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Old 02-03-2022, 09:32 AM   #1
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Pilot 30/34 Hard top vs Soft top

I've been slowing looking for an economical coastal cruiser for overnighting 2-3 nights at marina's, and keep coming back to the Mainship Pilot 30II and 34. I'm looking at single engine versions of the 34.

Looks like the 30II with Yanmar 315 cruises around 18KTS, and the 34 with Yanmar 370 is around 16KTS. Both are sufficient for my needs. The one thing that concerns me is I've read quite a bit about how loud these boats are at fast cruise. Some of our runs will be 6 hours. I really like the hard top version, as being in Florida, I could see adding A/C to the pilothouse for long cruises in the summer heat. I have to assume however that the hard top version is louder than the soft top version.

Anyone run both that could provide some feedback?
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Old 02-03-2022, 09:49 AM   #2
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I've been slowing looking for an economical coastal cruiser for overnighting 2-3 nights at marina's, and keep coming back to the Mainship Pilot 30II and 34. I'm looking at single engine versions of the 34.

Looks like the 30II with Yanmar 315 cruises around 18KTS, and the 34 with Yanmar 370 is around 16KTS. Both are sufficient for my needs. The one thing that concerns me is I've read quite a bit about how loud these boats are at fast cruise. Some of our runs will be 6 hours. I really like the hard top version, as being in Florida, I could see adding A/C to the pilothouse for long cruises in the summer heat. I have to assume however that the hard top version is louder than the soft top version.

Anyone run both that could provide some feedback?
I can give some feedback though have never run either of those boats. Mine is essentially a MS Pilot 31 with a single Yanmar 315. (not too many of these were built, especally the 355 version) Fast cruise is in the 15 kt range, WOT is about 23 kts. The speeds you mentioned are probably in the ballpark, maybe a little on the high side but close enough. There is a very big difference in accomodations between the 30 and 34. If you plan on doing more than an occasioal overnight, I'd strongly suggest the 34. Believe it or not, there's a pretty big difference in size between the 30 and 31. Besides the interior space, the 30 has very narrow sidedecks for going forward which was kind of a deal-breaker for me. I've heard that the soft tops are quieter but I've never ridden in one. I guess if you do a sea trial on either you would have an idea. My hardtop has an interior lining that dampens some noise, I don't know that all hardtops have this. I like the protection of the hardtop in rough weather, but maybe the canvas is just as good, I don't know. I have been in conditions where waves dump a lot of water onto the top. Engine is pretty loud but not unbearable. You have to raise your voice to talk. The Yanamar is pretty economical to run and maintain. Rgano here could also give you some good advice as he owns a 30. Good luck!
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Old 02-03-2022, 11:14 AM   #3
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I owned a Pilot 34 hardtop and sold it a few years ago. I couldn't say if it is noisier than the softop, but it is noisy. Some boats also experience a cavitation type rumble at high cruising speeds which AFAIK there is no solution other than to keep your bottom clean as it occured with a moderately fouled bottom for me.

18 kts is a little high as a continuous fast cruising speed with the single Yanmar which is what I had. More like 14-16 kts depending on weight and bottom condition.

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Old 02-03-2022, 11:33 AM   #4
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I can confirm that the Pilot 30 (with hardtop) is LOUD at high cruising speeds. But, I've never been in a soft top model so I can't provide a comparison. I don't expect it would be that much different.

I suppose the noise is a tradeoff for being able to go that fast. And yes, we've consistently cruised at 18 knots in favorable conditions. At lower (i.e., "trawler") speeds, the noise is not bad at all. The noise at the higher speeds isn't uncomfortable, but it makes casual conversation impossible. I believe rgano has an aviation-style headset and intercom system so he and his wife can talk while underway at higher speeds. My wife and I just wear earplugs during longer cruises if the noise starts to bother us. We can't carry on a conversation like that, which I think irritates the wife, but I'm OK with it .
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Old 02-03-2022, 11:41 AM   #5
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While it doesn't sound like a lot. There is a big difference in size between the 30 and the 34. I'd opt for the 34 hard top. The 30 has a vberth that converts a portion of the settee to the berth. the 34 has a separate berth and settee. The the settee converts into a large 2nd berth. The 34 has much more beam.
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Old 02-03-2022, 11:56 AM   #6
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Thanks all. I'd definitely prefer the 34, but they're pushing outside the budget. I had never heard the 355 designation before. After looking it up, that's definitely my favorite version of the 30/31, with the galley upstairs in the pilot house.

Guess I need to actually step foot on both, which I've not done with either yet. We'd be looking at runs anywhere from 30 minutes, to 6 hours, perhaps 7 or 8 times a year, for overnighter's. Probably a max of 4 nights, but most likely 2-3.
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Old 02-03-2022, 11:57 AM   #7
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Just as a point of reference and additional info the MS 34HT (essentially a 34T w/o the flybridge) is very quiet and comfortable for 2 people. Lots of inside living space as well as a decent covered open cockpit.
The downside is MS made very few of these and makes them a rare find. The other bad news is the price is higher than the Pilots.
We have cruised ours for 2-1/2 months - combination of marinas, lock/town walls and anchorages - and never felt cramped. Conversation inside even at 12-14 MPH fast cruise is easy. All of this is a result of no hatches inside (closed & air conditioned) saloon/salon as it is from aft deck and easily accessed underway for any checks. I never understood why MS made so few as When cruising we always get lots of compliments and inquiries from others interested in the size & style
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Old 02-03-2022, 12:04 PM   #8
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Don't forget, you need a generator to run A/C while underway...
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Old 02-03-2022, 12:52 PM   #9
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We have an 07 Pilot 34 hardtop with twin Yanmar 240s. Our fast cruise is about 16kn, 22kn or so WOT. As mentioned previously, there is a vinyl liner that helps with the noise levels a little. We also have the large sliding windows on each side which are typically open underway here in FL, weather permitting. I have noticed that when I close the windows, the sound from the bow wave is greatly reduced. With the wife sitting on the port seat, and me at the helm (or vice versa), it is very hard to converse at speed. We have the AC on the bridgedeck, but do not use it underway. With the windows open and the shade we are fine even in the FL summer as long as we are moving.
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Old 02-03-2022, 01:01 PM   #10
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Just as a point of reference and additional info the MS 34HT (essentially a 34T w/o the flybridge) is very quiet and comfortable for 2 people. Lots of inside living space as well as a decent covered open cockpit.
I've seen a couple of these come up, but made the wrong assumption they were trawlers.

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Don't forget, you need a generator to run A/C while underway...
Yep!

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We have an 07 Pilot 34 hardtop with twin Yanmar 240s. Our fast cruise is about 16kn, 22kn or so WOT. As mentioned previously, there is a vinyl liner that helps with the noise levels a little. We also have the large sliding windows on each side which are typically open underway here in FL, weather permitting. I have noticed that when I close the windows, the sound from the bow wave is greatly reduced. With the wife sitting on the port seat, and me at the helm (or vice versa), it is very hard to converse at speed. We have the AC on the bridgedeck, but do not use it underway. With the windows open and the shade we are fine even in the FL summer as long as we are moving.
How is access to the outside of the engines? Pictures make it look nightmarish!
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Old 02-03-2022, 01:18 PM   #11
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Access to the twin engines is ok. All of the everyday stuff, like fluid checks is very easy from the aisle between engines. For the less frequent items such as oil changes, zincs, and impeller changes requires access to one or the other outboard sides of the motors. There is good room on the outside, but you have to crawl around the front of the engine to access it. I'm over 60, 6'1" and nearly 200lbs and can manage it.

Another factor that favors the twin engine model is the reduced draft, which can be important on the west coast of FL. You still have a stub keel that is a couple inches deeper than the running gear.
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Old 02-03-2022, 01:26 PM   #12
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Thanks all. I'd definitely prefer the 34, but they're pushing outside the budget. I had never heard the 355 designation before. After looking it up, that's definitely my favorite version of the 30/31, with the galley upstairs in the pilot house.

Guess I need to actually step foot on both, which I've not done with either yet. We'd be looking at runs anywhere from 30 minutes, to 6 hours, perhaps 7 or 8 times a year, for overnighter's. Probably a max of 4 nights, but most likely 2-3.
As I said earlier, there is suprisngly more room in the 355 (31) compared to the 30. You get a fixed queen berth and as you said, galley is up top. I think they only made them for a couple years before Mainship went under. Mine is probably one of the last boats built by Mainship seeing that it's a 2012 and that's the year they closed down. Unfortunately you will probably have a hard time finding one, but best of luck!
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Old 02-03-2022, 01:33 PM   #13
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Another factor that favors the twin engine model is the reduced draft, which can be important on the west coast of FL. You still have a stub keel that is a couple inches deeper than the running gear.
My prop is in a prop pocket which helps performace, reduces draft, and is also protected by a skeg which saved me once. I'm not sure what a twin prop setup looks like but I'd be surprised if draft is much different. Mine is 2.5'.
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Old 02-03-2022, 01:37 PM   #14
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My prop is in a prop pocket which helps performace, reduces draft, and is also protected by a skeg which saved me once. I'm not sure what a twin prop setup looks like but I'd be surprised if draft is much different. Mine is 2.5'.

The prop tunnel most likely evens out most of the draft difference. In general twins can draw less though, as the shaft centerline will be higher up and the twin will have less power per prop, so typically smaller diameter props. So unless they retain the same keel depth for both configurations, the twin will typically draw a few inches less.
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Old 02-03-2022, 01:40 PM   #15
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The prop tunnel most likely evens out most of the draft difference. In general twins can draw less though, as the shaft centerline will be higher up and the twin will have less power per prop, so typically smaller diameter props. So unless they retain the same keel depth for both configurations, the twin will typically draw a few inches less.
I don't disagree, but I don't know that an inch or 2 of draft should be much of a consideration in making a purchase.
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Old 02-03-2022, 01:42 PM   #16
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I don't disagree, but I don't know that an inch or 2 of draft should be much of a consideration in making a purchase.

On boats where it's only an inch or 2, I agree. But on some designs, it's 6+ inches.
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Old 02-03-2022, 01:50 PM   #17
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Red face

The 34 single is listed at 3'3" draft, twin I've seen listed at 2'0", but I measure it closer to 2"6". The props on the twin are pocketed as well, attached photo shows underwater configuration.
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Old 02-03-2022, 02:45 PM   #18
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To the original post. As the owner of a 34 hart top I find the ideal cruising at 12-14, any more than that and it can be pretty loud.
Additionally our HT has solid glass side windows so there is no cross ventilation so it can get hot. We have fans installed which help to some extent but if I was in FL I could see this being an issue w/o AC. Some versions have side windows which open which would make a big difference. I also found if I remove the rear side panels airflow increase substantially. At anchor I have sun shades which snap on and drop the inside temp dramatically.
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Old 02-03-2022, 02:48 PM   #19
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We are a single screw 350 Yanmar.
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Old 02-03-2022, 03:58 PM   #20
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The 34 single is listed at 3'3" draft, twin I've seen listed at 2'0", but I measure it closer to 2"6". The props on the twin are pocketed as well, attached photo shows underwater configuration.
Thanks for the pic. I assume your draft is a few inches less than mine, however it doesn't look like there is much protection if any for the props and rudders. The pic I attached is not my boat, but looks just like this. Also, my center front window opens from the bottom about 12", hinged at the top. The 2 side windows aft of the helm seats slide open. Not super, but adequate ventilation for the most part.
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