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Old 04-09-2016, 05:03   #1
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Question 1997 Mainship 37 MY

A friend of ours lives aboard her 1997 Mainship 37 MY. After a boat ride to breakfast yesterday morning, we boarded her boat to check it out. She's wanting to move back to a condo because the maintenance on her boat is too much for her. It's not that its a bad boat, but she has to hire someone to do everything for her. After talking to her, we told her that we weren't ready to make a move just yet, but if she got to the point where she was pulling her hair out and ready to list it, to contact us first. She'd sell it to us for $50K.

We REALLY like the salon layout, it really has just as much room as our RV does. And we also like the outside patio area aft of the helm, with the hardcover.

The only problem that I have with it is the engines. They are 454 gas engines.

What are some of the major problems with older gas engines, and are they more expensive to maintain than diesels? Also, is it hard to repower them with diesel engines? I've seen a few Mainships that have been repowered with Yanmar's.

I dont think we'll ever do any long range cruising, and if we do it would be along the Texas coast from Galveston down to Port Aransas or South Padre. Her yacht has 300 gallons of fuel capacity which would be about a $600-$900 fill up. Does anyone know what the estimated fuel burn is on these older gas engines?

Any input on the engines, or Mainship's themselves, is greatly appreciated. I'd like to start researching it now, so that I can know whether I/we want to move forward if and when the time comes.
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Old 04-09-2016, 05:25   #2
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Re: 1997 Mainship 37 MY

1000rpm-1.9gph
1500 - 3.7
2000 - 5.6
2500 - 7.5
3000 - 10
3250 - 11.4
3500 - 12.3
4000 - 18.5
4250 - 21.3
4500 - 24.0
4600 wot - even more, but not recorded.
Fuel burn curve for mideighties 454350 Crusader

MerCruiser 8.1 MAG - 496 cid - 375 hp burns about 30.5 GPH @ WOT.

TWIN MerCruiser 7.4 L - 454 cid -2 x 310 hp burns about 57.0 GPH Total @ WOT.
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Old 04-09-2016, 05:36   #3
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Re: 1997 Mainship 37 MY

Dang, those numbers are ugly. We wouldn't be getting anywhere fast. Thats for sure.
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Old 04-09-2016, 05:40   #4
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Re: 1997 Mainship 37 MY

Fuel burn will be relative to RpMs and speed but expect no better than 1mpg at slower speeds down to .5mpg or less at higher the marinized 454's seem to require risers being maintained yearly and probably replaced every couple of years. Carbs seem need rebuilding every couple years. Gasoline has a very limited lifespan compared to diesel so fuel issues are more common with gas engines. Repowering with diesels would be very costly. Haven't looked but what are 20-30 year old diesel mainships selling for? As a trawler they are probably in the lower range quality wise not a bad boat but not a blue water trawler. .

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Old 04-09-2016, 09:53   #5
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Re: 1997 Mainship 37 MY

Quote:
Originally Posted by TooCoys View Post
A friend of ours lives aboard her 1997 Mainship 37 MY. After a boat ride to breakfast yesterday morning, we boarded her boat to check it out. She's wanting to move back to a condo because the maintenance on her boat is too much for her. It's not that its a bad boat, but she has to hire someone to do everything for her. After talking to her, we told her that we weren't ready to make a move just yet, but if she got to the point where she was pulling her hair out and ready to list it, to contact us first. She'd sell it to us for $50K.

We REALLY like the salon layout, it really has just as much room as our RV does. And we also like the outside patio area aft of the helm, with the hardcover.

The only problem that I have with it is the engines. They are 454 gas engines.

What are some of the major problems with older gas engines, and are they more expensive to maintain than diesels? Also, is it hard to repower them with diesel engines? I've seen a few Mainships that have been repowered with Yanmar's.

I dont think we'll ever do any long range cruising, and if we do it would be along the Texas coast from Galveston down to Port Aransas or South Padre. Her yacht has 300 gallons of fuel capacity which would be about a $600-$900 fill up. Does anyone know what the estimated fuel burn is on these older gas engines?

Any input on the engines, or Mainship's themselves, is greatly appreciated. I'd like to start researching it now, so that I can know whether I/we want to move forward if and when the time comes.
Just to let you know. There is a very nice Mainship 34, brand new Yanmar 190 hp. Boat has been getting lots of recent work to cruise new owners, first trip out she ruined her back falling, they returned home after 4 or 5 days, put boat on market for $42.000. Very nice boat. You can see it at boat trader Washington. It's located John Wayne Marina. Sequim.Wa.
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Old 04-09-2016, 11:24   #6
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Re: 1997 Mainship 37 MY

The fact that you want more live aboard than cruising suggests that fuel cost may not be a central concern. Galveston to Port Aransas is about 200 miles, or $500 in fuel if you get 1 mpg; at lower speeds you should do that. Compare that with monthly marina slip fees. The secret is staying at hull speed. Once you're climbing that bow wave your cost will sky rocket. I've known one boat about that size that managed to spend $14 per mile by racing from lock to lock on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.
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Old 04-09-2016, 11:36   #7
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Re: 1997 Mainship 37 MY

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Originally Posted by tkeithlu View Post
The fact that you want more live aboard than cruising suggests that fuel cost may not be a central concern. Galveston to Port Aransas is about 200 miles, or $500 in fuel if you get 1 mpg; at lower speeds you should do that. Compare that with monthly marina slip fees. The secret is staying at hull speed. Once you're climbing that bow wave your cost will sky rocket. I've known one boat about that size that managed to spend $14 per mile by racing from lock to lock on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.

Well, we know we want to live aboard. And we know that a sail boat is completely out of the question. I'm good for it, but my partner has absolutely NO interest in sailing, or living on a sail boat. Especially after we spent time on one this weekend.

On the other hand if we choose to live on a boat, we also know we wont be doing any long range cruising. My partner is completely against cruising across the gulf to the carribean, and also completely against even cruising the great loop.

So if we were to cruise, it would be short weekend trips around Galveston bay, or up the ICW over to Louisiana where I'm from, or down to Port Aransas as long as we stayed along the coast where land is visible. (of course all of this is subject to change with experience and more knowledge gained)

We already know what the live aboard slip fees are, and we know about how much of a boat payment we can afford. Our intentions are to pay half the boat with cash and finance the rest for a short term.

I never gave any thought to gas engines, and probably wouldn't consider one otherwise, but our friend will make us a good deal on hers just so that she can move ashore.

I knew gas engines were less economical and their range was limited, I just didn't know it was THAT limited.
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Old 04-09-2016, 11:50   #8
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Re: 1997 Mainship 37 MY

Good thoughts, TooCoys. Your partner's envelope may expand with experience, particularly if you avoid rough weather - my wife was not aware that 30 degree rolls are OK, and it took awhile... Personally, I would ban gasoline inboards for safety reasons, and recognize they are often installed for reasons of initial expense rather than long term economy, but your boat is a total deal, and it sounds like it has a lot to offer you, so you follow the rules carefully and know that you've got a short legged boat.
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Old 04-09-2016, 12:05   #9
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Re: 1997 Mainship 37 MY

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...., but your boat is a total deal, and it sounds like it has a lot to offer you, so you follow the rules carefully and know that you've got a short legged boat.

That's why I'm researching now and trying get educated before it comes down to making a decision. I don't want to buy a $50K boat, just to be dissapointed in a year or two with the range. Combine that with the economy, and not knowing what gas prices will do in a year, let alone 3 to 5 years, I dont want to get stuck with a boat I can't sell either.

It's all things that we have to consider.

Although, to date, the Mainship has the BEST layout we've seen in a yacht yet. It's also the cleanest, and nicest that we've seen as well.
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Old 04-09-2016, 13:17   #10
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Re: 1997 Mainship 37 MY

TooCoys, it sounds like you should take a look at the smaller diesel trawlers. They are coastal - I would not do anything seriously off-shore in them, but economical to run and with generous interior space. I feel a little odd recommending that, given that I looked at them and decided to buiild my own because of the compromises on seaworthiness that comes with that interior space, but for you they might be a good fit. I've seen even 27' trawlers (Ranger Tugs) that have an amazing amount of comfortable space and can do coastal/ICW cruising.
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Old 04-09-2016, 13:25   #11
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Re: 1997 Mainship 37 MY

Quote:
Originally Posted by TooCoys View Post
A friend of ours lives aboard her 1997 Mainship 37 MY. After a boat ride to breakfast yesterday morning, we boarded her boat to check it out. She's wanting to move back to a condo because the maintenance on her boat is too much for her. It's not that its a bad boat, but she has to hire someone to do everything for her. After talking to her, we told her that we weren't ready to make a move just yet, but if she got to the point where she was pulling her hair out and ready to list it, to contact us first. She'd sell it to us for $50K.

We REALLY like the salon layout, it really has just as much room as our RV does. And we also like the outside patio area aft of the helm, with the hardcover.

The only problem that I have with it is the engines. They are 454 gas engines.

What are some of the major problems with older gas engines, and are they more expensive to maintain than diesels? Also, is it hard to repower them with diesel engines? I've seen a few Mainships that have been repowered with Yanmar's.

I dont think we'll ever do any long range cruising, and if we do it would be along the Texas coast from Galveston down to Port Aransas or South Padre. Her yacht has 300 gallons of fuel capacity which would be about a $600-$900 fill up. Does anyone know what the estimated fuel burn is on these older gas engines?

Any input on the engines, or Mainship's themselves, is greatly appreciated. I'd like to start researching it now, so that I can know whether I/we want to move forward if and when the time comes.
50,000 is not that good a deal. In fact, it's about average for that little boat. I live in the Houston area, as well. Out on west Memorial, about 20 miles from downtown. I'm also looking for a boat to buy. Given my age, I'm going for a motor yacht like yourself. The gas engines are okay if you remember that gas is more flammable than diesel. Just run the blowers a few minutes before touching the ignition switches. I owned several gas boats in the 1960s and never had a minute's problem. Given what you say about your partner, you don't want to run these waters with a lot of speed anyway. I grew up in Corpus and have taken gas MYs up and down the coast from there many times. It can get rough quickly. You don't want to take a 37 footer very far into the Gulf, anyway. It's not enough boat if a squall jumps up, and they do that frequently. For your kind of cruising, the gas engines are just fine. Diesels come with their own set of problems and are expensive to work on. My 40' Matthews had twin DD 6-71s, so I have some idea of the expense. I'm mainly an aircraft pilot but have more than 50 years of experience with boats, also. If I can help, shoot me a pm here. Best of luck and enjoy yourselves. With all the associated difficulties, boating is just plain fun.
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Old 04-09-2016, 13:37   #12
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Re: 1997 Mainship 37 MY

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50,000 is not that good a deal. In fact, it's about average for that little boat.

I've been looking on yachtworld and boat trader and I've seen them anywhere from $50K up to $118K.

Still though, for a nearly 20 year old boat, there's no major issues with it. The biggest two things that she pointed out to us is the front hatch needs to be replaced, and the cushions on the helm need to be re-upholstered. the front hatch over the V berth was damaged when someone stepped on it, and the cushions in the helm were damaged by birds, but they really aren't even that bad.

She just replaced the air conditioners with brand new ones this summer, put in a completely new fridge, and also took all the carpet out and had the stairs and floors custom covered with bamboo flooring. I'm sure if she wanted to she could easily get closer to $65 or $70K for it.
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Old 04-09-2016, 13:57   #13
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Re: 1997 Mainship 37 MY

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I've been looking on yachtworld and boat trader and I've seen them anywhere from $50K up to $118K.

Still though, for a nearly 20 year old boat, there's no major issues with it. The biggest two things that she pointed out to us is the front hatch needs to be replaced, and the cushions on the helm need to be re-upholstered. the front hatch over the V berth was damaged when someone stepped on it, and the cushions in the helm were damaged by birds, but they really aren't even that bad.

She just replaced the air conditioners with brand new ones this summer, put in a completely new fridge, and also took all the carpet out and had the stairs and floors custom covered with bamboo flooring. I'm sure if she wanted to she could easily get closer to $65 or $70K for it.
I'm sure you're right, TooCoys. It's like anything else, a person goes with what they like, and the Mainships have a decent reputation. Not a bad boat at all. Just use your good common sense and with what your heart tells you. It'll be fine. I personally like the old Chris Craft Commanders, preferably the 47 Commander. I'm sure many would give me a hard time about my choice. Such is life. For what it's worth, I'm looking at gas engines. Cheaper to buy and maintain. A couple of simple rules to remember and never violate, and you'll be happy and safe with them. Again, the best of luck to you.
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Old 04-09-2016, 14:12   #14
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Re: 1997 Mainship 37 MY

I would LOVE a Chris Craft Commander, but they seem to all be much older models. Most of the ones that I've seen listings on have been 60's, 70's, and early 80's models. I'd be concerned with much more on an older vessel than just the engines.
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Old 04-09-2016, 15:00   #15
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Re: 1997 Mainship 37 MY

Sailing Miss Lone Star, on Youtube, took their Cruiser from Kemah around the coast and down to Key West then up to Islamorada. Twin 454's, melted their credit cards! They would burn 300 gallons in a day.

Now on a sail boat..

Oh, and as mentioned (although not as graphically) gas explodes.
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