MT Tradewinds

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Oct 6, 2007
I'm very interested in the 47' MT Tradewinds, the three stateroom model, built between 1985 & 1988. This model seems to fit our needs best.
Can anyone give me some insight on this model, good or bad. They seem to have quite a variety of engine choises, Lehmans & *Volvos in different horsepower ratings.*
I know that there is a MT list out there, but paying to be on a list doesn't seem right, especialy if one hasn't bought a MT yet.
Great idea for a forum.*
Marine Trader / CHB / Sea Chief / Albin / Hershine and other trawlers that come from the Taiwanese are all a lot of boat for the money.

The largest issues with these boats are the balsa coring they used in the decks,*substandard marine plywood used in the construction of the house, and the*random quality of the fiberglass layup work.* The second problem is that the owners of these boats are generally new to boating, and are more likely to make simple maintenance mistakes out of ignorance.

The hulls are generally solid and in good shape.* It's the house that will give you trouble.

If you're planning on keeping it, sooner or later you will have to deal with weak or water damaged coring.* If you are handy with tools,*and have a covered place to work*on it,*replacing*sections of coring is not rocket science, and if you catch it early and fix it right the boat will last a very long time.

Working around the boat and gently rapping the fiberglass, listening for a hollow sound, is the best way to find any sections where there are coring problems waiting to happen.* For the decks the surveyor should have a moisture meter and take many readings.

You may think I'm discouraging you, but you absolutely cannot buy this much boat for the price and if you're willing to put a little work in down the road you can do a lot of crusing.* You didn't say if the boat had Ford Lehmans, if so that's a huge plus as these engines are practically bulletproof.

Hope this helps, let everyone know how it goes.


I was under the impression that the newer Marine Traders(like 1985 and newer) had significantly better build quality. I think when the Taiwanese boat boom began they did suffer quality problems. But as time went on, they got most of their issues ironed out. I do not own one but this is just what I heard thru the grapevine. Is it true?
Thanks for your replies.
The Tradewinds models that I've been considering were offered in both Lehman & Volvo engine versions. I know that the Lehmans have a good rep., but does anyone know anything about the Volvos?
Thanks Alan for your heads up on the house coring problems. I'll keep that in mind.
The only negative thing I have heard about Volvos is*that the parts tend to be expensive.

I have a 1987 MT 47 Tradewinds and have several friends who own this model boat.**The early boats were made in the Lien*Hwai (sp?) yard*and were some of the better boats in terms of materials.* *The early boats, including 1987, had a full keel (desirable) and those beginning in 1988 are a totally different boat, without the full keel and with 2 staterooms.* I don't think the 1988 forward is desirable b/c it does not have the full keel to protect the props and running gear.

The best engines are the Ford Lehman - parts are readily available and it was a workhorse engine - a tractor engine.* The parts, for the most part,*are still manufactured and readily available.* Those that are not are usually parts which are easily substituted.*

Every boat model has its quirks... we had a 1990 Albin 40 and worked on it for 4 years, enjoyed it (same Ford engines) and sold it readily.* We wanted a bigger boat and this was affordable.* Most older Taiwanese boats have water leaks and problems b/c someone fell out of love with it.* Water leaks from the front windshield are inevitable - canvas when you are not on the boat keeps out the water.* They are all repairable...we could have bought a newer boat, but found that it was just as affordable to buy an older boat and do work on it to make it just like we wanted... and then we would know what we had.* We had ours in the boat yard for 7 months and are very pleased.

Also, we joined MTOA (it used to be Marine Trader Owners Association but it is now the Marine Trawler Owners Association) 2 years before we bought our first large boat, in order to research what to buy and what not to buy.* The website is** They have a CD Rom that has all their News*Magazines back to 1990 when it started.* You can search by word, like "varnish" or "fuel tank" ... it was worth it.* I learned which boats to avoid* - mostly because of the engine make or transmission (there are some that are destined to fail)...* so, it was worth joining.* MTOA is all volunteer and they don't run fund raisers or sell a bunch of advertising, so all the information is not oriented to selling anything.

I have found, from experience, that the membership (over 2000) are in fact knowledgeable and capable (I am sure that there are exceptions).* The club has 2 national meetings/rendezvous a year and a number of regional rendezvous at which there are seminars on things to make us better boaters - like docking, line handling, navigation, how to put out a fire on the boat, and rescue maneuvers.** Usually about 300 attend the meetings/rendezvous.* Its all about information sharing and making better boaters.* There are sport fishing boats, new trawlers, a few Hatteras yachts, and old trawlers and a few sailboats.*

They do have a listserv, and you do have to join to go on the listserv.* If you want to do the research to see what boat / equipment to get, the real value is in the old News Magazines via the CD Rom.** Considering that it is all volunteer, and what the*cost to buy and maintain a boat, the membership is cheap - $75 or so, not sure, but when you join you get the CD Rom, I think.* But if you join, you need to go to a rendezvous to the seminars.* They are great.*

Good luck and hope to see you join MTOA.** Let me know if you get a 47 Tradewinds.
My CT T-35 has a Volvo engine, TAMD 40B, which has proven to be very dependable. Never once failed to start. The only caution to give is to halt all cooling system water leaks immediately. Since Volvo uses O-rings in precison machined openings, leaks that are allowed to continue will in time erode the aluminum sealing surfaces, preventing the leak from being repaired without replacing the part. And yes, replacement parts can be very expensive, guess that's why Volvo's are painted green!!

How many horsepower does the TAMD 40B have and how's the fuel economy!

The only Tradewinds 47 that I was able to see in person, had alot of stress cracks on the forward deck, by the front cleats. Does anyone know if this is common?
If you have stress cracks above and beyond the normal "crazing" that occurs in gelcoat with sun exposure, there is weak coring/rot under that spot, or very nearby.

When the deck coring goes bad, it often causes cracks in the walls of the house, because there is an increased vertical shear on the walls.* In a major failure, the deck fiberglass cracks where the*house*coring sits, and the water wicks up the walls, resulting in stress cracks just above the*wall areas that are ruined.*

The difference between "crazing" and "major structural repair" cracks is:

1. Crazing still sounds solid when you rap on*it with your knuckles.

2. Crazing feels solid when you push on it a little with your*fingers.* If it's delaminated (i.e. the fiberglass "skin" is pulling away from the coring), it gives a little when you press on it, and sounds hollow -- this needs to be addressed ASAP!!!*

3. Crazing tends to cover a fairly*big area.

The picture is what's underneath that hollow sounding core...* This section had no*stress cracks, but sounded a little hollow.* The coring (3/4" Taiwanese Marine Plywood in this case) has about as much strength as a piece of tissue paper, and can be pulled out with your hands.



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The TAMD 40B is a 165 HP 220 cu. in. 6 cylinder. The CT is about 22,000 lbs but the Volvo easily pushes it to 7 1/2 kts. with a fuel burn 2.5 - 3.0 gph. I've never exactly determined the fuel burn rate, but plan a 3.0 gph and I never seem to get into fuel trouble. This engine is overpower for my boat, a 4 cylinder Leyman is more common, but the original owner must have thought it would plane or something when he spec'ed the power plant. It would take a lot more power than that to get that hull on plane, if at all! All in all though, the Volvo has been a trouble free engine.
Just to chime in here a bit.

I have a 40 Labelle, a sistership of the Tradewinds. I have TAMD60C Volvos that burn about 4/gal per hour each. As John said, a lot of boat for the money. The TAMD40 is a 165 hp. As with all Tawainesse built boats they had early problems with leaking windows. They are solid hulls built far heavier than today's boats.

You'll have a few issues to work out but I can recommend them.

Going throught Yacht World I found a 47 Ponderosa which is, at least from the pictures I saw on there site, the exact same boat as the 47 MT Tradewinds.
Does any one have any comments or info on this?

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