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Old 07-09-2015, 11:18 PM   #1
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New....HELP!

I'm shopping my heart out, with my wife's list of demands in hand. Having looked at just about every boat afloat, I really like the Albin 36. I've even seen a few long in the tooth Mainship 34s that I'm temped to spruce up and stuff a larger engine in. Kind of a super trawler/sport fish hybrid. But the boat with the lay out that's the absolute best for me is a Marine Trader 34 Double Cabin.

There are other boats that feel better built, are faster or have a particular feature I like. But the foot print of the MT34 is literally what I'd design if I were starting from scratch.
The problem is I'm not very educated on Marine Trader.
I'm an odd one, I like older, more classic boats.
If I have the cash in hand to buy the latest and greatest trawler on the market I wouldn't. I've already factored in some refitting after I buy the boat. I just don't want to end up on a repair treadmill, run out of cash, and end up with the same number of usable trawler I have now.......zero

So what do you guys think?
I'm aware of the window issue, what else do I need to be looking out for?
I'm finding good looking boats for around $40k(79-85ish). A lot of them have new top side paint and teak looks reasonable. What else do I need to know about these boats?

Thanks in advance
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Old 07-10-2015, 06:57 AM   #2
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So what do you guys think?
I'm aware of the window issue, what else do I need to be looking out for?
I'm finding good looking boats for around $40k(79-85ish). A lot of them have new top side paint and teak looks reasonable. What else do I need to know about these boats?
Welcome to the hunt!

Marine Traders were built on a contract basis by a lot of different yards so quality will vary but the main things to look for are soft decks (leaky teak) and rusted black iron fuel tanks. Be prepared to replace the generator if it has a lot of hours on it (and you need it). Old electrical wiring can be a problem and dead ended wires. Most of the electronics will most likely need a refresh. Most MT's have Ford Lehman engines and if properly maintained, they are largely bullet proof and parts are available. If you find a boat that has been mostly in fresh water, it will likely be in much better condition but not always. For a boat that age, be sure to get a good survey and an engine survey.
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Old 07-10-2015, 07:13 AM   #3
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Be VERY careful of the older trawlers from Taiwan (Albin, Marine Trader, etc) that are anything but at the upper end of the asking prices or you know the owner and the history of maintenance. Do NOT rely on a surveyor to give the info necessary to make an informed purchase.

Sure there could be a deal of the century out there...all I am saying is be careful as these boats on average, even when they look spectacular have not been upgraded or well maintained beyond the obvious.


The hard things like complete plumbing or electrical or complete fitting resealing probably have been ignored and are costly or time consuming to bring up to good standards. Really check them out thoroughly before you think you are getting a good deal.


Many rant about what a great boat they got only to find just a few years later what a rats nest of outdated wiring, delaminated/soft decks and large areas of rot, delaminated hulls from hydrolysis, repeatedly patch but never upgraded water systems, leaking windows beyond repair....on and on....
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Old 07-10-2015, 07:17 AM   #4
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I would say your on the right track. Both Albin and MT are great boats. The MT's were unfairly bashed by the Grand Banks crowd back in the day but they were often built by the same craftsmen in the same yards. I wouldn't hesitate to buy one. Your already aware of the leaky windows and decks, the other issue they all have is rusted fuel tanks. No matter what it is or what shape it is in, sooner or later you will board one and you will just know it is the right one. I swear it is the boat that picks the owner.
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Old 07-10-2015, 07:25 AM   #5
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Oops, Donsan & Psneeld beat me to it. Psneeld's remark "Do NOT rely on a surveyor to give the info necessary to make an informed purchase." sounds a bit unreasonable but is actually the best bit of advice your likely to get. Crawl around the bilges and look for yourself.
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Old 07-10-2015, 07:48 AM   #6
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Psneeld's remark "Do NOT rely on a surveyor to give the info necessary to make an informed purchase." sounds a bit unreasonable but is actually the best bit of advice your likely to get. Crawl around the bilges and look for yourself.
Just to clarify and I am putting words into the mouth of other posters, the message here isn't "don't get a survey". The message is do not RELY on the survey by itself to make a decision. Be there with the surveyor and ask questions. If you notice something that wasn't checked, ask about it. Also keep in mind, the surveyor can't see or get to everything. Fuel tanks are often covered over with panels. It is important to find a very good surveyor. They all seem to use checklists nowadays but their experience can vary all over the place.
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Old 07-10-2015, 07:51 AM   #7
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actually best to have someone with years of experience in vessel type and manufacture crawl around in the bilge.


most purchasers and possibly many surveyors are totally unaware of what problems may be present and know what to look for.


yes get a survey...check with your proposed insurance company and lender to see if that one is acceptable.


that was my point about not finding disasters about their boat till years after their purchase.


then.... too many are not very forthcoming about admitting that they bought something probably for more than they should have and they are suffering though the months or season of lost boating due to the oversight by them or the surveyor.
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Old 07-10-2015, 09:08 AM   #8
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As a owner of a MT couple things I can recommend

1. my surveyor suggest we be inside on a very heavy rain day to find the leaky windows and we did

2. the dead end wiring issue is true but can be a easy fix but some of the yards used low quality panels and the breakers would go bad not a big issue if you can find the breakers

3. On larger MTs the bilge through hulls in many cases were under sized

this all being said I love my old MT
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Old 07-10-2015, 10:27 AM   #9
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Good stuff guys!

I think at this point I'm going to just assume the boat has leaky windows and start there, if I end up with a Marine Trader. If I fix/replace the windows and didn't need to, at least I'll have new windows

I'm a little nervous about the fuel tanks.....actually very nervous.
Has anyone done theirs?
If I'm forced to replace the tank I have a guy who'll make a custom tank for me. If I could carry more fuel on bard that would be a silver lining, and take some of the sting out of the repair.

The wire issue is the least challenging for me.
I have a background in chasing wires and crawling through tight spaces.
Don't particularly want to, but it's doable.

I guess if I wanted a maintenance free boat I should have stuck with my kayak
It's a little perplexing how folks who own other brand boats bad mouth Marine Trader while MT owners don't really reflect their criticism. I'm starting to think it's the boat equivalent of Chevy vs Ford.

If anyone here has taken on any of the about jobs feel free to expound on your experience.
And if any MT owners want to show off their boats area Tampa Bay, beers on me
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Old 07-10-2015, 11:42 AM   #10
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I cut out 2-200 gal tanks with a small Rigid (home depot brand) one handed recip saw.


Bottoms were full of gunk but fuel and fuel filters always perfect...probably because I like calm seas.


Replaced with 2-58 gal Moeller poly tanks..love being able to see into them and empty them at the end of the season till my following years trip to/from Florida.


100 Gallons gets me from Jersey to Norfolk no problem...about 300 miles with plenty of reserve. I could have put in more tanks...but love the storage and 300 miles per leg for now is good enough.


Messy job but not too hard on a single engine...twins a different story.
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:01 PM   #11
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Shameless plug for my well maintained Mainship 34 that doesn't have any of the issues mentioned above. Rewired, solid decks, windows don't leak, good fuel tanks, stored in covered docks on fresh water, 800 mile range, priced to move below your max budget, etc. See the classified section...

But Marine Trader's are nice, too.
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:31 PM   #12
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Shameless plug for my well maintained Mainship 34 that doesn't have any of the issues mentioned above. Rewired, solid decks, windows don't leak, good fuel tanks, stored in covered docks on fresh water, 800 mile range, priced to move below your max budget, etc. See the classified section...

But Marine Trader's are nice, too.
If it wasn't for the need for another cabin I'd already have a Mainship 34.
Found one for sale awhile back re-powered with a brand new Caterpillar.
It did 20knots (GPS) and could still get around 2.5gph at 8 knots.
My kids (11 and 16) will share a V berth, but not a sofa. So no Mainship for me.
I like the layout of the Maniship 36 dub cab, but the few I looked at were all gas powered. And the engine bays looked like they haven't been opened since the boat left the factory.
If new model Mainships weren't so ugly(IMHO) I'd consider one. But I couldn't spend that much money on something I didn't want to look at.
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:44 PM   #13
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I had a 1979 Albin 33. I could not tell it apart from a Marine Trader of the same size and vintage. I always suspected that they were built in the same yard. Same intricate teak carvings on the inside and teak decks and window frames on the outside. It you like to do teak these are the boats for you. I few years later my suspicions were partially confirmed when I witnessed molds being rolled around in the streets in the middle of the night in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. One factory would lay up a hull and then move the mold down the street to another builder.

My boat was tough as a tank but leaked like a sieve especially over the master bed and down the bulkhead under the window. I think that the screws holding the teak deck down rusted out leaving holes that leaked.
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:56 PM   #14
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Just purchased a MT34 last month.Moved it from SW Fl. to the Chesapeake-no problems. Like was said,lot's of dead wires,not an issue will pull them out little by little. Electronics needed up dating but again no real big deal. Luckly no leaking windows,all aluminum. No teak decks so no soft spots.Fuel tanks seem to be in great shape,I like that the fill do not go directly into the top of the tanks but rather into the sides with an elbow. Any water that might seep thru the deck will not end up on the top of the tanks. So all in all no real big issues just the usual boat stuff.There are some crazing spots on the deck but I'll address that when she gets hauled this fall. Feel we got a good deal on the boat and left us money to do what needed to be done.
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Old 07-10-2015, 01:09 PM   #15
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If it wasn't for the need for another cabin I'd already have a Mainship 34.
Found one for sale awhile back re-powered with a brand new Caterpillar.
It did 20knots (GPS) and could still get around 2.5gph at 8 knots.
My kids (11 and 16) will share a V berth, but not a sofa. So no Mainship for me.
I like the layout of the Maniship 36 dub cab, but the few I looked at were all gas powered. And the engine bays looked like they haven't been opened since the boat left the factory.
If new model Mainships weren't so ugly(IMHO) I'd consider one. But I couldn't spend that much money on something I didn't want to look at.
We have the same issues, but my kids can share the couch and better like it...mama and daddy get the v berth. Agree with you on the larger, gas powered Mainships. We solved out problem with a 46 Jefferson. Good luck on your search.
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Old 07-10-2015, 03:22 PM   #16
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Hey Cbrooks

Welcome aboard. Good to have you around. Good hunt
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Old 07-10-2015, 03:25 PM   #17
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thanks

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Hey Cbrooks

Welcome aboard. Good to have you around. Good hunt
Thank you!
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Old 07-10-2015, 04:39 PM   #18
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The MT's were unfairly bashed by the Grand Banks crowd back in the day but they were often built by the same craftsmen in the same yards.
Totally inaccurate. Wood Grand Banks were built in Anerican Matine's yard in Kowloon, Hong Kong and fiberglass Grand Banks were built in American Marine's Singapore yard until Grand Banks construction was fairly recently moved across the Strait to the company's newer yard in Malaysia. Grand Banks were never made in Taiwan and the folks who built Grand Banks boats never made Marine Traders or any of the other so-called "Taiwan Trawlers."

Probably the most important contribution American Marine brought to this type of recreational boat manufacturing was consistency of (high) quality across the entire Grand Banks line and from boat to boat. Something that was very much absent among most of the the Taiwan boat builders in the 70s and 80s.
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Old 07-10-2015, 05:01 PM   #19
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I must have mixed GB up with one of the other brands from an article I read. I defer to your apparent knowledge on the subject and retract the "latter" part of my statement.
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Old 07-10-2015, 08:34 PM   #20
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I must have mixed GB up with one of the other brands from an article I read.
That's okay. A lot of people believe that because brands like Grand Banks and Island Gypsy were built in Asia they were built in Taiwan. Easy to believe since so many brands were turned out in Taiwan from many family-owned boatyards that were there at the time.

But the Grand Banks and Island Gypsy lines of boats both originated in Hong Kong. Kong & Halverson (the "Kong" first worked at American Marine and was involved in the creation of the Grand Banks line before leaving and teaming up with Halverson) created the Island Gypsy line of diesel cruisers.

American Marine closed their Hong Kong yard in the early 70s and moved all production to Singapore. I'm not sure what Kong & Halverson did in terms of yard location.
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