George “Rip” Tyler admits it was not the ideal sea trial. First, the engine quit on the boat he intended to buy just as he and the owner were returning to the marina. They dropped the anchor and found it was a quick fix. Glad to be running again, they went to raise the anchor, but it was snagged on an underwater cable. “We had to toss over the rode with a buoy,” Tyler recalls. “I imagined the owner thinking, No way this guy is going to buy this boat.”
But the 2006 Monk 36 was just the cruising trawler that Tyler and his wife, Beth, had in mind for their retirement. “I’ve seen enough [problems] on boats to know that these things happen,” says Tyler, 58, who runs a commercial real estate management and development company. “And Beth was adamant about buying this boat.”
Until recently, Tyler had been an inveterate sailor who spent his childhood racing with his father (also George, founder of Marmaduke’s, the legendary Annapolis watering hole) in a Columbia Contender. He “went over to the dark side,” as he puts it, in 2003, buying a 22-foot center console, and later an Independence 50 raised pilothouse trawler. The Annapolis, Maryland, couple also owned a True North 38 — a “perfect weekender, great for exploring [Chesapeake] Bay,” says Tyler — that they sold in 2010.
Three years later and planning their retirement, they began looking for a bigger boat, something that could handle a “dream voyage.” The time for that voyage has come. “We are retiring, so we plan to take a year to get a few things done on the boat,” says Tyler. “Then we’ll take a year or two to do the Great Loop and another year after that to do some cruising around our North Carolina vacation home.”
The Tylers’ Monk 36 is hull No. 247 (of 258) and was built in Nova Scotia. (Earlier models were built in Taiwan.) The price was $197,500. It was an easy buy. First of all, the boat suited the Tylers’ Labrador retriever, Cally. “Not all boats are easy to get a large dog aboard and keep her safe along the way,” says Beth Tyler.
Then there was the ease of access. “There are no more than three steps to a place to land,” says George Tyler. The Monk also looked good. “I liked the aesthetics of the boat, too. I’m drawn to that traditional look.”
The couple found the aft-cabin trawler through the Monk owners association. “We joined up and posted that we were looking,” says Tyler. “We got a call from a couple who were cruising between Annapolis and Beaufort, South Carolina, and wanted to sell their boat. We saw it, and we were hooked. It was in very nice shape and definitely in running condition.”
Since taking ownership of the boat in the summer of 2013, the Tylers have cruised to Delaware City, Delaware, via the Intracoastal Waterway and down to North Carolina, in addition to weekend trips around the Annapolis area. The aft-cabin layout was a prime selling point, says Beth Tyler. “We enjoy being on the hook more than at marinas. After having owned many boats, we really prefer an aft cabin so we won’t hear the anchor chain at night.” Also, the Monk’s storage is “impressive.”
The 7-year-old boat didn’t need much, but the Tylers replaced the refrigerator and installed new batteries with a “smart” charger. A rudder enlargement tops the to-do list. “That will help in maneuvering in close quarters and improve its down-sea handling,” George Tyler says.
The trawler’s single Cummins 220-hp diesel has proved reliable and economical. The 18,000-pound boat cruises at about 1,600 to 1,800 rpm on its semidisplacement hull, doing about 8 knots. That’s a fuel burn of less than 3 gallons an hour, says Tyler. “With the 330-gallon fuel capacity, we should have a range of about 800 nautical miles,” he says.
All in all, the Monk 36 should be a good fit for their Great Loop adventure, says Tyler. “The consensus on the America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association website was to buy the smallest boat you can afford,” he says. “I think the thought is that the smallest boat you are comfortable on will be the easiest, and therefore most enjoyable, while cruising the Loop.”
The PowerBoat Guide touts the well-respected Monk 36 as a “graceful aft-cabin trawler” offering a mix of “simplicity, comfort and seaworthiness.” The Ed Monk- designed semidisplacement hull is powered by a single diesel — originally 120 hp — for a 7-knot cruising speed. The bow is tall, and there’s plenty of freeboard from stem to stern. There’s a flybridge helm station (in addition to a lower helm in the saloon) that gives good sightlines around the boat. Wide side decks and rails all around are a plus for safety, and there’s room for dinghy storage on the cabin top.
The aft cabin is the master stateroom, with its queen-sized berth offset to starboard. That leaves room for a large hanging locker to port and drawers and storage lockers on the starboard side. The adjacent head includes a separate shower. (Older versions have a bathtub.) The second stateroom is forward, with a large V-berth and adjacent enclosed head compartment.
The main saloon has a port settee and high-low table that converts to a double berth. Just aft is the L-shaped galley. Equipment includes a full-size refrigerator/freezer, a three-burner stove/oven and a double stainless steel sink.
Ed Monk is well known for his yacht designs, and his 36-foot trawler helped popularize the genre. The boats were originally built in Taiwan, but production shifted to Nova Scotia in 1992. More than 250 Monk 36s were built over a 25-year production run that ended in 2007. The boat is readily available on the used market and sought after by trawler aficionados. A look at current listings shows boats from about $85,000 for models from the ’80s and ’90s to $199,999 for a 2002 model.
LOA: 36 feet
BEAM: 13 feet
DRAFT: 4 feet
WEIGHT: 18,000 pounds
HULL TYPE: semidisplacement
POWER: single 120-hp diesel
TANKAGE: 320 gallons fuel, 120 gallons water
DESIGNER: Ed Monk
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April 2015 issue