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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Boat Review and Purchase Forum > Boat Buyers & Sellers Forum
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Old 06-09-2009
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Family Cruising Boat - Recommendations?

Hello. I am looking to upgrade my Catalina 250 to a larger family sized cruising boat. We are a family of 5 and the Cat 250, although an excellent boat, is just too tight. We mostly do coastal cruising (pacific northwest) for 1-3 weeks at a time. I am looking for an older boat (late 70s early 80s) that I can offer some limited TLC - in the 35-42 ft range. Eventually, we would like circumnavigate Vancouver Island in this vessel. Safety is critical (of course) and we dont race. Budget is less than $50,000. Not fussy about creature comforts (i.e. a/c and flat screens) but she must be friendly in moderate coastal seas. Does anyone have some suggestions? Thanks very much.
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Old 06-09-2009
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We just bought a boat in a similar size range. We were also concerned with safety and comfort. I looked at literally hundreds of boats and found lots of makes and models that would have been great for a family, the trick is finding one in reasonable condition with the equipment you need in your price range. Boats we had offers in whose owners refused our offering price are now listed for less than we offered- now is a great time to buy.

Boats we liked- Beneteau First 405, Pearson 424, Morgan 440, Catalina 400, Catalina 42, Whitby 42, Islander 40, Morgan OI 41(haven't been on one but we looked at specs and they looked promising), Island Packet 350...and lots more.

There are tons of boats that will serve you and your family well. Shopping for boats is so much fun...frustrating but fun. Good luck and keep us updated!
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Old 06-11-2009
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I had a Beneteau first 405 that I sailed from the Seattle to Australia via the South Pacific 2005-2008. It was a huge investment in time and $$$$ to make the BF405 into a vessel that could safely cross oceans w/o problems. If I did it again I'd go with a older Halberg Rassy (great boats) anywhere from 31' to 42'. Why? Resale on the back end would be much better for the HR and, yes they all get sold eventually so this does matter.

Not to bust on buyers of Catalina and Beneteau (I was one) but, they usually don't care about REAL ocean quality systems... it's more about a few hours of near coastal and cocktail hours at the dock. Buyers looking for a ocean boat don't even glance at at Beneteau or Catalina when they are surfing boat porn on yachtworld or similar.
In summary a vessel with a ocean going reputation will take care of your family in the short term around Vancouver island (which can have very intense conditions) and make for a more sound investment should your outfit her more extensively. My old Beneteau now lives in Southern Australia! I took a 747 back and bought a catamaran.

If you want to check out the Beneteau and the $80,000 in upgrades (materials only) I think the old website is still up at: Beneteau First 405
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Old 06-12-2009
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Good luck getting a 40' boat that is in decent shape for that budget. I would highly recommend you look slightly smaller, say the 36-38' range. You'll have a much larger range of boats you can afford, and they'll be in better shape overall. The C&C 38 is a good possible choice. The CS36T might also be a good choice. The Tartan 37 is another choice.
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Old 06-12-2009
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Dave,

The OP stated he wanted a coastal cruiser that could circumnavigate Vancouver Island, not the world. A production boat would be fine for that.

Hallberg-Rassy might be a bit over kill for coastal work.

Edited to add: and on the OP's budget a H-R would be about impossible to find.
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Old 06-12-2009
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Pearson 40's from the late 70s can fall in that range. Will probably need at least $40k in work to make them really capable
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Old 06-12-2009
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Catalina 36 would be the boat of choice.
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Old 06-13-2009
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Thanks for your advice. I will have a look at each of your recommendations. I definitely do not want to buy someone else's problems...yet, am fully prepared to do some of the work needed to upgrade a solid boat. I am somewhat new to sailing (hobie 16 --> hughes 22 --> catalina 250 --> ??) and have done lots of work on all my boats. Moving forward, it seems as though the complexity and costs related to updating / upgrading seems to increase exponentially. I definitely do not want to be one of those sailors who has a shiny new perfect boat that never leaves the harbour - that's why I am trying to get in cheap and then upgrade as necessary. I have very limited blue water experience -am planning to improve my skills and confidence along the coast and progress offshore as opportunity presents (would like to crew for Victoria - Maui). Obviously, the safety of my crew is paramount so we will error on the side of caution. My search continues - I will let you know how it goes...
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