Definition of a "Trawler"

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Willallison, Nov 8, 2004.

  1. Willallison
    Joined: Oct 2001
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    Location: Australia

    Willallison Senior Member

    ..not the fishing boats, but...
    Not too long ago, a trawler (personally hate the term - should be reserved for those boats that it aptly defines... commercial fishing boats. Anyway, I digress...)...not too long ago a trawler could be described as a reasonably economical displacement cruiser. But as consumers demand more and more speed from their boats, so the traditional lines between styles have become blurred.
    It started out with boats like the Grand Banks 42. Pile in a stack of power and any boat can be made to go faster. Then they changed the bottom shape to more sensibly extract better use of all that grunt. So what are we left with? GB would still say it's a trawler....
    Flemming did the same with their otherwise magnificent 55. So too Offshore, of which my parents have one - a 48' with a pair of 320hp cummins. Fool of a thing. Run at anything like displacement speed and the engines aren't working hard enough. Speed up a bit and the thing digs a trench a WW2 veteran would be proud of and uses more fuel than a 747!
    Which brings me to the latest incarnation of the so-called trawler - Beneteau's Swift 42. Now here is a boat that does almost 30 knots and has a bottom shape that more closely resembles my ski boat than any rusty old fishing boat that I ever saw, yet a trawler it most definitley is.... Beneteau's brochure says so.
    What then, defines a trawler?
    Any boat with square windows.....
  2. tom28571
    Joined: Dec 2001
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    tom28571 Senior Member


    Who the h*** knows? Then again, did you ever see a Nordic Tug towing or pushing anything.

    It's just a name that the marketing crowd thinks will impress or attract a buyer.
  3. mattotoole
    Joined: Nov 2004
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    Location: Potomac MD, USA

    mattotoole Senior Member

    Well, you don't have to drink the Kool-aid, so to speak. Get on old GB with a single Lehman, and potter around at 8kt and 1-2gph if you want to!
  4. fcfc

    fcfc Guest

    This is a real "trawler" :

    Specs are there :
    Compare this to the Beneteau swift 42, and you will see the kolossal influence of marketing and look. (with the staline architect ad, nowhere there is the word "trawler").

    The funny thing is that the staline 38 is design category A ocean (unlimited except abnormal as hurricanes ... ) , whereas the swift 42 is category B offshore (waves < 4 m and wind < 8 beaufort) .

    NB Do not confuse the 38 (with all the attributes of a "trawler", except square windows) and the 38S, a completely different boat, although the same external dimensions, superstructures and layout.
    The diff are in the disp 16700 lbs for the 38, and 13000 lbs lbs for the 38S. And of course in the power 50-90 hp for the 38, 300-460 hp for the 38S.
    In the profile view, you can also compare the keel shape and the aft draft for the 38 and 38S.
  5. Tad
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Location: Flattop Islands

    Tad Boat Designer


    Below is something I wrote a while back on differentiating "Trawlers", "Passagemakers", and Edwin Monk Sr. term, "Offshore Cruisers". I believe the trawlers term has come to mean lighter weight inshore cruisers. The cruising boats that have developed on the West Coast of NA should be termed Offshore Cruisers. They are not "Passagemakers", with the tiny windows and restricted interiors that go with that title.

    According to PassageMaker Magazine the Trawler term is a state of mind, (and/or way of life)!!! It covers everything from Lobsteryachts to Nordhavns. But as always this is marketing hype.

    I am chagrined to say that I was involved in the design of a "Fast Trawler" a while back, the bottom of which is a scaled sportfisherman!

    With this series of Offshore Cruisers Tim Christensen and I have concentrated on creating extremely rugged yachts that will be comfortable and livable cruising offshore or coastwise.

    The term "Offshore Cruisers" was used more than 35 years ago by Edwin Monk Senior to describe cruising yachts that incorporated heavy, full-displacement hullform, rugged construction and extended range, enabling cruises of 1000 miles or more on an open coastline with few opportunities for shelter.

    These cruising realities are the reasoning behind my combining features from motoryachts with those of an offshore passagemaker in the Christensen 48 and 55. Though capable of extended self-sufficiency and ocean crossing, these designs are intended for liveaboard offshore cruising. This means the Christensen's have larger deckhouses, bigger windows, and more open interior layouts than a typical passagemaker. However, they are not trawler yachts since that term is reserved for lighter displacement coastal cruisers.

    In hullform the Christensen Offshore Cruisers are beamy with moderate vee and radius chine sections. This form is roomy, stable and capable of carrying large loads. To sink the 48' one inch requires 2800 pounds. These are full displacement hulls, optimized for cruising speeds between 8 and 9 knots. Again, this suits their primary use as offshore cruisers; the hulls are aimed at a higher cruising speed rather than ultimate efficiency at ocean crossing speeds of 6-7 knots.

    So it's all clear as mud now, right.

  6. yipster
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    Location: netherlands

    yipster designer

    ah, van de stadt and the euroboat 2000.
    still no jackpot but now i would go for wood epoxy with just a small single engine and a shaft turning duoprops ;)
    its more sensible as our midcabin 460 hp sundancer that went into winterstaorage, its freezing again here :mad:
    nice boat, didnt know its a "trawler"...

  7. fcfc

    fcfc Guest

    as per the initial post
    "not too long ago a trawler could be described as a reasonably economical displacement cruiser"

    The staline 38 may be described as "a reasonably economical displacement cruiser", so it must be a trawler

    Am I wrong ?
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