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Shopping for boats and could use some advice.

Dec 11, 2016
Oday 240 Lake Jacomo
So, I have been shopping for a trailer boat that will be my first boat. I have taken a few lessons and done some "crewing" for local races. I want a boat that I could leave at the docks on my local lake but could also trailor it to a larger lake for a week or 2 at a time.

I have 3 boats that I am considering. Performance is nice but comfort is also important as my wife wants to be involved and we will take 2 kids with us most of the time... and the occasional freind. We wouldn't made "camping" on it for 1-3 days at a time.

The boats I am looking at are as folllows:

1987 Catalina 25. Good condition with a nice sail assortment. this is the swing keel model with the diner interior. Asking Price is $6100.00

1981 C&C MKII with a lot of sails. This one has the Zepher drive and helm steering..which I would think makes the cockpit more "freindly" to the non sailors in my world. Asking Price is $5600.00

1980 Santana 525. Again, Nice sail assortment Asking Price is $4500.00

All three have a trailer, nice sails (including spinnakers) and are in really good condition for their age with updated upholstery.

Again, Im new so easy to handle/set-up is a plus.

I know the BIG plus on the Catalina is that parts are easy to come by. I have no clue how hard/easy it would be to get parts for the other 2... or if there is an active community of people to get help from with themselves brands.

Thanks in advance for any input you might be able to offer.



Jan 26, 2005
C&C 110 Bay Shore, Long Island, NY
Which model C&C are you considering?
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Nov 8, 2010
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
A 25 footer with a metal keel is a BIG heavy boat to trailer around. Most people will not be willing to do that.

The C&C has a fixed fin keel and will be impossible to trail, in fact it will almost always need a crane to launch. Same with the 525.

The Catalina is a big boat and can be trailor launched if it has a swing keel. A decent boat. Lots of room.

The Santana is by far the best performing (fast) of the 3 and will run circles around the Catalina. But there were lightly built and often raced hard; look close at that. Also not nearly as much room below.
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May 12, 2008
Santana 525 Bristol, PA Delaware River
While I'm sure you can find a great trailer sailor in the 25 ft range, I would think the Santana is not one. I own one and we have 4 in our club. With the fixed keel your trailer will need to be setup just right and you will need a deep ramp to launch it from the trailer. Additionally there isn't a ton of room below, as well as a curved foredeck which makes it a challenge getting around up there. I love my boat but very rarely cruise with it. It is super fast and responsive.

Previously I owned and o'day 240. Wing keel so easy to launch. Great headroom below with an enclosed head. That being said Catalina makes great boats too so of the choices you laid out that may be the way to go. Good luck.
Jun 8, 2004
-na -NA Anywhere USA
I was a dealer. You said " So, I have been shopping for a trailer boat that will be my first boat."
There are many facets you have to look at. First what vehicle will you be using to tow and is it rated for the total weight of the boat, motor, gear and trailer? Then you need to figure in mast raising. The Catalina 25 swing keel does not have a standard mast raise system and to put that up by yourself, good luck. Also can you launch and receive the boat on the trailer with an extension? Listen to the folks here. Catalina built a 250 either water ballast or wing keel with a supplied mast raising that came along with the trailer from Road King. MacGregor is another with it's own mast raise system. Hunter had a series of trailerables with water ballast along with the Macgregor. There are foes for and against water ballast but the idea was less weight to tow and lower onto the trailer which made it easier for launching. There are others but this should give you a place to start for you asking more questions to help you answer but your above choices are not a wise choice.
Dec 11, 2016
Oday 240 Lake Jacomo
Thanks SO much for all the input. I guess I need to clarify a few things. I have a big truck with electric braking system and the boats I am looking at are all on nice trailors that are set up well. All also have trailor extensions. In addition, my lake and the one 2 hrs away where we would travel too are primarily sail boat lakes. They both have proper launching and rigging areas. AND I would be doing this with help. I would not do this often... but it is something that I would like as an option... like if I could get off work for two weeks over the summer and wanted to get away and go to a bigger lake. Our lake is a small sailboat only lake.

I really appreciate your input about the Santana... I was thinking it was more of a racer and probably not as family freindly.

That brings me down to the C&C or the Catalina.

The Catalina seems "easier" with a tiller and outboard engine but the C&C seems like I would have more room in the cockpit.

Do any of you have thoughts on that zephir drive system?

Can I post links to the online adds in here?
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Jul 7, 2004
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
Of the choices you list, I would chose the Catalina as a first, trailerable boat. Look at a Hunter26/260 if it's in your price range. I had a MacGregor 26S for 10 years. The water ballast performance takes some getting used to but Hunters and Macs are probably the easiest of the largest boats you'll want to trailer.
Jul 7, 2004
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
Also consider how easy (or not) it is to step the mast each time you want to trailer it.
Jan 19, 2010
Hunter 26 Charleston
All of the suggestions above are on the mark.

I'd also suggest (if you can find one) a Coronado 23 or a Rhodes 22. Both are really large for only 23/22 feet but very easy to launch off a trailer. The Rhodes 22 is one of my favorite pocket cruisers with a HUGE cockpit and you can get one with a cockpit "tent" that turns the entire cockpit into a queen sized berth when at anchor. And at 22 feet, you can trailer and launch it with almost any car.

Here is a link to the used Rhodes web site. The owner is named Stan... a really nice guy so ask questions if interested

Nov 8, 2010
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
Not wanting to rain on your C&C parade, but with 4.25 feet of draft, it would take the the perfect trailer setup, the perfect ramp, and perfect technique with a extender or strap to launch it that way. Then you have to get it back on, which is harder. You really don't want to do this. I can almost warrant you that the previous owner never did this. They might cross their fingers and say its possible. Its really not. But I understand the desire. The C&C is about 10 times prettier than the Catalina.
Dec 19, 2006
Hunter 36 Punta Gorda
Well you have the big truck so that is great and I think you said you would keep the boat all setup in the water ready to go and that is fantastic and that will allow you to use it more and maybe 1 or 2 weeks out of the year move the boat some place else and that you will find out if you like that or not.
I always trailered my 18 hobie and hated trailing and setup and was so much better when had it all setup on the beach ready to go any time.
I have friends that had a catalina 25 and Hunter 260 and they loved them before moving up to bigger.
Sounds to me that you have a good plan and just need to find the right boat for you and family to enjoy and get the one in the best condition so when you do take family sailing you have no problems and you and family fall in love with sailing.
Good Luck and happy boating.
Jan 22, 2008
Islander Freeport, 41 Ketch Longmont, CO
Don't be too worried about rigging and launching the full keel boats. I trailered both a Hunter 25 full fin keel and a Hunter 28 with wing keel, as long as you have the right truck and trailer setup they actually will trailer easily. Rigging requires a Ginpole or a dedicated mast raising system and on either the C&C or the Catalina it will take a couple of hours. Launching is simple with a strap for either. The Catalina with its' swing keel will be a little easier but, even it will require an extension unless the ramp is particularly steep.

Now to the boats. Both boats will sail well, the Catalina will probably be a bit more tender than the C&C and so how well your "crew" takes to sailing will be a factor. Look at the layout below, where will you sleep, where do the kids go? Is there room to cook, does either boat have a dodger or bimini (it gets hot during the summer), do they have a dedicated head or a port-a-poti, etc. Since both boats are about equal in trailer setups and sail inventory, these are the "other" things to consider. Both are successful designs and will work well for a first boat.

Good luck and keep us posted.
Jun 8, 2004
-na -NA Anywhere USA
One of the biggest considerations is the length of the ramp if you are determined to go with a fixed keel. Many of the ramps were built long before the idea of trailering a lot of boats and you will need to check out a lake ramps by research or asking before you go there. I have sold Beneteau, Catalina, Hunter, MacGregor, Precision, ComPac and others, so I know a few things. Like Rgranger and others advise, put a lot of thought before going to buy a boat first. The first question is how often would you trailer and in many places you will find there is no help, long ramps and so on. I know as I was experienced to that in the east.
Dec 11, 2016
Oday 240 Lake Jacomo
Thanks again for all your input. I guess I am lucky that my primary lake is a "sailboat" lake and as such has a dedicated ramp area for sailboats with a mast raising area with a small "crane." Both boats have extenders for the trailers. Both have pretty nice trailer set-ups. My "dream" of moving her to a larger lake for a week or 2 may be just that... a dream. Keeping her close and in the water seems to make more sense.

Im doing a LOT of reading and asking a ton of questions... I REALY like the idea of the helm steering vs the rudder... it seems like it makes the cockpit more "freindly." Am I wrong?

The C&C has a built in 15 hp sail drive and I am getting a TON of conflicting opinions about them. Some people seem to love them while others curse their very existence. This particular boat has been on fresh water most of its life so I am not worried about salt water issues which sound like a big deal on them...

If only I was independently wealthy!
Jun 29, 2010
Beneteau First 235 Lake Minnetonka, MN
Im doing a LOT of reading and asking a ton of questions... I REALY like the idea of the helm steering vs the rudder... it seems like it makes the cockpit more "freindly." Am I wrong?
If you are talking about tiller vs wheel... tiller all the way. You can move them out of the way to make more room in the cockpit when at anchor/in the slip plus, you get a lot more feel for the boat with a tiller.
Oct 29, 2016
Hunter 41 DS Port Huron
Sounds like you have arrived at a decision point, better now than later.
Having started years ago with the grandiose idea that I would trailer my boat to new adventures never really came to reality, in fact about a half season into my first trailerable sailboat I realized that raising and lowering the mast took way too much time and sapped most of the fun right out of owning a sailboat.
Once this was realized I secured a slip and kept the boat in the water, ready to use and became quite comfortable with the idea that the weather changes from day to day was enough of an adventure to keep my interest in sailing the same lake, you can always move the boat to a new slip next year and enjoy that scenery change that way.
As for what drive, I have no idea or advice as to which is better, I always had out boards until our recent purchase, all I can say at least an outboard is easily removed and serviced.
Agree on tiller over helm on the size boat you are looking at.