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TheRoutens 04-19-2007 01:32 PM

Newbie in need of reality check
Hi all,

I'm a relative newbie and I'm hoping a few folks can tell me if an idea I have is even feasible.

My family and I are planning on getting a boat in the next few years with the plan to liveaboard for a few years, then begin an extended cruise. We live in the Portland, OR area so the majority of our sailing for the first few years would be on the Columbia river. Then, when we can cut the lines, we'd like to head south to CA for a while to visit with her family. Eventually we'd like to get to the Gulf coast and cruise the Gulf ICW and the East Coast ICW.

Here is my question: Would a Catalina 380 or 400 be up for that kind of trip? I'd be willing to truck the boat from CA to TX in order to get to the Gulf coast w/o going through the ditch, although I think that would be quite an experience in itself.

My main concern is the trip down the OR/CA coast as I understand that can get pretty rough.

We're looking at a coastal cruiser as it would have the room to be comfortable while I'm still working, and we can get into a boat that is less than 10 years old at a price we can afford.

We are planning to eventually cross the Atlantic, and maybe even do a circumnavigation. I'm well aware that we would need to change boats before that happens.

Any help or insight would be greatly appreciated!


- Mike

Newport41 04-19-2007 01:47 PM

Sure, why not? I think both boats would do fine. I wouldn't take them across the atlantic either, but I think that along the west coast you'll be alright. They're both coastal cruisers but then again that's really what you're doing isn't it? Here's the thing. That coast can be very dangerous. I think what will keep you and your family safe is not hte boat you choose (within reason), but using your head. Be prepared, but most of all choose your passage time wisely. It's quite safe to hop down the coast as long as you keep a very sharp eye on the weather and know where you can pull in for a rest. As long as you're looing at the right time of year and you feel prepared, it's quite reasonable. People have done much more dangerous passages in much less seaworthy boats and lived. On the other hand, people much more experienced have done stupid things in real offshore boats and not come back. And I would take advice from some of the people on here with similar experience. Good luck.

blt2ski 04-19-2007 02:04 PM

There is a fellow in about a month, bringing a C30 from Portland to the sound. So if a 30'r can get from there to here, a 40'ish ft boat should be able to go south. Either coast, area can get bad winds and waves.

I am sure the Catilina's of that size have crossed oceans, even gone around the world. C27's have gone around!

A lot will depend upon you, as mentioned, looking at weather forcasts, if a hurricane or equal is near by, wait it out and make sure you do not sail into it! Local squalls, not a lot you can do about those, as they appear suddenly, ie cyclone twister thunder boomer style squals. Those you have to watch for yourself.

Personally I feel that there are some better designed boats for equal to a bit more money, but what youare looking at will work.

Have fun

TheRoutens 04-19-2007 02:16 PM


Would you mind elaborating on what boats you would suggest? I have a limited exposure to various makes of boats and am open to suggestion. I've been on Catalinas, Hunters and one Beneteau (all at the dock). My wife fell in love with the Catalinas and the Bene, but the Bene was way out of our price range.


- Mike

Insails 04-19-2007 02:43 PM

Uh oh the wife factor!..I learned that the hard way looking at boats yesterday:)I took my wife to look at a 27 foot Ericson and docked right next to it was a 33 footer for sale,so we went aboard both...MISTAKE!! after seeing the private head with shower guess what...all she wants now is a boat with a shower..which means I feel like the jaws quote..."WE gotta get a bigger boat"..

Kacper 04-19-2007 03:25 PM


Don't bring your woman shopping for boats if you do not have the cash to match her fantasies :)

DO bring your woman if you do have the cash and the purchase depends on her approval :) Take her to the biggest most luxurious, expensive, and fancy boat at the dock, she will be sold :)

Guesser 04-19-2007 04:58 PM

I'd look at some older, lower priced Beneteaus and other higher quality boats, before buy a Catalina just because your wife likes the curtains.

jackytdunaway 04-19-2007 08:40 PM

CD is gone for a few hours and Catalina bashing starts.

sailingfool 04-19-2007 09:03 PM

54 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by TheRoutens
.....Would a Catalina 380 or 400 be up for that kind of trip? ....My main concern is the trip down the OR/CA coast as I understand that can get pretty rough.....


I think Catalina makes a good quality coastal cruiser, but it sounds like you will be doing more than ducking into port every night. Here's a link to a realworld story of Catalina 36 offshore cruising EQUIPPED TO SURVIVE (tm) - Lessons Learned: Sailing to Hawaii...The First Attempt by Arnold Rowe It didn't seem up to even moderate weather use. I guess you need to ask yourself if the new Catalinas are built particularly different than the old, I would expect no.

Valiente 04-19-2007 09:26 PM

Your best reality check would be in my opinion to crew (pay your way if requested as you aren't yet skilled) on deliveries or to help an older couple cruise a bigger boat. You'll soon get a real feel for what design attributes, installations and gear works offshore and what doesn't. I consider most boats sold today in the "big name" crowd to be at best coastal cruisers...which is fine, because that is all that most of them will ever be asked to do. Others are unfit for winds over 30 knots and seas over six feet, which on an ocean-going boat is only at the high end of a good passagemaking day.

Try to race during the week and crew on overnighters...and ask a lot of questions and try to read cruising narratives, particularly by the old folks in the '50s and the '60s (Smeatons, Hiscocks, later Roths) who went out BEFORE SAR, GPS, and marinas everywhere made cruising essentially a bus-stop-style service industry (most of the Caribbean). I'm not being critical, but if you want to go off the beaten path, buy a Land Rover, not a soccer mom's minivan, because the DVD player, adjustable mirrors and fold-away rear seats aren't going to impress the lions.

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