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Old 11-27-2015, 10:31 AM   #1
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Need a Mainship education

I am in the beginning stages of looking for a Mainship 350/390, and looking for the benefit of experience. I am under the assumption that the 350 and 390 are the same boat but for model year, correct? I am looking to get in for around 80-100K, and at those numbers expecting a turn key vessel. I like the looks and layout of the Mains and am still pondering the advantage/disadvantage of single vs twin. I am starting to look and would like any input on what are some weak points, some necessary accessories, etc..
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Old 11-27-2015, 10:34 AM   #2
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Old 11-27-2015, 11:00 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forum! Enjoy the hunt for your new boat search!

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Old 11-27-2015, 12:32 PM   #4
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You should be able to get a good 350/350 with that budget. They are indeed the same boat, just a model year designation. Ignore the mountains of discussion about the hull extension (bustle,) if the boat doesn't have the fix use that as a bargaining chip, but don't worry about it.

You will also find much discussion about the Cat power on some models. The 3126 is a fine engine and ignore any stories about this geing a "bad" engine. Later boats had the Yanmar's which have proven to be a good choice of power for these boats.

Single / Dual is personal preference and with a little objectivity on how you will use the boat the single option should win. I believe all the single engine 350/390" had bow thrusters, and a worthwhile upgrade for some units is newer higher thrust thruster props.

The generator placement is a pain to live with, a real shoehorn job under the cockpit, but like all things a compromise.

This Mainship is a very popular boat and there are plenty for sale. I like the layout and the flybridge is awesome for this size vessel. Stairs are big + too.

Good Luck and maybe consider looking over the Yahoo Mainship owners site, wealth of 15 + years of knowledge over there.

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Old 11-28-2015, 08:49 AM   #5
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Mostly good

I purchased a 2000 MS 390 a little over a year ago. We love the layout, full shower, flybridge, stairs, single engine access. It is a cat 3116 which is the one with the bad rep. I say after all my research, forget about that. The bad ones all failed years ago. My only negative is the poor handling while docking that I still struggle with. That being said, I would do it again.
Good hunting
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Old 11-28-2015, 10:53 AM   #6
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We have a 2003 390 with a single 370 Yanmar. Originally we wanted twins because I always had twins. Could not find a twin I liked when we were looking so settled for the single. We're really happy with it and now would probably not go back to twins. As long as you have a bow thruster (standard with the single) you can get in and out of the tightest spot. I'm at the point now where I dont use the thruster for coming out of the slip and very little for coming in. just takes practice. I like all of the availavle space in the engine room with the single. The sinle always backs to port so just use that knowledge. Whgen coming into the slip I just leave the wheel hard to starboard and just use forward and reverse in a "back and fill" to get in the slip. I'm in an extremely tighslip (it was made for a 32' boat) and the fairway was also made for 32' boats and unless it is very windy I still don't use the thruster. the boat does have a small rudder so a lot of practice is required.
Other than that it is a great boat and we are glad of our choice.
John
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Old 11-28-2015, 03:08 PM   #7
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Thumbs up Mainship

We likewise have had our 390 for slightly less then a year. It is a good, multi-role boat on many points - "Jack of all trades, master of none"! We're happy with ours. Awesome fly-bridge. The long facing bench seats and reversible pilot seat are great for relaxing with friends and enjoying the views.

Keysdisease covered the high points, though as noted, it was the Cat 3116 with some issues. Most should have been sorted by now. A little research as part of your mechanical survey to address that question.

Mine has twin LHA-STE Yanmars. Good motors. Outboard access to anything is a PITA. But with removable floor access the width of the solon, not impossible.

The single vs twins is regularly beat to death on this (and every forum). I believe what most use this boat for, a single is more than adequate. It was what I was looking for, but alas, no good ones were on the market, and mine was, in good condition. I dream of an engine room with access all around the motor!

Good luck in your search.
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Old 11-28-2015, 09:56 PM   #8
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looking for surveyer & info on 39' mainship

Thanks for all the good info!!! You guys are great!
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Old 11-29-2015, 11:56 AM   #9
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Need a Mainship education

Welcome! I have a 2001 390 with a single Cummins 330 hp. Somewhat rare engine option as I have come to find out.

I purchased mine in the fall of '13. Plan on doing the loop in a few years. Had shipped from Grasonville, MD to the Monongahela River 50 miles upstream from Pittsburgh.

Two issues that you need to be aware of, easy fixes, but you will likely encounter with her. First, the hull/deck joint at the rubrail will leak, causing water intrusion. You need to keep the caulking maintained. Second, the drains in the tub under the flybridge bench seats is poorly designed and will cause water intrusion into the cabin. Keep them well maintained as well.

That being said, I love the boat and have no regrets! Be sure to get a good survey done.




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Old 11-29-2015, 06:47 PM   #10
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I chartered a couple of them of that vintage and we have cruising friends with one as well. One we chartered was a thruster equipped single with a Cat 3208, just to throw another flavor in there. The other had twin Yanmars, no thruster. Our friends also had a single Cummins; Mainship really spread their engine business around back then for some reason, regardless of model. For a long the cruiser I preferred the single, much better engine room access and it could accommodate a small generator pretty easily. Overall ergonomics of operating the boat are very good, IMO.

My only beef about the boat, and as discussed before this is an individual tolerance issue, was the too-loud-for-me water slapping noise against the hull while anchored. I didn't like the idea of wearing earplugs, and we ended up sleeping on the pull out bed in the salon, a set up I liked a lot. Better views, galley and coffee and electronics for anchor watch right there.
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Old 11-29-2015, 07:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vulcanbike View Post
Welcome!
First, the hull/deck joint at the rubrail will leak, causing water intrusion. You need to keep the caulking maintained.
I agree w/ Vulcan's comment re: rubrail leakage.

I posted a summary w/ links & photos of what I and others have done to fix the root cause...
See Repairing Hull - Deck Joint - RubRail Leaks in the Mainship builders forum.

I can't speak to the bridge comment as our 34 HT is a hardtop.
We do love our MS

Good luck
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Old 11-29-2015, 10:29 PM   #12
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Thanks to all for help with this matter! If I may ask,what do you mean by keeping the flybridge seats well maintained, is there drainage around them that clogs up?
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Old 11-29-2015, 10:50 PM   #13
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George, the storage boxes under the bench seats have a poorly designed drain. There is just a plastic tube that is caulked in on both the interior and exterior ends. The caulking fails and allows water to intrude into the salon ceiling.


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Old 11-29-2015, 11:01 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Vulcanbike View Post
George, the storage boxes under the bench seats have a poorly designed drain. There is just a plastic tube that is caulked in on both the interior and exterior ends. The caulking fails and allows water to intrude into the salon ceiling.
On the starboard side of mine, they forgot to drill the drain hole altogether. Another project on the to-do list!
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Old 11-30-2015, 12:29 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Keysdisease View Post
You should be able to get a good 350/350 with that budget. They are indeed the same boat, just a model year designation. Ignore the mountains of discussion about the hull extension (bustle,) if the boat doesn't have the fix use that as a bargaining chip, but don't worry about it.

You will also find much discussion about the Cat power on some models. The 3126 is a fine engine and ignore any stories about this geing a "bad" engine. Later boats had the Yanmar's which have proven to be a good choice of power for these boats.

Single / Dual is personal preference and with a little objectivity on how you will use the boat the single option should win. I believe all the single engine 350/390" had bow thrusters, and a worthwhile upgrade for some units is newer higher thrust thruster props.

The generator placement is a pain to live with, a real shoehorn job under the cockpit, but like all things a compromise.

This Mainship is a very popular boat and there are plenty for sale. I like the layout and the flybridge is awesome for this size vessel. Stairs are big + too.

Good Luck and maybe consider looking over the Yahoo Mainship owners site, wealth of 15 + years of knowledge over there.

Not sure what you are referring to about the hull extension.? Can you enlighten me?
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Old 11-30-2015, 06:56 AM   #16
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The first models 350's squatted, too bow high. Mainship decided to add a hull extension (technically a bustle) that is the bolt on swim platform with integral trim tabs.

They leaked, and because they were sealed and filled with foam they would sometimes show a crack in the fairing between the hull and the extension. Mainship had a fix program where they gave owners X $ for a repair that involved removing the top, digging out the foam, putting access hatches in the top of the platform, and then either a limber hole to the hull proper or a bilge pump in the extension or both. Owners took "liberty" on how they fixed each one. Some even prescribe to pouring foam back in (not good IMHO)

The access hatches, any variety of circular or rectangular, are an indication the "fix" was done. This is NOT an issue. The connection between the hull and the extension is robust, the cracks are cosmetic, and even without the fix performance is not affected.

The extension does affect handling, with the rudder now further forward of the new "transom" it's "different." Not terribly so, just a "quirk" like many you will find on any boat.



QUOTE=trode;391839]Not sure what you are referring to about the hull extension.? Can you enlighten me?[/QUOTE]
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Old 12-20-2015, 11:14 PM   #17
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Welcome to the forum.

We just took delivery of a 2002 390 with a Cat3126 and bow/stern thrusters. As you would expect with a 14 year old boat, it needed some maintenance and updating (new hoses, batteries, pumps, some fiberglass work etc). We just brought her down the Napa River to Alameda, Ca (about 40 nm). We had the tide with us and averaged about 3 gph at 9 knots and about 1800 rpms. We used a delivery captain as we are moving over from sailboats and don't have big powerboat experience. Great experience gettin a lot of insight into the boats internals, systems and handling. We got in early enough to try about 6 practice dockings into our 40' slip with a fairway not much bigger. Learned how to back in using both bow and stern thrusters. Suspect I'll only need the bow thruster if I was docking bow in first but we really like the convenience of stepping directly onto the transom when we dock stern in. Leaving the slip bow first requires only a bit of throttle and the bow thruster.

We very excited to having the 390 in our slip and available for use. We looked at a wide range of boats including Nordic Tugs and felt the 390 was the best value for a trawler in that size range and offered the most of the features we wanted (twin cabins, head with shower stall, large flybridge, walk around decks and railings, fuel efficient engine with enough power to easily handle SF bay currents and wind.

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Old 12-21-2015, 06:40 PM   #18
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That's a great boat. You will be a docking pro soon with those thrusters!

Congrats!
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Old 12-27-2015, 11:11 AM   #19
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I would not go with a single screw. An example, just the other day a crap net line and float rap around my port prop shaft while I was drift fishing. Had I run the port engine the rope could have ruin the bearing at the shaft stand-off. I was able to continue my fishing and return home no problem with the other engine. when I got to dock it was easy to remove the line/float with snorkel gear.

This is just one example, I've others where two engines kept me out of trouble.
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Old 12-27-2015, 11:44 AM   #20
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Quote:
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I would not go with a single screw.
This is just one example, I've others where two engines kept me out of trouble.
I'm sure Jann's story is true, but in 11 years of running my 30+ year old single engine Mainship all over the Keys and the Bahamas I've never encountered a situation where 2 engines would have been an advantage EXCEPT for fuel problems which were always my own fault and were always fixed in a short order and the trip continued.

The single / twin debate is endless, but for coastal cruising I consider a single with a tow company contract to be cost effective and reliable.

Diesel engines are extremely reliable, if they start they run. If they stop, 99% of the time its a fuel issue. Is 2 x the maintenance and lack of space in the engine room worth the "peace of mind?" Plus many boats don't run very well on one engine, Jaan's 34 seems to run fine on one, not sure how 390's do on just one, the hull extension may be a factor running on one.

Now picking up a trap line or other flotsam can happen, here in Florida we just jump in and fix it, or install line cutters. In NC that may be different.

My personal opinion and choice is single is better for a variety of reasons. Make a + - list that applies to the way you plan to use your boat and act accordingly. For instance, if I found an outstanding deal on a twin I would seriously consider it as a buy, but not my first choice.

Good Luck with your search
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