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A Slight Change of Pace

    My search for a boat that could meet my spoiled expectations, on a budget of less than one third of what I sold my old boat for, quickly led me to look at single-engine boats. They are more economical to buy with only the cost of one, usually small, engine. They are certainly more economical to operate, running slowly, burning very little fuel, and the maintenance of one engine is half the maintenance of two. To give an example, my old boat had two 1350-horsepower diesels that would allow the boat to cruise at 18 knots burning 100 gallons per hour. I usually cruised at 10 knots burning 20 gallons per hour or 1/2 mile per gallon. A typical smaller single-engine trawler has one engine, usually less than 500 horsepower, and cruises at around eight knots getting close to two miles per gallon.

    A few companies, most notably Nordhavn, are turning out very high-quality trawlers like this, seaworthy and with sufficient range to easily cross oceans. The problem? These boats have become very popular and are quite expensive both new and used. So I began looking at more offbeat boats, slow single-engine trawlers built by lesser-known names or custom built by interesting owners. Many of these, while expensive to build, have not held their value as well as the brand name boats because they are custom built.

    Last week, the search took me to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin to look at a custom-built steel boat, designed and built in 2003 in Nova Scotia by a knowledgeable owner. It’s a shippy looking boat, 52 feet long, with two nice staterooms. It’s powered by a 350 horsepower Lugger engine located in one of the prettiest and best-laid-out engine rooms I’ve ever seen. It needs a few improvements for my use…stabilizers, perhaps a second generator, and perhaps an emergency “get-home” engine. The exterior needs a few cosmetic improvements and some sturdy rub rails along the side. But overall, it’s a nice boat, and I decided if I could get it at a price I could afford, I’d go for it.

Arcadian 010.jpg 

    So Monday I made the owner an offer and today we have a contract to buy a new boat. It’s all still subject to a complete survey and engine survey to make sure the boat is well-built and in good shape, but if all of that goes well, I’ll buy it in late September and start moving it south through the river system in October.

    It’s going to be a little different cruising at eight knots with no ability to speed up. But the fuel savings will be lots of fun and the project of moving the boat 1,300 miles to Mobile, Alabama, understanding its systems, fixing things up the way I want them, promises to be the adventure of a lifetime. Stay tuned.

Click the picture to see all of the new boat pictures.

    Oh, and what to name her? The new owners kept the name Suladan on my old boat, and it was the ultimate Suladan. So we’re looking for a new name. Let us know if you have any suggestions. 

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