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.
Pocket 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.
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.
Off Cuttyhunk, Massachusetts, 4:30 a.m. The predawn chill of late October is intensified by a bitter wind. Whitecaps dot the gray-green waters around the Elizabeth Islands. It’s a perfect morning for striped bass.
A small, sturdy boat manned by a few figures in oilskins fishes close in, right off the shore. It haunts the troughs behind the offshore bars, delves into the surging gullies of foaming water around kelp-covered boulders, swirling with currents.
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