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Old 03-13-2006
d_p d_p is offline
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Opinion Poll

I would be interested to hear what you guys think is the "Toyota Camry" of boats in the 25'-32' range (either new of close to new). I know there will be boats which are faster and better performers, not to mention more expensive. But I am interested in finding what boat in this size range is thought of as the "most bang for your buck" with regard to safety, ease of maintenance, and simplicity of sailing.
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Old 03-13-2006
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There are lots of Camry's out there. What determines the best "bang for the buck" depends a lot on the actual condition of the specific boat you're looking at. A rusted out 1999 deluxe Camry GL that was submerged in New Orleans isnt' as good as a standard model that's been garaged in Palm Springs since 1995. Different boats will provide things that you may or may not want. Are you just planning to head out on daysails? You'll want a larger cockpit and maybe a cuddy to stow your gear. Weekending? You may not need it everywhere below, but it would be nicer to have some standing headroom. Going off for weeks at a time? Lots of stowage space, along with headroom gets to be important. Where are you sailing? Heavy breezes mean you can get by with a smaller rig. Light air, and you'll need more sail area to keep moving. Shallow water means you may want a centerboard or shoal draft. There are lots of variables. Popular builders for boats in this size range come up frequently on this message board: Beneteau, Cal, Catalina, C&C, Ericson, Hunter, Irwin, J/boats Pearson, Tartan S-Yachts, are just some of the options. Some of these firms are out of business, but the boat still floats and the price may be right. (Studebaker Avanti's are still sought after vehicles.) What's right for you depends upon you. Tell us more so we can be more helpful.
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Old 03-13-2006
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Camry of boats

One thing I find amazing is that there are not a lot of boats that are currently made that fall into that size range except Catalina, Hunter, and J Boats. I would think to qualify for your "Camry", the boat should be popular(produced many years), a family boat, well made, sail well, and be currently produced. Beneteau's smallest boat in the US (I think) is almost 33feet. They are out.
I don't think the Hunters would qualify--not great sailing boats, and not great quality (IMO)
J is a possibility, but their all time most popular boat is only 24 feet, and the only 2 currently produced boats in that size range are the J80 (not a real popular boat) and the new J92S. I guess J is out.
That leaves Catalina. Many of their models have been produced for years and have been very popular. Catalina 30--no longer in production, but the new 309 is patterned after the 30. The 27 was very popular (I think there are 3 on my dock) and the 270 is currently made. There is a 28 that was made for years, and now a 28mkii. There is also a 320 and a 310. I think the Catalinas are fairly well made, and are certainly family oriented boats.
I have been looking for a new (or newer) boat in the 28 to 32 foot range, and was frustrated. Not a lot of different builders making boats in that size range except Catalina and Hunter. Currently I am looking at buying a Catalina 28mkii. I think it will work out well.
Maybe one of the Catalinas mentioned above in the Camry of sailboats.
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Old 03-25-2006
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I am going to butt heads with bfh over Hunters. I personally, would not buy a Hunter, but for other reasons than quality. They have stood the test of time as well, or better, as any other production boat. They certainly offer a lot of boat for the money and have consistentaly been on the cutting of edge of sailing technology. Catalina owners are notorious for hating Hunters.

i think tht Hunters and Catalinas are probably the Camrys of sail boats. Good boats that will serve you well, but won't take you off road.
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