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  #1  
Old 06-05-2007
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Catalina 400 opinions welcome

If info on these is in another thread, please direct me as nothing came up in my search.

I just looked at this boat the other day: YachtWorld.com Boats and Yachts for Sale

I think I've decided on a C400, and I'm weighing the pro's and cons of cost vs. age. This one is the first year for the C400 - and, I was told by the broker, it's actually hull #1. (would this be cause for concern in and of itself?)

The boat did not look like it was maintained very well cosmetically - it was dull (needs a wax?) and has a lot of spider cracking/crazing in the gelcoat. I understand this is not difficult to repair, but I've never done it and I would probably have the whole gelcoat redone or potentially repainted/epoxied. It had some condensation water damage in the teak near an A/C vent - I was told that is fixable as well.

Assuming these are only cosmetic issues and the mechanics are sound... My question is - am I better off just buying a newer/better maintained boat and paying a premium, or buying one that needs some work? Thanks!
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Old 06-05-2007
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A well cared for boat is worth considerably more than a neglected one, a lot more. How much is difficult to calculate because the problems are generally everywhere. I looked at two C400's recently of the same year and prices were $30k different. Same equipment. The cheaper boat had been used hard and put away wet, it wasn't even in charter but it looked like it was 20 years older. If the C400 was what I wanted I would have purchased the other boat without even considering the price difference, it was that nice. I have looked at a lot of boats and I only find one in 10 that is in good shape, one in 100 perhaps that is really nice.

If you know a lot about boats you might be able to fix it up and calculate how much it will cost to get it the way you want it. My general rule after years of fixing up boats is to over estimate how much repairs will cost, then double it. It still usually costs more that that. First take off the rose colored glasses and assume everything will need repair, because things will need fixing that you can't even imagine.

C400's are nice boats but I believe the early ones had some steering problems. There are several cat lovers on this board so you should get better specifics from them.
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Old 06-05-2007
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Old boat problems are like cockroaches, if you can easily see one, there's a million ya can't see. For Sure!
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Old 06-05-2007
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msbam,
I've been looking at Catalinas in the sub-40' range, and I've come to like the Catalina 380. They seem a like they're really well thought-out, and great family cruisers capable of handling some weather. They displace a whole lot of water, and take a good breeze to get going... Anyway, it's what I like. Listings on YW have them for $110,000 - $130,000. Just food for thought.
Sailhog
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Old 06-05-2007
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Hull number 1, really. Well remember that hull number 1 is usually a test boat. They put it together with all the options to find out how it all fits making notes and adjustments to use on future hulls. I don't know about Catalina but Hunter then beats the crap out of it to find out the weak points and areas of stress.
Then the boat may make the boatshow rounds and you have several thousand people climbing all over it, slamming hatches, pounding the decks. And of course the bulider is transporting the boat to the shows too, which takes it toll. They then may take many people out on test sails to promote the boat.

Then they sell the boat. It's like buying a car out of a rental fleet. The plus side is the boat is probably loaded with all the options and if it broke it got fixed.
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Old 06-05-2007
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MSBam,

I own a 400 and am the Technical Editor for Catalina (Mainsheet) on the 400. CaptRon400 also frequents this board and he was the previous Tech Editor for the 400 and knows them better than I do (knows the older ones a lot better than I do).

Fire away with questions and I will try and help. However, to answer your general question about a boat that needs work or one that costs more and needs less, that can only be answered this way: Do you have more money, or time?

Take a look at the MKII's versus the early boats. Several changes. Ron would probably know them more in depth. However, if I had to venture a suggestion, I would tell you to buy the boat that needs less work and costs more. As has been suggested, if it does not look good on the ouside (where you can see), I would shudder to know how it was maintained on the inside (where you cannot see). You will be busy enough with the boat as it is... find one that has been loved and pampered.

- CD

PS And for what it is worth, I have owned a 380, 320, and 250. The 400 is the best of the bunch. It is a very nice sailing boat, sure footed, and comfortable. There appear to be a few idiosyncracies, but what boat does not have them??
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Old 06-06-2007
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Thanks everyone for your input. Is there a rule of thumb for average hours on an engine per year? (kind of like 12k miles/year for a car). I've been told that the boat was sold to the 1st owner new (so not used for testing or boat shows), but I may try to contact Catalina to see if they have any records.

Is there a good thread in here or other resource on what to look for in a used sailboat? Questions to ask the seller, things to look for, etc. When I asked the broker that showed me the boat to crank on the engine, he said he couldn't do that without the sellers permission - is that typical? Before making an offer or paying for a survey, I should probably check as much out as I can first, right? (enginge, water pressure/heat, a/c, rigging, electrical, etc.)

I'm hoping that a bit of diligence will show that the apparent neglect was only limited to cleanliness/cosmetics - and that the important stuff is sound.
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Old 10-25-2007
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don't buy #1. even #205.. had a lot of problems. at some point they gave up on the westerbeke for the yanmar. they do a bad job on the shower sump,
the location of the sea strainer, access to the galley sink sea ****, access to the sea water pump, the holding tank vents, the anchor windlass, and
the vented loop over the engine. it has taken me seven years to whip mine into shape.
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Old 10-25-2007
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oh,i forgot, serious steering misalignment of idler sheaves.
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Old 10-25-2007
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Yeah...but they are a great platform for solar panels and bar-b-ques!
Oh CD....I think I hear your technical support line ringing!! (g)
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