Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
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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:
Islander Bahama 30
Cape Dory 32
Best of luck and keep us updated!
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