Pilothouse and Trawler Yachts

The recreational “trawler” was originally based on the commercial fishing trawler design, a high prow (front), round-bottom, full keel, full displacement boat with a relatively low center of gravity all providing excellent sea-keeping ability in the roughest of sea conditions and powered by low horsepower single or twin diesel inboards.

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“Full displacement” of course refers to the fact that this hull design restricted the boat to “displacement speed,” a mathematical formula based on the waterline length of the boat, and meaning that, regardless of how much power was applied, the boat could never climb up and over the bow wave and reach planing speed. Although this design has been around for eons, it became very popular in the 1980’s when many (mainly) Asian boatyards were commissioned to build them on a production basis for export to North America. Starting in the mid-thirties up to perhaps sixty or more feet in length, the superstructure (what you see above the waterline) “look” has not changed remarkably, but the hull design has varied from full displacement to semi-displacement with more horsepower and sometimes huge trim tabs to allow the boat to reach planing speeds. Modern trawler yachts offer a mid-ship cabin “living” area usually with full 360-degree outward visibility side windows and including a full control helm, a full galley either on this level or on a lower forward level which also includes a forward cabin with separate head, plus a full master lower level aft-cabin with separate head. The hardtop over the aft stateroom is often used for auxiliary dinghy storage plus access to the flybridge control helm. Wide, full perimeter walk-around side decks provide excellent access for docking and handling of lines. In a pilothouse design, the lower control helm with its full weather protection and easy access to the boat’s interior amenities, is moved up higher and further forward into its own separate area, but still inside the cabin, to provide better visibility when controlling the boat from inside. With their (usually) smaller single or twin diesel power and relatively easy accessibility and onboard extended living capabilities, the trawler and pilothouse trawler yachts are often favoured for long range cruising, as long as you can accept their slower speeds.

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