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Old 07-12-2019, 10:36 AM   #1
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Greetings To All--Retired Airmen Needs Your Help

Hi to all--apologize for long post!

I'm a retired USAF logistician and my wife is a retired Navy civilian. We'd like to buy a used Express Hard-top type boat--something that'll be capable near shore; could take to the Bahamas and do part/all of the loop. Most of our time will be in the ICW. Our trips will have 2 people--myself and my spouse.

More importantly, I'm looking for mentors who will keep me on track during and after the purchase!

Right now, we have the following criteria:
- Budget is <$140K
- 30-34' range--nearer to 30' the better.
- Hard-Top Express (E.g., Mainship 30 pilot II Sedan; Albin 31 T.E.; BackCove 29)
- Good sea keeping ability
- Single screw, diesel engine
- low hour engine--well documented maint. record
- 12-18knts cruise; wot low 20s
- Quiet, if possible or suggestions on how to make the helm area quiet
- Solid bonded electrical system
- Queen or near queen size birth
- AC in birthing area; helm area would be nice too
- Separate shower in head area
- Diesel Gen Set
- Auto pilot
- Bow Thruster
- Windlass
- Fishing capability a plus
- Protected screw
- Transom door
- Helm door so I can handle docking by myself
- East coast location preferred

I will put good Nav/Electronics on the boat if it does not have it. I will also have a survey done and conduct a sea trial.

Your help will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
T-Bird,
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:17 AM   #2
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T-Bird,

Be happy to help, but need more info. You did a good job of outlining your budget and expectations. But additional info and details is need to zero in on the right boat for you.

You said a hardtop, but didn't talk about a flybridge. Is that in or out?
You noted a single engine, but also 20 knot speed. That may be difficult on a single engine. Would 14 knots work out?
How long do you expect to stay on the boat at one time? (day, week, month, year, or years) if you need more live aboard amenities.
Do you plan on doing the loop in one pass, or sections at a time?
Would a second small stateroom for guest be on your list?
It sounds like you may be in the 35-40' range with your budget, and expectations.

Like I said more details would be helpful.
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:40 AM   #3
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Welcome Airman (Ret)! I am a fellow Airman.

My one suggestion would be to step on a lot of boats to see what is out there. Attend boat shows, you have two of the best shows in the world.

Does the Admiral have a wish list?
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:56 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by T-Bird View Post
Your help will be greatly appreciated!
Wecome aboard!

One of our members, djmarchand, (David Marchand) is one of the most knowledgable skippers on this forum. He had a Mainship 34 Pilot for years which I consider to be a damn good boat for what you want to do! Contact him about his Mainship....maybe he'll chime in here!

https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/200...pilot-3518392/


Trawler Forum - View Profile: djmarchand
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Old 07-12-2019, 12:57 PM   #5
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Here I am!!!

Yes, the Mainship Pilot 34 ticks most of your boxes as does its smaller sister the Pilot 30. The boxes it doesn't tick:

V-Berth not a queen
No helm door although getting out the back which is usually open to handle dock lines takes only another second or so. I have easily single handed it.
No A/C at helm, although it could be added to the factory A/C package with some additional ducting/duct damper.

The others you mention: Back Cove 29, Albin 30 all have the same "deficiencies" as above.

The Pilot 34 with the single Yanmar 370 cruises at 14 kts at 2,800 rpm and tops out at barely 20. The Pilot 30 with the Yanmar 315 will go a little faster- cruise at 15+ kts and tops out at low 20s.

With your budget you could easily find a Pilot 34 that would work. I sold my 2003 last year for $110,000. Decent condition but needed new cushions.

It is a damn good boat for what you want to do!!

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Old 07-12-2019, 01:28 PM   #6
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Welcome, T-Bird! I'm sure you'll find lots of support & info here in your boat quest, as well as other retired USAF (my skipper is retired USAF, 32 years, including 14 tours in Vietnam). We are also searching for our next boat, which we plan to keep in Florida. Folks here have been very helpful in our search.
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Old 07-13-2019, 07:26 AM   #7
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Welcome., T-Bird, from another airman... very likely well before your time. Thanks for your service.

I think Hinckley, Sabre, and MJM make some newish boats that might illustrate your target. Sometimes called "picnic boats" or some such (at least by Hinckley, I think).
New boats, very expensive... but reviewing those might help you home in on something similar but closer to your budget. Otherwise, you might search on "Downeast" boats. (yachtworld.com can be your friend.)

Different style altogether, but likely offering most of the features you've cited, are SeaRay Sundancer and similar express boats from Cruisers (brand), Regal, etc. Not single sscrew, and these aren't as close to "trawler-ish" (?) in either looks or usage patterns... but they can be driven at slower speeds some (much?) of the time if necessary, at least when sea states permit, for better fuel economy.

-Chris
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Old 07-13-2019, 09:26 AM   #8
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Welcome aboard.
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:55 PM   #9
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Quick Reply USE

Members, I replied to a lot of threads but now I don't see me responses--what I'm I doing wrong?
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:56 PM   #10
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Typing too slow
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Old 07-16-2019, 06:58 AM   #11
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TBird

Thank you for your service and Welcome aboard TF

David M covered the MS Pilots well... he's one of the MS go to contributors and knows them inside and out.
For some reason I don't see a budget $# like others do / did? But I'll add that our MS 34HT fills a couple of the items a Pilot misses.

Helm door - never had one before but love ours
Separate shower - a nice roomy hard door/enclosure
AC in helm / saloon area - we don't normally use it running but might if in warmer climes
Quiet - the 34 T / HT is a very quiet ride
FWD cabin - island queen... not a lot of room around but it is an island
One drawback we found was the sofa sleeper wasn't comfortable seating and we replaced it w 2 recliners

The 34HTs are somewhat of a rare bird.... MS didn't make a lot but they are around. I found several up/down the E & Gulf Coast when we were looking. Great boat for 2 people IMO.
Good luck w the search
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Old 07-16-2019, 07:02 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by T-Bird View Post
Members, I replied to a lot of threads but now I don't see me responses--what I'm I doing wrong?
I can only guess but wonder if you pressed the "send" button (arrow on top right) if using the App or submit reply if on the website (at bottom)
If you choose "go advanced" it adds some features vs quick reply and will let you preview the post before submitting.
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Old 07-16-2019, 08:05 AM   #13
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I will second Don's comments about the MS 34HT model. It is in an entirely different class than the express cruisers or downeast style boats you mentioned.

The 34HT has a huge beam for its size and as a result a huge cabin. The single berth forward is a center line queen.

Performance is a step down from the express cruisers due to its weight and beam. I had its sister the 34T with flybridge and it would cruise at 12 kts and top out at 17kts or so. At 12 kts it probably was burning the same or more fuel than the Pilot 34 at 14-15 kts with the same engine and rpm.

But for a comfortable loop or Bahamas boat for two it can't be beat.

David
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Old 07-16-2019, 09:08 AM   #14
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TBird

Thank you for your service and Welcome aboard TF

David M covered the MS Pilots well... he's one of the MS go to contributors and knows them inside and out.
For some reason I don't see a budget $# like others do / did? But I'll add that our MS 34HT fills a couple of the items a Pilot misses.

Helm door - never had one before but love ours
Separate shower - a nice roomy hard door/enclosure
AC in helm / saloon area - we don't normally use it running but might if in warmer climes
Quiet - the 34 T / HT is a very quiet ride
FWD cabin - island queen... not a lot of room around but it is an island
One drawback we found was the sofa sleeper wasn't comfortable seating and we replaced it w 2 recliners

The 34HTs are somewhat of a rare bird.... MS didn't make a lot but they are around. I found several up/down the E & Gulf Coast when we were looking. Great boat for 2 people IMO.
Good luck w the search
Thanks Bacchus--I like the look of that boat. As I talk to folks on this forum, many are swaying me towards a Flybridge. Plusses & Minuses to everything. I really thought I knew exactly what I wanted but I'm keeping the Admiral involved and she wants us to Sea trial both Fly-Bridge & hard tops. Some of the boats at 34' just look top heavy to me w/a Fly-bridge?
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Old 07-16-2019, 09:10 AM   #15
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Typing too slow
Testing--Capt Lee, did you get this?
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Old 07-16-2019, 09:13 AM   #16
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Tracy,


Can you reply to other postings now I called for help.
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Old 07-16-2019, 09:14 AM   #17
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Testing--Capt Lee, did you get this?

Get what
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Old 07-16-2019, 09:30 AM   #18
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TBird
Reply success!
Flybridge is a very personal choice... good to try and experience it but I'd suggest to not only pick an ideal day / conditions but to also get the feel in less than ideal.

We are not flybridge fans but I have no argument with those that are.
I certainly would not like a single station flybridge and the extra cost of a second station and equipping it can be a negative.
We're getting older and figure a hardtop w/o a FB could allow us to continue boating an extra 5-10 yrs. We also do a lot of locking and really like the lower helm w a door for that. Currently in the middle of a 2-3 mo cruise w 110 locks.

I wanted a boat I could single hand easily if / when required... and the MS 34HT firs that category well.

Advice I offer to many...

Write down your intended use, length(duration) & style of cruising (anchoring vs marinas)
Make your lists (good start) but categorize into Musts, Wants, and Don't Wants

Have mate/admiral do her own lists

Compare & compromise (do it her way!)

Walk docks, shows, talk to owners what they like/dislike and their style of cruising.
Also consider chartering as a way to experience it for yourself.

Engage your spouse and make the exploration fun vs work. Shows etc csb be mini vacations centered around boats and the water.
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Old 07-16-2019, 09:37 AM   #19
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I agree.
Both you and your wife are in this.
Have her to make her own list, and then compare.
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Old 07-16-2019, 10:05 AM   #20
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Welcome! Another former aviator here....CFI, Charter Pilot, FAA ATC, FAA Navaids Flight Inspector- retired.

If you plan to stay aboard at a mooring or underway for long periods, also consider your tankage for fresh water and holding tanks as well as electrical system capabilities like battery storage/charging.

There are many other, older boats out there with several thousand hours that will cost less and outlive all of us. It's a trade off between shine and $$. To me, age is less important than condition. A rarely used boat will likely have more problems than a regularly used and maintained vessel.

In 2007, I bought a 30-year old 1977 34 Californian LRC. Today it's a 42 year old boat and has never been more capable. Sure, it's a slow 7.5 Kt cruise (10 Kt WOT) but I knew that I'd have more time than money in retirement. It's all a trade off.

I think the MS 34T is a great vessel...as is the Camano Troll...now a Helmsman 31 Sedan. Neither checks all the boxes but they're nice vessels.

Enjoy the hunt!
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