January, 2016 (Updated March, 2018)
Yacht brokers are forever working with clients seeking a quality cruising yacht at an affordable price. Affordable is a relative term of course, but assuming a budget in the $50,000 to $150,000 range, we decided to spend some time on Yachtworld exploring the choices available to that hypothetical client in today’s market. Our first consideration in developing a list of potential choices was size, and here we chose to select only midsize boats between 35 and 45 feet. Next came popularity — the boats listed below all achieved a level of market success during their production years to insure a good selection of used models on the brokerage market. And our final consideration had to do with performance. Although we all appreciate seakeeping qualities of a full displacement hull, only a few want to be restricted to cruising speeds of eight or nine knots day after day. Therefore, the boats selected for this article all ride on semi-displacement hulls capable — with the right engines — of higher cruising speeds.
With those considerations in mind, here are eight popular (and affordable) trawler-style cruisers that can usually be found on the brokerage market.
At a Glance: A legendary trawler design — over 1,500 Grand Banks 42s were built. The mahogany construction of the original GB 42 gave way to fiberglass in late 1973, and in 1991 the hull was lengthened and widened a few inches to add interior volume, mostly in the forward stateroom and galley. One of the most desirable features of the Grand Banks 42 is her roomy full-teak interior. While a galley-down layout was available, most were built with the galley forward in the salon, opposite the lower helm. The master stateroom is aft and came with a walkaround double berth (twin berths in early models) and split head and shower compartments. The forward stateroom has V-berths. Walkaround decks make getting around easy and secure. Twin 210hp Cat (or Cummins) diesels cruise at 9–10 knots. Twin 375hp Cats cruise at 14–15 knots.
Price Range: From $75K up to the low $300s.
Grand Banks 42 Classic
Mainship 350/390 Trawler
At a Glance: One of the best-selling Mainships ever produced — called the 350 Trawler in 1996–98 and 390 Trawler in 1999–2005. Large windows provide lots of natural lighting in the salon and excellent visibility from the lower helm. A convertible sofa and hi-low table are starboard in the salon, and an L-shaped galley with refrigerator/freezer and Corian counter is forward to port. The teak and holly salon sole is an attractive feature, and a sliding door at the helm provides easy deck access. There are two staterooms and a single head forward. The master stateroom has an island queen berth and the guest stateroom—partially tucked beneath the galley—has twin berths. Molded steps ascend from the aft deck to the large flybridge. Among several engine choices, a single 370hp Yanmar diesel will cruise at 10–12 knots, and twin 230hp Yanmar diesels cruise at 14 knots.
Price Range: From the mid/high $80s to mid $100s.
At a Glance: A completely updated version of the mega-popular Mainship 350/390 with fresh styling and a larger salon. The two-stateroom interior of the Mainship 400 is arranged with an island berth in the master stateroom and single berths in the portside guest stateroom which is partially tucked under the salon sole. A lower helm is standard, and the four-person dinette forward in the salon was eliminated in a 2009 interior redesign in favor of a large sofa to starboard. Large salon windows provide plenty of natural lighting, and a lovely teak and holly sole is standard. The molded flybridge steps are an improvement over the 350/390’s intrusive curved staircase. For many, the spacious bridge of the Mainship 400—with its grill, dinette table, and wet bar—is one of the highlights of the boat. A single Cat diesel will cruise at 12 knots (15–16 top).
Price Range: Mid/high $100s to $200K-plus.
Mainship 400 Trawler; 41 Expedition
Mainship 430 Trawler
At a Glance: Popular trunk cabin cruiser with classic trawler lines — Mainship marketed this boat as a “fast” trawler. Offered with several two or three stateroom interiors. The galley-down layout (with two staterooms) boasts a spacious salon with convertible sofa, dining table, and twin deck doors. A breakfast bar with two stools overlooks the galley, and the forward stateroom has an island berth or V-berths. The owner’s stateroom has a cockpit access door—a useful feature. With the three-stateroom layout, the galley is forward in the salon and the second guest stateroom extends under the galley sole. All interiors feature teak cabinets and teak and holly flooring in the salon and galley. Lower helm ergonomics are poor. Note the washer/dryer space under the forward salon steps. Walkaround decks make getting around easy and secure. Cummins 370hp diesels cruise the Mainship 430 at 14–16 knots.
Price Range: From the low $100s to mid/high $200s.
President 41 Double Cabin
At a Glance: One of the most popular Asian imports of her day — 115 of these midsize trawlers were built. With a beam of just 13'5", the President 41 can’t be described as spacious although the accommodations are comfortable. Several interiors were offered during her production years, all with two heads and a standard lower helm. Large windows insure excellent visibility from the lower helm, and hatches in the teak-and-holly cabin sole provide easy access to the engine room. The galley is down in the two-stateroom interiors, opposite a booth-style dinette to starboard. The forward head does not contain a separate stall shower. A teak sole and wet bar are standard on the President’s covered aft deck. The flybridge has the helm forward and guest seating aft. Most President 41s came with 120/135hp Lehman diesels that cruise (very efficiently) at 8–9 knots. Larger 275hp Lehmans cruise at 12–14 knots
Price Range: From about $50K to $70–75K.
At a Glance: Well-built import (built by CHB in Taiwan) is a blend of modern styling, comfortable layout, and economical operation. Versatile two stateroom interior includes a roomy main salon with lower helm to starboard. A breakfast bar overlooks the galley, and a sliding door at the helm provides deck access. The parquet salon sole is a great feature, and large windows provide plenty of natural lighting. Opposite the galley is a convertible booth dinette. Forward, the guest stateroom has over/under berths and private access to the forward head. The full-width master stateroom has a walkaround queen berth, en-suite head with stall shower, and washer/dryer cabinet. The covered aft deck is perfect for entertaining several friends. Twin 135hp or 225hp Lehman diesels—or 225hp Perkins diesels—cruise at 10 to 14 knots.
Price Range: From $40–50K up to maybe $65K.
Present 42 Sundeck
Albin 43 Trawler
At a Glance: A classic double cabin trawler with distinctive lines and full teak interior — great liveaboard or cruising yacht. Boasting a wide 14'6" beam, a two-stateroom interior was standard in the the Albin 43 and several three-stateroom layouts were optional. Entering the salon from port or starboard sliding doors, a convertible L-shaped sofa is starboard in the salon and a wet bar is located in the aft port corner. Large windows provide good visibility from the lower helm, and the bench seat at the helm has storage under. The galley is down in the two-stateroom configuration, up in the three-stateroom layout. There are V-berths in the forward stateroom and a walkaround queen berth in the aft stateroom. Teak parquet flooring is found throughout the interior. Most Albin 43s were delivered with twin 120/135hp Lehman diesels (8 knots cruise/11 knots top). Cruising range is an impressive 650–700 miles.
Price Range: From tthe high $50s to the low $100s.
Grand Banks 36 Classic
At a Glance: The first model in the Grand Banks fleet — argueably the best midsize trawler yacht ever. Over 1,200 36 Classics were built during her production years. (The original GB 36 was built of Philippine mahogany until mid-1973 when the transition to fiberglass was made.) A semi-displacement hull with a long keel, hard chines and a deep forefoot provide the stability that won the 36 a reputation for seaworthiness seldom matched by other boats in her class. Several twin-stateroom interiors were offered over the years, all finished with handcrafted teak woodwork and quality workmanship, hardware and materials. Note the cockpit door in the aft stateroom. In 1987, the 36 Classic was slightly enlarged when six inches were added to the length and four inches to the beam. Most were powered by a single 120hp (or single 135hp) Lehman diesel.
Price Range: From $50K to the low $100s.