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Read Profiles of the Different Boat Types on Soundings Online

Trawlers for every taste

Fast, classic and pocket models make sure that to each, his own.

Grand Banks 47 Heritage EUIt’s hard to believe now, but as recently as 50 years ago the trawler was widely seen as a full-displacement commercial fishing boat. Period. Today the trawler concept has achieved such popularity that its definition has been loosened like a belt around a middle-aged girth — and why not?

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Classic Trawlers

Part of the reason I first fell in love with trawlers was their salty lines. If you’re hatching an escape plan (as I was), you’re going to want a boat that can really take you places, and the traditional trawler announces its serious voyaging potential with a high bow, a pilothouse with forward raked windows and perhaps a Portuguese bridge, as well as voluminous fuel tanks — this kind of vessel lets you know it’s not messing around.

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Pocket Trawlers

52_nordic-tug-26Pocket trawlers. They’re less than 30 feet, powered by a single diesel or a pair of outboards, and many are small enough to trailer without a permit. But don’t let the “pocket” label fool you. These are small boats for big dreams.

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Fast Trawlers

There are many ways to define “fast trawler,” and there are many builders that have taken to using the label. For our purposes, let’s define a fast trawler as a semidisplacement vessel with true trawler origins, capable of climbing over its bow wave and making 16 to 20 knots. Compared to full-displacement boats, they draw less and weigh less but require more power to climb on plane.

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Grand Banks 38 Eastbay EX

Illustration by Jim Ewing

The 38 Eastbay EX was something different when it debuted in 1993 and launched Grand Banks’ new line,­ a radical departure from the builder’s well-known cruising trawlers. The dark-blue hull, trunk cabin and distinctive windshield stood out against the sleek, curvy Euro-styling that was popular at the time. Its traditional profile evoked Maine lobster yachts, and it had something of the trawler tradition in it, too.

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