Mainship’s Pilot 30 Series II

Author: BoatingWorld Staff

â If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.⠝ That phrase could well be attributed to a New Englander. The land of staunch traditionalism has produced some classic nautical styles, most notably the lobster boat. There’s something about that vessel’s timeless look that draws you in. When Mainship introduced its Pilot 30 about five years ago, the model faithfully reproduced the Down East lines and lineage. It was an immediate hit. So, why tamper with success? The original Pilot 30 was conceived as a day boat. Yes, it did have basic V-berth sleeping accommodations for two. As owner experience accumulated, though, feedback to the company was that the size of the boat easily lent itself to overnighting. People were buying Pilot 30s to use as cottages on the water for weekending. But a few things could be tweaked, buyers said. For example, that 4 inch foam pad on the berth might not have bothered a stiff-backed Yankee seafarer, but weekend boaters want more. Mainship’s designers acted on those suggestions — and the Series II was born. It retains the tradition of the original, but makes some significant improvements. If you’re adhering to tradition, making 15 or 16 knots is a fine, stately speed. In today’s world, however, weekends are too short, and we don’t want to spend most of our time getting where we’re going. It was an engineering challenge for Mainship to kick it up a notch, but the company managed to increase the cruising speed on the Series II by about half again. To do this, the hull was redesigned to accommodate more powerful engines. The Pilot 30 now offers a range of Cummins and Yanmar diesel packages, from 220 to 315 hp. The Mainship Pilot has a well-defined keel with a skeg that protects the running gear against damage from grounding. The keel on the original Pilot 30 gave the boat a draft of 3 feet, 3 inches. In the Series II, it’s only 2 feet, 8 inches. I suspected this might affect the tracking and stability of the hull — and those were characteristics that impressed me about the original when I gave it a sea trial five years ago. Happily, I found the Series II to be equally true-tracking and stable. To compensate for the reduced draft, Mainship created a prop tunnel and improved the keel’s aft fairing. I put the boat through a series of figure-eight turns and tight maneuvers running at 20 knots. There was little lean. Its tracking ability is very predictable and confident — and just as impressive as the original. Faster Is Fun Our test boat was powered by a single Yanmar 315 SE Diesel, rated at 315 hp. With a half tank of fuel and two people on board, we hit a top speed of 26 knots. Although the Pilot 30 rides with a slight bow-high attitude, in part because of its upswept forward lines, a little bit of trim tab improved visibility at cruising speed. Off the line, the boat reached 20 knots in six seconds. Midrange acceleration was also very good. Boats with a large keel can be difficult to maneuver at slow speed. One option I’d highly recommend for the Pilot 30 Series II is a bow thruster. Mainship reports that almost every Pilot 30 that leaves the factory has one. With our test boat’s bow thruster, I was easily able to position the boat for docking. Small, Yet Spacious The Pilot 30’s cockpit has ample space for entertaining, fishing or whatever. A pair of facing bench seats lines the upper level. A couple of kids could bunk on them for overnighting. The seats can be served by a removable table that does double duty in the cabin. It can fold for cocktails or open for dinner. Optional bench seats are available for the aft corners of the lower cockpit. These are included in the Luxury Edition package, as are pedestal bucket seats for the helm and passenger side, instead of bench seats. Let the hardcore traditionalists obsess over topside wood and brightwork. You won’t find any on the new Pilot 30. This is a boat that’s built for minimal maintenance. Railings, fittings and portlight frames are stainless steel. Deck cleaning is an easy hose-down. With a nod to tradition, though, you will find attractive simulated wood graining on the steering wheel, throttle base and helm switch panel. The Series II cabin changes include a switch from the â old salt⠝ teak woodwork to a lighter, more modern cherry interior trim. It brightens the space considerably. That, along with the cherry and holly sole, is standard. Another bright note is in the head. A large overhead portlight floods the space with a surprising amount of light. The galley features a single-burner electric stove, a microwave oven, a deep stainless steel sink with hot and cold pressurized water, and a top-loading refrigerator — all standard equipment. There’s a fair amount of cabinet space, too. The cabin has 6 feet, 2 inches of headroom at its highest point. When the table is set up, four adults can dine in the U-shaped seating area, with a comfortable amount of elbow room. Saving the Best for Last? OK, you ask — what about the mattress? That 4 inch foam pad I mentioned earlier (on the old Pilot 30) also jutted into the cabin. For the Series II model, Mainship’s designers came up with a clever aluminum frame that folds the mattress in half, to avoid this waste of space. The mechanism easily pulls in and out. And what’s even better, the berth now has a queen-size innerspring mattress — and it accepts standard queen-size bedding. When you lift the bed frame, there is easy access to the bow thruster, the hot water heater and the optional air conditioner. I was happy to see that the thickness of the mattress and the berth base absorbed most of the air-conditioning compressor noise. Over and above the base-priced boat, the Pilot 30 Series II has two factory option packages. The Sport Edition includes the bow thruster, bottom paint and a swim platform, among other things. In the Luxury Edition group, you get air conditioning, a Bimini top and enclosure, a custom color hull and an electronics package. You can also order the boat with an optional sedan hardtop and a generator. If you love the traditional look of Down East lobster yachts, but want a little more contemporary comfort and speed, Mainship’s new Pilot 30 Series II will give you much to like. CONTACT: Mainship Corp., St. Augustine, FL; (800) 578-0852; www.mainship.com

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