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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Boat Review and Purchase Forum
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  #1  
Old 03-08-2007
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Narrowing it Down..

I’m in the process of purchasing a boat 36 to 40 or so feet. Purpose is to live aboard, based in a slip, but plan to do many daysails, weekenders, and some week+ long trips. *Maybe* crossing bluewater once or twice… maybe.

Dream boat would be fractional rig, shallower draft, fin keel, good size cockpit, a good balance between speed and comfort. Do not want a “heavy cruiser”. Not decided on CC or aft cockpit.

I must say that I am including more recent hunters, jenneau’s beneteau’s, catalina’s because they have comfortable interiors and some smart layouts. Also getting a 5-10 y/o boat appeals more to me than a 20+ y/o boat. With Hunters have some issues with the lack of backstay…. Tho I have not heard to much about actual demasting.

Looking at a budget of less that 100k.

There are lot’s of boats out there….. I need to narrow this down.

Ken
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Old 03-08-2007
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While the Hunters would give you the fractional rig (and I don't think the B&R rig without a backstay is a problem for your intended use), I also think you have to get into the newer ones to get the best they offer. They have been changing a lot of their thinking over the past couple of years, and I find the changes appealling (just my opinion).

You're obviously going to find a better price point among the high volume builders, but I wouldn't discount an older boat that has been well maintained either. Though not fracs, an older Tartan, C&C, or Sabre might suit you well.

At least you have a good handle on how you'll use the boat, and that really is half the battle. Some time on yachtworld, searching your lenght and price parameters may be your best bet at this stage.
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  #3  
Old 03-08-2007
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Okay, I'll try and get a word in before the pros do. This is all just my opinion and any sailboat is better than none. That being said, go with the Catalina for what you want to do. Hunters just feel "cheap" to me, sorry Hunter owners. Benes for under 100k cut too many corners in trying to make unique boats, they put one thing in at the sacrifice of another. Its that way with all boats, but I think it is more apparent on Benes in that range than the other two. Over 100k, I think they do a decent job. A Bene First (fractional)will be your best sailing vessel, but they are not laid out as well for dockside living. Is it just you living aboard? I would say the Catalina 34, 36, or 310. The 320, while spacious, has very little storage. Just my quick humble opinion.
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Last edited by bestfriend; 03-08-2007 at 06:07 PM.
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Old 03-08-2007
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Yachtworld lists a multitude of Catalina 36s for under $100,000, in nearly all years from 1982 to 1999. There are a few 38s in there, but are all more than 20 years old.

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Old 03-08-2007
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SailinJay and bestfriend have obviously been corrupted by Cruisingdad... and fallen to the dark side...

Catalina, Pearson, C&C, Hunter, Jeanneau, Beneteau and many others made boats that will fit your criteria. I would not discount some of the "older" boats, as many will be better outfitted at a lower price than more recent boats. In some cases, older boats were built more strongly than some of their newer brethren.

As always, I would highly recommend saving 15-20% of your purchase budget for repairs, refitting, upgrading and modifying any boat you buy. Buying a boat is nothing like buying a car... each boat generally needs some modifications made to it to work for you. I have seen many boats bought, and have yet to see one that the new owner did not want to change in some way within a few weeks of getting it.
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Old 03-08-2007
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Nooooo, the force is still with me. I didn't buy one of the big three.
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Any of the three you specifically mentioned will serve your purpose. We all have our favorites and some have prejudices and some of those are based on myth and hearsay so (it goes without saying) take all the advice you can get and verify all of it too.
B, H and C wouldn't all still be in business if they didn't make decent quality boats priced competitively and built fairly equivalently. Over the years, we've owned a number of boats including the three you mentioned and they all have their proponents but my opinion having owned all three is that your personal preference is the deciding factor - none have anything superior over the others and style of interior design, which is important in your stated use, should be a strong factor.
You might try comparison on-line shopping of comparable size and age boats to see which hold their value better. I did this recently to prove a point and found that although close, the H appears to hold it's value as well or better than Cats and B surprisingly appeared to come in third - again do youe own research
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BTW, almost all of the boat makers, including Hunter, Catalina, Beneteau, and Jeanneau have had some history of problems at some point in their past. I don't think that any boat maker is free of this... there are some boats out there that are known to have certain issues, and some that are known as boats to be avoided...and others that have had a pretty sterling reputation overall.

A good resource for you to look at, if you can borrow one, is the Practical Sailor Magazine two-volume Boat Buying Guide. It has their reveiews on the boats as well as feedback from actual owners of the same boats... with coverage of known weaknesses and common problems.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 03-08-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k1vsk
You might try comparison on-line shopping of comparable size and age boats to see which hold their value better. I did this recently to prove a point and found that although close, the H appears to hold it's value as well or better than Cats and B surprisingly appeared to come in third - again do youe own research
Definitely good advice. It will depend on your area too. I did the same comparison and found Catalina to significantly hold their value better than the Bene and the Hunter. Hunter was last. Take into consideration that in my area, catalinas are very popular. All three will suit you well and I agree that it is up to personal preference between them.
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Old 03-08-2007
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Sailman...You are right...too many boats are resonable choices for your purpose and there is no "resonable" way to narrow them down. But if you limit your quest to boats 5-10 years old then you effectively limit your choices to the big three...and perhaps Jeanneau and Bavaria in your price range since all the other suitable brands went out of business in the 80's or early 90's.
So maybe the next step is visiting some boats at the big dealers and climbing aboard and seeing what appeals to you.
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