Slow Down in Style
Charter by trawler is a great value that’s increasingly popular—in places you might not expect.
By Kim Kavin — July 2004
From the Pacific to the Atlantic, couples and families are discovering that they need not cruise far or fast to have a terrific vacation. Trawlers are an increasingly available option in places that aren’t necessarily traditional charter destinations.
“The kind of people who come to us—fairly high-powered, high-stress people—there’s a world of difference between the day they arrive and the day they return,” says Bill Shermer of Blue Goose Charters on the Chesapeake Bay. “The trawler, by its nature, slows the people down. It makes them relax.”
Baltimore Harbor, where Shermer is based, has always been a boating mecca, but not necessarily a charter-business magnet. Still, it’s perfect for a vacation aboard a trawler: easily accessible from major airports, plenty of things to see and do, and a shoreline that’s beautiful to cruise along. These same qualities are also bringing trawler charter clients to places like San Francisco, Southwest Florida, and parts of New England.
At a typical speed of 6 to 10 knots, trawlers are great for beginners who want hands-on instruction and for anyone who simply finds navigating to a place as much fun as getting there. Trawler charters can also be invaluable for anyone considering buying a trawler. Several companies cite liveaboard charter/training courses as a main draw for their Mainships, Marine Traders, Grand Banks, Kadey-Krogens, and Nordic Tugs.
Barbara Hansen, who with her husband, Vic, owns Southwest Florida Yachts, says another thing luring charterers is trawlers’ economic value. “Versus a motoryacht that’s burning 15, 20 gallons an hour, you’ve got a trawler that’s burning between three and six gallons an hour,” she says. “Our Grand Banks 32 burns about one and a half gallons an hour. That’s about the same as a sailboat.”
Some privately owned trawlers, like the handful that visit New England each year, offer full-on crewed experiences. The Royal Passagemaker 57 Fine Romance is a great example. Part of the Newport Yacht Management fleet, this boat is run by the husband-and-wife team that owns it. For a virtually all-inclusive rate of $8,500 per week, the husband acts as captain and the wife acts as stewardess/chef for another couple or for a couple with a child.
A handful of similarly crewed trawlers make their way to ports around the country each year depending on their owners’ schedules, but most charter trawlers are within bareboat fleets. Some companies will provide a captain for a semicrewed experience, while others prefer to have clients learn from captains for a few days (if necessary) before going cruising on their own.
“Philosophically, I’d rather teach you than give you the boat with the captain, but we’ll do it,” says David Forbes, general manager of Club Nautique in California. “We want to make sure people know what they’re doing, and we want to encourage people to feel comfortable chartering.”
The following is a sample of options, along with information about what you can expect for your charter dollar.
This article originally appeared in the June 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.