The Pilot 31 Sedan’s cockpit isn’t huge, but it’s big enough. That’s the tradeoff when moving the living spaces from the cabin into the pilothouse. An eisenglass curtain rolls right down as an aft enclosure.
The Pilot 31 Sedan descends from Mainship’s Pilot 30 – the earlier boat came in both express and sedan versions, but the pilothouse created by the hardtop on the Sedan wasn’t as fancy as the one on the new Pilot 31. It basically just replaced the soft top of the express. The new, slightly larger, boat comes only as a sedan, and is designed around the weatherproof pilothouse, which is fully enclosed on three sides. The only canvas is a drop-down curtain aft. The redesigned enclosure let Mainship designers move the galley and dinette out of the cabin and into the pilothouse.
The helm sits to starboard with a swiveling companion seat to port; there’s a jumpseat aft of the galley.
Doesn’t that make sense? Boats this size don’t have a lot of room in the cabins, and shoehorning a galley, enclosed head, stateroom and dinette down below takes creativity. But move the galley and dinette up and suddenly there’s elbow room below and a nicer environment for cooking and eating above. While the Pilot 30 was something of a big small boat, more for daytrips and maybe an overnight now and then, the Pilot 31 Sedan is a small big boat, suitable for real cruising in relative comfort. We think Mainship hit this one out of the park. (Or hit it for six, if you’re outside the U.S.)
Serving grub is easy, since the dinette (the company says it seats six; we think four would be more comfortable) is just across the cockpit from the galley – the cook need only turn around and hand the plates across
Easy Livin’ on Deck
Large sliding side windows in the pilothouse provide lots of fresh air when open, and lots of light all the time. The galley is here – Mainship calls it a “summer galley.” It’s more complete than those you’ll find on typical 31-footers, and roomier, too. There’s a dual-voltage refrigerator/freezer, an electric cooktop and a microwave oven, a stainless sink and plenty of stowage. A propane stove is optional ($2,005); we think it will appeal to sailors coming over to a powerboat, who are used to cooking with gas, or folks who don’t want to run the generator to heat up water for tea.
Four people can live belowdecks by converting the portside settee to upper and lower berths at night. We’d prefer cruising a deux, though.
Room for Four – Two is Better
Belowdecks, the Pilot 31 has an island queen berth forward plus a settee whose back flips up to create upper and lower berths. (This may be new to powerboat folks, but it was common practice in sailboats way back when.) The head is larger than normal on this type of boat, and there’s a decent-sized hanging locker for shoregoing clothes. (Yes, it’s cedar-lined.) A 19” flat-screen TV with DVD is standard.
The settee converts to berths by flipping up its backrest. This is OK in a pinch, but we’d rather sleep two in the Pilot 31’s cabin. It’s perfect for that.
Let’s be realistic: Even though the Pilot 31 Sedan has added accommodations below, it’s still more of a couples’ boat. Four people living aboard a boat this size for more than an overnight or two will strain relations among the best of friends. We’d rather cruise with our partner, leaving the settee unconverted for lounging or reading before bed. We’ll invite friends aboard for the day, but let them sleep ashore. However, for two people, the Pilot 31 has plenty of room and should make an excellent cruiser.
There’s 6’3” of headroom in the cabin, which makes it feel bigger than it is. Access to the queen-sized berth is from its foot only, a little awkward.
We like the built-in single seat on the starboard side. Too often, boats this size don’t have anywhere to sit in the cabin.
Just a Single Diesel
Standard power is a single 315-hp Yanmar 6LPA-STP2 diesel spinning a conventional prop in a shallow pocket. A prop pocket improves the shaft angle while reducing draft, although the running gear is still vulnerable. Mainship provides extra protection in the form of a sturdy bronze shoe incorporated into the strut; it’ll keep the prop from being damaged by gentle groundings and deflect debris, too. Mainship includes a bow thruster as standard, which will make docking easier.
Engine access is under the pilothouse sole, and it looks tight to us. A Kohler genset, standard, is tucked in there with the Yanmar. We’d add the oil-change system ($800).
The Pilot 31 Sedan’s base price of $213,165 includes everything you need to go cruising, including a copy of Chapman’s Piloting, Seamanship and Small Boat Handling. However, most buyers will want to add a couple of options. Reverse-cycle air conditioning is standard in the cabin, optional in the pilothouse ($3,866). A windlass should be included as standard, too, but for some reason it’s an option – add $3,016, including anchor rode and chain leader. We’d add the $520 mast, too, for mounting the radome and other antennas. Higher is better for radar performance.
For a complete boat, figure on shelling out around $220,000, plus electronics – inexpensive compared to similar-sized boats. Mainships have always been good value, and the Pilot 31 Sedan carries on the tradition.
We haven’t tested the boat, but the builder says top speed is around 23 knots, cruise between 18 – 20 knots.
A cruising couple looking for a boat for short-run summertime adventures would do themselves a disservice not to consider the Mainship Pilot 31 Sedan. It’s affordable relative to similar boats and, comes from a builder which has been around for years. The galley-up layout makes for a roomy cabin and a nicer place to cook, too. We always eat on deck when possible, and the comfortable dinette works for that as well. The small-ish cockpit won’t satisfy water-sports enthusiasts, though, and it’s definitely not a serious fishing boat.