No matter how small a boat you own now, moving up to a 35-footer is not such a big jump. The Mainship 35 weighs just 20,000 lbs. (9,091 kgs.), has a 14’2” (4.36 m) beam and has both an upper and lower helm, with hydraulic steering and electronic throttles and shifts as standard. We think this is an ideal way for many older couples who are empty nesters to finally get started on that life-long dream without a lot of financial exposure. Likewise, it is also a good boat for a young couple with small kids to get started on if you know your destiny is one of those beautiful 65’ or 70-footers in 20 years or so. Think of this boat as your summer cottage, but one that is moveable from place to place, and you never have to pay extra for waterfront real estate (nor the taxes!)
The Back Story
During the 1930s Henry Luhrs stared a small boat yard in New Jersey called the Luhrs Sea Skiff Company. After the war the company grew and in the 1950s his sons John and Warren became involved with the business. At one point the company was producing over 1200 boats a year. In 1965, Bangor Punta, a huge timber conglomerate that was buying up several boat companies and other businesses in recreation at the time, made Henry an offer too good to refuse and the company was sold. The brothers, John and Warren, soon struck out on their own and formed Silverton Marine Corporation, the first of the Luhrs Marine Group of companies.
Sail and Power
Under the guidance of their father, the brothers were very successful. Warren, being an accomplished sailor knew they could adapt their building philosophy to sailboats and Hunter Marine was incorporated in 1973. Hunter is now known as the largest sailboat builder in North America. The international fuel-crisis in the ‘70s gave a huge wake-up call to boat builders, and John and Warren saw opportunity in building an economical, single diesel cruising boat that a family could afford. Mainship Corporation was formed in 1977 and soon outgrew the existing facilities. A new plant was built in Marlboro, NJ and was home to Mainship until 1992 when it was moved to St. Augustine, FL. A couple of years ago it moved back to New Jersey.
Over 1200 of the traditionally-styled cruisers were built before Mainship began building a European-inspired line of cruisers in 1988. The new boat line did well for several years, but Mainship’s real destiny was to return to the trawlers that made them famous. In 1994, the first new Trawler, a 35 sedan, was introduced. Today, the Luhrs Marine Group builds about 20 different models in three brands: Mainship, Silverton and Luhrs. The company has always believed in building low and mid price-point boats and today it is hard to find a serious power boater over 60 years old on the north Atlantic east coast of the U.S. who hasn’t at one time or another owned a Luhrs product.
It All Starts with Value
Having built price-point boats for decades, Luhrs has broken the code on how to do it and still compete with their far more expensive competition in terms of performance, handling and livability. The new Mainship 35 is a good example of just that.First, this boat has a 14’2” beam (4.36 m) which the company says is widest in its class. That is a beam/length ration of 40% which is nearly unheard of in powerboats over 24’. We think that ample beam is a good thing in this type boat because it allows a lot of living space in the main salon, below, and up on the flying bridge, too. This boat is not about speed, nor is she intended to compete with Italian motoryachts. Rather, her mission in life is to be a reliable, comfortable, North American trawler-type coastal cruiser that is affordable to a wide swath of the American boating public. Just as price is important, the 35’s beam is also a large part of her positive character. It adds to form stability, allows her to carry more weight, provides the width for both wide side decks for easy line-handling, and still leaves plenty of living space in the salon, and in the accommodations.
On the Flying Bridge
As we move from top to bottom, the first place the 40% beam pays off is at the helm on the flying bridge. Mainship has three standard pedestal seats at the bridge, which is something we often don’t see on boats far bigger costing much more. That means that the skipper has two companions to help with the navigation and piloting and to keep good company. Isn’t that what boating is all about?Abaft the helm area is a “L”-shaped lounge seat with fiberglass table for more friends to sit, and a great place for lunch. The pictures of the boat in this article show the front half of the flying bridge fully enclosed with cruising canvas, something we recommend for anyone boating north of Morehead City. If you plan on boating south of there, then a Bimini top should be all you will need.
The bridge on this boat is huge because Mainship’s designers have brought the flying bridge deck back over the cockpit. Not only does this give plenty of shade and protection from the elements on the aft deck, but it also provides lots of room on what we would normally call the “boat deck.” In the pictures here Mainship has placed a functional and attractive fiberglass module to house a refer, icemaker, sink and even a propane grill. Because the deck is so large there is plenty of room for several people to move around here.
For boaters who will not be using the flying bridge for grilling, they may want to consider placing a tender with davit on the “boat deck.” Others may want to store other water toys there and possibly, a life raft. No matter what kind of cruising you want to do, we think you will find this little boat versatile.
In the Salon
Mainship offers two versions of essentially the same layout in the salon. Both have the galley to port abaft the dinette. Opposite you can opt for two comfortable barrel seats or a 7’ long sofa. An option is a sofa than makes into a bed, which is probably a good idea if you go with this version. What Mainship does not seem to offer, and it surprises us, is a galley down version. We think a galley down version would be ideal for the cruising couple, or even a couple with kids because the sofa-bed becomes the second sleeping area.Please note that the Mainship comes standard with two helm stations, the one above, and a small one to starboard in the salon. Boaters, particularly beginning boaters, seem to like this arrangement because they can get out of inclement weather. There are three windshields forward and the middle one opens out to provide a breeze. There is a windscreen wiper on the starboard window.
Regular readers know that we think lower helm stations on boats of this size are a waste of space if you have cruising canvass and isinglass on the flybridge. But on this boat, we agree with the Mainship's naval architects that putting a lower helm here is the best use of space. The reason is that the space is so small it cannot be used for much else, and there needs to be access to the side deck for easy egress when docking.
We have all been seated at dinettes on boats and know how tight they can be. Again the 14’2” beam of this little trawler-type boat pays off in comfortable room. Please note that the dinette on this 35 is nearly 4’8’ (1.43 m) wide -- that means 28” (.71 m) for each person on a side. That’s almost as good as at elbow room at the local IHop! The dinette is also raised so every one can see out (and there will be more crawl room below.)
Below, Mainship gives you a two stateroom version with the crawl-in double to port or two narrow singles, and the master forward. The bunks in the guest stateroom are 7’ long (2.15 m), and while you have to crawl in, there is full standing headroom in the area of the cabin near the hanging locker.Both the master queen and the guest beds have innerspring mattresses, not foam as used by a lot of builders. The head has a separate shower stall which is a bit unusual on a 35’ boat and the wives will appreciate that little detail. The cabins can be ordered with cherry hardwood flooring, and both provide changing room space and hanging lockers.
One Engine or Two?
The Mainship 35 comes standard with a single Yanmar 380-hp diesel engine, plus both a bow and a stern thruster. This is one of the few boats we know of that comes standard with both thrusters, and there is not a boat in this class standard with both, to our knowledge. This is a biggie. It means that even if this is your first single-screw boat, you should have no problem docking in most normal conditions. And with practice (with the thrusters in reserve as a fail-safe back-up) you can learn to dock the boat with only the single screw, your rudder, and a couple of lines (just like in the good old days.)
The thrusters are electric and low horsepower. Do not expect to lean on these thrusters for more than a minute or so at a time. Use them judiciously, with a bump, bump, bump and let momentum do as much work as possible. Electric thrusters overheat quickly and will shut off, or you can simply run your battery down. If you think of them as you would a starter motor, you will begin to understand their limitations. Remember, you have a strong diesel engine, a big propeller and a large rudder to do most of the work.The twin diesels available are Volvo Penta 225-hp units. If you opt for this power package, the boat comes with the only the bow thruster as standard.
Under normal cruising conditions the boat should be run at about 7 knots to optimize its economical operation. Remember this is a trawler, not a go-fast boat. With the Mainship 35 you can smell the daisies and enjoy the view rather than blasting past it. The 250 gallon (946 L) fuel tank should easily get you from place to place on most coasts.
The boat is set up for easy cruising for a couple. There is handy fender storage in the transom and there is no need to have heavy lines and fenders to tax the weaker sex when docking. The door on the starboard side by the lower helm means that the skipper can ease the boat up to a dock and then hop out and throw lines ashore, making the boat easy to single-hand. Mainship has thoughtfully put a heavy-duty rub rail with stainless steel insert, so not to worry.We think this boat is a good way to get one’s feet wet with trawler speeds and the cruising lifestyle, with the minimum financial exposure. If you like it, then in a few years, trade up. If not, you will have had a great couple of seasons and sea stories for a lifetime. You only live once.
Standard and Optional Features
|Dripless Shaft Seals||Standard|
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Optional|
|Washdown: Raw Water||Optional|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
|Oil Change System||Optional|
Five Year Hull and Deck Structural Warranty
||Five Year Hull and Deck Structural Warranty|
||Five Year Prorated Blister Warranty|