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TOPIC: Comparison of 3888, 3988, 4087 for liveaboard

Comparison of 3888, 3988, 4087 for liveaboard 03 Mar 2015 01:36 #1

  • bobal
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Hi all,

I am thinking about moving onto a boat for the next year; eventually, I will be moving back ashore and then want to use the boat as a cruiser. I live in the PNW (Seattle area) and for liveaboard purposes it will just be me or me-and-the-Admiral. For cruising, there may be one or two tween/teenagers aboard. So, two cabins is plenty, although in this size category the "third" cabin is fine as a place to stow stuff.

I want to be able to single-hand dock the boat: I rented a 3587 a few years ago and I liked the floor plan, but boarding on and off was a serious chore and having a low-skilled mate manning the aft for docking was way too exciting, the cockpit on the 4087 seems mandatory. The 45/47 pilothouses are very nice, but probably too much and I don't feel good about single-handed operation unless bow-thrusters, and it is probably too much boat and expense for the part-time cruising phase.

I really like the "up" galleys in modern designs, definitely need lots of windows, sailboats are fun to putt around on during the day but feel way too claustrophobic when you are stuck in the cabin for a series of rainy days.

During the year, there will be a fair number of cruises, so I would like to unhitch and go without too much of a production. Which means that the liveaboard state and the cruising state need to be pretty similar.

I will have access to shoreside living for a day or two a week even during this period, so laundry/etc., isn't an issue.

But the admiral requires a nice head with a decent shower and maybe even a tub (the 3988 tub seems pretty similar to the 45/47 tub, which is to say marginally workable?).

I need to walk through a 32 again, but my recollection is that it is probably too small. I am 50 years old, still pretty healthy and flexible but want to avoid more than the standard amount of head-bumping, major gymnastics servicing the engine, inability to stand up off the head without the door being open ;).

I have a fair amount of boating experience, just not in these boats and not living aboard. I appreciate your advice.

Any particular danger signs about these models I should worry about?

Bob

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Comparison of 3888, 3988, 4087 for liveaboard 03 Mar 2015 08:56 #2

  • Jeffw
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Welcome to the BOC Bob! :) I'm sure you'll get many more responses, quite a few 3888 and 3988 owners here, a few 4087 folks too. I've been looking at larger boats, including the 38s and 39s, but I'm really not interested in the aft cabin models. The 3288 is a wet-bath and has no tub, and headroom is lacking if you're 6'+. What price range are you in? If I were to spend $100k+, I'd definitely go for a 3988, otherwise a 3888. Have a look at the 3788 also, not sure if they have a tub, but a nice layout.

Edit: I'm going to move this to "Motoryachts," I think you'll get more replies there.

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Comparison of 3888, 3988, 4087 for liveaboard 03 Mar 2015 11:20 #3

  • dmcb
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Welcome to BOC
I cannot speak for anything but the 3888/3870/3818, same boat.
We live aboard our 3870 for about 100 days every year. The entire short season in the far north. We never spend a night at a dock. My wife, myself, a dog and a cat.
We are very comfortable and have no wish for anything larger. We have had larger boats, a 46' Chris Craft so I do have something to compare.
The 38 has a functional tub with shower. Large guest stateroom with good salon seating.
But it always boils down to what you like and want.
Single handling any larger boat is doable if the conditions are right but often they are not. I used to single hand my Chris which had only an upper helm but only in favorable conditions. I have had no need to do it with our Bay.
Here is what we do to dock. It does not take much skill for the mate.
Have a line from the bow or mid cleat run back to he stern. Have a stern line ready. That way you only need to get the stern close enough to the dock for the mate to step off and have control of both ends of the boat.
Or hand the lines to someone.
All done from the stern.
If you are alone of course you will need favorable winds and/or current/tide to keep it at the dock while you do this. Not far from the lower helm.
Doug

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Comparison of 3888, 3988, 4087 for liveaboard 03 Mar 2015 12:36 #4

  • SuperiorDiver
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We have a 4087, it handles rough seas well and is very comfortable to live on. Docking is a bit difficult as the props and rudders are about 4 feet forward from the end of the stern. It just doesn't pivot or is as predictable as other boats of this size, especially as our 38 Chris Craft was.

Other considerations are the stairs you need to go up/down every time you enter/leave the cockpit or salon. With the mid deck, it is also difficult for someone to maneuver from the bow to the stern quickly when assisting with docking.

We do like the mid deck for relaxing or entertaining, and very much like the galley being up at window level, unlike a 4587 we looked at prior to this purchase. For us, the cockpit, or a large rear deck is a must as we SCUBA dive and need a place for the cylinders and compressor, and easy access to the swim platform.

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Comparison of 3888, 3988, 4087 for liveaboard 03 Mar 2015 14:56 #5

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I find the 3988 to be a perfect fit for all of your requirements. Plenty of room, awesome head facilities, tons of storage (including a ton of hidden storage that is to be discovered) and a very open layout that eliminates any form of claustrophobia.

Docking the 3988 without thrusters can easily be done single handedly using the techniques mentioned above (let the bow do what it wants, secure the aft and put the throttle in forward to bring the bow around).

All in all it is a very roomy and comfortable boat.

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Comparison of 3888, 3988, 4087 for liveaboard 03 Mar 2015 16:26 #6

  • Machog
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We live on our 4087 for 3-4 months every year in San Juan and Gulf Islands.

Things we like. The aft owner state room and the separation when we have guests. 88/89's have OK guest quarters, but they are very close fwd, as are the two heads. The third state room, Cave, is ideal for grandkids, or extra storage. 87's Propane cooking means you don't have to fire up the geneset in the morning for a cup of coffee/tea. The propane tank will last almost a complete season, of using it every single day. Two holding tanks are great when you have guests on board, 66 gallons is the largest around for this size of boat-many bigger boats have less.

We love the stairs instead of the ladders. Climbing up and down the ladders on the 88/89 can be a challenge when under way. Stairs also make it much easier to entertain on the fly bridge. Its difficult to get food drinks (even some guests) up top on the 88/89, other than the small pass through hatch (that's food not people;-).

Sunbridge deck is a spacious covered place to sit and you still have the cockpit for a few chairs.

Semi displacement hull on an 87, means you can cruise at slower speeds with great visibility from down stairs, the stern doesn't bury itself. My gph over passed 6 years has been around 5gph for both engines at 1100 rpm, cruising between 8-10knots. If I'm in a hurry she will cruise around 17-18knts at 2200rpm for about 12gph.

Where as 39's tend to be stern heavy, 87's can be a bit bow heavy, but this isn't a problem. I drive from up top 90% of the time, unless its really wet or cold. If you have a dinghy essential in my book over the swim platform, on a 87 stern still doesn't get dipped down. Having a dink on a39' will push the stern down even more. You can put the dink up top on a 38/39, but its a real hassle in my book to get it on and off.

Things that are nice to have on whatever style you get. Vacuuflush toilets, admiral wouldn't buy a boat without them. I do some solo cruising so put a bow thruster on. 87's and to a lesser extent 39's blow around like a leaf in strong winds when docking. 2000w inverter or bigger, with separate battery set for your 110 needs. As I mentioned before propane cooking (standard on an 87) some 39's have been upgraded, is essential in my book. Many 39's came with a genset, very few 87's. I have a small Honda 2000 inverter generator, 1ehour 15min tops up batteries and provides hot water for 2-3 showers when on the hook.

Things I'm not so keen on. Engine room, particularly port engine is very tight for some service items (replacing impellers). Small diesel tanks, on 110 each side, at 5gph its OK, but means I have to fill up in Canada at least twice a season-expensive. Might not be so bad this year, with CDN$ being so weak (1.25 to US$ currently). Rough water head on and astern OK, but from the beam, not a comfortable ride on the 87.

Well there you have my 10c, totally biased of course. We love our 87 and wouldn't change it for a larger offering. FYI if you are in the PNW, there are currently only 7 87's for sale and 3 are under offer. 87's are nothing like as popular as 38/39's. Probably because the salon on those is much bigger, so if we have a rotten summer, you'll have more space on your 38/39. BUT, last summer we were out for our usual time and only had 2 raining days-amazing. Never happen again.

Whatever you decide, you can't go wrong.



Machog

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Comparison of 3888, 3988, 4087 for liveaboard 03 Mar 2015 16:51 #7

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Welcome to the forum.
When we were shopping for boats I would imagine myself doing the things we like to do, and see how suitable a particular model would be. We like to fish, not a lot, but enough that an aft cabin was out of the question.
Wanted the walkaround queen, second full stateroom and to be able to easily get from helm to salon to cockpit.
I feel being able to get from the helm to cockpit without stairs is high on my list.

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Joel
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Comparison of 3888, 3988, 4087 for liveaboard 03 Mar 2015 17:05 #8

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Welcome aboard!! I live on board a 3870 and love it. The kitchen is two steps down but that is ok. I use the forward bedroom and small head. Easy to dock using the docking instructions given above. I can only speak for the 3870.

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Just love being on my 3870............Bill
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Comparison of 3888, 3988, 4087 for liveaboard 03 Mar 2015 17:15 #9

  • Jim Gandee
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Bob,
Welcome to the BOC!
I have a 38, my buddy has a 39. Nice boats, both of them. However if I could afford it I'd opt for the 39. It has an up galley which, especially for a liveaboard saves you from going up and down the stairs all the time. We're only talking two stairs but with the up galley on the 39 the solon and living area just feels bigger and more open than the 38.... IMHO. The 39 has a much nicer shower/bath tub arrangement than the 38 however in both cases don't think you're going to fill that tub up and luxuriously soak your troubles away. The 38 only has an 11 gal hot water heater and even with the temp very hot I can only fill the tub up a little over halfway. I presume that would be about the same on the 39 but don't know for sure.
The engine room on the 39 is much larger than the 38 if you're planning to do any maintenance at all.
It may sound like I don't appreciate my 38, that couldn't be further from the truth! It's a great boat with a terrific layout. If I were living aboard though, and could afford it, I'd choose the 39.
Best to you in your search!

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Comparison of 3888, 3988, 4087 for liveaboard 03 Mar 2015 17:25 #10

  • Uncle Bob
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39 is stern heavy? Mine isn't and I have an inflatable and 25hp back there.

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Comparison of 3888, 3988, 4087 for liveaboard 04 Mar 2015 03:44 #11

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I live on my 3870 on the mississippi river 8 to 9 months of the year and find it very comfortable. There isn't anything about it that I'am unhappy with or that bothers me about its design. There are things that over time need repaired or replaced, some are expensive and a lot of work others are just work. A survey should give you a good idea on whatever boat you choose of its condition and what systems may need attention or upgraded to make it a comfortable liveaboard. Good luck

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Comparison of 3888, 3988, 4087 for liveaboard 04 Mar 2015 12:27 #12

  • SuperiorDiver
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I second Machog on the small fuel tanks and the difficulty working on the engines due to insufficient room. The stbd oil filter and port impeller are a real pain to access.

One question for Machog, what engine do you have? The 12 gph at 2200 RPM seems quite low if they are Cummins 6BTa 250HP. Mine uses about 16 gph at that speed, which is in line with the Cummins published fuel usage of 7.9 gph (15.8 for both) @ 2200 RPM. Just curious.

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Comparison of 3888, 3988, 4087 for liveaboard 04 Mar 2015 13:47 #13

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"One question for Machog, what engine do you have? The 12 gph at 2200 RPM seems quite low if they are Cummins 6BTa 250HP. Mine uses about 16 gph at that speed, which is in line with the Cummins published fuel usage of 7.9 gph (15.8 for both) @ 2200 RPM. Just curious."

Great observation and perfect data SuperiorDiver . This came up in a recent thread with Machog before where he indicated that the 12 gph is just a simple division of the total engine hours divided by the total gallons used to refill the boat after a cruise. That would include any and all idle time as well as 5 mph zone times up to the point of engine off. Your usage is the actual fuel burn at that speed for both engines which is perfectly inline with what would be expected for that boat and those engines.
As another example if you use averages with total hours as opposed to fuel burned per hour at the cruise speed my calculations often say I am using 10 gph when cruising at 17 knots vs the 18-19 gph which they really consume at that speed.

Hope this helps

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Northport NY

Comparison of 3888, 3988, 4087 for liveaboard 04 Mar 2015 14:33 #14

  • yachtman
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I have chartered the 4087 a few times ( lazy dayz) and I have owned a 3988.

I really like both boats most have already been discussed. The pluses of the 4087 for me is the aft cabin and the outside mid deck for outdoor lounging. For a live abord refering to just the act of living I would probably prefer.the 4087 but for the boating and mechanical aspect I would prefer the 3988.

The 3988 has in my opinion a much better living space inside for the salon and kitchen area. The 4087 better sleeping arrangements. I also liked the bath tub arrangement of the 3988. My 3988 had a extentended flybridge/aft hard top that made for a very nice outside living space and a covered cockpit. I also made stairs up to the fly bridge as opposed to the ladder they come with. Made for much easier and safer up and down.

The engine room is good on the 3988 and pretty much everything has good aces not so much on the 4087. The 3988 has alot of storage area. There is a cubby door in the guest room area at the foot of the bed if you open that there is a good amount of room in there where the water heater is.

The aft berth/bedroom in the 4087 is much nicer in the 4087 than the v berth in the 3988. I think that would make it a wonderful live abord.

Both boats have their good and bad points. In the end I prefered the 3988 that's what I bought. It all comes down to what your wants are.
If I was going to sit at a dock most of the time I would definately get the 4087. The more boating I was going to do I would get the 3988.
Don't get me wrong I like both boats. I almost bought a 4087 but at the time I couldn't find one I liked that was forsale. I think you will find the selling price of a 4087 in the same condition as a 3988 will be lower than the 3988.

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Comparison of 3888, 3988, 4087 for liveaboard 04 Mar 2015 15:18 #15

  • Norton Rider
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You may want to look at a 3788 as an alternative. They have up galleys, a spacious salon, single head with a shower, and a guest stateroom with a standup vestibule and a large hanging locker. They certainly do not have the space of a 38, 39, or 40 but they may be a bit easier to handle by yourself.

There aren't that many 3788s out there. There are two versions with slightly different interior layouts: 2000 and prior, 2001 and later (think the change was in 2001 but it may have been in 2000). Meridian continued the line with the 391. For those that want additional room in the salon there are a few 3788s and 391s out there without a lower helm. The earlier ones have have a LOA of 41' 2" with a beam of 13' 4". The later ones don't have an anchor pulpit and are a bit shorter. Most came with Cummins diesels; some came with gas engines.
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Comparison of 3888, 3988, 4087 for liveaboard 04 Mar 2015 15:18 #16

  • Machog
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Smitty 477, is totally correct with his GPH comments about my fuel usage.

I use my simplistic approach because both my fuel gauges are worthless. But, I still need a guide to make sure I don't run out of fuel.

My fill to fill divided by the hours run, gives me accurate data on what is left in the tank. The last run I did from Anacortes to my YC in Bellevue, (70 miles) contained and hour and half of slow running going through Swinomish Channel, 20min of slower running in fog, idling in the small lock and 30 min of slow stuff out to Lake Washington. Bottom line for hours travelled, that's the GPH I end up with when filling the tanks. Without some sophisticated fuel flow instrument, I don't know of a better way.

Machog

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Comparison of 3888, 3988, 4087 for liveaboard 04 Mar 2015 16:06 #17

  • Flyboy III
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38XX-inexpensive to purchase and operate, perhaps in comparison not so comfy in the salon. But I love mine!

The others are a bit more modern and comfy, and more pricey.

The 40 is a great boat but I could not afford it. A lot of up and down stairs during the day to get from place to place.

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Comparison of 3888, 3988, 4087 for liveaboard 04 Mar 2015 16:26 #18

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"My fill to fill divided by the hours run, gives me accurate data on what is left in the tank. The last run I did from Anacortes to my YC in Bellevue, (70 miles) contained and hour and half of slow running going through Swinomish Channel, 20min of slower running in fog, idling in the small lock and 30 min of slow stuff out to Lake Washington. Bottom line for hours travelled, that's the GPH I end up with when filling the tanks. Without some sophisticated fuel flow instrument, I don't know of a better way."

Perhaps try this to see how much fuel you actually burn while on plane....
On the next long trip like your 70-100 mile trek track your times on plane vs the time at the docks and the idle time.
We do this simply by taking clock readings before we start and then when we end and add timing the exact times we go on and off plane.
Typically we get these numbers for a 100 mile leg (common for is since both Kingston NY and Block IS and almost exactly 100 nmiles away):
- 7.0 total engine hours
- 5.5 hours at 17 knots
- 1.5 hours at 5 mph or idling/hovering
- 105 total fuel used
- 2 gallons approx. fuel use at 5mph/idle
- 103 gals approx fuel used at 17 knots cruise
- 15 gph , average fuel use for trip
- 18.75 , average fuel use at 17 knots speeds

Now when we do this same type of fuel accounting on a trip of say 35 miles we will see a much larger variations die to the longer 5 mph/idle time relative to the cruising speed times, something like this: 9 gph total time average vs 18.6 total fuel use average while at 17 knots.

Doing this over the past 8 seasons I know that I am burning about the same fuel at the base 17 knots rpms (or any other speed tracked) and can figure my fuel to be used by speed quickly and accurately within a few seconds.

Hope this helps

Hope this helps
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Northport NY

Comparison of 3888, 3988, 4087 for liveaboard 04 Mar 2015 16:35 #19

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We have a 38 and love it. We have no plans to go any larger. For us two, it's perfect.

I actually did the opposite of what a lot of people do trying to modernize with LEDs and the like. I put ours back to stock just like you would do with a classic car. ( Johnny Vintage )

Even had an as new front sun pad made by Kim from Canvas Plus in Arlington, Washington.

If you love teak, you will like the 38, if not, go with a 39.

My wife prefers galley down as the prep mess is out of site. The two stairs to the galley are a good work out constantly going back to the fridge for more wine!!

We spend almost every weekend on ours, almost every Wednesday night for a movie and dinner, and most of the summer.
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Comparison of 3888, 3988, 4087 for liveaboard 04 Mar 2015 17:34 #20

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Having owned a 3988, I really liked the salon arrangement. We also looked at 4087 but the small inside spaces did not suit our cruising style. You need to spend some time imagining yourself using the boat, sitting at anchor, nice weather, crappy weather etc. We boat in the winter quite a bit and the larger heated inside spaces are a bonus.
One other point regarding boat size.... get the largest you can afford , you will never say " gee I wish I had a smaller boat lol" I single handle our 4788 and find it much easier to manage than our 3988!

good luck with your purchase

Cheers, Gary

picture of both my boats rafted together at Montague Harbour { no I did not own both lol}

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Comparison of 3888, 3988, 4087 for liveaboard 04 Mar 2015 18:59 #21

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I have several liveaboards on my dock. Most have been at it through a couple of boats. Many started with an aft cabin boat and gave it up. Remember you will be dragging laundry and foot up over the aft cabin almost daily. In Puget Sound you will have to content with the occasional light snow dusting and climbing over an aft cabin in the snow would not be fun or even safe. If it were me I would be looking at a used 45 or even an older 47, which you may be able to get a good buy on. Those make perfect live aboard boats. Guests can even have their own stateroom and head. They even have tubs, and two showers (one is bottom of tub). To eliminate running laundry up the dock, many 45s and 47s have washers and dryers on the boat.

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Comparison of 3888, 3988, 4087 for liveaboard 05 Mar 2015 18:59 #22

  • bobal
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I really appreciate all the feedback so far! For a bit of clarification, I think it is unlikely I will end up as a permanent live-aboard: my new Admiral assignment has a son who is 12 and she doesn't court martial me then we will end up in a house together on shore. Longer-term, the boat will just be for day cruises and a few weeks a year of longer cruises. So, I am somewhat tilted towards the better cruising boat vs. the better liveaboard, but it also needs to hold me over for six months to a year.

The 45/47 is a great boat, but it is a lot more than I need, in terms of boat handling and expense/maintenance. If I was serious about a permanent liveaboard it might tip me over the edge, but I wouldn't want to carry that and a house payment/house maintenance.

The engine access issue struck me for the time I spent on a 3587, but I haven't spent more than about 15 minutes on a 39; outside of the engine still seemed like a bit of an issue but better than the 35/40.

Can you typically do low-speed single-engine with both the 40 and the 39 (best fuel efficiency)? I know it depends on the transmission/engine, but I suppose one or the other could be foreclosed.

Thanks,
Bob

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Comparison of 3888, 3988, 4087 for liveaboard 05 Mar 2015 20:29 #23

  • Ruffryder
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4387 has a washer/dryer combo unit...

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Joon, Kathy, Jaden & Tristan
93 3058
92 2855
91 Fourwinns 205
Longbranch WA
Life is Good

Comparison of 3888, 3988, 4087 for liveaboard 07 Mar 2015 16:51 #24

  • RinnyBeth
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The Capt and I just spent 4 days on our 3888 with a husky and 2 pocket size pups and we had plenty of room, with our new Dickenson diesel stove for heating and cooking it was perfect, we didn't have the teenagers with us, but even with them there is plenty of room to spare..

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