Live On Deck...
A pilothouse adds a lot of room to a boat, so many folks think the tradeoff for alfresco cockpit space is worth it. The Mainship Pilot 355 Sedan's house is weathertight on three sides, with a soft aft enclosure. Large sliding side windows provide lots of fresh air when open, and lots of light all the time. The galley, abaft of the helm, is complete with a slide-open a.c./d.c. refrigerator/freezer, an electric grill and a microwave oven, a stainless sink and plenty of stowage. (A two-burner propane stove is optional, and will appeal to former sailors and folks not wanting the genset.)
Serving grub is easy, since the dinette is just across the cockpit from the galley – the company says it seats six; we think four might be more comfortable. Forward of galley and dinette, the helm sits to starboard with a companion seat to port; there’s a jumpseat aft of the galley, and enough cockpit space for almost anything short of hard-core fishing.
Belowdecks, the Pilot 335 has an island queen berth forward plus a settee that converts into upper and lower single 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 even a decent-sized hanging locker for shoregoing clothes. (Yep, it’s cedar-lined, too.) A 20” flat-screen TV with DVD is standard, too.
We like single-diesel boats: They're economical to operate and maintain, and the running gear can be protected, as it is on the Pilot 355 Sedan. Standard power is a 315-hp Yanmar 6LPA-STP2 spinning a conventional prop in a shallow pocket. Prop pockets improve the shaft angle while reducing draft, and Mainship incorporates a bronze shoe into the strut. We haven't tested the boat ourselves, but the builder says top speed is 23 knots, cruise between 18 – 20 knots. Bow and stern thrusters are standard to make handling easier.
The Pilot 355 Sedan’s base price of $203,560 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 available for both the cabin and pilothouse; to make full use of it, include the Kohler genset, too. A windlass should be included as standard, but it’s an option; ditto an X-Change oil-change system.
Mainships have always been good value, and it seems to us the Pilot 355 Sedan carries on the tradition. For a complete boat, with A/C and genset, figure on shelling out around $236,000 MSRP. For comparison, we found a never-titled 2008 model year Sabre 34 Hardtop Express priced at $385,000; the Sabre is twin-diesel, roughly the same size as the Pilot 355 and from a top-end builder. A 2011 Ranger R29 tug, a little smaller than the Pilot but with similar accommodations, is listed on the company website for $229,937; the R29 has a single 260-hp Yanmar diesel.
For people who are not going to do any long-distance cruising and are on a budget, the Mainship Pilot 355 provides a good, economical way to get on the water and enjoy boating. Once an owner has stretched his legs in this boat for a few years he should be able to look back and be happy with his purchase, secure in the knowlesge that he got good sea time and adventures for a very reasonable price.
Standard and Optional Features
|Dripless Shaft Seals||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
|Oil Change System||Optional|