a wrench in our desire to adventure and explore.
Can you imagine? “Hey, wanna go to Turks and Cacaos? Wait, better not… too much fuel to get there”…
Doesn’t sound like freedom to us!
Fuel consumption probably isn’t a real problem, because chances are high we’ll be at anchor most of the time – but the unknown cost still scared us. Our thoughts on this may change once we understand how we like to cruise and use a boat.
We ended up with two trawlers to decide between; a 1999 Nordhavn 57 and the 2005 Selene 57, both mentioned above. Although we liked the Selene more, almost everyone online told us that Selene’s aren’t nearly as robust as Nordhavn’s, and many people told us that they wouldn’t recommend an ocean crossing in a Selene (which made us nervous).
The Nordhavn 57 was really great, in amazing shape, but it would have required a bit of work to make it our own – and usually “a bit of work” equals “lots of money”. If we wouldn’t have found the Fountaine Pajot Eleuthera 60, the catamaran we ended up with, we would have probably ended up with the Nordhavn 57. The catamaran just required less work, um nearly no work, to make it our own.
More research uncovered that trawlers roll side to side quite a bit. Not just while underway, but also at anchor. Many people told us that a catamaran would be much more comfortable, and we experienced that firsthand when we chartered a catamaran in Mexico last May.
Most trawlers that we looked at had active fin stabilizers, which stabilize the boat while underway, but not while at anchor. There are other stabilizer systems out there, like the gyroscopic stabilizers such as SeaKeeper – but they require constant power (requiring a generator) and are expensive; easily $60,000+ USD. We both agreed that we could probably get over the rolling, but were worried about our three dogs hating living aboard.
For now, we are going to enjoy our Catamaran, learn to sail and learn all about the ocean – once we’ve had enough of catlife, we’ll likely be back looking at trawlers. But who knows what’ll happen next? Life has a CRAZY way of throwing us opportunities we never could have even dreamed of.