Mainship 34 Pilot, Rum Runner IIBy Andy Adams

Take a single look at the Mainship 34 Pilot, Rum Runner II version and you’ll spend the rest of the day thinking about Cape Cod, the Kennedys, lobster boats and the traditional attraction of that “salty” East Coast look. No doubt about it: this boat was designed to deliver a full measure of traditional virtues.

Blue water boats like this one have a certain cachet that comes from their practical features. If you like “form follows function” thinking, you will like this boat.

Mainship is part of the Luhrs Marine Group. Henry Luhrs was a New York boat builder back in 1830. His grandson, also Henry Luhrs, carried on the tradition but transplanted it to the New Jersey coast. Nowadays, the Luhrs Marine Group includes Silverton, Hunter sail boats, Luhrs and, since 1978, Mainship, their flagship trawlers.

The traditional design of the Pilot 34 is reminiscent of a displacement hull lobster boat but with flat sections aft and plenty of power, this boat planes off and really moves – it can top 30 mph. Twin Yanmar diesel engines with pocket drives and a centre keel in the hull for stability and security powered our test boat. The keel helps the boat to track straight, even at lower speeds, protects the props and the hull to some extent.

The 34 Pilot will be especially well suited to places like the Great Lakes and Georgian Bay where that keel can come in handy! Twin engines facilitate ease of dockside handling while the Yanmar diesels run easily at comfortable cruising speeds – 15 to 20 miles per hour.

Mainship 34 Pilot - Instrument PanelThe Yanmar diesels themselves are worth noting. Yanmar manufactures a complete line of marine diesels ranging from 9 hp to 900 hp. The 34’ Pilot features LH series 4-cylinder direct injection diesels of 3.455 liters or 210.8 cubic inches. They can turn up to 3,300 rpm and produce a maximum of 240 hp. At 800 lbs per engine, they are closely comparable to gasoline V8’s of similar horsepower output.

You can run 1,000 rpm at 7 mph or you can get on the throttles and go. We took the Yanmars to 3,400 rpm in the test boat doing 30 mph. More than just exhilarating, that kind of speed might save you when you need to beat a storm into port.

The bow never really gets up to block your view from the helm although we observed an impressively large wake as the speed went up. We liked 1,000 rpm best but at 2,500 rpm the boat was solidly planed off and doing almost 18 mph.

The Pilot 34 turns well at all speeds and responds beautifully to the helm – a function of the great keel design. It tracks well holding a course with little attention.

The helm instrumentation is easily read but basic. Raymarine VHF and a Tridata with GPS, depth and colour chart plotter round out the instrumentation on our test boat.

The binnacle top sports a big Danforth Compass and includes a big flat Plexiglas- covered sheet for spreading out those paper charts.

There’s not much you can’t do on the Pilot 34’ – it’s great for trolling, fishing, scuba-diving or day-cruising. And her 270-gallon fuel tank makes her eminently suited for longer passages. And, with the twin engine version with pocket drives that only 2’ so you can slide into places denied to other boats with deeper drafts.

Mainship 34 Pilot - Full SpeedThe transom features a roomy mounted swim platform (not molded in) and features a very seaworthy transom door equipped with excellent hardware. Lots of room in the cockpit with a flat floor in non-skid fiberglass and good drainage through a large starboard scupper. A live well / cooler hides under the floor hatch while further ahead you’ll find a hatch for battery access, not to mention a huge engine hatch.

The vessel offers both fresh water wash-downs and a hand-held shower and inboard mounted aft cleats and deck hawse; a nice neat arrangement. We really liked the beige fiberglass finish too. It’s a bit easier to keep looking clean and on Florida-type sunny days, it’s a lot easier on the eyes than stark white.

Up two steps is the helm and companion area with double width seats and foot rests both sides. Inward-facing seats line both port and starboard sides – they can be converted into (slightly narrow) single berths when a crowd is on board.

Other excellent exterior features include sturdy side rails, wide side decks, bow pulpit and large locker for the anchor chain with optional electric windlass. We liked the swing open centre windshield section and sturdy painted windshield frame.

The traditional design in the cabin works and really well. Down three steps you’ll find an enclosed head to port, featuring deck hatch, porthole, small stainless sink in wood trimmed vanity, electric MSD and a handheld shower that you use with a curtain.

The port side further forward features a very functional galley with generous shelf space, two drawers, three lockers, fridge and freezer, two-burner surface element stove, microwave and built-in coffee maker. (Note: seems like as boaters get older, on-board bars are disappearing and coffee makers multiplying.)

Mainship 34 Pilot - GalleyA spacious convertible dinette that seats and feed four to six in comfort or sleep two in near queen size comfort dominates the starboard side. It offers loads of storage under the seats too. The whole cabin is dressed up with a teak and holly sole and the wood trim is cherry. Mainship takes great pains in stress that it is solid cherry. No veneer disguising particle board for this boat.

The forward vee is the master’s quarters. Here you can opt for single port and starboard berths or add a filler cushion to convert to a vee shaped double. This cabin includes hanging lockers port and starboard, deck hatch and side storage. The bow shape allows the berth to be placed low enough that you can sit comfortably. You will appreciate that in the morning.

We liked the salty-looking Mainship 34. The styling is timeless and the features are too.

This is a boat guaranteed to take you to your favourite fishing grounds or picnic spot in style and seaworthiness.

It is a boat that we’re convinced will stand the test of time.

Originally published in Canadian Yachting’s February 2005 issue.

Specifications
Location of test, body of water: Port Credit, Lake Ontario
Boat make, Model and Year: 2005 Mainship Pilot 34
Mainship 34 Pilot - Engine HatchEngine (s): Twin Yammar 4LHAM-STP 4-cylinder diesel engines, turbocharged and aftercooled. 3.455 L / 210.86 cu in, 240 hp @ ,300 rpm, fresh water cooling.
Propeller (s): Pocket drive, dripless seals
Length OA: 36’1” 11 m including platform and pulpit
Length: 34’0” 10.36 m
Beam: 12’3” 3.73 m
Weight: 15,000 lbs 6,810 kg
Hull type: planning with keel
Fuel: US Gallons 250 946 L
Water: US Gallons 70 265 L
Holding: US Gallons 14 531 L
Speeds: RPM speed GPS
800 5.6 mph
1000 7
1500 9
2000 11
2500 17.8
3000 22
3400 MAX 30

Test boat provided by:
Anchor Yacht Sales, 1 Port Street East, Mississauga,
Ontario, L5G 4N1 905-891-0191
Price as tested quoted by Anchor Yacht Sales: $315,498 (2005).
Base price Sport Edition with Twin Yanmar 240 hp: $282.083 (2005)
Speed testing by: Garmin GPS

Photo Captions
Photo 1 – The mainship 34 Pilot Rum Runner II
Photo 2 - Here’s an unusual feature: the entire instrument panel lifts up, supported by a metal leg so that you can quickly and easily perform installation or repair work on all switches, guages and electronics.
Photo 3 - We wanted to show the Pilot 34 at full speed to illustrate how a modified displacement hull design can plane off and reach 30 mph.
Photo 4 - Mainship uses solid cherry wood in the Pilot 34 interior and all tables and counter tops have proper sea rails to keep things from sliding off onto the cockpit sole. The dinette in the foreground makes into a double berth and the galley in the background seemed well laid out and complete.
Photo 5 - Under the cockpit floor ahead of the large live well / cooler is a hatch for battery access and ahead again is a huge engine hatch that lifts easily on two gas struts and opens up a vast section of floor for maintenance and repair.

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