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gjbrnhll 11-01-2013 05:15 AM

Which 27 footer to buy.
Hey everyone,

I'm looking to buy my first boat and I was wondering if I could get a few tips as which would be best. I would like to get something in the 27 foot range with an inboard motor and from the late 70's to early 80's. I want to be able to use it for day sailing and maybe some longer trips on the Florida East coast. My price range right now is about 5k.

I've been looking at the Catalina 27. I know that this was a popular boat in its day and that the company is still in business. The fact that there are so many on the market and that they are good standard boats is what makes me thing that it is a good one for me.

My question is: Is this a good boat to fit my needs? And are there some other good 27 footers that would fit the above criteria?

Shinook 11-01-2013 06:49 AM

Re: Which 27 footer to buy.
Yea, it's doable if you go in with the right expectations and are patient, the latter being the most important. You need to be willing to walk away, realizing you may not find something else for another month.

I would expect a sailable project at that price and size range. I've seen a few that wouldn't fit into that category, but most that I saw definitely were projects. Most had expensive systems (e.g. engine, sails, rig, electrical) that needed substantial overhaul or replacement, but it all "worked" for the time being. I would focus on the important stuff (mainly structural integrity) and just realize that the rest of the boat is probably going to need attention in the next year to year and a half. That's our experience, anyway.

To put this into perspective, we got our Cape Dory 27 for $4k. The boat needed the entire electrical system replaced, most hardware needed new bolts and rebedding, it needed a new engine, new paint everywhere, new cushions, new rigging, new sails, and a bunch of smaller things. With just about everything listed above, we spaced it out across a period of a year and a half, with the boat almost having everything it needs done in the next few weeks. I view it as financing without the bank, you put money into it every month to end up owning something you couldn't find or afford right from the start. The key was to make sure that the systems that needed replaced were either non-essential or good enough to last a year or two, in our case they were. We knew this going into it and knew we'd spend over double what we paid in improvements and repairs. We were able to sail the boat in the river while we worked on fixing everything.

Your best bet is to search Craigslist in a 300-400 mile radius of where you live, you can use for that. When you find something you are interested in, go over it thoroughly and get an idea of what needs to be done. If you don't have experience, then take a friend that does or a surveyor, if you are really interested. Also keep in mind that $5k is towards the bottom of the price range, the closer you get to $10k and above, the easier it will be to find something and the less work you'll have to do in the long run.

I'm in FL as well and there are definitely things in your price range for sale, you just need be patient and look every day.

Rhapsody-NS27 11-01-2013 06:51 AM

Re: Which 27 footer to buy.
for coastal cruising, the C27 could be good. Trying to get a 27' boat in decent enough condition with your $5k budget might limit the options.
Good luck to you

mikel1 11-01-2013 07:58 AM

Re: Which 27 footer to buy.
Check out the ericson 27 I love mine . . . go to they have a link to all ericsons for sale on yachtworld etc. best place to ask questions also . . .

Shinook 11-01-2013 08:00 AM

Re: Which 27 footer to buy.
I've also seen a few Albin Vega's in that price range in FL.

drsutton 11-01-2013 08:20 AM

Re: Which 27 footer to buy.
I recently purchased a Helms 27 in decent condition. Fortunately, it had a new 13 horsepower yanmar 2gm. I put a little bit of money into it but even with that I think I got a decent boat to last me for years. Unfortunately, these boats are hard to come by because so few of them were build.

FirstCandC 11-01-2013 08:54 AM

Re: Which 27 footer to buy.
C&C 27, of course! But it might be difficult to find one in that price range that is in very good condition.
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Any votes for a Pearson 26? Even though it has an outboard, there seems to be a lower price point for these.

azguy 11-01-2013 09:30 AM

Re: Which 27 footer to buy.
After looking at boats for a couple of months I think $5k is a real stretch for what you want unless you want a project you can work on and out another couple thousand into...

Just price a sail for instance or some bottom paint or maybe just some new lines, nothing is cheap. I would try and save some more $$ and spend closer to $10 so you can be in the water quicker and actually enjoy her.

Ajax_MD 11-01-2013 10:08 AM

Re: Which 27 footer to buy.

Originally Posted by azguy (Post 1113227)
After looking at boats for a couple of months I think $5k is a real stretch for what you want


I bought a Pearson 30 in sailable condition for $4,000. Dry hull and deck with no core rot. Everything worked. I put money into it because I wanted to not because I had to.

A friend of mine bought a Pearson 30 that was 800 hulls newer for about $800 more, that is just as dry, just as solid, that had WAY more convenience features than mine came with. (Roller furling, Force10 heater, pressurized water, wheel steering, auto-pilot, decent sails, all for arond $5,000).

Another friend just bought a Pearson 30 a couple of weeks ago for $2k or $3k.
Everything works, but it does have a delaminating area on the cabin top that we'll re-work next winter.

A 27 footer in decent shape can be had for $5,000 if you're a careful shopper.
I agree with the posted recommendations:

Catalina 27
Ericson 27
C&C 27
Abin Vega 27 (This one's bomb-proof but a bit cramped compared to the others. Good for off-shore work)
Tartan 27 (Also tough, but a bit cramped. Old school)
Cal 27 & 28
Cape Dory 27 (Another slow, cramped, but very tough design. Sea-kindly)
S2 8.5

I might even throw in a Coronado 27, but I wouldn't go far offshore in it.

With all of those choices, you should be able to find SOMETHING good in the current boat market.

bobperry 11-01-2013 10:41 AM

Re: Which 27 footer to buy.
1 Attachment(s)
Look hard for an Albin Cirrus 7.8. I owned one for 125 years. It's a fabulous boat, well built and a great sailer. You might have to up your budget a couple thousand. This is a much, much better boat than the Albin Vega.

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