Which boat is the best kind to live on?

Trawler Vs. Sailboat Vs. Catamaran

When considering what type of boat to buy as a liveaboard for a family there are a lot of things to consider. We all see the YouTube families and stars on their large catamarans and sailing across beautiful blue waves rising and falling to each wonderful adventure. The reality is, we aren’t all made for catamarans nor do we all have the time and money for one. We too like many dreamed of our sailing catamaran adventures, yet bought a trawler. Why did we do that? Why buy an old boat that can’t sail and needs lots of fuel.

We would argue to most important question to answer first is how do you plan on using your boat? Are you planning on living on the water at a dock? Are you planning on coastal cruising along with eastern US in the ICW (inner coastal waterway)? OR are you planning on crossing oceans and joining the ranks of our ancestors and seeking culture around the world?

Once you realize where you plan in living, your boat can or should take many forms from there. A trawler wouldn’t be the best choice when crossing an ocean, and a tall mast of a sailboat may not be the best for the bridges in the ICW.

Next we talk about cost. Acquisition cost or the cost to buy the boat is always where we start. Of course older trawlers you can find for a fraction of the price of new 2020 catamarans. There are a lot of factors that effect the cost, but that is something to consider when thinking about cost. The average used trawler is more than half the cost of the average used catamaran. The cost of maintenance is an easy one. You will ALL the maintenance. It doesn’t matter if it’s a new off the factory line or she’s been sitting idle for years. Some may have more initial work to do than others, but it’s a boat. Something WILL break. We have seen it. Million dollar yachts unable to dock because a bow thruster is out, or a blown engine, generators not working properly or hoses that leak, clamps needing replacing. It could be a number of things that need work at any given time.

So with the initial investment and knowing the cost of keeping it up there is always the argument of sailing is free verses cruising costs so much money in fuel. In all reality it can be what you make it. The fuel burn of running both our 185Hp engines is about 4 gal of diesel per hour, running at 8knots. The ever so popular phrase, Sailing is the Most Expensive way to Travel for Free! rings very true. The cost to sail for free comes with rigging, lines, sails, pullies, stack packs, masts, and so many more moving parts. To get a good sail you’ll spend up to $10,000.

We are not saying it’s more cost effective to motor, nor saying you’ll go broke sailing. We simply want you to think about what is best for you. We went in completely green, knowing nothings about the cost of boating. We have learned so much and know our next home will be bought with much more scrutiny.

We also discuss the weather needed to travel in each vessel and the space differences in a trawler, a sailboat and a catamaran. Continue the discussion:

Published by Wandering Knapps

We are a young family with 3 boys learning life on a boat. Every week we explore, learn something, fix something, answer something and try to share the true essence of boat life. We also love this boating community. But no matter what your passions are in life and where your life leads you. We want you to enjoy the journey.

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