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surf_n_turf 10-06-2004 04:37 PM

Capabilities of a Catalina 27
Other than the fact that people have sailed the world in a bucket with a t-shirt for a sail....

I am interested in people''s opinions about what a 1979 Catalina 27 (inboard diesel) can handle.

Lets go ahead and throw it out there, so I don''t get slammed. I am learning to sale, have had only about 10 lessons, but just got a nice bonus, and would like to buy the above mentioned boat. I am not asking whether or not I should buy it, whether or not I need more lessons, or whether or not I should sail it to Hawaii and back...

It is not uber-equipped, It has speed, weather, VHF, and depth. Obviously coastal and off-shore would take more equipment(to be safe), but what I am looking for is an honest assessment of what this boat can handle.

As my abilities increase and skills surpass basic bay crusing, how far will this beauty be able to take me?

I am in San Francisco, CA - Will it make it down the California Coast? Around Point Conception? To Baja? Central America? or should this baby be kept in the bay?

jbanta 10-07-2004 07:16 AM

Capabilities of a Catalina 27
More depends on your skills and the rigging on the boat. Of course a heavey built full keeled boat it more capable and therefore safer than the Cat27, she is still a hardy boat. It will be for you as her master to set her up for blue water alone with getting ready yourself.

SailinJay 10-07-2004 08:49 AM

Capabilities of a Catalina 27
Why not check out the Catalina 27 discussion group available through Sailnet? They can probably give you all the information you want and more.

hamiam 10-07-2004 08:55 AM

Capabilities of a Catalina 27
ive sailed on a C-27. certainly not designed for offshore passage making. more suited for the bay and as a floating hotel. coming out of boston harbor during a storm we experienced a serious amount of hull flex as well as a traveler that broke loose. lacks the tankage for long trips. rigging is marginal at best. sorry.

surf_n_turf 10-07-2004 01:26 PM

Capabilities of a Catalina 27
Thanks all for the information.

I am not sure I can find the discussion group; all I have found is the owner reviews. Is this what you had mentioned Jay?

I know that this is a great boat to learn on, and I might just have to save my pennies (and dollars and more) to get a boat that will take me where I''d to get.

Any more information would be appreciated.

Sailormon6 10-08-2004 07:37 AM

Capabilities of a Catalina 27
Boats are designed and built for use in a certain range of conditions. You shouldnít use a boat in conditions beyond its design limitations, and you shouldnít sail it in conditions beyond your skill level, because you might get away with it, or you might not. The question of what any given boat can take depends on not only the design and construction of the boat, but, to a certain extent, on the skill and judgment of the sailor. A skilled sailor might be able to nurse a boat through conditions beyond its design limitations, or he might not. No matter how skilled the sailor, he canít ultimately escape the boatís design limitations. A really good sea boat can survive most storms without any help whatsoever from the skipper.

That having been said, IMHO, the Catalina 27 is really a coastal cruiser, albeit a fairly robust one. Coastal cruisers are designed and built to make short hops along the coast in fair weather. That means you can use it to cruise inland lakes, rivers, bays, and to cruise oceans generally within sight of shore, so long as you watch the weather carefully and get to shelter before the inlets become impassable. Once the inlets become impassable, then seeking shelter is no longer an option, and the boat should be able to withstand whatever furies the wind and seas can throw at it. Although most coastal cruisers can survive some storms, you shouldnít make a habit of getting caught out in a boat that isnít specifically designed and built to survive the conditions.

If you watch the weather, and donít go out when high winds or big seas are predicted, you can safely and comfortably cruise most coastal areas with a Catalina 27, covering 20-40 miles per day. If you try to cover longer distances, you increase the possibility that you will get caught in bad conditions. Truth be told, thatís the way most people use their boats most of the time. Most working folks canít get away from work long enough to make long passages. If you want to make long, exposed, offshore passages, you should look for a boat more suitable to that purpose. Until youíre ready to do that, a Catalina 27 or other coastal cruiser in good condition would probably serve you reasonably well.

You might think that you can have the best of all worlds by buying a bluewater boat, because it can go anywhere you wish, but, if what you are really going to do is cruise the coast and sail the bay until you retire in X years, then a bluewater boat might be over-built for your needs, it might not perform as well in many respects, and have a too-small cockpit and other accommodations not ideally suited to your present needs.

RichardElliott 10-08-2004 07:43 AM

Capabilities of a Catalina 27
Considering comfort rather than seaworthiness, the early 27''s have the forward opening hatch over the head and hanging locker rather than over the vee berths. This makes the vee berths very dark and claustrophobic.

surf_n_turf 10-10-2004 08:15 AM

Capabilities of a Catalina 27
Sailed the cat 27 (1979) yesterday in the SF bay. The winds were light, but started to pick up in the early afternoon.

I noticed it pulled to weather a lot. It was difficult not difficult to sail, but seemed like a lot of work to keep her on course. Is this a typical feature of this make? I beleive the term is weather helm, but I am not sure.

I think I would be looking for something that held true a little easier? I have sailed a couple other (albeit smaller 22-24) and this didn''t seem to be the case.

Any thoughts?

Billpjr 10-10-2004 12:12 PM

Capabilities of a Catalina 27
I don''t know about your area but the C27 can easily do the Bahamas and caribbean islands. Comfort may be lacking but the boat will do it if you watch the weather.

Difficulty on keeping the boat on course is a fin keel trait...even when sails are trimmed properly. Get used to it if buying a fin keel.

RobGallagher 10-10-2004 06:04 PM

Capabilities of a Catalina 27
How are the sails? Could having older, stretched main make it harder to flatten causing weather helm? I sail on a late 70''s 27 and find it fun to sail, you just have to reef early. You don''t want to get caught with the shute up if it starts to blow (but this is true with most boats). The rigging is marginal, but suited to it''s purpose. It''s a roomy boat for a 27. Get a survey. I think the 27 would make a nice first boat. If you have more of a budget you might consider something a little better built (tartan, C&C, Ericson, CS, etc.). I am definately not slamming the Catalina 27 though, hell they sold about a billion of them!

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