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Beginner // Catalina // 27’ or 30’?

Discussion in 'Ask A Catalina Owner' started by Chris87, Oct 31, 2017. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. Chris87

    Chris87

    Joined Oct 31, 2017
    18 posts, 4 likes
    Pearson 28-2
    52 US Annapolis, MD
    I’m relatively young, 29, and I am looking to get into the art of sailing. I’ve been around boats (Boston Whaler type) my whole life, know the basics on how to sail a dingy and was even in the Navy (not much help in this sport lol) -- but I’m now looking for a good beginner boat for the Chesapeake. I’ve been on a lot of forums, and it seems a 27-30ft Catalina is a way to go!

    I have two Catalina’s on my radar: 1) 1978 30’ MK1 for $6,300; and 2) 1987 27’ MK 2 for $8,500. The 30' has a loose rudder but other than that, it’s in "good" condition and is ready to sail. However, I’ve read some horror stories about the compression block. With that said, I’m afraid to go with the 30 due to the block and minor cosmetic upgrades.

    I’ve inspected both to save $$ (maybe a mistake because I’m still an FNG). Both boats come in good condition: working diesel engine, sails include main and roller furling, no blistering, etc.

    With this said, would anyone suggest one over the other? Any response is much appreciated!
     


    Last edited: Nov 1, 2017
  2. JohnVTX

    JohnVTX

    Joined Jul 14, 2015
    840 posts, 131 likes
    Catalina 30
    US Stillhouse Hollow Marina
    I would steer away from the older 1978 30. Most Catalina issues were corrected by 1987. Go with the 27 for a first boat.
     


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  3. Stu Jackson

    Stu Jackson

    Joined Feb 26, 2004
    19,846 posts, 531 likes
    Catalina 34
    224 CA Maple Bay, BC, Canada
    A diesel in the 27: take another look carefully. Access to the stuffing box is poor, if non-existent. It could have a scored shaft if the PO(s) didn't service the packing gland.

    Expand your radar. Lotsa C30s out there. The added space will serve you well. The interior or the C27 is not much bigger than a C25, while the C30 is HUGE.

    Good luck.
     


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  4. jeepbluetj

    jeepbluetj

    Joined Jan 18, 2016
    434 posts, 120 likes
    Catalina 30
    US Dana Point
    What Stu said. The loose rudder is a very common C-30 problem - reasonably easy to fix too.

    You'l find C-30s in that price range all day long. Find the best one.

    Nothing wrong with a C-27 either, but I'd definitely opt for the outboard power for the 27. Simpler, easier to fix, cheaper, etc...
     


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  5. Chris87

    Chris87

    Joined Oct 31, 2017
    18 posts, 4 likes
    Pearson 28-2
    52 US Annapolis, MD
    I can't thank you enough for your comments!

    Stu & JE - Would you let the year of the 30' deter you away from making a purchase? The boat is sound and needs minor repairs, but I love the cabin size as John mentioned. I'm afraid of internal problems that are not noticeable, such as a compression block issue. Knowing this, would you go with the 30' (MK1) taking the risk of it being 10yrs older, or the 27' (MK2) to stay on the safe side of things?

    Thanks again!
     


    Last edited: Nov 1, 2017
  6. jeepbluetj

    jeepbluetj

    Joined Jan 18, 2016
    434 posts, 120 likes
    Catalina 30
    US Dana Point
    My C-30 is a 1980 with a "you're gonna explode" gas engine, so I'd have to answer no, the year would not deter me. OTOH, I'd love a newer one - they did get better over the years, particularly the MKIIIs. As I mentioned before, an inboard on a C-27 would deter me.

    What Stu and I were saying is that there are hundreds of C-30s and C-27s for sale. Don't just look at a few - look at all of them in your area then pick the best one. 'best' for a ~$10K boat meaning which one you'll sink the least $$$ in to keep it sailing (and that you like the boat)

    Rigging and engine - replacement could/will cost more than the boat. Sails for a C-30? $3K to $4K for cheapies. etc...
     


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  7. Jackdaw

    Jackdaw

    Joined Nov 8, 2010
    8,771 posts, 2,101 likes
    Beneteau First 36.7 & 260
    US Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
    Why does everyone steer new people to 'bigger is better'?

    My advice? Get the boat that feels right. If thats the 27, get it. The 27 will feel more nimble, cost less to slip, and new sails will cost less.
     


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  8. HMT2

    HMT2

    Joined Mar 20, 2014
    549 posts, 119 likes
    Hunter 31
    US Shoreacres, TX
    It's a tiny bit larger but the Hunter 31 in the '83-'87 range would be worth considering.
     


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  9. Alansails

    Alansails

    Joined Oct 3, 2011
    556 posts, 64 likes
    Anam Cara Catalina 310 Hull #155
    US Lake Erie/Catawba Island
    You have been given lots of sage advice by good sailors-I would stick with a 30 that is in a good price range.
    Remember you can buy a boat to spend time working on or spend time sailing, We have done both, there is a cost differential though :).
    I like a Catalina as there are parts available and there is lots of knowlege here, but I am not throwing any other production boat under the bus, its all choices.
    Catalina owners like us are VERY BRAND LOYAL.
    Good Hunting!
     


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  10. jwing

    jwing

    Joined Jun 5, 2014
    401 posts, 152 likes
    ODay Mariner
    US Guntersville
    Ignoring, for the moment, all the other advice that has been offered, I will jump on Jackdaw's 'go smaller' advice bandwagon - for no other reason than you are a beginner and you don't quite know what you are getting yourself into. Even the best of used boats will eventually require maintenance and parts replacement. You might be surprised how expensive sailboat parts are! And you might be astounded how much more expensive parts for bigger boats are than parts for smaller boats. The sails for the C30 are 25% bigger than for the C27. You might not know if it's worth it or not to buy new sails because you never experienced new sails; with smaller sails, you don't have to invest as much money to learn that particular lesson. New sails for my boat cost more than I paid for the boat with used sails+trailer+fairly new motor. And I went cheap on the new sails!

    IMO, learning the art of sailing is more direct on a boat with a tiller instead of a wheel, and with the mainsheet travelernear enough that you can keep one hand on the helm and one hand on the traveler control, with the jib sheets also within reach of the helm.

    Don't forget to consider draft in your decision. In some marinas, the deep draft slips are more expensive than the shallow draft slips, plus the extra some charge for the longer LOA.
     


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  11. Justin_NSA

    Justin_NSA

    Joined Jul 7, 2004
    4,577 posts, 685 likes
    Hunter 30T
    US Cheney, KS
    Along with what has already been said, how do you plan to use it? Daysailing? Extended weekends? How many on board?
     


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  12. Meriachee

    Meriachee

    Joined Aug 1, 2011
    2,524 posts, 669 likes
    Catalina 270
    CA Wabamun - on the orange ball
    The difference in the soft costs can add up quick. A 30 will require more of everything than a 27, but one point that's been made is the differences in the evolution. Our 270 is NOTHING like the 27 at all, even though there is a similarity, and a lineage, and we have as good an interior as a 30, but we're also 15 years newer than what you're looking at. It all depends on what you intend to use it for, how long you intend to keep it, and what's really wrong with a boat that old.
    "Yes that broomstick in the cabin is required to hold the deck up on this professionally maintained yacht. It could be a great hat rack, don't you think?" Look closely, whatever you decide.
     


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  13. Meriachee

    Meriachee

    Joined Aug 1, 2011
    2,524 posts, 669 likes
    Catalina 270
    CA Wabamun - on the orange ball
    I'd love it if somebody'd steer me to a 320, (and pay for it while they're at it) but it's not road legal and I'm too cheap to pay the moorage.
     


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  14. markwbird

    markwbird

    Joined Nov 26, 2012
    818 posts, 152 likes
    Hunter 34
    US Berkeley
    I'm with Jackdaw as well. A smaller boat is easier to sail and cheaper to own. The price of sails go up exponentially with size. Also, I recommend a boat with an outboard instead of an inboard diesel. Much simpler to maintain and they sail better without the prop in the water. I have owned a Catalina 25 and a Hunter 25.5. The Catalina is more sturdily built but the Hunter sailed better.
     


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  15. Chris87

    Chris87

    Joined Oct 31, 2017
    18 posts, 4 likes
    Pearson 28-2
    52 US Annapolis, MD
    Thanks for everyone's comments. This forum has helped me look at the bigger picture of not rushing into something that may be over my head. Looking at my experience, age, and financial situation (sails, unexpected motor repairs, slip fees, etc.) -- I think I'll be looking at a couple of C27's this weekend. Thanks again!
     


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  16. Meriachee

    Meriachee

    Joined Aug 1, 2011
    2,524 posts, 669 likes
    Catalina 270
    CA Wabamun - on the orange ball
    You can find yourself a nice 27 and spend the time discovering what you like, don’t like, what fits you and what doesn’t (and those ARE two different things) and start adding them to the “next boat” list.
     


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  17. Kopite

    Kopite

    Joined Mar 11, 2015
    76 posts, 2 likes
    Catalina 27
    US Monroe MI
    I went with a tiller 27 for my first “big” boat (until that time was all dinghy ) and couldn’t be happier with my choice. It’s small enough to easily handle, lets me steer with the tiller extension whilst sitting on the gunnels, and is no issue to dock myself, yet big enough to handle a bit of rough weather. It has all accommodations (galley, head etc), that you need for a weekend out. As has been said already - parts are easy to come by. If you’ll be sailing solo look for one set up that way - adding those things (roller furling, lazy jacks, autohelm) later will add a lot of cost to the project..
     


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  18. PSR

    PSR

    Joined Sep 17, 2013
    84 posts, 0 likes
    Catalina 27
    US MB Yacht Harbor, Richmond CA
    You have all the advice you need, but still I will add a couple of cents. I have a 1981 27 with tiller, and she's a truly sweet boat to sail! I'm a reasonably able older guy getting close to 73, and she's just right for solo sailing on SF Bay, which is a rough place to sail on many days. Now that I've upgraded the main (midboom) traveler, she out points and sails faster on the wind than most 25 to 35 footers I encounter. She's easy to handle alone, she looks pretty, and berths and other necessities are not bank-breaking. Handling her is also not back-breaking. She was "expensive" to put into good, safe condition, but what older B.O.A.T. isn't? Please don't imagine that you will not need to upgrade some things on a 30-40 year old boat for safety, and reconditioning costs goes up at least linearly by foot of l.o.a. As a young man, you could handle the 30 easily, but unless you plan to spend more than a few nights on your boat or have friends/family you want to take cruising after you learn to sail her, you don't need the larger, heavier boat until you want to do those things. Even when you do, the 27 would serve pretty well. Any 87 Catalina, other things being equal, will be better finished and have less necessary or desireable reconditioning to do than a 78. If I were doing it again, I would look for a newer one with the DC and AC wiring above the quarterberth, not down at the cabin floor. I'm also partial to inboards for visual aesthetic reasons, and my original Universal 5411 diesel has been great, after partial rebuilding. It worked fine before, but you can't see the internal condition of the exhaust manifold, for example, which may be quite thinned by salt water exposure. I've done quite a bit of work on the drive train, and I do not find it so inaccessible. The port cockpit locker is reasonably commodious, and that's where you get to the drive train. Starboard access is from the quarterberth, and that's not a bad place to work either. Be sure to open the electrical panel and look at the wiring, and be sure to get to the access hatches to see the drive train. Many serious problems will be obvious, even if you don't have experience.
    Enjoy the search, and good luck finding a good one!
    Peter
     



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