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Old 01-28-2013
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Re: For a family of 4 - Islander 28 vs Catalina 30

Had a chance to visit an S2 9.2C, Pearson 30, Cape Dory 28, and a Lancer 29 today. The 9.2C was disappointing for me. She's a real "diamond in the rough" - needs all of the liner removed, woodwork completely re-done, and new cushions throughout. Except for the liner, it's all stuff that I've done before, but the scope of the project isn't something that I could knock out in the next month or two (knowing how slowly I handle some jobs). She'll be a great boat for someone, just not for me. And that's what's disappointing - we (my wife and I) really like the 9.2C lot, and I had hoped we'd be able to be sailing one this spring, but that doesn't seem likely.

The Cape Dory was surprising - it had a single backstay that knocked me in the head when I was at the wheel. So, I would need to split the backstay or get used to steering from the side all the time, which didn't seem the best way to use the boat. The cockpit also seemed a bit small for our purposes, and the companionway stairs were both too steep and too small for me to feel comfortable having my wife and kids climb them. Otherwise, she was in decent shape. She was probably the nicest of the boats I saw today, though she wasn't without her issues. If the cockpit was a little bigger, and if the backstay wouldn't have banged me in the head all the time, I'd probably have made a run at buying her today.

The Pearson 30's cockpit was also strange - with the wheel as far forward as it is, you can only seat 2 (one on either side) in the cockpit. Keeping a seat clear on either side of the wheel for the captain, you're then out of room in the fairly large cockpit because of the traveler, which is mounted across the back "seat" in the cockpit. The wheel being so far forward did make it easy to access all the sheets and lines, which is great, and the backstay wasn't a problem, either. If it weren't for the "funky" cockpit layout, that could have been a good boat for us. If anyone is in the market for a Pearson 30 in the Baltimore/Annapolis area, send me a PM. The seller was very nice, and the boat seems (to my very novice eye) to be in good shape. I'd like to help him find a buyer.

The Lancer's cockpit was nice. Not huge, but enough to fit 6 adults with some approximation of comfort. She wasn't set up that great for single handing, but she would do in a pinch. Some condensation/minor leaking issues, but I didn't see anything too major. I was even able to peek inside the headliner and, much to my surprise, it was actually pretty clean. Decent size head, too, and over all a clean looking boat, but the deck-mounted chainplates scare me. As much as I like the idea of them being "leakproof", I think I'd be more comfortable if they were attached internally. In addition, the cabin was small. The V-berth would have been a VERY tight fit for me (I'm 5'10"), and that means I'd have to come up with a solution in the salon area, since there's no quarterberth. She's also not a bad boat, just not the boat for me.

All of the boats that I saw are under $10,000. If anyone else is interested in them, I'd be happy to PM you links to the boats (where they exist), and to post my pictures of the boats on a semi-private site so you can review them.
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