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Old 02-21-2011
MarkSF MarkSF is offline
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Catalina 30 or 34 for SF bay?

I'm thinking about a sailboat for SF bay. Most of my experience is in a Cal 24 (a later 83 model) and the Merit 25.

I love the Cal for the room inside, the dry, roomy cockpit, the boom that doesn't hit my head (I'm 6ft 5"), and the stability in strong winds. In fact, I think it's a great boat. I'd just get one except that I want a bit bigger boat with a proper head and more sleeping room. The Merit seems to lose to the Cal on all counts except speed. In particular, it seems very tender. Often the main will be reefed and it still feels overpowered.

So I think what I'm looking for has a lot of the attributes of the Cal, but in the 30 to 34ft range. My research pointed to the Catalinas.

So how is the Catalina 30 or 34? My budget would cover one in good shape - probably 79 to 87 in year.

In particular I want stiffness in the bay's gusty strong winds. Both Cat models seem to have reasonable SA/Ds (15-16 range). Is the fin keel stiffer? How are they compared to a Cal 31 or Ericson 32?

I know that SA/D is only a tiny bit of the picture. The Merit and Cal have similar measurements but behave very differently.
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