81 Catalina 38 '''' Sparkman Stevens
I''d suggest you contact a C-38 owner with the Atomic 4 engine and ask what the cruising speed is. Get on the most relevant email group and you can probably find one.
As to passing the CC canal, don''t base your boat decision on that concern! You should time any transist to go with the current anyway - if you do, you can pass throught he canal quite quickly even if your motor is off... As long as you can cruise 5 MPH the engine is adequate.
What you need to worry about is the costs you may face with your first, larger boat. You are jumping into a much bigger hole-in-the-water than your 22. Get a survey from a top-notch, premium price, name surveyor. Search Sailnet for other messages on this subject.
For a boat of this age, at these low dollars ($44k is cheap - a very big RED FLAG!), you could end up taking a real financial bath. Think of the purchase price as more of a downpayment than the full cost of the boat. Simple expenses such as a new exaust and FW cooling system would be more than the full cost of your ODay. If the boat isn''t being sold with a full suite of recent upgrades (rigging, sails, motor, wiring, electronics, cushions, the list is long) then they may fall on your watch.
I personally have always liked the looks of a C-38 and consider the Atomic 4 an Ok power solution, so I''d encourage to to consider this model - as to any particular boat, proceed only with the advice of a expert surveyor (and engine surveyor also), as it will be the best $800 bucks you spend on your boat.