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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Boat Review and Purchase Forum
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  #1  
Old 06-03-2008
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Seeking advice on boat selection

Dear friends,

I have been reading sailnet for awhile but just registered now. I understand that you receive many requests such as the one I am about to make - with that - thank you in advance for your help! I have read many similar posts.

My wife and I are finishing a US sailing certification program and have decided to purchase a sailboat. We have been looking and educating ourselves for awhile and heed the advice not to jump in too quickly.

We are currently torn between two boats - a 1981 Catalina 30 (owned by an acquaintance) and a 1984 Island packet 27. Anticipating your questions, we will be keeping the boat and sailing on the Pamlico Sound in North Carolina. For right now, a coastal cruiser will suffice. However, we have planned and defined our ambition to early retire in 7 years and take up winter work in the Caribbean (scuba diving industry - instructors). We would like to sell the house and cars and live on the boat(a different one) for a few years while we are young and before grandchildren come along.

One possibility to to cut our teeth on the Catalina 30 and, if all goes well, sell her and find a blue water cruising vessel a year before we depart for retirement. The other is to go with the Island packet 27 and which may allow us to gain some limited offshore experience. With our location, we see possibility for extended vacations taking some runs outside of the sound to Charleston, SC, Savannah, GA etc. We have been on these boats and appreciate the size and capability. We would also sell the Island packet and get more room before living aboard. As for prices- the Island Packet is $13K more expensive (asking price).

We have 2 children and would be doing a few years of family coastal cruising. I have concerns about the relative maintenance costs for the two boats. I feel the island packet is better built and may offer us the possibility of some light runs in the Atlantic to save time. I wonder if a 1981 Catalina 30 might incur higher upkeep costs? I have not had a survey on either boat.

I think at this time, I am asking for some thoughts about a good starter boat and given the two possibilities, which boat you'all might suggest and why. I am also open to other ideas and boats however based on recent and local availability (and touring many boats), we seemed to like these two specific boats.

Again, we greatly appreciate your assistance. This board has been very informative.

Spirit08
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Old 06-03-2008
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off topic, but are you based near oriental?
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Old 06-03-2008
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Get the Catalina 30. It is a far better choice for learning on and daysailing/coastal cruising IMHO. Also, read the post in my signature to help you get the most out of your time on Sailnet.
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Old 06-03-2008
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Yes, and Oriental is where we plan to dock the boat.
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Old 06-03-2008
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Spirit08 - Welcome to Sailnet!

I'm quite familar with both the IP27 and Cat30, as they are on my list for a possible next boat.

You didn't mention your budget. But you did mention the there is only a $13k price difference between the two boats you're looking at. That tells me that either the C30 is overpriced or the IP is a steal. Based on my research, IP27's typically command about $35-$40k while a older C30's go from anywhere between $10-$20k with some diesel C30's going for more (I recommend getting a diesel). Does that jive with the prices of the boats you're considering? If the IP's price holds you back, you may also consider the IP26 (or Com Pac 27 - same hull if I'm not mistaken), though I believe you lose the quarterberth if you go that route.

My gut reaction to your question would be to buy the C30, based on the simple fact that this is your first boat and that you plan to purchase something else as your Caribbean liveaboard. Of course both boats could make the sail to the Caribbean and act as liveaboards, but they'd both be a bit tight and would require modifications. Given that your boat will be a learning platform and a stepping stone to a liveaboard, it might be prudent to go with the value that a C30 offers.

In my view, speaking from the point of view of a married couple with two young kids, pluses of the C30 has over the IP27 are cost and space. The IP takes the prize for build quality and aesthetics. Both boats are considered very roomy for their respective sizes and both boats offer decent value. If money was not part of the equation, I'd opt for the IP simply because I believe it's built better and I like a shallow draft and a full keel.


Of course all of the above is assuming both boats survey out reasonably well and that there are no major issues. Minor repair/maintainence issues should be easy to tackle for both boats because of the large number of resources available and company support from both Catalina and Island Packet. Keep in mind that the survey and condition of a pre-owned boat will often determine the winner, rather than brand/layout/etc.

For another perspective, you should look at the current issue of "Good Old Boat", in which they review the IP27. GOB has also reviewed the C30 in an issue that was released within the last year.

Here's a few other boats in the same general price/size range that are on my list:

Sabre 28
Islander Bahama 30
Bayfield 29/32
Cape Dory 32

Best of luck and keep us updated!

Kevin
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Spirit08-

Just curious as to why you're double posting. Generally frowned upon as bad netiquette.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 06-03-2008
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Get the one that needs less work, if any at all so you can do some sailing instead of working on it. Then buy the fixer upper when you retire
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Kevin,

Thank you for your comments. I keep hearing from others to go with the C30 for many of the same reasons. The asking price for the IP27 is $38K and C30 is $22.5K. I am mistaken...it is a $15.5k difference. I can afford both at this time but the IP is about all i wish to spend for a boat to cut my teeth on.

I would also considering a newer Catalina 30 at a slightly higher cost. However I am not yet convinced that the newer boat may be any better.
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Old 06-03-2008
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I had a Catalina 30 that was excellent condition when I bought her. I did all the maintenance myself and found her to be very easy and inexpensive to maintain. I sailed her in conditions >35 knots and ~12 foot seas and she held up well. I would think that for what you are looking to do, the Catalina 30 is a more comfortable boat that will do more than you think.
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Old 06-03-2008
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