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  #1  
Old 12-15-2007
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1st liveaboard sailboat: Catalina or Pearson?

We are new to sailing. Do we buy a Catalina 30 (which seems to get rave reviews) on which to learn to coastal cruise, starting in FL....and then sell it after a few years to move up to a boat like a Pearson 323 (so we can go to S. America and maybe beyond). Or do we just go for the Pearson to start with? It seems it is easier to buy a boat than sell one in the US with all the boats on the market. Many thanks!
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Old 12-15-2007
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If the Pearson is what you want...buy it and learn on it and learn THE boat. Don't waste time on another that is essentially the same in terms of a learning experience and will cost you depreciation and a 10% brokers fee + any equipment added when you sell it.

As an aside...the 323 was designed as a coastal cruising boat. How is it that you've decided to make this your first choice as a bluewater boat?
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Old 12-15-2007
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Lottie, If you take the time to search and buy wisely; I'm sure you would do better with one purchase instead of a series. I'd go for the Pearson, but keep and open view for other vessels that may qualify as your "final" boat. There are many good boats sitting unused and not aggresively marketed in Florida. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 12-15-2007
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I really like the Pearson 35.. at least on paper. I've yet to see one in real time. I may make that my next boat if there is ever to be a "next boat".

just a PS: I've been on allot of C30s.. they are nice! spacious interiors. big cockpits, etc. I don't think they are big enough to live aboard very long. Vee berth is a bit cramped.
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Old 12-15-2007
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I wouldn't take either offshore, but I would live aboard and learn on the bigger boat. I've only seen Pearson 30s, 35s and 39CCs, never a 323, but if it's like other Pearsons, it's a "middle-middle" boat in terms of build quality and sailing characteristics.

Catalina 30s are club racers and coastal cruisers. They have frighteningly large companionways that I wouldn't want to see take a wave. They are nice and responsive sailers, but I've seen them go squirrelly and get quite hard to control past 25 knots, because they are a little light and a little small in the rudder for heavy weather work.

There are a load of them around here, some very nicely fitted out, but I think they are a "summertime coastal cruiser", which is what most people want to do most of the time.

I think if you took either boat south, you would have to be very lucky or very good at picking your weather windows to avoid real trouble. You could drive a Miata across Mongolia, too, but the same logic would apply.

For one thing, neither boat has the tankage or the ground tackle stowage appropriate to distance cruising...200 feet of 3/8" chain on a Cat 30 might make it tip over...
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Old 12-17-2007
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OK, I hear you all. What about a Downeast, Aldberg, or Bayfield...or what bluewater boat do you recommend to learn on and eventually cross bigger waters on? These are not so common in FL, selling wise, I believe. We would much prefer to buy ONE GOOD boat that will last us a long time. We will be in FL this Jan. to have a look around. Where does one find good boats not aggressively marketed? Cheers!
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Old 12-17-2007
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Lottie-

You don't say how many people would be living aboard and sailing aboard the boat in question. A boat that is both liveaboard capable and bluewater capable for one person or a couple is a far different story from that required for a couple and a child, especially if the child is older.

You also don't say what your budget for this boat is.

A few boats that are fairly capable in terms of bluewater that you might consider are:

Alberg 30
Alberg 35
Canadian Sailcraft 36T
Cape Dory 36
Hallberg Rassy Rasmus 35
Southern Cross 31
Southern Cross 35
Tartan 34C

Some of these boats are full keel, some are fin keel. The Alberg 35s are about $20,000. The Southern Cross 35 is about $80,000. The others are probably somewhere in between.
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Old 12-17-2007
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lottie iam not here to blow pearsons horn but that is all i really know as i purchased the 323 4years ago as my first mono hull after only 3years of asiling on a hobie 16. i have found that i have a lot of confidence in the boat as being safe and forgiving as i have learned the ropes.,which leads to more confidence in your sailing skills.ihave been sailing lake ontarioin a varity of conditions . max hullspeed at 7knts i find that it takes very little sail to attain it.,even in very lite conditions the boat often sails right along in a lite breeze .

as far as bluewater mine would have to be improvised with such as refridgeration , autopilot , solar power ,radar etc. but how she is right now with preety much basic production i am quite confident the boat would be up to coastal work with provisioning every say 5-7 days.

good luck with your search thereare certainly alot of good and capable boats out there go yachtworld .com by the way my boat cost 25k and you will find that the 323 runs preety much from 25kto say 35k .

hope this helped inyour search
fair winds and following seas
greg
BonnElaine 323
point breeze ny
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Old 12-17-2007
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I have had both

I have owned a Catalina 30, 36, and then a 387. I also had a Pearson 35 for 2 years. I have wasted so much $$$ changing boats! Like an idiot I bought my 387 new and sold for a big old loss same year.
Here is my advise. If you really want to buy an inexpensive boat, sail a couple years in coastal waters there are a lot of C-36s for sale and you can get great deals. Do not put much money in the boat, ie electonics etc. Just enjoy getting your sailing skills up a bit. You likely will not lose much money if you buy a boat in good shape around 10 years old. The Pearson I think is a bit better made so if you found a great deal on the P-35 you can't go wrong. The C-30 is fine if there is just two of you.
On the other hand, if you really think you are going to go offshore in the next few years I think you would be better served to find a good offshore boat. Use the next couple years to learn that boat, not just how to sail it in coastal waters but systems and storm tactics that work for that boat. You will pay more initially but in the end it will likely cost less. We leave soon for the Atlantic and I sure wish I had more than the one season in the Great Lakes with our new boat.
So, long story shortened, first try to decide if going offshore relatively soon is realistic. If within a few years spend the extra $ and get an offshore boat. Sailnet is a great source, helped me a lot deciding on the "final" boat. People like "Camaraderie" are great source of boat knowlege and construction,
Good luck
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Old 12-17-2007
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Lottie...OK..that is a very different question. First I would say to you not to consider a boat under 35' UNLESS your budget absolutely rules this out.
Living under cruising conditions in a small boat for an extended period of time is a difficult transition for most...and the smaller the boat, the harder it can be. The average full time cruising boat is about 40' nowadays. There ARE boats under 35' that can take you anywhere but I am talking about living at anchor which is how you will spend 90% of your time.
You will find that bluewater boats have significantly less "living space" than non bluewater boats of the same length. A Tayana 37 has about the same room as a Catalina 32.
It is NOT more difficult to sail a 35' boat than a 30' boat and in windy conditions they are generally more stable and easier to handle.
Here's a list of bluewater boats of various lengths that you can explore on yachtworld to get some ideas.
http://www.mahina.com/boats.html

Don't limit yourself to Florida...but if you are going to the Miami area, yachtworld.com can show you everything that is available in south florida through brokers....a lot of trashed boats and some gems...plan on looking at a lot to find THE one.
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