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Old 12-11-2020, 03:21 AM   #1
City: San Diego, CA
Join Date: Dec 2020
Posts: 4
1988 Mainship 36 Express


My fiancé and I are in the process of finding a liveaboard. We live in Southern California so we would like to have the ability to spend some weekends in Catalina or take it cruising with guests, but will mainly be using it as a condo on the water.

I found an 88 Mainship 36 Express. Not familiar with Mainships and couldn’t find much information about them online. Wanted to see what you guys thought about them? Are they quality boats? Prone to any kind of specific problems (like Uniflites and blisters)?

The one I found is listed at $35,000. Is this a fair price for what I’d get?

Thanks in advance
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Old 12-11-2020, 08:50 AM   #2
mvweebles's Avatar
City: Saint Petersburg
Vessel Name: Weebles
Vessel Model: 1970 Willard 36 Trawler
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 3,704
Mainships are a very popular boat, and a lot of them built. There are better, more informed opinions than I can offer.

I do, however, have some knowledge of keeping a boat in SoCal. You may want to check into a slip first, before you get a boat. Make sure you can find one available in an area that is convenient, and the costs are what you can afford. $35k for the purchase may very well be the cheap part. Insurance, bottom cleaning, and general maintenance will add up.

Best success in whatever you decide to do.

M/V Weebles
1970 Willard 36 Sedan Trawler
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Old 12-11-2020, 09:38 AM   #3
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City: Jacksonville Beach, FL
Vessel Model: Back in the market looking
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 872
Second what Peter said above, and would add that it would be smart to connect in advance with a reputable yacht surveyor in your area.
"Less judgment than wit is more sail than ballast. Yet it must be confessed that wit give an edge to sense, and recommends it extremely." ~ William Penn
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Old 12-11-2020, 01:45 PM   #4
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City: South Florida
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 961
Welcome aboard!

I do not have nor have I ever been aboard a 36 Express. I have owned a Mainship MKI and have been aboard many other models. I have also visited their old plants when they were in production in both St Augustine FL and Midway GA.

You may get a better response in the Mainship section, I believe there are a couple of 36 Open owners there.

Mainship built thousands of boats, ranging from the 30 Pilot to a 47 Motor Yacht. Most were Trawler types or Motor Yachts, the 36 Express one of the few ventures into an express cruiser.

Typically on any Mainship your will find value, they are not considered "top of the line," more like a Chevy than a Lexus. The build and engineering is good to very good, the choice of components as good as a top brand.

Engines, steering, controls, pumps, plumbing, etc are a place Mainship did not cut corners. What you get is straightforward sound build and engineering that works without a bunch of frills and foo foo (technical term)

My $0.02
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Old 12-18-2020, 01:45 AM   #5
City: San Diego, CA
Join Date: Dec 2020
Posts: 4
Thank you all for your input! It is so much appreciated!
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liveaboard, mainship

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