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40 Mainship Trawler

Mainship Trawlers

Mainship Trawler 40 Review

Source: Geoff Middleton, Boatpoint Magazine

Some boat tests just don’t run according to the script, but not even a botched day on the water could ruin Geoff Middleton’s time aboard Mainship’s new 40ft trawler

The best-laid plans can often go awry, and unfortunately this boat test was one of those instances.

Organising a boat test is not an easy operation. We have to co-ordinate the owner or dealer of the boat for the right day; we have to consult and consider long-term weather forecasts; we have to set aside a day for the journo and organize a photographer; and we must make sure the whole thing comes together fairly smoothly.

So it was with the test of the Mainship 40 Trawler.

We had made a plan to commandeer our sister publication’s long-term test boat, a Quintrex Coast Runner with a 40hp four-stroke Yamaha outboard on the back, to act as our photo boat to test the Mainship 40. We were to have the photo boat at Sandringham Yacht Club and drive it to Port Melbourne to meet the Mainship as it came out of the Yarra River, and then transit back to Sandringham taking the lovely on-water photos you see here.

We were then going to tie up the photo boat at the club and transfer to the Mainship to do our interior shots and have a crawl around the 40-footer before taking it for a good test out on the Bay.

As luck would have it, our plans turned for the worse – there were a couple of besuited chaps onboard the big boat who wanted desperately to get back to the city rather than spend a pleasant couple of hours on the water with us. Consequently, we had to transfer onto the Mainship out on the water and do our shots with the photo boat trailing behind. So if there are some holes in this test, that’s why.

The Mainship story is an interesting one that starts around 100 years ago in the US town of Morgan, New Jersey.

Henry Luhrs, the grandson of a German immigrant also named Henry Luhrs, opened a small boatyard from where he made small boats. The business boomed and became the Henry Luhrs Sea Skiff Company.

Henry’s sons Warren and John joined the business and soon it was turning out 1200 boats a year. In 1965, a timber conglomerate made the Luhrs’ an offer they couldn’t refuse, and the company was taken over.

The brothers, however, went out on their own and began the Silverton Marine Corporation, which was the first of the Luhrs Marine Group.

Warren was a keen sailor and branched out to form what is now Hunter Marine in 1973. Hunter is currently the biggest sailing-yacht manufacturer in the US.

John went on to build single-engined cruisers and formed the Mainship Corporation in 1977.

In 1992, the company moved to Florida; and in 1994, it introduced the 35ft trawler-style boat that had initially made the company famous. The trawler was greeted with enthusiasm, and from there the company now produces six different trawler-style boats, with more on the drawing boards.

The 40ft boat you see on these pages is the first of these to be brought into Australia by the new Sydney-based distributor, Auspicious Yacht Sales.

Stepping onto the Mainship from our photo boat, I was immediately impressed by the sense of strength and the feeling of safety.

The Mainship offers full walkaround decks, with high bulwarks and stainless-steel railings running from the cockpit all the way forward to the high pulpit. This is ideal for families with kids, makes for easy and safe berthing, and is great for entertaining.

The doors into the main saloon open fully for that indoor/outdoor feeling in the summer, or for snug habitation in the winter.

The cockpit itself is smallish for a 40-footer, but the trade-off is an extended saloon that offers lounging, dining and helming facilities as well as an extensive galley that would suit the most fussy of maritime chefs.

The galley is aft on starboard and features a double stainless-steel sink, microwave, three-plate electric stove with oven, apartment-size fridge and – true to US form – a coffeemaker in its own recessed compartment.

There is great attention to stowage in the galley, with ample room for plates, cups and cutlery as well stores and provisions.

Opposite the galley is a comfy leatherette from where you can view the LCD screen with DVD, which is mounted above the fridge.

Forward on the port side is the dining area. It seats four adults on two nicely turned wooden chairs and a lounge against the bulkhead. Opposite is the lower helm station, which offers full instrumentation for the Yanmar 240hp turbo-diesels and the 8kVa generator.

Curiously, I found no electronics on the lower station. No repeaters from the plotter, tridata or the autopilot; and even more curiously, no radios. A vessel’s setup is certainly a matter of personal choice, but for inclement weather I’d like some electronic systems down below.

Forward of the helm and the dining area, one descends three steps to the cabins. On the port side there is a guests’ or kids’ cabin with two single berths and ample storage for a weekend away in a single hanging locker and drawers. The cabin is roomy enough move around and get changed.

Across on the starboard side is the roomy head, which features a nice-sized shower with seat. Again, there’s good storage and ventilation. There’s an electric loo with a holding tank, built-in vanity and an opening hatch with sunscreen as well as an opening, screened port.

The main bedroom for’ard has a raised queen-sized bed with innerspring mattress and two very nice cedar-lined hanging lockers.

There are two opening ports for cross-flow ventilation, and a hatch with a sunshade for those warm summer days at anchor.

Leading aloft is a solid fibreglass staircase that adds to the safety and security of the boat. Eight stairs lead to the expansive flybridge, which stretches out over the cockpit.

There’s a pedestal captain’s chair on the centreline with two flanking lounge-type chairs. Aft of these are two full-length sunlounges that could happily double as bed on a warm night.

The test boat was fitted with the optional “Summer Kitchen” including electric griddle, sink, icemaker and storage. Further aft is a fixed round table, which would be nice with a couple of folding chairs around it.

The aft section of the bridge is surrounded by stainless-steel railing, and the effect is of a great party, dining and social area for transit or at anchor.

The standard bridge comes without the kitchenette, but it’d still be a great place for a gathering of up to eight or so. A large bimini offers protection from the sun, while clears run around the forward section of the bridge – so it really can be used in most weather conditions.

The radar mast is an added touch that is both functional and adds to the trawler-style appeal of the design.

The bridge gives a great view of the foredeck, which is thoughtfully laid out for the cruising application of the boat. As mentioned, access to the foredeck is great – and once there, you notice the twin access hatches to the anchor locker. The optional electric windlass would, I think, be a must for a boat of this size.

The big Samson post gives the foredeck a business-like look, and it is also functional.

There is space on the cabin top for lounging in the sun, which is handy given the permanently covered cockpit.

The Mainship 40 can be ordered with a single engine or twins. The single-engine version comes standard with a bowthruster – a sternthruster is optional.

The twin 240 Yanmar diesels in the test boat offered a top speed of around 20kt and a comfortable and economical cruise of around 10–15kt using somewhere in the vicinity of 25lt/h each. Unfortunately we didn’t get to check this.

The engine room is neat and well thought out, if a little on the squeezy side compared to some of the boats we’ve been on recently. Apparently Mainship has spent many hours working out the layout of the engine room, and it does show.

Aft there’s a lazarette where the generator lives – however, there’s still room there for some fishing gear and other necessities of life.

The semi-displacement style of the hull and the wide, flared bow handled the northerly chop of the Bay well, and the Mainship rode smoothly at speed. I’d hazard a guess that this would be a comfortable coastal cruiser. Added to that is an approximate range of 300nm given the 1200lt fuel capacity.

Overall, it’s a really solid boat with some nice touches. The cherrywood fitout is well put together, and the interior layout offers something a bit different from what we’re used to in a modern cruiser.

It appeals to my sense of a leisurely passage, and I’d hazard a guess that it’d be on the shopping list of an ex-yachtie wanting to get into some economical and comfortable cruising.


  • Roomy interior on the main deck
  • Excellent walkaround decks
  • Well-laid-out foredeck
  • Roomy head
  • Big flybridge for entertaining


  • Smallish aft cockpit
  • Squeezy engine room
  • Lack of electronics downstairs (optional)
  • Slightly rolly at rest, especially up on the bridge



Twin 240hp Yanmar diesels; air conditioning; Summer Kitchen; electronics package including radar, canvas package, bowthruster, second television, generator, dripless shafts, inverter, oil-exchange system and windlass


Material: Handlaid fibreglass

Length overall: 12.60m

Beam: 4.32m

Draft: 1.12m

Deadrise: n/a

Weight: 10,896kg


Fuel: 1135lt

Water: 492lt

Holding tank: 113lt


Make/model: Yanmar 4LHA-STP

Type: Turbocharged, intercooled, inline four-cylinder diesel

Rated hp: 240 @ 3300rpm each

Displacement: 3.455lt

Weight: 365kg each

Props: Four-blade bronze

“…exactly what we were looking for.”

I want to let you know that I like writing letters like this, however in this day and age I am rarely afforded the opportunity.  The personal touch, service, and genuine concern for the customer has taken a back seat to quick sells and bad decisions in my opinion these days.  I wanted to take the time to personally thank you for all your help and proving me wrong in my theory that sales people are out to help themselves.  You listened to our needs and wants, while keeping our budget in mind you went out and worked hard to find us a few choices and exactl… [read more]

- Douglas Toole III

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