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Old 01-12-2013, 04:58 AM   #1
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Mainship and soft decks

As some of my other posts indicate, I am looking for a trawler style vessel to replace a planning hull express cruiser. Spped and noise is not my pleasure. Looking - looking - looking. Many possibilities but main ship keeps coming up. Problem with mainship is "Soft decks". Everyone I have seen has soft decks and oh yea so don't the teak covered CH trawlers. Teak is usually the expected culprit. Maniship on the other hand has no teak, and yet still soft problem. My question is this a problem with some part of the design of a Mainship or simply an old boat problem that was not appropriately maintained? Also, is the Mainship deck cored with plywood, I think my preferance, or balsa?
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Old 01-12-2013, 08:26 AM   #2
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As a former owner of a 78 Mainship 34 (for 15 years), yes soft decks are a Mainship trait on the old 34 Nantuckets. Never saw one whose decks did NOT get compromised someplace and need repair and I checked scores of boats for friends and helped many do core repair.
I repaired much of the decks on mine. Not bad work if you don't mind the mess.
Some of the deck is cored with plywood, some balsa, some foam. The mix depends on the year.
The problem stems from less than ideal designs and attachments of railings, flybridge seats, etc. and lack of maintenance both.
Past that they are great boats, very versatile, and will take more that the captain and crew can.
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Old 01-14-2013, 10:26 AM   #3
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+1 on the plywood
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:42 PM   #4
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The sliding door and the ladder feet seemed to be the culprit on the ones I looked at. I found 2 out of a dozen that weren't rotted/sagging. I bought one of those, they are few and far between. If you find one, my advice is grab it and enjoy!
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:40 PM   #5
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Is there some sort of rule of thumb method for a novice to determine "soft decking"? Is the condition obvious or does it take a professional to discover this issue? I walked on two last weekend and didn't notice any indications but I was, and still am, skeptical.
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:50 PM   #6
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The easiest places I found were to look aft from the engine compartment at that bulkhead. Stick your head down in the cockpit hatch look forward above the water tank that many have there. Always carry a flashlight and never be bashful about looking EVERYWHERE, you'll be looking there if you have to fix it.

Sometimes though "you has to pay you money and takes you chances". I 'm not usually a proponent of surveyors, but if unsure of your evaluating skills regarding soundness, a Mainship's propensity for deck issues has me saying perhaps you should get someone who knows them and what to look for. It can be money well spent. Few things more aggravating than a dream that turns into a nightmare!
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:16 AM   #7
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If you look at the TOP of the sliding door from a short distance, if it is a "smile" then the bulkhead below is rotted and is sagging. If the top is straight, then it is still sound (however it may still be wet).
I suggest buying a moisture meter. Cheap investment and while not 100%, they give you an indication.
Like I said I never saw a 100% dry Mainship 34. Never. (Except for mine right after I fixed everything)
Actually fixing the cockpit deck is the easiest are to repair. So don't sweat that. The side decks were a real *itch because I fixed mine from inside.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:19 AM   #8
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JL did you replace your cockpit's top layer of glass or did you do the digout/tap-in wood replacement I've seen some do?


Oh yeah, in addition to the "smiling" door, the side decks aren't supposed to noticeably slant inward. I went to see a boat in Fort L'dale that bad a bad cockpit (slider was off its track so you could enter/exit), cabin top held water on the flybridge it was so gone and the side decks sloped inward to the point that the entire house had to have sank 3-4 inches, none of the windows would open and all of the frames had daylight around them, it had a Lehman and a ball of rust that he swore was a working transmission! I couldn't find the dipstick!! and he'd just let a friend take his family to the Bahamas for 2 weeks on it! He wanted $25K for it and told me on the phone that it was in great shape! I had just left one in much better shape that needed the engine reassembled, asking $8K and wanted offers!! Prices are all over the board and its definitely buyer beware!
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:23 PM   #9
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I only had to re-glass a small area around the base of the ladder in the cockpit.
I re-cored close to 1/2 of the flybridge, a large areas on the bow/foredeck, and both side decks.
The side decks were a PIA as I did them from below so I wouldn't have to grind them as there is not much room to work in. I left the outer skin in place and replaced coring (plywood) and all the backing plates for the stanchions and cleats.
I also replaced the rotted balsa on the bridge with plywood. There were places where the balsa was so saturated it squeezed like a sponge.
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Old 06-22-2013, 07:28 PM   #10
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I am getting ready to redo the flybridge never done that before, wish me luck
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Old 07-07-2014, 08:09 PM   #11
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looking for info on main 34 swim platform,mine was ripped up in the port corner.what to do. thanks
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Old 07-07-2014, 08:11 PM   #12
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or tell me the right place to post this for help''
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Old 07-08-2014, 08:33 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hullbilly View Post
looking for info on main 34 swim platform,mine was ripped up in the port corner.what to do. thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hullbilly View Post
or tell me the right place to post this for help''

Probably this is the right place... but it might help if you start a separate thread on the question, and also hum a few bars about which kind of Mainship and what kind of swim platform you're talking about. ('70s/'80s 34? 2000-something? Or...)

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Old 07-08-2014, 08:43 AM   #14
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looking for info on main 34 swim platform,mine was ripped up in the port corner.what to do. thanks
An old 34? If you can "splice" in some teak strips the repair can be pretty easy. Just a matter of lots of screws. Old teak platforms are pretty available, most of them would work, just take it apart and reuse the teak as required.
I actually bought a complete one for $75 from a Mainshipper who built a new one out of the plastic teak. I took it all apart and added 7 inches to my Albin platform.
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Old 08-18-2014, 12:42 PM   #15
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Are soft decks mainly on the 34s or on 390s and 400s as well? Any suggestions on where a decent mositure meter can be purchased - preferences??
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Old 08-18-2014, 02:04 PM   #16
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Are soft decks mainly on the 34s or on 390s and 400s as well? Any suggestions on where a decent mositure meter can be purchased - preferences??
No issues yet with our 1997 Mainship 350 decks.
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Old 08-21-2014, 08:43 PM   #17
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no problems with my 2003 390
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Old 08-21-2014, 10:05 PM   #18
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no soft decks with my 2005 34' fly bridge...
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Old 08-22-2014, 07:56 AM   #19
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Are soft decks mainly on the 34s or on 390s and 400s as well? Any suggestions on where a decent mositure meter can be purchased - preferences??
1982 Mainship I Power Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

Or you can make a deal with me on this.
EVERYTHING, is done, read the specs.
The biggest problem on these boats is not the plywood but the end grain balsa. Water gets in and runs around like little rivers all over the place. The doors are 30+- so they are worn out the interiors are dated, the window fur is rotted, the monkey fur looks like crap in the v berth. The engines are Perkins, not my fav, and on and on and on. I know all this because I have addressed it all with my $ and labor.
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