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What’s new this year: trends, boats, events - Soundings Online

What’s new this year: trends, boats, events

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Trawler owners are looking for a lot these days. They’re turning to faster boats, the latest technology in engines (including diesel-electric) and electronics, and extensive on-board equipment and amenities.

Trawler owners are looking for a lot these days. They’re turning to faster boats, the latest technology in engines (including diesel-electric) and electronics, and extensive on-board equipment and amenities.

Read the other stories in this package: Coming of Age What makes a trawler a trawler?   Trawlers

“The demand in the trawler market is for a very nice list of interior amenities,” says Doug Coupar, owner of Neville Trawlers and the Authentic Yachts brokerage firm in Annapolis, Md. (www.nevilletrawlers.com). “And the captains of the boat all want long-range capability; they want self-sufficiency. At the same time they want the comforts and amenities that you’d expect on any luxury boat.” Well-equipped galleys, on-board laundry facilities and cherry interiors reflect those desires, he says.

“You’re dealing with couples, and you have to meet the expectations of both members of the couple,” Coupar says. Ten to 12 years ago, he says, trawlers were less sophisticated. Since then, trawler owners have owned a boat or two, found shortcomings, and returned with a new list of expectations.

The Neville 47, built for Coupar by Custom Steel Boats of Merritt, N.C., won the People’s Choice award at this year’s Trawler Fest in Solomons, Md. The line, designed by namesake Charles Neville, also includes a 39, a 42 LRC (long-range cruiser) and a 56. (Custom Steel Boats also will build from other designers’ drawings.)

For a growing number of recreational boaters, the terms “trawler” and “sophisticated” go hand in hand, and builders are seeing the same trends.

“We have found that new-boat owners increasingly expect more luxury and sophistication in their boats,” says Tony Fleming, owner of Fleming Yachts (www.flemingyachts.com) of Newport Beach, Calif., which last year introduced the Fleming 65. “This is similar to what has been happening in the auto industry, where buyers now expect to find what used to be considered luxury features in even the most modest vehicles.” Fleming points to equipment like multimedia entertainment systems and electronics, and he says the company encourages customers to go with the latest common-rail diesel engines.

“All of these changes require more complex and robust electrical systems,” he says, “with the downside that the boats are becoming more complicated and more vulnerable to gremlins with almost every piece of equipment controlled by computer.”

Sitting in the pilothouse of an American Tug 41, Greg Clark points to the video feed from on-board cameras, and remote controls for the autopilot, bow and stern thrusters, and spotlights.

“We try to incorporate a lot of new stuff,” says Clark, owner of American Tugs dealer Traditional Yachts. “There’s so much out there.”

Clark, who has offices in Jupiter, Fla., and Portsmouth, R.I. (www.traditionalyachts.com), says at least 60 percent of his customers are choosing to install both bow and stern thrusters. “The people that don’t have [a stern thruster] experience it on a friend’s boat or my boat and say, ‘I wish I had that,’ ” he says. And he predicts electronic fuel management systems will become more essential.

“With electronic readouts, you can really run your boat efficiently and find the sweet spot for that specific boat,” he says. “As prices come up for diesel, this is more and more important.” American Tugs (www.americantugs.com) are built by Tomco Marine Group of LaConner, Wash., which launched the first American Tug 41 Flybridge this year. A flybridge option also is now available for the American Tug 34.

New boats, trends and more

What follows is a snapshot of the trawler industry today: new boats, trends, events, developments in equipment, company news and more. We spoke to about 35 builders, dealers and importers. We realize that’s not everyone, but it’s a pretty good cross-section of the trawler market. We purposely chose to avoid trawler cats, for instance, since Soundings will be taking a close look at power catamarans in the May 2007 issue.

Peter Vassilopoulos, president of Symbol Yacht Sales, a Symbol Yachts dealer in Warwick, R.I. (www.symbolyachtsales.com), considers the trend toward LED lighting a notable advancement for cruising boats. The lights are bright, draw less power and last much longer than conventional bulbs. And Vassilopoulos now installs panini-type grills on the flybridges of Symbol vessels, in response to customer complaints that food took too long to cook, up in the wind, on a conventional barbecue grill.

Taiwan-based Symbol Yachts celebrates its 25th anniversary next year, and its 2007 line includes a Jack W. Sarin-

designed modified-vee planing hull with full keel, tunnel drive and Portuguese bridge in lengths of 51, 55 and 59 feet.

“A lot of other people are doing semidisplacement,” says Vassilopoulos. “So we think we’ll get more speed with less power.” The 59 is under construction and will be in the United States this spring.

Monk 36 buyers are among those asking for a long equipment list, says Al Smith, owner of Monk 36 builder North Sea Yachts in Point Pleasant, N.J. “They all want them pretty well-equipped,” he says, including thrusters, air conditioning, generators and windlasses. The company builds around nine boats per year and recently added two new dealers — Atlantic Coast Yacht Sales (www.acys.com) in Rock Hall, Md., and Maine Yacht Center in Portland, Maine (www. maineyacht.com) — to increase its dealer network to three (www.northseayachts.com).

Neptune Marine Group (www.ellingyachting.com) includes as standard equipment on its 45- and 48-foot Elling cruisers a stern thruster and a Simrad electronics suite that includes radar, chart plotter, autopilot and the WR20 Bluetooth Remote Commander. The ocean-rated Dutch boats have been imported to the United States by American Global Yacht Group of Annapolis, Md., and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., since last year (www.agyg.com). (The firm also represents Vripack Trawlers.) The company plans to add an Elling 54 in two years.

The 45-foot E3 ($796,750) is powered by a 425-hp Cummins common rail diesel for the U.S. market, reaching a top speed of 20 mph and a cruise speed of about 14 mph. However, for the European market the boat generally is equipped with an 80-hp diesel.

Despite an appetite for horsepower, many U.S. boaters often have reason to go slow, with hundreds of miles of no-wake zones, manatee zones, hazardous or congested areas, and bridges on timed openings in many popular cruising grounds.

“One could say we have a plethora of speed-reducing obstacles, especially in the Southeastern coast [of the United States],” says David Marlow, chairman of Marlow Yachts, in an e-mail.

Marlow is building some boats with a smaller, third engine to enhance long-range capability. In addition to reducing brake-specific fuel consumption — as well as its effectiveness in no-wake zones — the pony engine takes over all hydraulic functions when the main engines are shut down.

The pony engine does a good job pushing the boat at displacement speeds, but Marlow nonetheless is an unabashed proponent of the semidisplacement hull shape.

“While I have not conducted a scientific poll, simple observation and listening to the larger market indicates a dislike of the general motion of a full-displacement trawler unless well-stabilized,” says Marlow, whose semidisplacement Marlow Explorer 70E Command Bridge debuted at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in October.

Though displacement trawlers provide around 10 percent greater fuel economy, according to Marlow, he says a semidisplacement hull design can offer greater form stability, more interior volume, shallower draft, and higher maximum speed when desired.

Marlow’s own market research shows that production of displacement trawlers in the early 1970s was around five times the current level. He says builders such as Nordhavn, Kadey-Krogen and Selene adequately serve this market, and predicts that future efforts to increase fuel efficiency in the face of rising fuel prices will center on building lighter boats.

Myabca offers its Mallorca, Spain-built boats in semidisplacement, displacement and motorsailer configurations, including a new motorsailer version of its 40TR. “We try to move and adapt to keep up with the times,” says Jason Dean, president of Myabca USA in Cumberland, R.I. (www.myabcausa.com). “That’s why we’re offering the motorsailer, because of gas prices.”

With technologically advanced hulls, fuel-efficient diesels and all the comforts of home, the next question is … where to?

“A lot of people come in and state that their dream is to cross the Atlantic,” says Neville Trawlers’ Coupar. “Probably fewer than 10 percent will do these trips. But conditions 300 miles offshore will be pretty similar to 3,000 miles offshore.”

Those making these long-distance passages often do so in the comfort and safety of groups or organized cruises, he says. “What we’ve noticed is couples making trips as part of a small flotilla — say three or four boats that do the trip in legs,” says Coupar. “It’s a sensible way to do it. For people in good health, with good seamanship skills and a good boat, it’s a nice lifestyle. They enjoy themselves and it’s a nice life. But they are very professional and take it very seriously.”

Coupar says the cost of fuel isn’t necessarily the concern for people looking into an offshore trawler. “It’s the range,” he says. For those cruising far afield, good range allows them to fuel infrequently and only at trusted sources.

It’s no secret that the trawler market has been growing, but what does the future hold?

“I think when the baby boomers really retire — which will be in the next year or next few years — we won’t be able to keep up,” says Traditional Yachts’ Clark.

New builders should help meet this need, and existing boatbuilders are expanding their trawler offerings. Among the former group is Northwest Yachts of Anacortes, Wash., which is in the initial building stages of its first trawler. The Northwest 42 should be in the water shortly after the first of the year, according to company president Peter Whiting. The company invested in a 95-foot-long, five-axis milling machine to build the molds.

“I doubt that you’ll see too many companies make that investment; they’ll just have other companies build molds for them,” says Whiting of the $1 million machine. “We have much more control over things. We can make changes internally and keep the costs down, and we’re going to be building molds for other companies.”

Northwest has a 16-foot-long milling machine for small parts and joinery work, and Whiting says all-molded construction will keep prices down. The company also has 52- and 62-footers in development, and a new Web site in the works at www.northwestyachts.com.

Another company that hopes to make a splash in the trawler market is Seaforth Marine Group of Maple Ridge, British Columbia, whose line ranges from 36-foot Down East-style cruisers to 115-foot megayachts. The firm’s new Tradition series of trawlers will be introduced next year (a prototype 54 has been built). The company expects to deliver five Tradition 58s in 2007, according to David James, vice president of operations and marketing.

“As a group, the Tradition [trawlers] will be the biggest seller in the line in 12 months,” James says. “The passagemaking market is a niche that’s really taken off. With fuel prices going up and the baby boomers retiring, it’s an attractive lifestyle, and you don’t burn a lot of fuel.”

The Tradition trawler line comprises five long-range cruisers and two semidisplacement coastal boats from 42 to 68 feet, and Seaforth is homing in on cruisers who want low-maintenance luxury.

“It’s meant to be a superyacht finish without all the glitz,” James says of the Tradition interiors. “It’s very high-end but also serviceable.”

Wade Goulden, president and owner of Apple Island Marine (www.appleislandmarine.com) in Ingomar, Nova Scotia, subscribes to the same philosophy. He says his wide-beam 45-foot trawler yacht is designed for people who don’t necessarily have a lot of time on their hands.

“It’s a real baby boomer boat, I call them,” says Goulden. “You just get in and go. I’ve talked to a lot of people who are not looking for a shiny finish and brass and teak and all that. They’re looking for a nice finish but something low-maintenance.” He reasons that some people get out of sailboats because they’re too much work.

Another Nova Scotia builder is going a step further, eliminating even more luxury items to keep costs down. “We’re trying to get a budget cruiser by avoiding some of the luxury items,” says Charlie Arcon of Nova Trawlers (www.novatrawler.com) in Shelburne. For example, the builder’s new 35-foot sedan won’t have a teak-and-holly cabin sole, refrigerator or air conditioning, though an extensive list of options is available. Nova also plans to reduce the number of on-board batteries by installing solar panels.

“I don’t know if there’s a market for that,” Arcon says, “but I think there is.”

Island Pilot (www.islandpilot.com) president Reuben Trane looks at things a little differently, too. He and naval architect George Petrie are using solar panels on a new cruising power cat with hybrid diesel-solar-electric power. In addition to the forthcoming DSe Hybrid 12M, Miami-based Island Pilot now offers a two-stateroom/galley-up version of its dual-sterndrive Island Pilot 395 Fast Trawler.

Another Florida builder is completing its first diesel-electric trawler. Legacy Yachts of Clearwater is working with diesel-electric propulsion system developer and manufacturer Glacier Bay Inc. on a hybrid 32-foot displacement trawler. There are a number of advantages to hybrid propulsion, says Legacy president Joseph Garasic, not the least of which is fuel economy. The electric motor requires little maintenance and can even run submerged in a flooded bilge, he says.

“Electric motors … really don’t require any service for 40 years, and then it’s just bearings,” says Garasic. The diesel-electric system has both house and starting batteries, he says, but avoids the expense, heavy weight and fixed life of a battery-based propulsion system.

“I do definitely see it as being the future of propulsion in a number of boats, especially displacement boats,” says Garasic. “Glacier Bay is making up to 800-hp [diesel-electric systems], so you’ll also see it in planing hulls.”

Legacy plans to build larger boats and is coming out with its first semidisplacement 32, which will have a deflector rudder, like those found on some commercial boats. And Garasic says he has fielded many requests to eliminate exterior wood on his boats, which he took into account in building the 32’s new hull and deck tooling.

“The new trawler crowd is looking for a low-maintenance boat,” he says.

Trawler news in brief

Altima Yachts of Montreal, which builds pilothouse yachts from 56 feet to 65 feet, has come out with a pair of sedan-style trawlers on modified-vee hulls. The 43-foot Euro Sedan will be followed by the 52-foot Euro Sedan. www.altimayacht.com

The C-Ranger line includes a 21-foot tug and new R25 trawler. It is a joint venture between C-Dory and Ranger Tugs, two family-owned Pacific Northwest boatbuilders. www.c-ranger.com

Caledon Boatworks of Caledon, Ontario, which builds a trailerable, outboard-powered 25-foot cruiser based on a British Columbian commercial salmon boat, has launched a second model. The Caledon 27 has a larger galley, longer V-berth, and a full head compartment with standup shower. www.caledonboatworks.com

Camano Marine of Delta, British Columbia, has launched the Camano 41. Like the Camano 31, the big boat is designed for the cruising couple and has a deck-level saloon and galley, with a large forward master stateroom. www.camanomarine.com

After retiring its popular 42 Heritage trawler and introducing the planing 47 Heritage EU, Seattle-based Grand Banks this year celebrated its 50th anniversary with the Grand Tour 2006: Inside Passage, which took 16 GBs on an organized cruise to Alaska in May. The company also named N.W. Explorations of Bellingham, Wash., the first Authorized Grand Banks Charter Operator and launched the e-newsletter sem@phore . www.grandbanks.com

Renowned cruising sailboat builder Island Packet Yachts has entered the displacement trawler market with the self-righting 41-foot PY Cruiser. The new 41 is the Largo, Fla., builder’s second powerboat since launching the Packet Craft Express five years ago. www.pytrawlers.com

It’s the end of an era for displacement-trawler builder Kadey-Krogen Yachts. In October company president Kurt Krogen transferred his ownership interest in the company — founded by his father, James S. Krogen, and Art Kadey — to a trio of company veterans. Krogen’s brother, Jimmy, will remain the Stuart, Fla., builder’s resident naval architect. Kadey-Krogen currently builds 39-, 44-, 48- and 58-footers. www.kadeykrogen.com

Mainship Corp. of Midway, Ga., will introduce a hardtop version of its 34 Trawler for the 2007 model year. The 34HT retains most of the classic trawler’s layout, but with a hardtop with opening sunroof in lieu of a flybridge. Mainship owner groups also set attendance records at its rendezvous this summer, with 36 boats in Georgetown, Md., and 34 in Vancouver, British Columbia. www.mainship.com

Marine Trader of Toms River, N.J., continues to offer a line of 34-, 38-, 40- and 44-foot semidisplacement flybridge trawlers. Phone: (732) 349-6800.

Mariner Yachts of Chester, Md., this year introduced the Mariner 37 Seville Pilothouse, with full-beam saloon and flybridge. Mariner has opened a new factory in China to increase production of its Seville series and is getting ready to open a third factory next year to build its Blue Sea series of cruisers from 46 feet. www.marineryachts.com

Mirage Manufacturing Company of Gainesville, Fla., reports that it has two Great Harbour N47 deckhouse trawlers under construction. The company expects the first N47 to debut at the Miami International Boat Show in February. www.mirage-mfg.com

Nayron Yacht of Bas-Caraquet, New Brunswick, is new on the trawler scene. It purchased the molds for its North Atlantic 42 — formerly the CML 37 built by C&C Yachts of Toronto — about a year ago. Nayron was started by the developers of the Ovatek egg-shaped fiberglass life raft. The company will build the North Atlantic 42 using honeycomb construction and 100-percent vinylester resin. www.nayronyacht.com

Pacific Asian Enterprises of Dana Point, Calif., has a couple of new Nordhavn models under construction that differ from its traditional offerings: the 75 Expedition Yachtfisher and a 56-foot motorsailer, both expected to be out in 18 months. PAE’s partner factory, South Coast Marine, is opening a new factory in Xiamen, China, where it will build the flagship N86 — among other Nordhavns — and a forthcoming line of Nordhavn megayachts. PAE also has updated its Web site, www.nordhavn.com, with new cruising diaries.

Nordic Tugs repowered its 32-footer for the 2007 model year, and the new standard engine is a 280-hp Volvo Penta D-6 electronic diesel. The builder’s boats now carry National Marine Manufacturers Association certification, the result of a third-party inspection of all Nordic Tug models. Also, the Burlington, Wash., company’s first Southern California rendezvous, held in September, increased the number of annual Nordic Tug rendezvous to seven. What’s more, the company’s annual northwest rendezvous drew a record 89 Nordic Tugs. www.nordictug.com

North Pacific Yachts held its first rendezvous in Victoria, British Columbia, in September. The event drew nine of the Surrey, British Columbia, builder’s 42-foot trawlers. The company, which builds its boats at two yards in China, has a North Pacific 52 on the way and is reintroducing the CHB 36-foot trawler. A 36-foot pilothouse model will follow next year. www.northpacificyachts.com

Real Ships has its Bayou La Batre, Ala., yard up and running and is building two 77-foot expedition trawlers. The company relocated from Florida in 2005, bringing its systems manager, cabinetry manager, paint manager and office staff to the same Alabama yard where the pirate ship Black Pearl, for Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, was created. www.realships.com

It’s been a busy year for Selene Trawlers. Jet-Tern Marine’s new yard is up and running, and has produced the first Selene 59. The Deep Hull 48, a variation on the Selene 47 boasting additional headroom in the engine room and extra fuel capacity, is to be launched soon. In addition, Selene’s annual northwest rendezvous drew 35 boats and 200 people, and its second annual Selene Rally drew 10 boats, according to dealer Friday Harbor Yacht Sales in Friday Harbor, Wash. www.selenetrawlers.com