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Mainship 430 - Used Boat Review

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O'er the Bounding Main

Mainship 430 - Used Boat Review

The Mainship 430 seems to have something for everyone, from a pair of versatile layouts to efficient operation and an unexpected turn of speed.

Buying a 43-foot trawler without your wife seeing the boat first? Some might consider that a risky move, but for Sandy Fink, it wasn’t much of a stretch. The 64-year-old retiree and his wife, Fran, agreed they were interested in buying a trawler, with the shared intention of cruising out of their homeport of Warwick, Rhode Island.

They’d already looked at lots of boats together and knew each other’s tastes. They'd even agreed on the builder. “We’d been looking together at Mainship’s 34- and 40-foot sedan trawlers, traveling from Maine to New York,” says Fink, the retired owner of an auto-salvage company. “We got real good at rating the boats as to our needs.”

Last fall, Fink heard about a clean, well-priced 2003 Mainship 430 located in southern Connecticut and arranged with listing broker Hank Aldrich Yacht Sales ( in Essex to have a look. “The first time I saw her, I mumbled, ‘Holy cow!’ She was so beautiful and big,” Fink says. The trawler was priced to sell, and after a sea trial, haul out, and an extensive survey, Fink made an initial offer of $180,000, which was accepted.

“I did this without my wife seeing her, but we agreed it was contingent on her okaying the boat,” Fink recalls.

It was a nervous walk down the dock to show her the 43-footer. “What would her reaction be when she saw the boat? Well, it was almost the same as mine,” Fink says. “Once Fran came aboard and saw the living space, she was won over.”

A galley-down opens up the saloon.

Using a broker to handle the sale is the only way to buy a larger, more expensive boat, says Fink, who has bought and sold his share of vessels during the last 15 years, including a 24-foot Stingray cuddy, a 34-foot Californian, and a Cruisers 340. “They handled all the negotiations with the owner and the surveyor, and got our information to the financial and insurance people,” he says. “They were a big help.”

The Mainship was in turnkey condition and came “pretty well equipped,” Fink says. Electronics include a Raymarine RL70 plotter/radar at the lower helm and an RL80 on the flying bridge, along with a wind/speed indicator. “I had the new Garmin 5208 HD touchscreen plotter and radar on my other boat, but we will have to wait for another year for that upgrade,” Fink says.

The couple plans some cosmetic fixes, such as replacing the isinglass on the flying bridge. “The first mate has been shopping all winter, buying new lamps, bedding, and a new oriental rug for the saloon,” he says.

Mainship 430 Dinette - click to enlarge

Power comes from twin 440-horsepower Yanmar diesels. “The nice feature of the Mainship is that you can run at displacement trawler speeds of 8 knots and burn 5 gallons an hour or increase to 10 to 12 knots and burn 10 to 12 gallons an hour—not bad for a big, heavy boat,” Fink says. “And it’s nice to know that you have the speed to outrun a storm or if the grandkids are waiting at the dock.”

Although the Finks have had the trawler only a short time, it has already shown itself to be a seaworthy boat capable of handling foul New England weather. “When [broker] Mike Farman and I took her north to Narragansett Bay after I bought her [last October], the weather was nasty, with 6- to 8-foot seas and 25-knot winds,” Fink recalls. “She took the rollers on her starboard beam most of the length of Long Island, past Fishers Island to just off Block Island, cruising the whole time at 12 knots. Other boats around us were taking blue water over their bows, but she was amazing. Those twin Yanmar 440s just powered us up and over the head and following seas.”

With a bigger boat, the couple is looking to broaden their horizons. “We’ve always enjoyed mooring out in Newport, Jamestown, and Block Island,” Fink says. “With our smaller boats we were restricted on how long we could stay out. With this boat and its 500 gallons of fuel and 250 gallons of water, we have little concern. Because of the size and capacity of Sand Dollar we are looking to expand our cruising area.”

An upper helm has commanding sightlines - click to enlarge

Children and grandchildren will appreciate the Mainship’s expansive layout, too, Fink says. It includes the aft owner’s stateroom, a forward stateroom, a full saloon and galley, twin helm stations, and two enclosed head compartments. “Now that we have an even larger family, the size of the saloon, galley, and the huge flying bridge made the decision to go large much easier,” he says.

Ed McKnew, in his PowerBoat Guide, calls the Mainship 430 an “affordably priced aft-cabin cruiser with very spacious accommodations and a good turn of speed.” With 370-horsepower Caterpillar diesels, the 430 tops out around 17 to 19 knots—larger engines will push that close to 22 knots—adding speed to her trawler-like cruising.The layout features both flying-bridge and lower helm stations, a large saloon (thanks in part to the boat’s 15-foot 6-inch beam) with a full settee, a dining table for four, and a countertop bar with two stools. The owner’s stateroom aft is laid out with a queen walkaround berth placed athwartships and a private head compartment with shower. The forward stateroom is similarly equipped, with a centerline queen berth and its own head compartment.

Click to read the Survey Report

The galley-down amidships has a three-burner stove, a full-size oven, and a large double-door refrigerator, along with a stainless steel sink, a microwave and plenty of counter and stowage space. A galley-up, three-stateroom version also was offered.

There’s passenger seating for as many as eight on the flying bridge—laid out with a centerline helm—and more room on the quarter deck, over the aft stateroom. A private entry connects a small aft deck with the owner’s stateroom.

The Mainship 430—a so-called “fast trawler” built from 1999 to 2006—was popular for its twin diesels, two helm stations, and roomy layouts. The company got its start with a 34-foot trawler designed and built by Silverton Marine that made its debut in the late 1970s. As trawlers caught on, the Mainship fleet grew to include well-received sedan- and trawler-style cruising boats. Assets of the company were recently acquired by Marlow-Hunter LLC, a limited liability company owned by David Marlow of Marlow Yachts. “We are currently evaluating all the four models and we’ve started a tooling update on the Mainship 30 as we call it,” says John Peterson, president of Marlow-Hunter, LLC. “That was the Mainship 355 under the old nomenclature. We plan to have four models over the next 15 months back in production with some changes.”

The two-stateroom version shown here makes for roomier accommodations.

We spoke to three brokers who each had a Mainship 430 listed on Here’s what they had to say about buying and selling this model. ➤


  • Builder: Mainship
  • Model: Mainship 430
  • LOA: 43'0"
  • Draft: 3'8"
  • Beam: 15'6"
  • Displacement: 36,000 lb.
  • Fuel Capacity: 500 gal.
  • Water Capacity: 250 gal.
  • Optional Power: twin diesels from Caterpillar, Yanmar, or Cummins
  • Years Built: 1999 to 2006
  • Price Range: $189

This article originally appeared in the January 2013 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.