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Old 08-07-2021, 12:48 PM   #1
City: New York
Join Date: Aug 2021
Posts: 10
Looking to transition to Pilot 34

H all, as a 40 yr sailor, now transitioning to preferably a downeast style boat, I'm looking for feedback on any Mainship Pilot 30 or 34 owners with running ,cruising experiences to share. I owned a Hunter 340 sailboat previously, looked at a few pilot 34 single diesel and can verify the same quality of build. The 34 is perfect for my family but i am wary of some posts experiencing strong vibration above 2000rpm. supposed to be a prop/tunnel design issue? Found one 30 owner with no problems, any other smooth running 34 owners out there?
Any feedback would be appreciated.
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Old 08-07-2021, 03:28 PM   #2
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City: Litchfield, Ct
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 6,008
The Pilot 34 is a great boat. I owned one for five years.

There are two potential problems, one you identified- prop cavitation. This has been discussed extensively here over the years. Some have it, some don't, and some have it only under certain conditions. Mine would start to manifest it when the bottom was dirty. Do a diver bottom job and it went away. Even just before the bottom job the prop really never vibrated, it just made noise, at 2,800+ rpm. One Pilot 34 owner said a 5 blade prop solved it. He is the only one who reported any success. I had the dead wood faired with no change.

The other potential problem is the exhaust system design. It leaves only 8" of spill over height clearance above the water line. 12" or greater is preferred. I extended my riser height to make it 16" and never had any problem. But some have reported sea water pushing back into the engine with the standard exhaust.

Other than these two issues, the Pilot 34 is a great couples cruising boat.

The Pilot 30 is of course smaller overall. The latter models have an interesting foldout V berth that gave you some more room below. Look for one with the Yanmar 6LP 315 hp engine which will easily cruise in the upper teens.

For either model the hardtop is preferred and will run about $10K more than the canvas topped model.

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Old 08-12-2021, 12:51 PM   #3
City: New York
Join Date: Aug 2021
Posts: 10
Thanks David. This is the only response ive seen that someone actually solved the vibration problem. Sea trial a pilot 34 recently and the vibration started at 2000 increased as the rpm increased, at WOT I thought the transom would fall off. Clean bottom also.
Seems he had more issues than prop pocket cavitation, probably an imbalanced prop or bent shaft, engine misalignment.
I appreciate your being frank and responding.

Is it true that 2002 and earlier had no prop pocket?
Might you know.......
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Old 08-12-2021, 02:18 PM   #4
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City: Litchfield, Ct
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 6,008
Yes I agree. The type of vibration you describe must be caused by a bent shaft or prop or both. Why would anyone list a boat for sale without fixing that obvious problem.

I think you will ultimately find a Pilot 34 with mild or no cavitation. The report of the 5 blade prop fixing the problem was one single post either here or on boatdiesel and I have not heard of any others. Be aware that a 5 blade prop would likely be less efficient than the OEM 4 blade.

Or you could go with the twin Yanmar engines which shouldn't have any cavitation problem. There is a nice Bahamian registered 2006 Pilot 34 with twins on Yachtwold listed for $120,000 which sounds like a bargain. But you or your mechanic would have to have skills of doing stuff blind like changing the impeller.

And FWIW reports of seawater backing up into the engine are pretty rare. Maybe a couple over the years here and on boatdiesel. But I know it can happen. I have a friend who had it happen to him on his boat with a similar exhaust geometry.

I think that the Pilot 34 has always had the tunnel, but the Pilot 30 came out with a tunnel in about 2002 as you say. That was also when the folding V berth came out.

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Old 08-12-2021, 02:53 PM   #5
City: Lake Sydney Lanier
Vessel Model: 2001 Mainship Pilot 34
Join Date: Aug 2021
Posts: 2
Elmer, newbie here as well, NORTHERNEXPOSURE
Having owned many boats over the years, I currently own a 2001 Mainship 34 Pilot. I must say, of all the vessels I’ve sailed, The Mainship has been the safest and most dependable one ever. Just have some concerns over replacing parts right now.
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Old 08-12-2021, 03:29 PM   #6
City: Warwick RI
Vessel Name: Lollygag
Vessel Model: 34 Mainship Pilot Hardtop
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 690
Own a 2001 34 Hardtop, no vibration such as you describe. It can be loud in the cockpit at more than 12Kts as you are right over the engine and the sound vibrates off the HT. Typically just the 2 of us sleeping on it but when we have had another couple we placed a queen air mattress between the 2 lounge seats and that worked pretty well.
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Old 08-12-2021, 04:23 PM   #7
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City: Coral Gables
Vessel Name: Tonic
Vessel Model: 2007 Mainship Pilot Sedan 34
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 132
We own an 07 Pilot 34 hardtop, with twin engines. As stated earlier, no vibration issues with the twins. Maintenance with the twins is greater, and somewhat more challenging physically, but it is manageable. The every day stuff like fluid checks can be done from the inboard side of each engine. The oil drain and fill is remote, but the oil filter on starboard and a couple zincs on each are on the outboard side, but those are semiannual or less frequent items. The twins will provide a little better cruise (15-16 kn) and top end (21-22kn), and also less draft, about 2.5 feet vs 3.3 feet

If you go with the hardtop, which I would recommend, look for the later models with the sliding side windows. Even in the Florida heat, we are quite comfortable underway. As David mentioned in another thread, the boat can be a wet ride in a breeze at higher speeds, on the windward side. The sliding window on that side would likely need to be closed, but you can leave the opposite one open, allowing nice airflow.

Other issues, are hull slap and "sailing" while at anchor. You likely have experience with both from your sailing days. You can play around with an anchor bridle to reduce sailing, and eventually you get used to the hull slap.

We came from a sailboat as well, and have really enjoyed our Pilot. Good luck with your search.

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