34 Trawler — By Capt. Bill Pike —
Mainship’s 34 Trawler is the perfect little vessel for a coastal cruising couple.
Automotively speaking, I’m just a tad different. My way of getting to a specific address in a town or city in a car, for example, continues to hew closely to one I glommed onto years ago in Tokyo, where addresses are not sequential—I simply go to the general area and drive around until I find what I’m looking for. Not the most efficient way to get places, of course, but enjoyable. And sometimes surprising.
Take my recent trip to Bradenton, Florida. The test boat I was hunting at the time was a beauty, with a practical, one-stateroom, one-head layout: Mainship’s 34 Trawler. She was reportedly docked in a slip at Twin Dolphin Marina, home of Bayside Yacht Sales, the local Mainship dealer. The car I was driving was groovy, too—a rented Mustang ragtop. And the weather was gorgeous, with blue skies in the offing. I’d just started exploring yet another shady street bordering the Manatee River when a veritable vision snapped my head sideways. There, to starboard, winsomely framed by palm fronds, was the prettiest midrange cruiser I’d seen in years.
I slowed to a stop. While a guy behind me began laying on the horn, I attempted to read the logo on the deckhouse. Yup: Mainship Trawler. I U-turned and zipped past the guy (who shot me a peeved look) toward the nearest parking lot.
I was standing at the stern of the test boat within minutes, test gear in hand. The profile was reminiscent of Mainship’s old 34 Sedan Trawler, a popular, comparatively narrow, fuel-efficient vessel that hit the marine scene in the 1970’s, went through some model changes, and then faded out in 1988. I followed the new 34’s broken sheer with an appreciative eye and admired her jaunty bow. For weather protection the flying-bridge cowling overhung the wide side decks, which were bordered by safety-enhancing bulwarks and stainless steel rails. Topside, an after deck extended gracefully over the cockpit, creating an attractive, porch-like ambiance in the cockpit.
I introduced myself to the Bayside rep onboard, Bob Misztak, who helped me heft my stuff into the cockpit and then proudly opened the engine-room hatch, a sound-insulated fiberglass molding that in the closed position doubles as a stairway to the flying bridge. A number of details caught my fancy right off. The coaming around the entryway was high, reaching almost halfway to my knee—no worries about sea water inundating this engine room in a blow. A rugged, removable, two-step aluminum ladder (with wide, industrial-strength diamond-plate treads) led down into machinery spaces—the footing looked secure and comfortable, even for barefoot skippers. And construction seemed solid, a general observation I subsequently confirmed with specifics, among them a hull-to-deck joint secured with mechanical fasteners and 3M 5200; an above-the-waterline coring regime featuring end-grain Baltek balsa and Nidacore; and an assemblage of plywood stringers and transversals encapsulated with plenty of glass.
Getting the test equipment below and forward to our single 370-hp Yanmar was a bit of a chore. To lessen engine-generated noise in the saloon and topside, Mainship’s done away with sound-leaking engine-room access hatches inside the boat and added a wrist-thick, Nidacore-filled fiberglass liner that stretches from bow to cockpit. On the up side, the liner puts the lid on sound levels (see specifications, this story) and also adds strength. On the downside, it makes crawling several feet on your hands and knees the only way to routinely access the engine.
This article originally appeared in the December 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.