1982 Sabre 28 or 1986 Catalina 27 - SailNet Community

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Old 03-26-2008
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1982 Sabre 28 or 1986 Catalina 27

I am new to sailing and looking to buy my first boat for Florida intracoastal and coastal cruising. I know that Sabres are quality boats but nearly double the price of the Catalina 27. I've sailed a Sabre and am becoming familiar with its characteristics. I have not sailed a Catalina. Any guidance would be appreciated. Thanks
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Old 03-26-2008
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I'm fairly familiar with both of these boats. I know you said the Sabre is double the price of the Cat, but what exact prices are you talking about? What engines are involved?

I've seen several C27's in good shape for $7-10k, while the Sabre 28 seems to command something closer to $15k.

How much overnighting do you plan to do on the boat? The Catalina offers a very roomy cabin for 27 feet (particularly the drop-down dinette version), in fact, roomier than the 28 foot Sabre. But the Sabre is a better constructed boat.

Do you plan to keep the boat long-term or will you be moving up in a few years? Long-term the Sabre might be a better boat. For even money, I'd definately take the Sabre.

Here's what Jack Horner and BoatUS says about both boats...

Catalina 27 Review: BoatUS.com: Boat Reviews by Jack Hornor, N.A. - Catalina 27

Sabre 28 Review: BoatUS.com: Boat Reviews by Jack Hornor, N.A. - Sabre 28

As a third option, you might also consider the Ericson 28.
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Old 03-26-2008
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I can probably pick the sabre up for 20,000 and the catalina for 11,000. they both have yanmar 14 hp diesels. The cat has new sails but the sabre has a dodger which the cat does not have. Will probably overnight some. The cabin on the cat seemed smaller than the sabre to me. Which one would perform better on the water?
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Old 03-26-2008
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Fastest PHRF ratings in US per US Sailing
C27's range from 192-207 with one at 222
Sabre 28's 183-195 with the 28-2 SD at 216

Generally speaking about 10-15 sec per mile faster with the sabre.

Having been in both, more cats than sabre's, the latter is generally IMHO also a bit nicer overall boat, and one should expect to pay a bit more. If the 20K is affordible to you, I would go with the Sabre personally.

Or get a C30 if you can go to 20K vs the sabre. Then more room yet, and slightly faster than the sabre, but not much.

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Old 03-26-2008
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I am partial having owned a Sabre and only sailed the catalinas...the Sabre is much the better boat both in quality and in performance. If you plan on keeping the boat for a few years the Sabre will return great service and still command a premium when you sell.

$20K for the Sabre sounds a tad high, given the market (belongs to the buyer) and the boats in that size that I have seen, unless she has been very well maintained and has current gear. Please get a survey and if you go for the Sabre, have them look closely at the keel step, as Sabres can have issues there....

All the best

dave
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Old 03-27-2008
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My last boat was a C27, it was a fun boat but no Sabre.. Sabres on the other hand can carry a big premium IMO that I am not sure is worth the extra money for what you get and in that you may not get it back out at sell time as the boat ages more.

Tartans are nice too and in between the two.. albeit closer in quality to the Sabre. I think there are a couple of mid 80s T30s for what you might expect to pay for the S28.
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Old 03-31-2008
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thanks to all for your comments. I have since looked at a catalina 30. I like all the room. I have pretty much ruled the cat 27 out.
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Old 03-31-2008
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I owned a Sabre 28 for 16 years so I'm pretty familiar with the boat. My father owned Catalinas 22, 27, and 30. I worked for 2 Catalina dealers while in High School & College so I know them too.

The Sabre quality of construction, especially in the 80's is exceptional and conservative. Sabre has never trended toward gimmicks which is one reason why the resale prices are comparatively high (we purchased our 28 for 35k and sold it for 25k 16 years later). A new or used Sabre will cost you more but is refurbishing is worth the cost. The 28 interior is beautiful and made almost entirely of solid teak & teak plywood.

The finish of a Sabre excels, the customer service is excellent (even for owners that didn't purchase from Sabre), the design is conservative but not archaic, and the ride is excellent. The World's Best Sailboats (Vol II) by Ferenc Mate profiles Sabre in detail. While he discusses current Sabres, I can say that Sabre takes the idea of design evolution seriously - they are constantly improving each boat, not just each new model.

Catalinas in my view, are good boats, well constructed and largely without gimmicks. The detailing and components are good quality and buyers get quite a bit for the money. There are loads of Cats on the market, so the prices tend to be lower. The Catalina 30 in particular is very popular but IMHO without the tall rig, is a underpowered and had quite a bit of weather helm, so I wonder about the balance. Others may have had better success with sail combinations. Also look seriously at the engine power. My father's Cat 30 had a single cylinder Yanmar and was seriously underpowered at 11Hp (look for something like 2Hp for every 1000lbs).

Good luck with your search.
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