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Old 09-14-2016, 02:17 PM   #1
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Advice on 34 Mainship Purchase

Hello: We are seriously considering a '79 Mainship 34' MK1..well cared for and quality upgrades. I have always loved a Trawler...and plan to use for local cruising on the ICW in Florida, with panhandle to the Keys being the longer cruise. Will mostly be my wife and I but am concerned about sleeping comfort and the occasional couple joining us for overnight stays. I have taken a few serious looks at Grand Banks so the interior is comparably "sparse" , but I will not be living aboard and it will be my first trawler. I know there are a lot of "other" options...but as a beginner and "newbie" , and wanting a pretty much turn key vessel in the 75K range, I feel comfortable and excited. I do want opinions, so all information will be helpful. Thanks so Much!
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Old 09-14-2016, 02:26 PM   #2
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My first trawler was a '79 34 Mainship and it was a great boat. An occasional couple of guests would work, but you better be comfortable with each other. I remember changing clothes in the kitchen due to lack of space in the v-berth.

Now, you say you want a turn key vessel in the 75k range...mine was nicely upgraded and was valued at about half that amount. Are you looking at a 34 Mainship in that price range? Seems awfully expensive for that boat.
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Old 09-14-2016, 02:32 PM   #3
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Hosting the occasional guest on a mainship 34 is like having a friend stay on your pullout couch in a small one bedroom apartment with 1 bathroom. If it is a close friend and you wouldn't hesitate to such an arrangement I think the boat could work for you otherwise it may be too close for comfort. Personally I think the tradeoff of a decent sized cockpit that flows naturally into the saloon is worth not having an aft cabin that is used for a much smaller percentage of the time but that is just my opinion. 75K seems like a lot for that boat, which may seem reasonable for a truly turn key boat, but like many boats, there are common points of failure and it is likely to have at least a couple of them lurking. If you can get the boat and pay for all needed repairs to make it 100% for under $75K that is more palatable. Good luck.
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Old 09-14-2016, 02:34 PM   #4
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Our first was an '87 Mk III, great boat.


The V-berth insert made the forward stateroom into a big playpen (so to speak) and was comfortable enough.


Not lots of room for visiting guests, but we had a jackknife settee that served the purpose OK and still gave enough room to maneuver around it when it was "deployed."


I think $75K is way high for one of these, unless there's been some kind of spectacular refit or some such.


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Old 09-14-2016, 02:46 PM   #5
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If you're looking to spend that much $ why not consider something newer and nicer such as this one: 1998 Albin Command Bridge Power Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
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Old 09-14-2016, 02:50 PM   #6
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Its amazing how many of us start with the good old 34'. Mine was an '82, put 2000 hrs on that boat over 6 years, covered Delaware to Key West Fl. Gdavid is right on with his description. We bought ours for $40k and sold it for $40k, didnt keep track of all the money spent in between . I think $40k is what it sold for new in '82!
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Old 09-14-2016, 03:07 PM   #7
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This is great and thanks to all for your input...I will not be rushing in and while 75K is my Budget, I am negotiating much lower although I have not seen the 40K level...wife and I hope to relax,drink plenty of good wine while watching sunsets, swim and sunbathe, and do alot of inshore fishing and swimming. It is easy to get excited about that life but trying to keep fantasy vs reality in check!!
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Old 09-14-2016, 03:32 PM   #8
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Mainship is an excellent way to start as it's not too pricey and most owners are very happy with them. Still a survey (actually two, boat and engine) and sea trial are needed. As others have said a 34' in that age range should be from $10k to $40k depending on condition.

You have to determine how frequently you'll have another couple with you. One option is some form of sofa bed in the salon. If it's every weekend, I would look for larger, but if it's a rare occurence then make do.
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Old 09-14-2016, 03:45 PM   #9
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Take a look at the market. I see this alot. There was someone on here a while back that was adding every dollar he ever spent on the asking price, including his cruising permits. I was having a similar discussion with a broker buddy about this. You can't charge for the cost to replace something that the boat is really supposed to have anyway. (If it had A/C, you can't upcharge for the replacement cost of the A/C).

You can deduct for malfunctioning items, but not add for working items.

Well loved can't justify doubling the sell price. Some folks are simply delusional when it comes to the TRUE cost to run and maintain boat.

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Old 09-14-2016, 05:09 PM   #10
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I bought a 78 last fall and traveled close to 2000 nm this summer around the great lakes, mostly solo. Very happy with the choice of boat. For a couple it is fine, beyond that sleeping gets crowded fast. It's hard for me to imagine spending more than 40k on one though. Mine is a fresh water boat in very good condition with a Cummins repower, was in turn key condition with all the common issues addressed and all systems in good order, and I bought it in the mid twenties.
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Old 09-14-2016, 05:24 PM   #11
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...Some folks are simply delusional when it comes to the TRUE cost to run and maintain boat.
That is so true. I knew that very well in my head when we upgraded to our current boat but I still avoid running a total on my annual boat Excel sheet because I don't even want to see the figure. The last time I did that it just about gave me a heart attack, and I even do a lot of the maintenance and repair myself. Academically knowing that harsh reality of boat ownership in your head and actually writing the checks (and checks, and checks) sure brings home the reality. I know we've had long debates on here about the cost of maintenance and ownership as a percent of purchase price, but it's not chump change.
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Old 09-14-2016, 09:04 PM   #12
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All excellent comments and advice, I don't disagree with anything said. Mine's a '78, 11 years of all over South Florida, the Keys and the Bahamas, can't think of a better value and a better 1st trawler.


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Old 09-15-2016, 11:05 AM   #13
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thanks to everyone again.. there are so many good choices and prices vary so much..but you guys are great and we so look forward to contributing at some point, but certainly learning form the group!
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Old 09-15-2016, 11:41 AM   #14
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I had a 78 model I for 14 years....wish I never sold it!
Great, extremely versatile boat that excels at some things and does everything pretty well.
Join the owner's group in yahoo and you'll learn lots of tips!
Enjoy!
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Old 09-15-2016, 01:48 PM   #15
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FYI, Jay had the fastest Mainship 34 on the planet, a Cummins powered flash




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I had a 78 model I for 14 years....wish I never sold it!
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Old 09-15-2016, 03:37 PM   #16
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Go to the yahoo Mainship site so you will be familiar with the engineering weaknesses, the end grain balsa is horrid because of dealers and owners drilling W/O sealing for example. Great weekender...after that it is too crowded for most

Look at the Taiwan Trawlers for a spare stateroom and queen size walk around. I lived on a Mark I for 3 years.
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Old 09-16-2016, 08:05 AM   #17
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FYI, Jay had the fastest Mainship 34 on the planet, a Cummins powered flash

That repower made it a whole new boat!
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Old 09-16-2016, 09:08 AM   #18
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That repower made it a whole new boat!
Did you document the process when you repowered yours. I've read through a detailed blog on mainship34 where he put in a QSB. I have appreciated all of the information you have mentioned in posts about your repower but didn't know if you have photo's and a narrative posted somewhere (I have become spoiled by the wealth of info on the web these days and the amount of effort others go to share).

I can see where it would be a whole new boat, have run my father's 3rd gen (200hp perkins) in some harsh following chop and it responded well to more throttle as a big set of waves approached but I did not want to push it continuously at that speed. I surfed one set up to 13 knots at about 2150 rpm and the steering was actually improving even though the bow was starting into the next wave. I imagine it would be nice between 15-16 knots.

At 2100 it only runs about 8.5 knots which doesn't seem to be on pace to reach 12-13 at by WOT (what I've seen in old reviews of the boat), which I have not tested (not my boat). It was run WOT on the sea trial but I wasn't onboard and my father was too busy watching the temp to recall the speed. The perkins runs great and until something really expensive goes, it will stay put but I am keeping an eye towards a repower costs. We have tackled a few repowers and fiberglass fabrication jobs before and it would be a DIY project so keeping an eye out for a reman'd 5.9 at the right price is a good idea.

I am curious how it would run with about 300hp and substantial set of spray rails added. We added smart rails to a 46' baybuilt and it increased the running angle significantly. I think this would be key in reducing bow steering when run at higher speeds.
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Old 09-16-2016, 02:14 PM   #19
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I did not use a QSB, I did my repower in 2000 (pre QSB) and used a Cummins 6BTA at 270 hp.
I could cruise at an honest 15.5 knots but usually ran at around 12. I worked quite a bit with Tony A on boatdiesel, and he suggested long term cruising at approx. 1 bar of boost pressure for longevity so that's about where my boat ran. 1900/2000 rpm, 11.5/12 knots.
The boat would do 18.5 at WOT but as you know those boats get squirrelly at 16 knots due to the hull design. It's not the bow, it's the rest of the hull once the boat leans just a little one way or another. Even the huge trims tabs I had did not stop this effect.
I did document the process somewhat via a summary, but did not take many pictures.

In the 6BTA series, I would have gained nothing by upping to the 315 hp which was the next level up at the time. The 270 and 315 share the identical power curve, except the 315 adds 200 rpm at rated. So I would not have gained cruise speed only top end which really means little.
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Old 09-16-2016, 02:28 PM   #20
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In the 6BTA series, I would have gained nothing by upping to the 315 hp which was the next level up at the time. The 270 and 315 share the identical power curve, except the 315 adds 200 rpm at rated. So I would not have gained cruise speed only top end which really means little.
I think you would have "gained" a seawater aftercooler versus a coolant loop aftercooler.....if my memory serves me correctly.
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