Man, you folks are a great sounding board!
Believe it or not, I love getting shot down by you guys. It is so easy to see everything that you love about the boat and see yourself enjoying it and not see the negatives. I've got a little more time to post this AM, so I'll rattle on about my experience.
My wife and I went down to Dana Point to look at a couple of boats. They were both '88 Cat 30s.
The first one was used as a "secondary" home for an out of state owner
and it showed. As much as it was described as "clean, clean, clean", it was not. What was also weird was that my head touched the cabin top when I stood at the center of the boat below decks. I am 6' and should be able to stand up without stooping. That didn't really catch my attention until we looked at the second boat (where I stood up straight with no contact). Any chance the cabin top could be sagging? It felt solid when I was stomping around on the top.
The second boat (the one I originally posted about) was a different story. The deck and topsides needed some polish and wax, but other than that, looked OK. Running rigging looked a bit weathered, but not bad enough to require replacement. Standing rigging looked OK. Mast could use some paint around base. Spreaders need some paint. Shrouds and stays look fine. All lines lead aft, solid vang, self tailing winches (except for port cabin top). I stomped around like a retard on the deck and it felt nice and solid to me (as if I know what the hell I'm doing). The canvas actually looked pretty good to me...dusty from the fires and winds, but there were no rips or worn areas.
Cabin was very clean and smelled fresh. That hasn't happened in the handful of boats that I've looked at. I even stuck my head down near the holding tanks and there was only a faint smell of human sludge
As this was probably the cleanest Cat 30 I've seen so far, I spent a little more time than usual on it. I climbed around and looked for any signs of leakage at the hull to deck joint. Checked as many chainplates as I could. Opened all of the hatches and looked for signs of leaks. Looked at as many through-hulls and plumbing as possible. Everything looked clean. I think the scat pipes (poo plumbing) may have even been replaced between the tank and head. The only area that looked a bit neglected was the bilge. There was some standing water (maybe half an inch) around the keel bolts and they were pretty rusted, but probably just surface rust. I checked the float switch and it was working. The engine compartment looked a little dingy for my tastes (I clean and detail the engines on my vehicles, so that gives you a little taste of my psychological profile). There was rust on the engine mounts and substantial surface corrosion on the bronze components, but nothing that couldn't be fixed with some bronze brushes and a six-pack.
Anyone have any thoughts on why the original engine isn't in there? My understanding is that the Cats of that vintage only came with the Universal diesel. Please correct me if I'm wrong. I'll go do some research on catalina30.com as well.
One thing that I really didn't like was where the radar dome was mounted. The owner had it mounted on a substantial pole on the stern (you can see it in the pictures). For whatever reason, that really irked me and I think the first thing I would do is move it to the mast. and remove the pole (it's nice hardware, so I imagine I could sell it). That would leave me some holes to patch.
I didn't look at the sail inventory or quality as I really am not qualified to have an opinion on that yet (I'm a complete novice). I'm sure there are tons of things that I didn't look at that are important. Anyhow, in my mind, it passed the smell test, literally and figuratively, and I'm contemplating making an offer (maybe $28k or 70%)). Of course the offer is going to seem like a crazy lowball to the seller, but it is what it is. If accepted, then the surveyor hopefully finds all of the stuff that I overlooked. By the way, the broker said it has been on the market for two months and there have been no offers.
Plan B is to keep looking. I occasionally walk the docks in Long Beach to look for boats that are for sale. The ones that are for sale always look a bit neglected. It is the 20 year old boats in Bristol condition that aren't. I also check Yachtworld, but it really seems like there isn't much inventory turnover.
Thanks to everyone.
Sailhog..thanks for that listing. Looks like it is in MA and a really good deal. Anyone want to sail it over to So Cal for me?