Pearson 323 or Hunter 34 or Catalina 30? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 01-11-2008
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Pearson 323 or Hunter 34 or Catalina 30?

Today our broker showed us a 1980 Person 323 & a 1984 Hunter 34. Tomorrow we are looking at two Catalina 30s. Our choice will possibly be one of these boats for a first sailboat. We will live abroad part of each year and coastal cruise, starting in FL. Any thoughts out there are much apprecitated!
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Old 01-11-2008
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If i remember, the '80 pearson has a narrow 10' beam and the hunter a 12' beam that is carried farther forward and aft. That's a whole lot of comfort. I lived aboard a hunter for many years and have gotten to know the company quite well and tend to lean in that direction. But when it comes to your choice, ask yourself which boat is most comfortable for you. My first boat had a 10' beam and I would never subject myself to that again.

Otherwise, there are a whole ton of other considerations. These are older boats that may be too old for most companies to insure (many insurance companies will only insure boats that are less than 20 years old). Hull, engine, and all other issues must be checked out thoroughly. You may find that one or more of these boats just may not work once you've really given them a once over.
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Old 01-11-2008
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Of the three, you'll likely end up with the one in the best condition. At that age, I tend to think condition plays more of an important role than the manufacturer. However, you should find all 3 in abundance on the used market, so maybe you'll find all 3 in good condition.

Good Old Boat featured the Catalina 30 about 2 or 3 issues ago. It would be worth your time to find the article.
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Old 01-11-2008
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I had a '83 Hunter 34 on Lake Lanier here in GA. While I would not want to get caught offshore in heavy weather in it... for coastal cruising I think the H34's are fantastic boats. Plenty of room below, easy to handle (I single handed mine a number of times in winds up to 20 knots, no biggie) and I thought the boat was well built for what it is and what you pay. A great choice as a first boat for coastal cruising and they certainly do not break the bank.

My only complaint was that the cockpit layout is fairly small and not that great of a layout for entertaining more than 4.



Terry
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Old 01-11-2008
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If all are in the "the same condition is the biggie. (Price too of course) If they are all equal in respect to price and condition, of course their not, but "if they are",,, the Pearson and Catilinas have the best resale. The Hunters, while popular, do not seem to appeal to the eye qute like the other 2. Too "production" like. For me. The C30, because of its wide beam is a very comfy boat. A real good coastal cruiser. Their engine access is one thing I marvel at. The Pearsons, while not laid out (bellow) as well, are very sea worthy craft. Their lines always catch the eye of us sailboat lovers. Much like a fine woman. The C30 might have the edge for customer support, but all 3 are easy to find parts, help etc. All have great followings and owners' groups. Again, the condition of older boats, how well they have been maintained, is all important. Close inspection, survey. Good luck. Looking at sailboats to buy is one of the most enjoyable pastimes I know of. Have fun.
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Old 01-11-2008
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I like the P323

I have to agree with all comments above. We owned a C-30 for 3 years. It was a comfortable cruiser for the family, nice layout below, and easy engine access. The customer support is excellent. We have now owned a P323 for one season and I don't regret it. The P-323 is much heavier (I think 2600lbs more?). All fittings are of much better quality. The V-berth is more accomodating, and the head is more comfortable. If a broker tells you not to worry about the Catalina Smile, think twice. Have the surveyor make sure that the sump has already been rebuilt, or you are looking at a major repair (been there, done that). I believe that there have been recent discussions on this site regarding sump repairs.
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Old 01-11-2008
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For coastal cruising, get the P-323 -- assuming it's in decent shape of course. It's the most seaworthy of the 3 choices. I know folks who have gone to Bermuda and the Bahamas in one. Very shippy boat with a nice bulwark forward.

Disclaimer -- I am the resident Pearsonite here and have owned 2 (currently own a P-33-2.)
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Old 01-13-2008
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As the owner of a 33' Hunter, I'll chime in. If your primary concerns are comfort the Hunters tend to be beamier so the accommodation below is a bit more spacious. Having said that, they tend to be on the light side and while I sail mine on Lake Ontario, I don't know that I would be in a rush to take her out on the big, big lake.
The cockpit area is on the smaller side. (I remove the wheel when at the dock to gain a little more space.)
If your looking at this from a financial point to view, I would go with the Pearson because they have a great resale value but if it is to gain experience, have some fun and get a boat that is easy to handle....you can't go wrong with the Hunter.
Go to HunterOwners.com for some insight and advice.
Dave
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Old 01-13-2008
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Many thanks for all your replies! Right now we are leaning towards the Pearson....we will take all of your opinions into consideration and really appreciate your help. It is a very exciting time for us!
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Old 01-16-2008
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SailorMitch is wise, SailorMitch is true.....
I have a 323, and have been out in 10 ft seas and 35kt winds with it, and was very comfortable. Will get up to hull speed (7 kts) in 18kts of wind on a close reach in 1' seas, likes to be heeled at 18 degrees. Needs a reef around 25kts of wind. Since the keel is inside the hull (keel was part of the hull mold) there are no keelbolts to worry about. The only folks I know of who still make hulls like this is Island Packet. Too expensive for Hunter or Catalina. Could go on about slow beamy boats, but then I'd turn this into a 500 post thread from indignant beamers.

Rob
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