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  #1  
Old 07-15-2007
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Catalina vs. Hunter

Hi,

I have just registered. I do apologize if the question I am about to ask was already discussed 1,000 times. Just point me to the right thread please. I have no boat, but have a desire to get one. It has to be a Sail Boat. It has to be not expensive (less than $25k preferably) and it has to fit my family (wife + two kids). Also it has to be easy in handling: I have never sailed in my life. I do not plan to race it, but rather take family for weekends. I have so far seen Catalina and Hunter (30 - 35'; 1980 - 1990). All opinions about those two or any other boats of similar size/price are welcome.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 07-15-2007
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Given your comlete lack of experience, I would highly recommend that you do a few things first.

1) Take sailing lessons—An ASA 101 course for you and your wife, preferably separately. This will give you a foundation of skills to work from. Each of you should be capable of handling the boat singlehanded IMHO. This is a requirement IMHO, especially since you will have children aboard.

2) Take some time and crew on other people's boats, to get an idea of what kind of boat you're looking for.

3) Tell us where you are sailing and what kind of sailing you are planning on doing. Sailing on the local duck pond takes a different kind of boat than sailing on the San Francisco Bay, the Great Lakes or Buzzards Bay. Sailing short daysails might require a different boat than doing week-long coastal cruises.

It is going to be difficult to get a boat in decent shape that is above 30' for your budget. Not impossible, but difficult. Here is a listing of boats in that size range... most of the lower priced ones probably have some serious problems.

I would also recommend you leave about 15-20% of your purchase budget aside for doing re-fitting, upgrading and modifications to the boat and equipment. Boats are not like cars, and one-setup does not work equally welll for everybody.

Do you understand what the annual costs of keeping a larger boat are going to be in your area? Marina costs, winter storage costs if you're further north, hauling costs, insurance, and miscellaneous maintenance costs all add up pretty quickly. Marina and storage fees alone can be $3000 or more, depending on the market. A lot of people go into owning a boat without a clue. It might make more sense to join a local sailing club initially... especially since you haven't sailed before. Buying a boat is a rather large committment and if you end up hating sailing, can be a really expensive lesson.

Also, be aware that larger boats have larger costs associated with them, since the equipment is larger and more expensive, the boat is much bigger and many of the fees, like marina slip fees, haulout fees and such are charged by length. A 35' boat isn't 17% larger than a 30' boat, it is more like 60% bigger, since boats grow in three dimensions. A 30' boat is much more affordable than a 35' boat, especially to someone of limited budget.

However, I wouldn't go any smaller than 28' though... since the size difference between a 28' boat and a 25' boat is significant. This is especially true if your children are older, larger and more active.
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  #3  
Old 07-15-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drylander
Hi,

I have just registered. I do apologize if the question I am about to ask was already discussed 1,000 times. Just point me to the right thread please.
Thread? LOL! Threads, my friend. I asked a similar question not long ago. Somebody else just a day or two ago. The beat goes on .

Here's the thread from a day or two ago: Newbies need help choosing a boat?
Here's my thread from a month or so back: Hunter Build Quality?
And here's where somebody asked similar questions back in 2001: First time sail boat buyer

Read JeffH's responses very carefully.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drylander
I have no boat, but have a desire to get one. It has to be a Sail Boat.
Have you ever sailed before? On anything, of any size?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drylander
It has to be not expensive (less than $25k preferably) and it has to fit my family (wife + two kids).
"Fit" is a relative term. Some families might do well on a two week vacation in a 28' boat. Others might need family counseling after a weekend in a 42' boat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drylander
Also it has to be easy in handling:
"Easy handling" is so relative. True: There are some boats that are, for many reasons, more difficult to handle than others, but largely it comes down to the sailor's abilities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drylander
I have never sailed in my life.
Ah, question #1 answered. You really need to get some sailing time in. I recommend local ASA 101, and perhaps 103, classes. Both you and your wife. Y'all will be sailing short-handed. One or the other of you may be required to sail it alone if the other becomes sick or injured. Looked at another way: Either of your two lives, and the lives of your children, may well depend on your and your wife's ability to sail the boat alone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drylander
I do not plan to race it, but rather take family for weekends.
The former pastime is arguably safer than the latter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drylander
I have so far seen Catalina and Hunter (30 - 35'; 1980 - 1990). All opinions about those two or any other boats of similar size/price are welcome.
I would recommend this is not the way to approach this project. Better would be to spend some time learning about sailing and sailboats (Sailnet is a very good resource for both of these), learn how to sail, and then go looking for a sailboat. Buying a sailboat is more like buying a house than a car.

As far as Catalina or Hunter boats: Some people like one, the other or both of them; others don't think much of one, the other or both of them; and still others think one, the other or both of them built some good boats, some not-so-good boats. After much discussion here and researching elsewhere, we were looking at other models. (Note: Our budget was about half yours, and our size range was 28' to 30'.) OTOH: The first boat we looked at was a 27' Catalina. The only reason we passed on it was 27' just wasn't quite big enough, for our needs, for cruising. Last weekend we sailed a 34' Hunter for two days, as part of our ASA 101 and ASA 103 classes, and it seemed a nice enough boat. Not my cup of tea, but nice enough. I guess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drylander
Thanks!
You're quite welcome. And welcome to the sport and art of sailing!

Jim
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Old 07-15-2007
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Sailingdog is right on the money, take your time and enjoy the process/experience. Get a lesson or two, make a friend with a boat (boat owners love to take others out). Chances are you'll Sail the rest of your life, that is how powerful this sport is IMO and it's all about the journey.

To answer the question: my opinion is that Catalina is a better sailing vessel and has better sailing characteristics. BUT my very good friend (owns a huge Hunter) would disagree so it is a little like Ford and Chevy. Best of Luck. gh
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Old 07-15-2007
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The new Catalinas have cardboard veneer just like Hunter. :/

Older Catalinas are the bomb.

Catalina is losing its edge in the Beneteau, Hunter, Catalina debate.

Catalina needs a taller designer. Just kidding Gerry.
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Old 07-15-2007
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In that price range for what you want, Catalina is going to provide you with more selection. On the West coast there are lots of 30's for sale. On yachtworld there are 54 Catalinas under 25k between 27 and 30', while there are only 4 Hunters in California. They are great boats, especially for a first boat. Easy to sail, lots of room, and built fairly solid. I would not get anything bigger than 30' for your first boat, while you may be able to sail it, upkeep, motoring and docking will be too difficult. Don't be tempted to spend more and buy a Hunter from the 1990's with some crazy rig design, not a good first boat to have. You will learn to sail differently than all other rig designs. If you really like Hunters, get an older Cherubini or Legend design. Find a friend that has a sailboat already that can go with you to look and point out good and bad things, don't trust the brokers. While not for everyone, you may want to consider buying into a local charter/school program. Hunter has a pretty good one, where you buy a new Hunter and they charter it. You get to use it the rest of the time, your payments are taken care of through the charter, they will teach you to sail it, and after about three years, you retain ownership. There are some down sides to this. The boat can get pretty beat up. I don't know all the particulars, but some people like it. New Hunters are not as bad as the older ones. Look here: Sail locally at a fraction of the cost with SailTime fractional sailing
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Last edited by bestfriend; 07-15-2007 at 12:15 PM.
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  #7  
Old 07-15-2007
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Thank you all for your replies! I plan on buying a boat sometime in the early spring '08, so in the meantime I have time to prepare for boat ownership. Answering your questions, I live in Ventura county, CA and am planning to take boat out in the ocean (weekend trips to Catalina island or just cruising along the shore).
I think that the point about first taking classes is a good one. I take it that local community colleges offer ones, am I right? Maybe anyone local to Thousand Oaks, CA area can suggest a good school/instructor? Also, tips/suggestion on choosing a local Marina are very welcome. Are all Marinas created equal, or not? My local Marinas are in Oxnard, CA and Ventura, CA. Any suggestions?

I am not sure that local charter/school program is a good choice for us, since we work during the week and have weekends to use the boat, I take it that mainly on weekends the boat will be used by somebody else. Am I right in understanding the situation?

Thanks again!

Last edited by Drylander; 07-15-2007 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 07-15-2007
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God, not this again.

Take lessons, join a club as crew, sail on both. There are real limits to the value of advice an internet forum can deliver, and this is one of them. It's like asking: "What's better to kill a tumour: chemo, surgery or radiation?" And by tumour, I mean Hunter.
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Old 07-15-2007
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I think that some of the Left Coasters need to advise you on marinas. My understanding is that they are pretty tight with long lists there.
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Old 07-15-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valiente
God, not this again.

Take lessons, join a club as crew, sail on both. There are real limits to the value of advice an internet forum can deliver, and this is one of them. It's like asking: "What's better to kill a tumour: chemo, surgery or radiation?" And by tumour, I mean Hunter.
I can understand your frustration, however if you read the body of my message (not just the title), there are more questions than just comparison of boats. I got good answers to some of them. As an excuse, I can point out that nobody is born with the knowledge of answers to these questions, even though to seasoned sailors like yourself they may sound trivial and stupid.

Thanks!
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