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Should I run away, find out more, or jump on this? Catalina 30

Jun 13, 2021
5
Catalina 30 Alameda
Hey all,

I'm brand new to sailboats, having done just enough research to know what a Catalina 30 is. There is a local 1980 C30 I can acquire for under $5K, and I'm wondering if this is crazy scary or a decent deal.

The good:
It's a Catalina 30 :)
The engine starts and runs with no problem.
The steering works.
The deck feels firm in all places except above the main berth.
The interior is in overall good condition with no signs of rot.
There are plenty of maintenance records from the previous owner who sold it in 2016.
I think working on the boat will be a fun thing to do outside with the kids.
My better half likes the idea.

The bad:
Deck paint and all woodwork need to be sanded and refinished.
The last bottom job was in 2016. I have been told a diver cleans it every month, but there is definitely algae growing at the waterline (3 inches long or so.)
The gear shift linkage is a little stiff coming out of reverse.
The mainsail has a 4-inch tear.
There is a problem with the jib, which he has been told may be the jib furler bearing.
The Garmin doesn't work.
There is water in the bilge (about 1.5 inches)
If the rigging has been replaced, it was at least 5 years ago.

My general sense is that the current owner is not using the boat, and now that he has a growing family, he no longer has time for the restoration. Fortunately, my kids are at the age where they can (and want to!) help with the restoration. I could see us reasonably doing the deck and would work. They have had sailing lessons for a few years and know more than me, but we are all still new.

I'm hoping to sail it around the bay initially - and if trust and skill levels grow - sail across the bay by the end of summer. Fully aware this will be our first boat, but not necessarily our last boat.

So here are my questions:
Are there any huge red flags here?
Is there anything I can/should check without a full inspection that would give an indicator of a red flag?
Assuming it will need a bottom job, rigging, and new sails in the next 12-24 months - is $8-$10K a reasonable ballpark for that work?
Reading this, what is your gut sense? Jump on it or run away?


Thanks so much for your help!
 
Aug 28, 2006
473
Bavaria 35E seattle
It sounds like it could be a decent deal. I'd want to know where the bilge water is coming from. Just the packing gland on the drive shaft, or has the boat been upgraded to a dripless shaft seal? Do you see any evident leaking stains around the cabin? Definitely check the chainplates for water intrusion and/or rust. I think you could do the 3 large items you mentioned for no more than 10k. You'd save quite a bit buying either used sails or "off the shelf" Rolly Tasker ones from Sail Warehouse in CA. Heck, it's only 5k. Use it, abuse it....and then toss it away!;)
 
Jan 1, 2006
5,831
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
The only "Bad" there that makes me wonder is the water in the bilge. And 1.5 inches may not mean that much. Is it salt or fresh?
You're going to put money into it that you probably won't get back. That is boating.
Where do you get kids that want to work on a sailboat outside?
 
Jan 1, 2006
5,831
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
Addendum: The "Good" - the deck feels firm everywhere except ..." should probably be listed under "Bad." I don't know where the main berth is on a Catalina 30 but if that's anywhere near the mast. or chainplates that is bad.
 
Jun 13, 2021
5
Catalina 30 Alameda
The water in the bilge is coming from a dripping hose. I need to verify which one,

The soft spot is above the v-berth. It did not appear to be soft near the chainplates or mast. I’ll double check before I sign anything. Look at me. I’m learning boat words. ;)

As for the kids, locking them inside for a year surely helped.

Is it worth paying someone to dive clean the boat prior to purchase to check for keel separation?
 
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Oct 22, 2014
15,311
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Is it worth paying someone to dive clean the boat prior to purchase to check for keel separation?
Since we are talking money, how important is $5000 to you and your family. It you spent the money on lottery tickets would every thing be financially OK?

It is worth having the boat hauled, pressure washed, and the hull/keel/rudder and thru hulls inspected. These are the critical things that could sink you. Put you and crew in the bay with the sharks.
 

Joe

.
Jun 1, 2004
7,351
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
Pay a diver to give the bottom an inspection. He can tell you of any severe blisters, signs of electrolysis on the through hulls and other stuff. You can address any blisters at the next haul out, it shouldn't keep you from enjoying the boat. Is the motor a diesel, or is it a gasoline. The fact that it's running is cool, but your really want to know its condition, which means at some point you'll want a qualified mechanic to go over it... but plan on doing the maintenance yourself. The rip in the sail can be repaired. Again, either by your crew, or a local loft. There's plenty of help on youtube for sail repair, and other projects... btw, start saving for a new set of sails.. Even the less expensive off shore, mail order version sails will set you back a couple grand for jib and main. For 5 grand you shouldn't expect any modern electronics.. maybe a vhf radio and a compass... but I'd be surprised if any thing else wasn't obsolete. Start with a basic handheld gps... you don't even need a chart function... just something to tell you where you are, how fast you're going and the direction to your destination. Later, as you progress, you'll start prioritizing the gadgets.... Understanding running rigging, ground tackle, dock lines, winches, cleats, etc. are all in your future. The list is endless.
 
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Likes: Ward H
Feb 21, 2013
2,987
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
...........Are there any huge red flags here? Is there anything I can/should check without a full inspection that would give an indicator of a red flag? Assuming it will need a bottom job, rigging, and new sails in the next 12-24 months - is $8-$10K a reasonable ballpark for that work? Reading this, what is your gut sense? Jump on it or run away? ..............
No huge red flags just work and $$. Deck paint, woodwork, bottom pait, gear linkage tune-up, replacement sails, replacement rigging are all normal maintenance on the buyer. Bottom should be done first off to mitigate the risk of barrier coat failure, corroded propeller, etc. and significant cost. Request a repair allowance from the Seller to repair the mainsail tear, albeit this is an easy fix, repair or replace jib furler and mitigate bilge water intrusion. Budget cost for bottom job is $2,500 for 2 costs if Grand Marina Boatyard does or materials if you do it yourself + $500 haul-out based on local published rates, new standing rigging could be very expensive, unless you do it yourself, and running rigging is not very costly if you do it yourself and will look and feel good when you are finished, but get quotes to be sure. If you are not dissuaded by the work and associated costs then go for it!!
 
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RitSim

.
Jan 29, 2018
227
Beneteau 411 Branford
Does the head door close correctly? are the door margins exactly even? also stick an awl or screwdriver thru the forward wall of the bilge. Are there depressions around the keel bolts? This age of Catalina used plywood in the keelstub - it rots over time allowing the keel to lower (Catalina smile) . The mast support block (under the cabin sole) was fabbed out of wood pieces that also rot over time and allow the cabin roof/mast to sink. This issue can be fixed in a couple of long days (generally with the mast down)
 
Feb 21, 2013
2,987
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
..........Is there anything I can/should check without a full inspection that would give an indicator of a red flag?
You have done an excellent job checking the boat and identifying some issues to resolve!! Once you have marine survey (and consider engine, rigging and electrical surveys) AND repair quotes then you will be able to decide whether to obtain a repair allowance from the Seller, unless the Seller is selling the boat "as is", OR how much you will need to spend post-purchase to make the boat is safe and seaworthy.
 
Oct 22, 2014
15,311
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
If you can buy the boat for $5K, I would anticipate spending another $10K making the boat safe to cross the bay from Alameda to San Francisco.
Standing Rigging. Sails. Safety equipment. prep and paint. The costs would be for materials, not labor.

May come in less or may come in more.. Not the San Francisco Bay is a large body of water with many dangers that can sink a boat and an unprepared crew.

Even after you expend these funds... I would not expect to recover all of the funds in a future sale.

That would not stop me if I really wanted to follow this adventure. Boats are more than the sum of their financial costs.
 
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Jun 13, 2021
5
Catalina 30 Alameda
First off, thank you, everyone! I really appreciate the helpful feedback on this thread and I note that I am investing in a hobby where the returns or not financial.

If we bought the boat and it fell apart tomorrow we’d be super bummed, but it would not ruin us. I was also able to negotiate more off the price if I can take possession this week. The money side of it is more about if we are better off getting a similar boat in better condition for $10-$15k.

I’m more concerned about basic safety like it falling apart or worse while we’re out in the bay. I think the diver will help me get some peace of mind here. In an ideal scenario, we'd buy the boat, fix the bearing, patch the sail and begin sailing around our corner of the bay while I learned more about the boat and sailing in general. We'd gradually perform the manual labor of restoring the trim and fixing the odds and ends. I hope to delay the bottom job until the fall and the sails and rigging until winter if possible.
 
Oct 22, 2014
15,311
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
If you want to be sailing this summer, then I would seek a boat that is in a more Ready to sail condition. Even if it has a higher acquisition cost.

I understand these boats might be harder to find. The market is a sellers market with too many seeking to few boats. Not unlike the housing market conditions.
 
Feb 21, 2013
2,987
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
It is noteworthy that there is only one other Catalina advertised for sale in the San Francisco Bay area and it is a lot more money and really tired. Many for sale in southern California, albeit more money.
 
Jun 11, 2004
1,165
Oday 31 Redondo Beach
I’m more concerned about basic safety like it falling apart or worse while we’re out in the bay. I think the diver will help me get some peace of mind here. In an ideal scenario, we'd buy the boat, fix the bearing, patch the sail and begin sailing around our corner of the bay while I learned more about the boat and sailing in general. We'd gradually perform the manual labor of restoring the trim and fixing the odds and ends. I hope to delay the bottom job until the fall and the sails and rigging until winter if possible.
The price is obvioulsy low and some might say not to bother with a survey but if this is your first sailboat, you are taking your children out on it and safety is a concern I would suggest at least having a rigging inspection to let you hopefully feel a little comfortable that the mast is not going to come down on you.
 
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Feb 21, 2013
2,987
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
phobucket..............I am happy to look at the boat OR just talk about sailing in the San Francisco Bay and outside the Golden Gate.
 
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Ward H

.
Nov 7, 2011
3,019
Catalina 30 Mk II Barnegat, NJ
Well, I agree with all the other posters about what to check. This is not a walk away boat.
Here where I sail we don’t need divers and I’m not sure if a diver could spot some of the more expensive things needing to repair.
Definitely get a survey. It will provide a good list of safety items to focus on.
Two big ones are standing rigging and thru hulls.on earlier C30s just had pipes fiberglassed in place. (not sure of the years they changed to correct thru hulls)

I think your plan in post 12 is a good one but definitely get the survey.
 
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Dec 28, 2015
1,256
Laser, Hunter H30 Cherubini Tacoma
Out of all of it the torn main catch’s my eye the most. Holes from abrasions or getting caught on something are easily repaired, tears from UV damage are not repairable and usually require a new sail. Thats a high expense for a boat of that value.
 
Apr 8, 2010
1,584
Ericson Yachts Olson 34 Portland OR
Get a survey. Your insurer will demand one. Your marina will demand proof of insurance. And, there you are.
:)

The survey will give you a decent idea of what needs fixing and how soon it needs it. View this as a safety issue.
The Cat 30 used to race one design in SF.... I wonder if there is an active fleet now that you can join?
 
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HMT2

.
Mar 20, 2014
880
Hunter 31 828 Shoreacres, TX
I bought a a 1983 Hunter 31 like this I paid 9,000, eleven years ago. I’ve easily put that much and then some restoring it. No survey, Progressive insures it at an agreed value, they have never asked for a survey. When you apply on line they do say they may send someone to look at it. They never came. I would get a quick haul, have it pressure washed, have some one knowledgeable with me to look at the keel/hull, get the standing rigging inspected by a rigger. if you can afford to walk away from the 5,000, if it all goes to hell, write the check, have the main fixed, and go sailing with your kids, and fix it up as you go. Do be aware that you are committing to a monthly car payment to keep your boat in a slip. Owning a boat is about the value you and your family derive from using it. Go have fun!