John martino, annapolis school of seamanship and annapolis yacht         management
The following review was written by John Martino and prepared by the marketing department of Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Mr. Martino is the founder and president of Annapolis Yacht Management and Annapolis School of Seamanship. He develops and teaches hands-on training courses for recreational boaters and professional mariners, and offers yacht delivery and onboard training services for powerboaters as well as sailors.
Mainship 31 Pilot
SEPTEMBER 2009
 
   
Length overall  35'5"
Beam  10'2"
Draft  2'6"
Displacement  11,750 lb
Fuel /Water  180 gals / 40 gals
Price as tested  $199,870

As I was driving over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge toward the Eastern Shore of Maryland, I looked to the south to see sheets of rain sweeping across the Bay. It had been squally all morning and today was the day to take out the new Mainship Pilot 31 for a boat test. Normally I would be thinking of postponing the review until better weather was available, but the Pilot 31 (a new design that replaces the Pilot 30) provides protection from the elements in its enclosed bridge deck. At least we wouldn't have the sun in our eyes.

When I arrived at Lippincott Marine, on Kent Island, the rain had stopped and the sky cleared long enough for us to cast off the lines and head out. Although the bridge area is enclosed on 3 sides and has drop canvas with isinglass to close the back, there is so much glass that the area feels quite open and you don't have the feeling of being inside at all. The bridge area is also a versatile space. An L-shaped settee and table on the port side is directly across from a small galley to starboard, just aft of the raised captain's seat.

The drawer-style refrigerator is located beneath the captain's seat. The galley also features a sink, microwave and an electric cooktop. (Earlier models feature a grill instead of cooktop). A small seat aft of the galley to starboard gives passengers a great view of what's going on behind the boat. Aft of the pilothouse and down one step is a small cockpit, well suited for line handling and boarding. A transom door to starboard opens to the swim platform.

Mainship designers make it easy for cruisers to move forward. Prominent and substantial grab rails on the aft edge of the house make stepping on to the side cat walks safe. More handrails along the top of the house provide additional hand holds, and, for even more "holding" power, the bow pulpit rails extend almost all the way back to the cockpit.

The sleeping accommodations are accessed by a companionway from the pilothouse. Down below there is a centerline queen bed with drawers beneath. To port, a settee converts to over-under bunks by flipping up the back rest. Across to starboard there is a single seat and hanging locker just forward of the head compartment. A flat panel TV is mounted on the port aft bulkhead.

Our boat was equipped with a 315-hp Yanmar diesel (a 150-hp Yanmar is standard). Underway, the 31 cruised comfortably at around 20 knots. We could enjoy the ride and the view while staying dry and comfortable.

The Mainship 31 Pilot is an ideal cruising boat for a couple or young family looking for a vessel that provides good accommodations for weekending or even a week-long cruise. Her shallow draft makes her a great gunkholer, perfect for getting away from those crowded anchorages into some more secluded backwaters. And most importantly, a little bit of rain won't spoil the day!