Posted by: Mel Crane | February 3, 2008

Thinking of a trawler? How big should I go?

Thinking of a cruising trawler?  How big should it be?   Size does matter in boats.  A few feet longer gives you a lot more living space and a more luxury for extended cruising.  The hull speed increases in displacement boats with the length at the waterline. A long narrow boat moves faster and is inherently more stable than a short wider one.  However, bigger boats also are more expensive than smaller ones.  They cost considerably more to build and continue to cost more for fuel, docking fees, storage and maintenance.


I always admire the big 58 and 65 footers that stop by my home port in the summer months. I can imagine myself feeling secure at the helm when I slowly move out of the harbour on my way to the next destination. But my wife and I are not yet retired.  We do enjoy the passagemaking lifestyle when we have the opportunity but our most common destination is still an evening cruise around the fairway buoy with a party of eight or ten on board.  The larger the boat, the less likely these little voyages will happen.  So, in my opinion, bigger is not always better.  When building a boat, the most important consideration is to build one that you will use and enjoy.



  1. My husband and I have a 32 ft. Bayliner but are considering a larger boat suitable for some retirement cruising. We have been looking at some displacement trawler plans as fuel economy is very important to us with our impending retirement and we are not about to learn to sail.
    However, after 15 years of boating, backing into a narrow slip remains a stress for my husband. This is especially so in an unfamiliar marina and tends to keep us at home. How do you guys manage those tight situations with larger, heavier boats and only one engine?
    Deb Gillis

  2. Hi Deb. Normally on most larger vessels with displacement hulls a bow thruster is mounted into the hull which is used to push the bow either Prt. or Stbd. We are presently building a 42 foot and will install a bow and stern thruster. With both thrusters engadged we will in effect be able to stick our boat onto a dock in high winds while tieing up our lines.

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