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Old 01-18-2019, 02:14 PM   #1
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Mainship 34 to buy or not to buy

Hi Guys well as some may know we just walked away from a Nova 38 Trawler due to to much rot, so looking again. Due to where we live & our limited budget we can't afford a GB or similar & there are not many Trawlers for sale down here "New Zealand", but we have found a 1977 Mainship 34, may we ask for your help on any problems with this model befor we go & have a look, this way we will know where to look to identify problems

thankyou all in advance
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Old 01-18-2019, 05:48 PM   #2
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The issues with the "original" Mainships are well documented, search the archives here for comments, also the clunky Yahoo Mainship site.

Biggest issue is soft spots in the decks, around where the flybridge attaches to the cabin top, near the lazarrette hatch and door to salon in the cockpit, and on some around the stanchion bases which may be universal across brands for 40 year old boats.

Most had Perkins which have proved to be very reliable. The aluminum fuel tanks may be reaching their "time."

All in all, and I am biased, these boats are some of the best values ever built. Simple, reliable, gobs of room in 34ft, an awesome separate shower, skinny draft, full keel protection for prop, incredibly efficient to run.

Good luck
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Old 01-18-2019, 06:14 PM   #3
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I almost bought one a couple different times. We ended up with bigger boats both times. They are a really nice boat, big layout for 34í. Usual problems with any boat that age. As noted check decks for wet core. Easy fix but a bit time consuming, but certainly DIY if you are so inclined. Good luck with your search.
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Old 01-19-2019, 10:40 PM   #4
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Agree with other comments. I have one. Good boat, nothing fancy, efficient and well behaved, solid enough. I like mine. Condition is key as with any 40 year old boat. The only negative of this boat vs the TTs is guest sleeping space.
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Old 01-20-2019, 12:19 PM   #5
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They don't handle a following sea very well but doable. Many positives including, shallow draft with skeg, roomy interior for 34' with good visibility, spacious flybridge and cockpit. Lots of upgrade possibilities. We replaced the original head with a Raritan Elegance toilet and installed a 25gal. holding tank between head and galley , thus creating a holding tank access. The was floor and hatch were covered with teak faced plywood. We wanted a lower helm seat that was removeable, set up/stow in minutes, stable ,comfortable and provide good visibility.
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Old 01-20-2019, 12:44 PM   #6
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My next door neighbor had a Mark 3 tthat he sold and traded to another neighbor for $11k and an old nonfunctional 40 year old 21í Sea Ray. Runs great and has a bow thruster. Not well equipped otherwise and has had the deck core replaced but done poorly and needs to be glassed over where the top deck glass was cut. They only filled the saw kerf with putty and it is cracked now but the core still taps solid. Overall a smoking deal on a decent boat.
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Old 01-21-2019, 01:21 AM   #7
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They don't handle a following sea very well but doable.
what do you mean ? how do they handle
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Old 01-21-2019, 04:21 AM   #8
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what do you mean ? how do they handle
They wallow around a bit, and believe most Mainships handle following seas this way, as well as a lot of other boats. My 400 does, too. Not horrible objectionable, and an autopilot takes a lot of the work out.
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Old 01-21-2019, 08:27 AM   #9
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I expect that's not just a Mainship thing, maybe something that just applies to most square-stern boats in following seas faster than the propulsion horsepower can easily match.

For OP: we had an '87 Mk III, good boat. I'd have one again, although these days I'd maybe look at replacing the straight ladder to the bridge with a circular staircase if that turned out to be possible.

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Old 01-21-2019, 08:52 AM   #10
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I expect that's not just a Mainship thing, maybe something that just applies to most square-stern boats in following seas faster than the propulsion horsepower can easily match.

For OP: we had an '87 Mk III, good boat. I'd have one again, although these days I'd maybe look at replacing the straight ladder to the bridge with a circular staircase if that turned out to be possible.

-Chris
Agreed on the ladder. The models with stairs are MUCH nicer, but not sure when they started putting stairs on?
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Old 01-21-2019, 10:11 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by parrot head View Post
Hi Guys well as some may know we just walked away from a Nova 38 Trawler due to to much rot, so looking again. Due to where we live & our limited budget we can't afford a GB or similar & there are not many Trawlers for sale down here "New Zealand", but we have found a 1977 Mainship 34, may we ask for your help on any problems with this model befor we go & have a look, this way we will know where to look to identify problems

thankyou all in advance

I'll compare it to the Nova/Golden star 38 since you have knowledge of that boat.

No side door vs nova. The side door really helps when docking alone.

Single vs Twin. You can find faults either way. I personally don't need twins and back my mainship 34 in every time without a bow thruster. Not gracefully but get the job done. Bow thruster is a huge add on.

Much smaller interior. The 38 has a aft cabin and 4 more feet. You'll really feel the difference. Nova is much more "livable". I take my mainship out all the time but see many boats the size of the nova 38 sit at the dock. Could be the weight/size difference or the fact that I don't live on my boat so it's more cruise ready.

V-berth vs AFt cabin. Most people don't like a v-berth cabin because the waves slap against the hull. Add to the fact that the MK1 Mainship V-berth is pretty tall it's not easy to get in and out of. Nova wins hands down here.

Mainship has a full keel/protected prop. I really love this feature and i'll even fish in 4'-5' of water and I run aground often(soft bottom) without worrying about it. Mainship is also the lighter boat.

The mainship responds well to more hp. With 200+hp you can run up to 15 knots but still run at 7 @ 1.5gph. Twins can't match that. I've ridden on a MK1 with 315hp that would cruise at 15knots and top out at 20 knots and remain efficient.

I like my mainship but after looking at the 38 I really like that boat too. @ the same price I would buy the Nova 38 but I have under 30k in my Mk1.

Soft decks are so common on the Mainship i'd almost expect it but the hull is solid fiberglass. I recored mine little by little and it wasn't that bad but if you pay a yard to do it big$$.

Engine access sucks on the Mainship but it's a tradeoff only having 1 to service. You can get to anything and the biggest complaint I had about mine was a dirty bilge. I want a completely dry bilge in the future because the engine is basically down there. The Nova doesn't look that much better though because you'll struggle for access to the outer sides of each engine.

I wouldn't live on a Mk1 but could easily live on the Nova 38.
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Old 01-21-2019, 11:23 AM   #12
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Agreed on the ladder. The models with stairs are MUCH nicer, but not sure when they started putting stairs on?

In their "trawler" line, it was with the 350 intro. Not sure, circa 1996 maybe.

I between the 34/Mk II/Mk III models (built by Silverton, before Mainship became it's own brand) and the Mainship-branded 350, Mainship produced several sedan bridge and motor yacht models... and they began some "staircase" options with those. Then came the 350 and they returned to trawlers.


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Engine access sucks on the Mainship but it's a tradeoff only having 1 to service. You can get to anything and the biggest complaint I had about mine was a dirty bilge. I want a completely dry bilge in the future because the engine is basically down there. The Nova doesn't look that much better though because you'll struggle for access to the outer sides of each engine.

I don't remember engine access being bad. Our genset was in the lazarette, though, so maybe if a genset was installed in the main engine room (dunno if that ever happened?) that could make a serious difference.

-Chris
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Old 01-24-2019, 04:31 PM   #13
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Same handling characteristics on my 34 Californian LRC. It wallows in the following sea. I'm constantly correcting the tendency to hold course. As the bow goes up, she turns to port...and vice versa...repeat ad nauseum.

If I let the AP do it, it swings +/- 30* from the desired course. I don't have a modern AP...mine is an old electric wheel pilot on a drive belt to my helm wheel.
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Old 01-26-2019, 08:52 PM   #14
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be sure your trim tabs are fully retracted in any following sea - they cause big bow steer. same for backing.
I love my 34 but it's a 2007. great boat, easy to care for, easy to work on (I have single 370hp engine)
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Old 01-27-2019, 12:47 PM   #15
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They wallow around a bit, and believe most Mainships handle following seas this way, as well as a lot of other boats. My 400 does, too. Not horrible objectionable, and an autopilot takes a lot of the work out.


Had a Mainship 34 Model I many years ago. Got "trapped" in the Abacos because of weather making the Stream prohibitive to cross. Needed to get back to work. Several days later had a professional captain run the boat back to the FL east coast. He had two comments, "Youíre right, she donít burn hardly no fuel at all, and she's a bitch to steer in a following sea!"

Good old boat, though.
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Old 01-27-2019, 01:24 PM   #16
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thankyou all for your comments all very helpful we havent had a chance to view the boat yet hopfully next weekend. I wish i lived in the U.S prices are so much cheeper looking at the prices yours are around $40,000 with the exchange rate thats around $80 then shipping this could bring it up to 130,000 for an old 70s/80s boat Hmmm the mainship im looking at hes asking $130,000 so will be making a silly offer
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Old 01-27-2019, 01:31 PM   #17
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You don’t need to Fear a mainship from the 70s or 80s as Luhrs was basically a very good manufacturer and top designer. You need to check that she’s been cared for properly regarding water ingress to core of the decks. Other than that theses boats are like a house in that you need to keep the systems in good repair or updated. Engine, batteries, toilet, generator- depending on severity of previous use these things may need to be replaced but otherwise Mainships sail on.
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Old 01-27-2019, 03:29 PM   #18
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You don’t need to Fear a mainship from the 70s or 80s as Luhrs was basically a very good manufacturer and top designer.
I think the 34 was a John Cherubini design. He designed the first two Mainship branded boats, the 34 and 40.
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Old 01-27-2019, 03:43 PM   #19
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Hmmm the mainship im looking at hes asking $130,000 so will be making a silly offer

Ummm... OK, earlier I said it's a good boat, but that's ridiculous for a first generation '77... (without having checked exchange rates...)

Even USD $40K here in the U.S. would seem high to me...

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Old 01-27-2019, 06:29 PM   #20
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The original

"34 was a John Cherubini design"

This is correct


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I think the 34 was a John Cherubini design. He designed the first two Mainship branded boats, the 34 and 40.
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