About: Odyssey an Endeavour Trawlercat 36
We purchased Odyssey new in 2000. The article below was published after a year of travel and living aboard Odyssey and details what it is like to cruise on a trawlercat. The link at the end of the article provides detailed information about our Endeavour Trawlercat 36
Trawlercat 36 Cruising
A what? A trawler catamaran? Never heard of one. That was our first reaction. Many of our boating friends had the same reaction when we selected a trawlercat for our next live aboard boat. We’d been monohull sailors for 30 years and lived aboard a sailboat for three years while traveling the Great Lakes, ICW, Bahamas and Great Loop. Our switch to a trawlercat was a big change.
We thought going from a 36′ sailboat to a 36′ trawler would give us the additional space and features we wanted. A washer/dryer, private guest cabin, and pilothouse were high on our priority list for our next boat. We found we’d have to move up to a 42′ or larger traditional trawler to get what we wanted for comfortable living space. Then we found the Endeavour Trawlercat 36 at West Marine Trawler Fest in Solomons, MD. Physically her looks are deceiving. Tied in a slip near traditional trawlers her low profile makes her seem very small. Once on board, however, the small feeling disappears and because of the catamaran design, 36′ of boat provides living space equivalent to a 42′ traditional trawler.
At dock, especially at a boat show, it’s easy to compare boats and see what they are like at rest. It’s more difficult to know what a boat will be like while underway or at anchor. We did sea trials, liked the feel and decided to purchase. We named her Odyssey. Now a year and 6,000 miles of cruising later we can relate many of the unique bonuses of trawlercat cruising.
The Limehouse Bridge tender again announced the bridge was inoperative waiting for repairs. Ruth slowly took us past the anchored sailboats, trawlers and sport fish caught because of the bridge’s 12′ clearance at MHW. I went forward to visually confirm my calculations were correct and our 13.5′ of air draft would clear the bridge with the favorable tide. Ruth slowed Odyssey to a crawl; I checked clearance and gave her an ok. With a foot to spare we passed under the broken bridge. Our low air draft has proven to be a benefit on many occasions. Now we comfortably pass under many lift bridges no longer concerned about opening schedules, traffic lock downs or frustrations when they announced closings. An added convenience came when we spent the summer in the Erie, Rideau and Richealu canals and didn’t have to lower any gear to clear the low fixed bridges found there.
Heading along the ICW we read two cruisers’ mail (listened in on their VHF conversation) as they discussed their strategies for crossing Albermarle Sound. One indicated they didn’t anticipate much rolling since they had stabilizers on their boat and used them most of the time. The other commented they had raised their steadying sail and had been pleased with its ability to reduce rolling when the winds were on the beam. We’d already passed the slower trawler with stabilizers and had now caught and passed the larger trawler with their steadying sail up. Our steadying came from our twin hulls. In the 2-‘3’ seas we rocked a bit but not enough to knock books we’d forgotten to remove from the unguarded shelf we use in port.
We’d long ago worked out the speed pecking order for boats on the ICW. Everyone groups nicely into boat style categories. From fastest to slowest there are sport fish, motor yachts, trawlers then sailboats. We’d anticipated moving up from the sailboat category to trawler category figuring we’d move from 6 knots to 7-8 knots with our new purchase. Instead we’ve found we can cruise easily at 10-12 knots. We’ve become our own speed category for the ICW traveling just a bit slower than most motor yachts. Our speed does come with a trade off regarding fuel economy. When we were a 6-knot sailboat we averaged 6-8 mpg. Now as a 10-knot trawlercat we average 1.5 mpg. There’s also a secondary benefit of being able to throttle up and run at 16-18 knots when we want to outrun a storm.
A catamaran hull provides an advantage when we pass other boats. The twin hulls don’t generate much wake at lower speeds allowing us to pass quickly without disturbing fellow boaters. Our small wake worked to our disadvantage near a wide spot on the ICW near the Endeavour Trawlercat underway Savannah Yacht Club. The marine patrol flagged us down and warned us about speeding. I indicated that we weren’t making much of a wake and he agreed but said the sign said: “no wake, boats over 26′ idle speed.” He didn’t consider 8 knots idle speed. We slowed, not because of wake, but because of speed.
The 10′ wide bow makes unassisted docking easy. Pilings and dock cleats are close at hand as we come along side. An easy reach places a bow line around a piling or drops it down on a dock cleat. With that, Ruth gently backs down the opposite engine, and we ease in against the dock to step off and finish securing lines. The same advantage shows up in going through locks, line handling is a snap with the almost straight sides the length of the boat
We heard and saw the wake coming. Sailboat halyards began to clang and boats seaward of us in the marina began to rock in response to a large wake from a passing boat. We sat comfortably in Odyssey’s high visibility cockpit watching the disturbance move toward us. As the wake hit, we rocked slightly and then stopped. The trawlers around us continued their significant rocking for many seconds after the wake passed. The inherent stability of a trawlercat is great, at anchor, at dock and underway.
Anchoring out has changed in a very subtle manner. We’ve always had the depth sounder set to read depth under the keel. On our sailboat we would try to get in close to shore to anchor with about 3′ under the keel if possible. That had us anchoring in about 9′ of water with our 5′ 10″ draft. Now with Odyssey we still looked for 3′ under the hull, and we anchor in 6′ of water usually shoreward of other boats anchored out, a nice advantage in crowded anchorages. Our shallow draft and protected props allows us to tuck into many of the small bays, nooks and crannies closed to boats with deeper drafts. On one occasion the uniform flat uniform bottom lured us in for a snug anchorage. Later at low tide with mask, snorkel and fins in place I eased under the water to check the bottom. I quickly surfaced laughing and stood up. The water was only 4′ deep. It wasn’t until I saw our skegs floating one foot above the sandy bottom that I remembered we were in shallow water. Now used to the cool water, I took time to walk around the boat and scrub the waterline.
The anchor drops from the center of our wide bow, and we ride with very little swinging. The width of the bow comes in handy when it’s time to raise the anchor, and mud or seaweed removal is necessary. The task while still messy is much easier standing to either side of the anchor instead of only being able to work from behind on a narrow bow.
Our first year of travel on Odyssey took us from St Petersburg, FL up the ICW and into the canals to reach Ottawa and Montreal before returning back to explore the Everglades and Florida Keys during the winter. For us, we have found our ideal coastal cruiser from which we can continue to explore.
Transition to a Catamaran Trawler Has detail information about what we selected for Odyssey and why.