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Old 10-23-2014
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First Boat Help: 1984 Hunter 34 or 1983 Catalina 30

Hello,

Could use some advice on a purchase I'm looking to make soon that entails a choice between two boats. The first is a 1984 Hunter 34 with the compression post repaired in 2012, the second is a Catalina 30 that is also in decent condition. I'll have survey's done as recommended, but can anyone give a real world comparison of the two and a recommendation?

I do like the room on the Hunter 34 and want it as a place to go to on the weekend as much as something to sail. The Catalina is quite roomy too, but I'm of the impression this boat might be more dependable and less trouble free.

The boat being equal in use, and price be comparable; what would be the recommended choice?

This would be a first boat me, so that may be a factor those who may give a recommendation. If it comes down to "buy what you prefer, they're similar in dependability...", I may go with the Hunter 34.

Thanks in advance.

Ted
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Re: First Boat Help: 1984 Hunter 34 or 1983 Catalina 30

The H34 is, of course, a considerably larger boat. More freeboard, maybe less cockpit, probably a better aft berth. I'd also suspect it's a bit more lively than a C30, which is one of the least tender production boats out there.

The one thing I remember from the H34 is the narrow, tight access to the galley past the companionway.. not sure if this is a big issue from day to day but on prints and in person it looks like a 'pinch point'.

Hard to beat Catalina's support network both owners and builder, and the C30 is a comfy boat that will save you money on moorage costs and other consumables because it's smaller than the Hunter.
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Old 10-23-2014
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Re: First Boat Help: 1984 Hunter 34 or 1983 Catalina 30

Both are fine "first" boats with plenty written about each. The Hunter will likely be faster (though a bit more tender) and offer more cabin space and privacy (private aft cabin), as you've noted. However, the H34s had iron keels and I've seen a couple recently from the mid-1980s that looked super rusted and scary. Sounds like the biggest known issue with the H34 (mast base) has already been addressed with the boat you're looking at.

The Catalina 30 is a very popular boat and thus will likely retain value better than the H34 if you maintain it properly. Parts and support are also readily available for the C30, both from Catalina, other private suppliers and the online community.

While the H34 may have a larger cabin than the C30, the C30 has a roomier cockpit. The H34 cockpit is one of the smallest I've seen for coastal cruiser without a canoe stern. If it's just you and one or two other crew this might not matter, but 4 or more is a crowd in the H34 cockpit.
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Old 10-23-2014
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Re: First Boat Help: 1984 Hunter 34 or 1983 Catalina 30

Ron,

Thanks for the feedback. Still seems like a tough choice. The Hunter 34 has a iron keel, should that be a worry down the road? As of now, it looks in good condition. The Hunter as a Yanmar 3GMF 22hp diesel engine, the Cat has the typical Universal.

I'd have to say the Hunter looks in better shape and less dated, but the Cat has had a new 5 coat Interlux coating in the last year and looks good.

There's actually two Cat 30's that are on my short list and it seems there are A LOT of sailboats on the market that have been sitting around for >6months around the Chesapeake.

Thanks

Ted

Last edited by tedman; 10-23-2014 at 03:22 PM.
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Re: First Boat Help: 1984 Hunter 34 or 1983 Catalina 30

The iron keel would not be a deal breaker for me, esp if it looks good now. The trick to these is not letting things get away on you rust-wise. Seal them and keep them that way. There's always the issue of lead being more forgiving in a grounding (debated by some) but plan A should be not to hit anything so in some way's it's a moot point.

I think both the Universal/kubota and the Yanmar are reliable engines.. if both are FWC then that's probably another wash. Engine access might be slightly easier on the Hunter.
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Re: First Boat Help: 1984 Hunter 34 or 1983 Catalina 30

Those 80's model Hunter 34's were some roomy boats, and not bad performers. But, for a mid size starter boat, either one would be good.
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Re: First Boat Help: 1984 Hunter 34 or 1983 Catalina 30

All Great Advice, Guys! Thx

I may be able to get the H34 at $12k, the 1983 C30 at $10k, the other 1985 C30 maybe at $8k. What's the "Catalina Smile" I hear about and how can I identify it? Also, are compression posts a problem in Cat30's?

Thx
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Old 10-23-2014
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Re: First Boat Help: 1984 Hunter 34 or 1983 Catalina 30

These are both fine boats. Buy the boat that is in better condition, better gear, and most importantly, the one you like the best.

The smile: a crack along the hull to keel joint. Usually not a problem. Ask your surveyor if it is on the particular boat your looking at.

Compression post: Not a problem. As always check for deck deformation or deck spongyness. Deck deformation is seen in cracks, or cabinetry that is out of square; examples: doors that don't open or close properly.

Last edited by Scotty C-M; 10-23-2014 at 03:48 PM.
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Re: First Boat Help: 1984 Hunter 34 or 1983 Catalina 30

the paint on the cat 30 would tell me that the boat may have needed it to cover bad looking gelcoat or there was a repair that only paint would cover. once a boat is painted it will need to be repainted about every 5 years. hunter has a small cockpit but larger inside, where are you going to spend most of your time when on the boat? check on slip availability in your area. where I sail the cut off on slip size is 33'. a 34' boat would require a 38' slip and the cost goes way up and there is a 5 year wait to get one.
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Old 10-24-2014
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Re: First Boat Help: 1984 Hunter 34 or 1983 Catalina 30

I think the idea of the best condition, but I know of an O'day 30 that is in excellent condition in that same area! Look at deniseO30's boat:

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/boat-b...ml#post2236625

I have to admit that I have not seen the boat, but have watched her posts here on the work she has don to it and would be confidant to buy it sight unseen myself if it were bigger.
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