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Old 07-16-2015, 09:44 AM   #1
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Newer Mainship vs Older Grand Banks

I've been sailing for 30 years and looking at selling my 42' Hunter sailboat and buying a trawler. I've had this bug a number of times over the years, but am afraid it's a terminal condition this time and am doing serious shopping.

I've decided on a number of points but am having a problem deciding between a newer Mainship type trawler vs an older Grand Banks type. I'm only mentioning the 2 as they seem to be most typical of their class and am open to any make that fits my needs.

I'm looking for

* 2 cabins
* 2 engines: maneuverability & safety
* easy dinghy storage
* mostly rivers, & lake use, but also Gulf of Mexico cruising and trips to the Bahamas
* speed not an issue at all
* comfort and safety at sea are very important
* a boat I expect to keep the boat for 10-20 years
* solid generator & a/c

My budget (180ish) seems to be able to get me a 2000s vintage Mainship 43 or 1990s vintage Grand Banks 42.

Previous owner maintenance being equal, I'm wondering the following:

* I assume Grand Banks uses higher quality components, but does the 10 year difference more than negate that advantage
* The Grand Banks 42 and Mainship 43 displace about the same (35,000), which surprised me. I would have thought the Grand Banks would have been heavier and given me a better ride at sea, but is that really the case?
* I'd guess maintenance would be greater on the Grand Banks with more teak, especially the teak decks, but would lower quality components on the Mainship balance that out
* Larger vs smaller engines: my understanding is that diesels are happier running at higher rpm, so I'd want smaller engines if give the option
* Other than the Grand Banks 'name', what are the actual advantages of one over a Mainship.

Any ideas would be very much appreciated!
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Old 07-16-2015, 10:00 AM   #2
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GB 42 is my most favorite boat of all time. Great layout, timeless looks, exceptional quality and great resale.

When I grow up I am going to ask Santa for one of them.
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Old 07-16-2015, 10:06 AM   #3
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There will be more qualified answers to this post then mine, but I'll just throw my 2 cents in and state for what you want to do with the boat both are equally qualified for the position.
I have a close friend with a Mainship and there is a lot to like about the boat and certainly newer systems in it then say a late 80's early 90's GB. It is also worlds easier to maintain from the standpoint of ZERO external teak which I think is where the decision will be made from. Don't get me wrong, a very well maintained GB is a real gem to look at. Good luck with your search.
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Old 07-16-2015, 11:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KalaKai View Post
* Other than the Grand Banks 'name', what are the actual advantages of one over a Mainship.
That's about it in my opinion. GBs are good boats and many on this Forum have them but the Mainships have a lot of bang for the buck & would perform very well on your stated mission. Don't underestimate the amount of work it takes to keep all that wood on a GB looking great...it's considerable! (Of course the other option is to ignore it and let it look crappy.)
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Old 07-16-2015, 12:04 PM   #5
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I love the GB 42 but will never own one. I just sold my teak trimmed boat and went all plastic. There is nothing wrong will Mainship. However it is the two of you, who must ultimately decide. Hunter's normally don't sport much teak...it's an experience I tell ya.
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Old 07-16-2015, 12:09 PM   #6
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I was seriously thinking about moving to a GB Europa earlier this summer (an aft cabin boat is not for me). I've always admired GBs, cruised a few times on a friend's GB57, and - having owned boats for more than 35 years so far - they've always been boats I admired. My wife, OTOH, does not like them. Any of them. We were at Carillon Point Marina two nights ago and I tried one more time - pointing out a fairly new 47'. No way. Pointed to an older 36' classic. Absolutely no way. Pointed to a 55' Fleming. Better. <sigh>

But I also spent a few weeks grovelling the GB owners forum (highly recommended) and came away somewhat less thrilled. Window leaks. Deck leaks. Fuel filler leaks onto the top of the "black iron" fuel tanks. Tank replacement every (insert # of years). These boats are not without their issues, which the owners seem to regard almost as a right of passage. GB has managed to update the boats over the years to improve layout (port access door, new molds to provide better fwd stateroom & head accommodations, revised aft stateroom layouts (if you want to see painful take a look at what owners have done to modify earlier boats to get a queen-like berth in the aft stateroom!)) but a major part of their appeal is the lack of modernization.

I don't know anything about the Mainship 430.

But when you start talking about a $200K boat - plus a 10% brokerage commission when you sell, plus all the depreciation and expenses along the way (and, in WA state with a 10% sales tax) - buying the wrong boat can be a very expensive proposition indeed.
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Old 07-16-2015, 02:07 PM   #7
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Your first error is to decide you need a trawler.


Nobody here knows what that is. Define your boat needs and look for a boat that fits those needs. don't worry about how a maker describes the boat for matketing purposes,. BTW GB are not described by their maker as a trawler.
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Old 07-16-2015, 02:34 PM   #8
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your engine statement is just wrong. Smaller diesels run at higher RPM in order to create more HP. Slower revving diesels at the same HP last longer in general. But in either case few people have ever worn out a pleasure boat diesel. poor design of exhaust, cooling system failure and over loading are the causes of premature failure.


Diesels produce roughly 20 HP per gallon of fuel per hour regardless of size. You can use the power or not, it is up to you. Big engines running slower do not use significantly more fuel than small engines running harder despite the dock talk to the contrary.


Read a lot of the of the trawler definition posts and engine posts before deciding. There are many , many myths about boats and engines most repeated by brokers and owners.
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Old 07-16-2015, 02:57 PM   #9
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GB all the way,

It's the hull. The most important part of a boat.

And of course quality is good but what boats actually have and have not got quality is often a foggy issue. Some quality is there to see but most I'm afraid is hidden in varying degrees.
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Old 07-16-2015, 04:48 PM   #10
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GB for resale value retention. You will work hard or spend $$ on the teak.
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Old 07-16-2015, 04:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KalaKai View Post

* I assume Grand Banks uses higher quality components, but does the 10 year difference more than negate that advantage
I agree with many of the above statements. But your assumption of the quality level of components I believe is in error. A Teleflex steering system is a good as any out there and better than most. A Rule pump is a Rule pump. Galley appliances, a/c units, etc I believe is a wash at the very least, and easily tips in the Mainships favor because they are newer units and
all sourced in the US.

Grand Banks uses quality components, but some come from "local sources." Not necessarily bad, but different.

I also believe you discount speed too easily. GB are pretty much displacement hulls, where the Mainship hull is more "downeast." A couple of knots more for the given waterline with the ability to run at 15 knots when you want/need to is pretty valuable.

Good luck, many of us are former and/or still occasional sailors, its fun to go to weather in a straight line while watching the game in A/C and not spilling your drink.

Cheers,
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Old 07-16-2015, 05:01 PM   #12
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Here's what I have found having owned several ocean going Bayliners. I'm writing because Mainship was a production boat in approx the same category as Mainship.

You will find that the fit and finish on a more expensive boat like a Grand Banks to be superior to a moderate priced production boat.

Other than the fit and finish you will find few differences.

The components that we work on in a boat are all pretty much the same stuff. There are suprisingly few brands of marine heads for example.

That and the fact that older boats have more than likely been worked on over the years by their owners and component differences disappear.

What you will find is that buying any newwe boat is that boat construction materials have improved dramatically over the years. One big thing is the decks. Older boats used balsa core. We all know about soft decks. Older boats often had iron tanks. We knoow the pitfalls of those as well.

Newer boats use foam coring in the decks eliminating rot and soft spots. Newer boat suse alumanium tanks which are less prone to problems.

So, the choice is yours. A higher qualiity older boat or a lesser quality newer boat. You know which way I went with that one.
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Old 07-16-2015, 05:01 PM   #13
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We had a Mainship before, pretty good boat.


We shopped on 43s back in mid-2000s and it made the short list of two...


GB's in good condition always look very attractive, but I wouldn't want to deal with the teak to keep one looking that way. And if they're not kept up, they risk being pretty unattractive, at least to me.


Far as I know, the 43 Mainship and any GB hull are pretty similar in shape, in gross terms.


Still, I'd probably go with whichever one spoke to me... assuming that also includes preferences about engine makers/sizes/etc. and access to systems to make fixing stuff at least as easy as possible.


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Old 07-16-2015, 05:07 PM   #14
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Having owned a GB for the last 17 years I can tell you that they are great boat but they are a hell of a lot of work. Do not think of them as a fiberglass boat. They are a wood boat that's encased in a fiberglass shell. Not the hull, but the house and everything in it.

Unless a person is willing to spend the time necessary to maintain the exterior wood as well as the interior wood plus of course all the other systems common to every brand of boat, I never recommend that a boater, particularly someone new to this kind of boating, buy a Grand Banks.

Having said that, if one has the means to hire out all the boat's maintenance, then it's a great boat all around. But if one is planning to reduce the cost of ownership by doing their own work, they had better be prepared to a lot of their own work, particularly on an older GB.

The great thing about GBs is they were all built to the same build quality by the same company. As opposed to the older (70s, 80s) boats built in Taiwan, many brands of which have quality that's all over the map.
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Old 07-16-2015, 05:46 PM   #15
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Many thanks to all of the replies!

Another boat I'm looking at is an Ocean Alexander. A 1996 423 Classicco. It's interesting to me in that it 'seems' to be a higher quality build than the mainship, but doesn't have the teak decks, transom, and caprails of the Grand Banks, which I'm not looking forward to maintaining.

It's a little older than I'd like, but the engines only have 1,400 hours on them, which I know could be irrelevant depending on how the owner maintained them. The age though is going to show on the gel coat and some other components, regardless of hours used.

I'm not familiar with these, anyone have experience with them?

I'm leaning towards a newer Mainship 430 at this point or the OA 423.

thanks again for the input

cheers
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Old 07-16-2015, 06:04 PM   #16
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For the first 7 years of this century, our cruising was via bareboat charters. 90% either a 2000 Mainship 430 out of Alameda, Ca, or a variety of 80's vintage 46 or 49 GBs out of Bellingham Wa and Sarasota Fl. Many weeks on each en toto. The Mainship was used primarily in the Delta and adjacent rivers , but we made a few trips out on the Pacific, as far south as Monterey and north to Tomales/Bodega. We never did a GB 42, but have been aboard a few.

We had a lot of fun on all those boats; got to know and love the MS quite well. If given the choice, condition and age of systems being equal, we would pick the GB's in a heartbeat. Much solider build quality and systems organization. The MS is a good, very "honest" boat, but just not in the same league construction-wise. Now it may not be fair to compare a 46 GB, let alone a 49, with a MS 430 out in sporty seas, but the 46 GB certainly comported itself better. Not that we ever felt especially endangered in the MS, but things were moving around quicker.

Owner's forums are primarily problem solving venues, not advertising vehicles. If you deduced quality from owner's forums, you would never own anything of the make, be it an Apple computer or phone, or a boat or a car.
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Old 07-16-2015, 06:31 PM   #17
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Newer Mainship vs Older Grand Banks

I have a 42' 1981 GB. Teak, yes and must be maintained. Rest of boat is top quality construction. Ours has twin Detroit diesels, both recently rebuilt. I average 3.5 gallons per hour at 8.3 mph with generator running half the time - I like my comforts. What matters most to us are the wide walk around decks and the full steps access to the fly bridge. Also the storage onboard is incredible which matters on longer voyages. No matter what you get you will be bitten by the component upgrade bug. Over the past five years besides rebuilding the detroits and replacing the generator, we have upgraded our electronics to a new garmin system, added a watermaker, replaced canvass and had the teak reworked (needs it again after winter in key west). We love our boat and really love it's live aboard qualities. Heck yes, I'm happily prejudiced. But it really boils down to your personal spark when you see one or another and spend some time on board dreaming about how it would be if she were yours. Good luck in your choice!
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Old 07-16-2015, 06:46 PM   #18
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Owner's forums are primarily problem solving venues, not advertising vehicles. If you deduced quality from owner's forums, you would never own anything of the make...
Fair enough. But compared to looking at advertising sites...

Still, when you look at a boat you see what you see. You don't see the things that you would later say "that was a pleasant surprise!". You also don't see the things that you would later say "that was a bummer". There will be more of the latter and they will be orders of magnitude costlier.
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Old 07-16-2015, 10:53 PM   #19
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We've had our Mainship 430 almost a year now and love everything about it. No, it doesn't have the quality woodwork on the inside, but it's adequate for us. I was worried about the fuel consumption with twin Yanmar 370's but after 130 hours of running we average 4gph at 1600 rpm, which is 8.5 knots. And we can run 17kts if we absolutely have to. Plenty of storage, all stairs (no ladders), dinghy davit on the swimstep, generator, ac, propane cooking. It doesn't have that stately look of a GB, but for us that's OK. We're in the Gulf Islands on our way to Nanaimo right now having a great time.
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Old 07-17-2015, 12:12 AM   #20
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GB are pretty much displacement hulls....

This is not correct. The Kenneth Smith-designed hull used on all but the newest GB models is a semi-planing hull. As such it can be driven at speeds considerably in excess of hull speed if the boat has the power and the owner is willing to pay for the fuel.

According to GB's print ads at the time, the later GB42s, for example, with their standard Cat diesels of 400-plus horsepower each have cruising speeds of 15-16 knots. The fuel burn at these speeds is some 23 gph. However, the same boat can be cruised along at 9 knots with a fuel burn of some 6-7 gph.

This was a smart development on on the manufacturer's part because a lot of GB's market (and the market for other higher-end cruising boats) consists of people who have schedule limitations due to work and other commitments. So they want to maximize their time where they want to be and minimize their time getting there and back.

To use an example from our home waters, we know GB owners who periodically want to spend a couple of weeks in Desolation Sound. Now in our old, pathetically underpowered GB, getting there from our home harbor is a four day trip unless we want to run very long days in which case we can probably do it in three. But the folks with the high-powered GBs can get there in two, maybe even in one if they push it. Then they can meander around up there for most of their two weeks and then power up for a short run home.

Our 1973 boat, one of the very first batch of fiberglass GBs, has a pair of FL120s in it. So despite the fact the hull can be pushed along very nicely at 13-14 knots we can't do it because we don't have the power. The exact same boat with a pair of 200-plus hp Cummins or whatever in it can cruise along at these speeds (and I can tell you it's very annoying to be passed by the same boat we have going these speeds. )

Grand Banks is not our favorite style of boat by any means. We bought one because we were familiar with the brand from chartering, they are very well made with a reputation for high, consistent quality. And older fiberglass ones in good shape are dirt cheap so you can get a nice, high quality boat for not a whole lot of money. (I love wood boats as long as they're somebody else's so owning a wood GB-- which are even cheaper than the glass ones--- was and forever will be out of the question.)

And my wife and I actually quite enjoy working on the boat. In that respect it's a sort of big, self-propelled hobby. What I don't enjoy is not having the time to do the work properly, which is tough to do when one works full time. This will change in the not-too-distant future. But the wood on the old ones (by which I mean 80s and earlier) is really beautiful as back then old-growth teak was readily available for reasonable prices and labor was cheap.

But, as I said in an earlier post, GBs are not drive-and-forget boats. It takes a lot of time to keep them up properly, particularly the older ones that have a rainforest of external teak on them. Over the last 17 years my wife and I have learned a hell of a lot about the care and feeding of teak, be it bright finished or unfinished like the decking. My wife, for example, has become the Michelangelo of heat guns.

I know virtually nothing about Mainships outside of how I feel about them from an aesthetic point of view. So I have no opinion regarding their construction, quality, systems, etc. and I certainly cannot make any comparison between them and a GB.

Any boat of any make can be in great shape or a piece of crap depending on how it was treated. There was a GB of the exact same model and vintage as ours in shed-type boathouse in our harbor. For all we know it was one number away from our hull number. It was there when we bought our boat. And it was in horrible shape. The boat was 100 percent neglected. It never went anywhere and nobody ever touched it. It sat for some fourteen years after we put our boat in the harbor and then the boathouse burned and took 30 boats with it including that one. So an upmarket brand name is no guarantee of an upmarket boat.

Our old GB has served us well. It has a hell of a hull being from the first year's production of fiberglass so was laid up under Howard Abbey's direct supervision. And unlike most of this particular model it was built with a nice queen berth in the aft cabin. So as long as we elect to maintain a boat in this region (we have another cruising boat someplace else) we'll keep it.

Even if it is a hell of a lot of work to keep it up.......
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