Do I buy an older Catalina and spend money fixing it up or buy a new one - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 10-27-2007
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Do I buy an older Catalina and spend money fixing it up or buy a new one

Last year I bought a 1985 Catalina 27 in good condtion. I spent about 50 days sailing, going to Block Island and other nearby locations. I am looking to upgrade to a 30 as I would like to live on the boat during the warm months and spent more overnights with 2 or more people, sailing will be limited to the Long Island Sound.

My question is should I spend $40/50K on a 1990+ boat or spend $25/35K on a 1980+ boat and spend the difference fixing up the older boat. I am not very handy but have access to very reasonable labor and probably could get a lot done for $10K.

My gut feeling is that a newer boat would have fewer problems and be easier to sell down the road.

Any and all comments appreciated.

Thanks,

Andrew
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Old 10-27-2007
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The newer boat will have fewer problems, with less upgrade issues, as it should since you are paying for this benefit. Part of the extra cost gives you less maintenance expense, part of it you get back when you sell theboat, and part of it you lose due to the greater depreciation that a newer boat will experience. In return for eating that depreciation you have the pleasure of shinier glass, un-marred surfaces, newer gear, etc.
My advice is to get the newest version of your dream model that you feel you can afford...
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Old 10-27-2007
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I think the answer to your question depends on how long you intend to keep the boat. If you will keep it for 10-15 years, spend more for a newer boat in good condition. If you'll only keep it for a couple of years, buy the older boat. The older boat is depreciated about as far as it will go. The newer boat could still depreciate a few thousand in a short time.
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Old 10-27-2007
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My personal opinion, FWIW, is that if you enjoy doing the work, maintenance and upgrading yourself, go for the older boat and have a blast. If, as it appears you are, the type that would rather have the work done by others then get the newest, best equipped boat you can afford. It has been my experience that you always end up with more boat and accessories if you buy the best equipped vessel you can from the get go. The older, "cheaper" boat rarely is the latter and unless you derive pleasure from the process of upgrading and maintaining, you'll probably be happier with the newer boat.

Good Luck!!

Ryan
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Old 10-27-2007
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You need to pick up a copy of the November/December Good Old Boat magazine. The Boat Review in this issue features the Catalina 30 and directly addresses your questions.

Some highlights are as follows: The factor upgraded to stainless-steel keel bolts starting in around October 1977. Larger chainplates and a new rudder were added in December 1978.

The bottome line from the article reads like this: "The difference between a fine 30-year-old Catalina 30 and a fabulous newish Catalina 30 Mark III isn't as much as you think, unless you're thinking dollars."
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Old 10-27-2007
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I am of the belief that the "sweet spot" for production sailboats is about 10 years old. Most of the big depreciation has happened but the boat is still essentially new as long as its been taken care of. That said, an older boat that has been upgraded by the previous owner can be a great buy. Key is finding one with no structural issues and a well-maintained engine.
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Old 10-28-2007
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Old vs.New

Hello,

This is a good question, but I don't think there will be an absolute answer. Part of the problem is that no two 20 year old boats will be the same. Some will have been updated with modern electronics, new sails, updated rigging (including traveler, jib leads, etc.), repowered, and others won't.

You can find a 20 year old boat that is in better condition than a 10 year old boat, and for less money too. There are lots of 10-15 year old boats out there with original sails, original rigging, original everything, and the owners will still want more money than for a 15 year old boat that has had everything updated in the last 2-3 years.

Personally, if you have access to cheap labor, I would buy the older boat. This way you will end up with exactly what you want in the way of electronics, galley, rigging, etc. And you will get back most of your money when you sell.

Good luck,
Barry
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Old 10-29-2007
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Thanks to all that replied, will pick up a copy of "Good Old Boat"

Will post "old" and "newer" boats when I get closer to making a decision.
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Old 10-29-2007
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Make it easy on yourself and buy a CS. They need less fixing up.
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Old 10-31-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apkaplan View Post

My question is should I spend $40/50K on a 1990+ boat or spend $25/35K on a 1980+ boat and spend the difference fixing up the older boat.
Andrew,

Your prices seem a little inflated to me. I've been shopping for the same exact boat in So Cal and I'm seeing $30-40k for the early 1990s. Keep in mind that these are the list prices and my understanding is that they typically sell for quite a bit less than list. Also, the Catalina 30s are so widely available that you have the luxury of being picky as there will always be more coming along on the market. IIRC, the MKIIs started production in 1986 and continued until 1993, and the difference from the MKIs was that they made the cockpit T-shaped which makes having a wheel more convenient. I also think the traveller changed to a flat style. The other big thing is the through hulls. The early Cats had bonded through hulls and the newer ones use threaded ball-valve style through hulls. I'm sure there are folks here that know the Cat 30 from stem to stern that could chime in and correct any of my errors.

If you have the time, please post your experiences shopping as I would love to have more info as I shop. I will try to do the same. I already posted thread about a 30' I looked at and got some great feedback from the other members: Opinions on listed Catalina...
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