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Old 06-27-2008
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With $70-90K to spend on a boat, you've got hundreds of 30-35 ft. boats to consider. Don't concentrate solely on just one or two builders when a bit more research and shopping may allow you to find a real gem. As one poster already put it, it's a buyers' market right now and things will get even better toward the end of the current cruising season.

A couple thoughts.

Go with a freshwater boat if possible. They spend most of their life on land being stored and don't get the wear and tear that a saltwater boat gets.

Buy the biggest boat you can afford and feel comfortable sailing. I've owned my 1981 Hunter 30 since 2000. It was a great boat to single hand. However, it's a bit cramped for 2 of us and will not comfortably allow us to cruise with guests aboard.

Pay for a professional surveyor to closely examine any boat you get serious about. No secrets, no surprises!

Finally, most sail boaters own and cruise on 20 year-old boats. New is not necessarily better. Like buying a car, try to avoid the depreciation in value that comes with buying a new boat. Let someone else take the hit! Let someone else pay for the dinghy, the outboard, the gps system, the extra anchor and rode, etc., etc.

Have fun and take your time!
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Old 06-27-2008
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I would lean toward the older boat. Simply because should any thing change in you future plans or your personal economy. A paid off boat can be dry stored or sold to get out of the high slip fees, but a mortgage most be paid either way.
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Old 06-28-2008
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Thanks for the advice. We're going to check out some older lower cost boats including some Catalina 30's and even a 93 Catalina 34. I'll also broden my search to other brands.

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Old 06-28-2008
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Talking 30 foot decision

I'd opt for the older Catalina 30 - hands down! No debt to cover. Relieve your stress level by the purchase of a tried and true C30. It will have many of the things you'd have to purchase on a new boat. You would not have the enormous depreciation you experience with a new sailboat. I believe an older boat you own [free & clear] is far more valuable than a debt sitting in a slip.
Done deal.

S/V Doodles
C&C 27
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Old 07-05-2008
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I've been looking at 30' Catalina's as well: new(er) 309s vs older, much less expensive C30s. There seem to be quite a few 309s on the market, but in my area right now at least, the newest C30s available are early 90's.

I wonder if one reason is because the 309s have two sleeping "cabins" (and therefore a smaller main cabin) vs. one on the C30s?

To me, for the typical crew complement I would expect to have, having an aft "cabin" at the expense of a roomier main cabin doesn't make sense. IMHO I'd rather have more room to hang out, particularly since there really isn't such a thing as privacy on a 30' boat.

Last edited by wingman; 07-05-2008 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 07-05-2008
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I had the same dilema last fall when I decided it was time to move up from my Com-Pac 27..I looked at a ton of boats by a ton of builders in the 30'-32' range. $30,000-$65,000 was my budget. I finally ended up purchasing a 1989 Tartan 31. I have been very happy with the boat so far. So don't forget to check out Tartan (and Sabre) they are both nice boats, both in your price range, and both nicer boats than a Hunter or a Catalina. IMHO!
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