34 Trawler — By Capt. Bill Pike —
Part 2: Average top speed was 19.9 mph, although I found I could boost that figure to about 21 mph by deploying the Bennett trim tabs halfway.
The crawl’s a scenic one, though. Mainship’s done an excellent job of logically and conveniently laying out ancillaries on both sides of the crawlway. Sea strainers on our test boat (for the main as well as our optional genset and air conditioning) were aligned on the port side, along with an optional X-Change-R oil-changing unit and Racor fuel-water separators for the main and genset. Batteries (one 8D starter, one 8D house, and one Group 27 unit for the genset) were aligned on the starboard side, along with color-coded poly tubing for fluids.
In the engine room proper, I was pleased to discover two additional noise-reducing features: a thick blanketing of sound-attenuating insulation and a two-stage water-lift muffler for the main—it’s quieter than a one-stager, Mainship says. The presence of a sight glass on the forward firewall (for keeping tabs on the single athwartship welded-aluminum fuel tank) pleased me as well, and so did the 360-degree access to the main engine itself—I simply sat down on a stringer and wielded my wrenches while enjoying four inches of clearance overhead.
We sea trialed the 34 on a near-flat Manatee River. Average top speed was 19.9 mph, although I found I could boost that figure to about 21 mph by deploying the Bennett trim tabs halfway, which reduced running angle by one degree. Visibility at both the upper and optional lower helm was excellent all around. Tracking was good, too, whether going slow or fast. And when turning sharply, the boat tended to list faintly outboard, presumably due to a modest keel with a protective sand shoe for the prop, which is ensconced in a tunnel to reduce draft.
Docking was easy. To return the 34 to her berth, I had to first pivot the boat to starboard, ease the bow into a slip across the narrow fairway, and then back down using short bursts from the bow thruster to steer. The only problem arose when Misztak took over the thruster momentarily to demonstrate its robust nature. The darn thing blew a fuse and quit, a development I dealt with by simply shifting to neutral and using the rudder to steer. Maybe Mainship should install a larger thruster for true thruster mavens.
We toured the interior after tying up. It mostly replicates the old 34 Sedan’s comfy, sea-savvy layout, meaning it offers expansive living arrangements for a cruising couple, with a zzzzzz-friendly innerspring queen and a couple of hanging lockers in the forward stateroom, fully equipped, U-shape galley abaft the stateroom, large, shower stall-equipped head opposite, and broad saloon all the way aft, with opening windows and doors from Aluminum 2000 and a sofa with a hide-a-bed option. Finish on the cherry joinery was serviceable, but the quality of some of the hardware was uneven. Our test boat’s Lewmar opening ports were top-shelf, for example, but the chromed plastic push-button knobs on cabinet doors and drawers looked insubstantial.
This last glitch is a minor one, however, at least in light of the overall success the Mainship 34 Trawler achieves in terms of styling, construction, and design. Despite a few modest shortcomings, she’s dee-lightful, and maybe even a little inspiring.
Why else would I put the Mustang’s top down and blare the radio the whole circuitous way back to the airport after the test?
Mainship ( (800) 578-0852. www.mainship.com.
This article originally appeared in the December 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.