Old to new trawler

Discussion in 'Powerboats' started by Carlazzomark, Oct 14, 2019.

  1. Carlazzomark
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    Carlazzomark Junior Member

    I want to convert an old 45-55’ trawler to diesel electric with solar, and re-do the interior to fit my needs. The boat will be used as a live aboard with occasional West Coast coastal cruising.

    I need technical, design, and contractor leads. Anyone interested in initial skull works on this, or if you can point me to experienced folks, please post.

    This is not a “spare any expense” project.

    Thanks.
     
  2. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Have you got any online links to vessels that you are interested in?

    Re how you need 'technical, design and contractor leads', yet it is not a 'spare any expense' project, what sort of budget is available?

    Re the diesel electric aspect, are you looking to do something like what the Greenline boats do?
    https://www.greenlinehybridusa.com/
     
  3. Carlazzomark
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    Location: Michigan

    Carlazzomark Junior Member


    I have just started looking at project trawlers. I have been looking at used, functional trawlers, but their fuel usage and accommodations are not to my liking.

    I do have a budget, just not one that is limitless. I hope to find a boat with a solid hull, decent electronics, and perhaps heads that are in good shape. I would gut the built-in furnishings and flooring, possibly install in-floor heating if that makes sense, carpet, and a galley. Most everything else would be purchased furniture that is not built-in.

    I have seen the Greenline boats. The idea is to use as little fossil fuel as possible. A combination of solar panels, wave/underway generation, and a Tesla-like battery bank should take care of all onboard utilities and some of the propulsion, with the diesel providing electrical generation when the batteries are depleted and the sun don’t shine, as well as propulsion when needed.
     
  4. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Diesel electric with solar power will be a lot more expensive than a straight diesel. Unless you do several thousand miles a year, it will be many decades before you break even. A modest solar power array for interior lights and some other light loads is very feasible. Diesel electric works for some particular applications. It is not an efficient system for a live aboard with occasional cruising. If you are set on a hybrid system, the budget will be really large for a well engineered, good quality design and equipment. If you go the cheap way, with off-brand and surplus materials, it will be inefficient and unreliable. There is no way to beat a diesel for overall economy when all you need is occasional use.
     
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  5. KeithO
    Joined: Jul 2019
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    Location: Michigan

    KeithO Senior Member

    The problem with most trawlers is that they were designed as cruisers. In other words, a planing or semi-displacement hull and large engines (often over 500hp installed). Then usually small fuel tanks for maximized interior space. Usually combined with modest length to reduce the fees for the marina berth and haulouts (cost per foot of overall length).

    Changing the engine installation is not going to have a big impact on operating cost. You need a different hull form and possibly more length to reduce the power needed to drive the boat while still maintaining a modest speed (unless you are satisfied with 6-7kts) in which case a length in the high 30's low 40's would be adequate.

    Unfortunately there are not a lot of alternate hulls to pick from, the cruiser type dominates.
     
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  6. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Maybe Mark (if he is still here with us?) could post some links (eg for vessels on www.yachtworld.com ) to give an example of the type of vessel that he likes and / or is interested in modifying?

    Re a 'trawler', I presume that he means an old trawler yacht, rather than a fishing trawler in need of conversion?
    Maybe something like this?
    1981 CHB Double Cabin Power New and Used Boats for Sale - https://www.yachtworld.co.uk/boats/1981/chb-double-cabin-3558171/

    (For some reason the 'advanced' search facility was not working for me on www.yachtworld.com but it was on www.yachtworld.co.uk )
     
  7. Carlazzomark
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    Carlazzomark Junior Member

    Sorry for the late response, I have been traveling.

    Thank you for the very helpful comments. Which hull type would be amenable?
     
  8. Carlazzomark
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    Carlazzomark Junior Member

    I am most interested in a liveaboard boat that would be docked 90% of the time, with occasional cruises at 7-10 knots on the San Francisco Bay and the Delta. My current preference, changed from a trawler, is a 51’ Bluewater Coastal Cruiser (a misnomer), not an ocean vessel. Would this be better suited?
     
  9. bajansailor
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Hello Mark - given your intended usage, I would think that a Bluewater 51 should work very well.
    I found one on Yachtworld for sale on the west coast - is this the boat that you have in mind?
    1984 Bluewater Coastal Cruiser Motor Yacht for sale - YachtWorld https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1984/bluewater-coastal-cruiser-3562699/
    She has twin Crusader 350 hp gasoline engines - would you be looking to re-engine with diesel and / or electric?
    I only saw one of these vessels (on the east coast) with diesel engines, and she has an asking price of US$150,000.
     
  10. Carlazzomark
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    Carlazzomark Junior Member

    Yes, this is exactly the type of boat I am thinking of. In fact I am considering this very boat. My goal would be to refit to diesel electric with significant battery storage (think Tesla battery bank) so that short trips would use very little fuel. Possible?
     
  11. bajansailor
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    I am sure that it should be possible - however it might well prove to be very expensive to retrofit.
    Are you thinking in terms of replacing the gasoline engines with electric motors, and then having one diesel generator to charge the batteries?
     

  12. Carlazzomark
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    Location: Michigan

    Carlazzomark Junior Member

    Yes, exactly—swap out the gas for electric. I know there are systems out there for purchase. I started looking into it if you months ago. I will pick it up again this week.
     
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