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  #11  
Old 02-21-2006
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Irwin32 is on a distinguished road
Good post

You are getting good advise from Sailormon. I have never owned a Catalina, but I had an opportunity to cruise on a 27 for a week. Quality is fine for your purposes - I do think quality of a builder often is similar up and down its line. An older Cat 25 is not going to fall apart under you while you are sailing and it will take a pretty good beating. I would not hesitate to make the 70 mile trip across L Michigan in one.

I would suggest the 25 over a 22. As you know from your power boating experience, that extra 3 feet makes a big difference.

You might want to consider having the chosen boat surveyed. It will add to your cost, but a good surveyor can definitely find problems you would miss.

Also, go to the brand specific forums here and ask about Cats and O'Day and Hunters. Remember though, this is like asking a Ford owner what he thinks of Chevies so you will have to filter the predjudice we all have towards our own boat.
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  #12  
Old 02-22-2006
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Wow. I'm almost convinced.

Whew, long day today...

Okay first of all thanks Sailormon for clearing up some of my questions. And I'm looking at C25's with a bit more interest now. While it's true that she's not the most attractive boat out there, I think that would be remedied easily enough with a little plastic surgery, or in this case a little custom mahogany trimwork and maybe rudder. I've done trim before and a rudder couldn't be overly difficult. There's no better way to compliment plain white glass than with mahogany. But more important than appearance is that the C25 has gotten some pretty good reviews on this site and others. Funny though, and just as a side note, the reviews for the 27 aren't too spectacular.

Thumbs up to Irwin. Yes I can see how the added length and displacement of the 25 over the 22 would make it a better choice. Add to that the fact that I'm a bit over 6 foot and more space is always better. Not to mention I really like the look of that quarter berth, as opposed to the narrow bunks on many similar size boats or those (personally) dreaded v-shape berths in the bow (Yes I have plenty of previous experience with those in powerboats. I dont think I'll sleep on a Commodore 29 again. Ever.) If I can find a C25 for under 10k, as long as everything else is in pretty good shape, I can probably swing the added expense of a decent set of sails without breaking my self-imposed budget limits... Especially if I can find one with a trailer included.

All that said, here is my daily barrage of questions.

As I've been reading reviews for the boat (C25) it seems everyone agrees the best vintage(s) so to speak are the 1989 through 1991. I have yet to see a C25 made after 1991, but many C250's. What's the difference? I could research this myself, and probably will, but I'd like to hear from someone who knows and can explain. And what were the major upgrades made from the pre-1989 boats to the (final?) design of the 89-91?

That last question comes from the minor issue that I have only seen three boats (and yes I even checked the Catalina 25 website) from the 89-91 series advertised, one of which is a bit out of my budget and none of which come with trailers, which I assume are a bit difficult to find for a 25' fin keel... Due to the fact that so many people have wanted ads out looking for them. Of course many things could change in the approximate eight months I have to wait before I get back to the States.

I wonder however if anyone could provide me a list of a few alternative boats similar in class and design to the C25. It need not be an especially long list.

Just one more. Why IS the galley so often on the port side of a sailboat? On powerboats it seems it is just as often on the starboard side.

Incidentally, I've also learned one other detail about sailing vessels through the last couple days. That to paint a boat green, re-dub it "Rabbit", and set sail on a Friday would be a really, really bad idea. And this just after I read Jeff H's lengthy discourse on hydrodynamics, and how they affect boats of various size keels and displacements. I'm learning so many new things!

Thanks again to all who have responded.

-James
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  #13  
Old 02-22-2006
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According to the Catalina Owners site on Sailboat Owners.com, the C25 was only made through 1988. They then started the C250 in 1991. You might want to look at the O'day boats in the 25' to 27' range as well as the Catalina's. The Capri 26 (also made by Catalina) is another one you might look into. The Hunter 26 is a very roomy boat, though it definitely isn't very "shippy" looking. It is a very practical vessel though.

Keep looking, eventually you'll find something that suits you.

John
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Old 02-22-2006
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Thanks for the quick response, but that can't be right. The years of 89 through 91 have been called the golden years for the C25, on this site and others... Hmmm. This bears further investigation.

And I will look into those other brands you mentioned. I like the sound of "practical vessel."

Sailormon, if you're reading this and you can offer further enlightenment on the Catalina model year issues I proffered in my previous post, I'll gladly receive any information you may have.

And there's still that galley thing. I think I may have to re-post that question under a different topic.

-James
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Old 02-22-2006
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I can't verify the information I found, I only pass it on. As to galley placement, I have seen many boats with the galley to starboard. I would imagine there is no set reason beyond the interior design as to why it's placed on one side or the other. I think you will probably find that it is usually on the port side in boats with a head between the vee berth and salon though (just going from memory of ones I have looked at), as the head is usually on that side.

John
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Old 02-22-2006
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James,

Over 6000 Catalina 25s were built from 1976 until 1991. Hull #1 is still sailing today in Texas, and is still in good condition. Through the years, many improvements were made. The more significant ones were that, in about 1980, the fuel tank was placed in a completely enclosed compartment, so that gas fumes couldn't migrate into the cabin. Also about that time, the motor mount was moved from the port side to the starboard side, to balance the boat better. In about 1983-84, the cast iron fin keel was replaced with an encapsulated lead keel. In the mid-eighties, the swing keel was replaced with a wing keel. In the last couple years of production, the aluminum-framed portlights were replaced with lexan that was screwed and glued in place. Despite these changes, a well maintained older boat can perform just as well as a newer one. Throughout its production run, a C25 could be bought in either a standard rig or tall rig version. The tall rig is considerably faster in light air, but, as the windstrength increases, the tall rig has to reduce sail area sooner than the standard rig boat, and the standard rig boat becomes faster overall.

Beginning in about the mid-1980s, most, if not all, of the boat manufacturers began to have an increasing problem with blisters, and Catalina was no exception. The most reliable information I have is that, in about 1989, Catalina started building their boats with vinylester resin, and they began warranting their new hulls to be blister-free for 5 years. When I sold my 1981 boat last year, it only had one very small blister, so blistering was not as severe or as widespread a problem as one might think. Some boats had the problem and some didn't, but the problem seemed to me to be most evident from about 1984-1988.

The C250 went into production in 1995, and it's completely different from the C25. It's much lighter in weight, has a flatter bottom and harder chines (which makes it behave differently as the windstrength increases), and the interior is more open. It comes with either a water ballast and centerboard, or a wing keel. I can't say with certainty whether one is faster, because I've seen both types that were fast when well-sailed, but I'd guess that the wing is faster overall. At first, tall rig and standard rig versions were available, but after a year or so, the tall rig was dropped. The tall rig is very fast in very light air, but, as the windspeed increases, it becomes overpowered quickly.

With regard to trailers, there are two general types - trailers with fixed bunks and those with roller bunks and swing arms. It's generally much more difficult to launch from a trailer with fixed bunks than from one with roller bunks and swing arms.

The galley is located wherever the designer can fit it into the interior plan. In some plans, it works better on the starboard side, and in others on the port side.

The following is an alphabetical list of boats that I like. Some are more cruiser-oriented, and some racers. C&C 25, Cal25, Capri 25, Hunter 25.5 (mid-80s), J24, Merit 25, O’Day 25, S2 7.3, US Yachts 25 (early 1980s) These are just the first ones that come to mind. There are a lot of nice boats out there.

In the dark recesses of my mind, green reminds me of puke and baby sh*t, and that's reason enough to not paint your sailboat green. (Not that there's anything wrong with it...)
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