Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: North Carolina
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Seeking advice on boat selection
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.