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1989 Catalina 30 Recommended Points for Pre-Inspection

Apr 16, 2020
47
Catalina 22 Slidell
Hello Catalina 30 owners!
I am in the market of purchasing a Catalina 30 from the late 80ies and was hoping to find some fellow Catalina owners that could give me hints and suggestions what and where to look for when doing a first visual inspection (not a survey) of the boat. I have still very little experience with sailboats and would appreciate every recommendation and advice about this boat. I already heard a couple of times that the transmission might be a weak point, in example. Other common areas like the standing rigging, compression posts, sheets, sails, covers etc. are usually on my list. But maybe there are hidden issues of the Catalina 30 that only insiders may know well.
I am in the New Orleans greater area and would also appreciate if you know of any well-maintained and cared-for Catalina 30 to 34 that are in this area and are affordable.
Many thanks in advance!
K
 

RitSim

.
Jan 29, 2018
162
Beneteau 411 Branford
I was in the same position some years back. Was looking at C30 Tall Rig. Most of the survey was small items except the under the cabin floor mast support. Catalina built up between the keel and the cabin sole with pieces of wood that rot over time allowing the mast support, cabin sole, cabin ceiling (deck) to sink.
With the surveyor, I was able to punch a screwdriver through the forward wall of the bilge. Only way to know for sure if the wood is rotten causing the mast support post and the deck to drop. In some cases, people have been able to notice the drop by observing the margins on the head door. In some cases there are fiberglass cracks at the mast step on deck. I think there were also some vessels that had issues with wood support under the mast step on the deck -noticeable depression and gel coat cracks.

Look for signs of water intrusion - the interior bulkheads on this boat carry the rigging load to the chain plates. So the bulkheads cannot be wet or showing rot or decay.

Look for cracks around the shaft strut. Mine was not properly bedded or sealed. The cracks showed up on a sea trial for a potential buyer. This was a source of in-leakage that was evident through the floor port at the bottom of the companionway ladder.

The hatches are notorious leakers. The joke was that the fiberglass holes were factory cut with chainsaws. These can be fixed.

Look for rudder issues - bulges, fiberglass cracks, rust, delamination. My rudder leaked and I had to put in a drain to make sure any interior water did not freeze and do internal damage. Sea water intrusion is a long term into the rudder is a long term corrosion issue. If you remove the emergency rudder cap and use a bright light, you can view down the rudder post for water. I ended up removing my rudder and rebuilding the forward, aft and lower edges and cut out two delaminated areas to cure the issue at home over the winter. If you are into it, there are a few rudder rebuild videos on youtube.

Keel bolts should be in good condition - leaking from below is a bad sign - but this may be difficult to determaine solely from interior. I belive the Catalina smile issue was fixed by this year so that should not be an issue - Catalina used wood in the keel stub. Over time the wood rotted and the keels tended to drop creating the "smile".

Also have your surveyor evaluate the deck moisture - I believe (but not positive) that this deck was balsa cored.
Look at transmission oil - normally bright red ATF. If dirty or brown you may have a rebuild/replace in your future

My engine was a Universal - there are several sizes. It would be helpful if you could do an engine compression check- Harbor freight has a diesel compression check kit.

On an older boat, standing rigging is always a concern. You and your surveyor should look for rigging issues - clean swages with no cracks or broken wires, etc.

If you buy - and it was a great boat
1. Verify you don't have the original plastic throttle and shift levers at the helm - change if req'd
2. Verify the throttle and shift levers operate easily
3. Remove the heat exchanger end cap (zinc end) and check the cleanliness of the tubes and remove any broken zincs - the tubes can be boiled out using muriatic acid dip or take it to a radiator shop.
4. If you have a diesel (universal) - these were several different Kubota tractor blocks. You can get most parts at your local Kubota dealer if you go in with the part number - There are complete engine manuals available on the Catalina 34 website and other places.
5. A lot of the teak can be removed and finished at home during the winter - I was able to remove, finish and re-install my cabin-top teak hand rails by unscrewing from below and did not have to remove the teak surface plugs.
6.There are a lot of places for water to leak in, I re-bedded all deck fittings and fasteners with butyl tape - see Maine Sail Marine How To - DIY for Boaters - Marine How To
7. The outhaul may need upgrade and attention. There are some on-line directions on how to add to the outhaul pulley ratio. The removal of the boom end cap screws will be a challenge - The Harbor Freight Impact Screwdriver was invaluable in this effort - don't even try a normal screwdriver past normal screw removal force - once you strip the Philips head your into a lot more work.
8. If the mast is down, consider adding an elbow to the conduit coming from the cabin roof. This will reduce water down through the mast and conduit.
9. We bought a 2" queen mattress topper for the v-berth. Lay it out on the cushions at home in the fall. Cut, glue and sew. We wanted one that came with a cover to minimize the dirt that foam attracts.
10. Check condition of cockpit drain hoses (and other seawater hoses) - replace if req'd.
11. This should probably be at the top of the list - remove the factory "gummy" plugs in the electrical harness. One in the engine compartment and one behind the cockpit wiring panel
12. You can improve the icebox performance my wrapping with rigid foam and sealing with Great Stuff

Good luck. Let us know how you did
 
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Apr 16, 2020
47
Catalina 22 Slidell
RitSim: All excellent points, thank you so much for going into this level of detail. I will bring your list, together with the surveyor’s recommendation from JRT to the first boat inspection and will try to limit my chances of buying the wrong boat. Much appreciated!
 

dmax

.
Jul 29, 2018
257
O'Day 35 Buzzards Bay
Catalina stopped putting wood in the keel shoe during 1988, targetting '88 and newer avoids that problem. IMHO, if you want to know if a boat has been really well maintained, look at the engine and the bilge, they don't lie.
 
Mar 9, 2020
17
Catalina 30 MkII Oyster Bay NY
I have an '88 Mk2. To go along with the items above (good list), some specific areas:
1. compression post
2. deck moisture, especially around the chainplates
3. rust on engine from salt water leaks (the underlying cause probably isn't that hard to fix but any resulting damage may be if the metal is seriously damaged)
4. furler - verify it turns smoothly
5. gauges/electronics - look at whether they work, chances are they are antiquated. replacement parts for these old electronics can be pricey
 
Apr 16, 2020
47
Catalina 22 Slidell
Catalina stopped putting wood in the keel shoe during 1988, targetting '88 and newer avoids that problem. IMHO, if you want to know if a boat has been really well maintained, look at the engine and the bilge, they don't lie.
yes, thanks, good ways to check on maintenance diligence of the previous owner. I will keep looking and learned already quite a bit from all you guys. Much obliged!
 
Apr 16, 2020
47
Catalina 22 Slidell
I have an '88 Mk2. To go along with the items above (good list), some specific areas:
1. compression post
2. deck moisture, especially around the chainplates
3. rust on engine from salt water leaks (the underlying cause probably isn't that hard to fix but any resulting damage may be if the metal is seriously damaged)
4. furler - verify it turns smoothly
5. gauges/electronics - look at whether they work, chances are they are antiquated. replacement parts for these old electronics can be pricey
Very good points, D-Marko, the are added to the list. Many thanks!
 
Apr 16, 2020
47
Catalina 22 Slidell
Remember they made a lot of Catalina 30s so find the best one
That is my goal, JRT. I am not giving up hope to find that jewel, but I think I have to extend my search to other areas along the Gulf. The one I wanted to look at is already sold.
 
Jul 7, 2004
7,094
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
And remember, fixer-uppers aren't usually the best deal in the long run. Unless you are not in a hurry to go sailing and prefer the installment payment plan.
 
Apr 16, 2020
47
Catalina 22 Slidell
And remember, fixer-uppers aren't usually the best deal in the long run. Unless you are not in a hurry to go sailing and prefer the installment payment plan.
I don’t like the idea of having the burden of fixing a boat before I can enjoy it. I’m not 20 or 30 anymore. My preference lay in a seaworthy and ready-to-sail boat where I can still do some minor improvements, cleaning up, light repairs that won’t prevent me from getting out on the lake or the Gulf and start sailing. I am not looking necessarily to finance the boat, but for the right occasion and a great deal I would consider Installments for a couple of years. No matter what, I would like to keep the hole in the water where you throw the money in as small as possible.
 
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JRT

.
Feb 14, 2017
1,840
Catalina 310 211 Lake Guntersville, AL
At mid 40s I started with a 1975 O`Day 25 that was good enough to start with, but still needed fixes all the time. I got new sails and outboard and she was sorted enough but not what made my wife comfortable on. We looked for awhile and set up what we needed realistically on comfort and free time. I started considering a C30, looked at C34s and finally found my 2003 Catalina 310.
 

RitSim

.
Jan 29, 2018
162
Beneteau 411 Branford
Or just select a boat type or state from the listings in the header
 
Apr 16, 2020
47
Catalina 22 Slidell
I don’t like the idea of having the burden of fixing a boat before I can enjoy it. I’m not 20 or 30 anymore. My preference lay in a seaworthy and ready-to-sail boat where I can still do some minor improvements, cleaning up, light repairs that won’t prevent me from getting out on the lake or the Gulf and start sailing. I am not looking necessarily to finance the boat, but for the right occasion and a great deal I would consider Installments for a couple of years. No matter what, I would like to keep the hole in the water where you throw the money in as small as possible.
In these days, we will also be looking at a Catalina 27, to start small and to learn sailing for a year or two. But you never know what happens when you come to the boat and all your hope and expectations are slipping into a big void because it doesn’t match at all the description and pictures these boats are posted with. A 27 foot boat is not a long-lasting solution due to space restrictions for my wife and I, but we may brainstorm the option of starting out with a small boat and upgrade later on, just as you guys did. The Catalina 310 is a fine vessel, I trust you have a lot of quality time on it. I looked also into other brands, but came always back to Catalina, Morgan or Hunter. Thanks for your feedback, always very helpful and appreciated.
 
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Apr 16, 2020
47
Catalina 22 Slidell
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