Join Date: May 2002
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I agree with the advice you have been getting here. I don't know what prices are like down in the Chesapeake, but $9000 won't buy you much of a 27' boat here in a Conn. However, its still a buyer's market and you will probably be able to get a deal now that would have been unheard of a couple of years ago.
My two cents on the choices: The Catalina 27 and the equivalent Oday's (27 and 272) are the "usual suspects" in this category, and with good reason. They are both really nice boats for the money. I have an Oday 23 and consider the Odays to be every bit as well constructed as the Catalina, and they are generally less expensive. However, I must admit that I like the Catalina 27 more than the Oday. If you drop down a size to a 25, I like the Catalina 25 much better than the Oday 25, but only if the Catalina is the pop top, fin keel model. If you are stuck with the standard coach roof, swing keel model, then I prefer the Oday 25. I think the Oday stub keel/centerboard design is better (simpler, easier to use) than the Catalina swing keel.
Unless you have a real preference for one over the other for some reason, buy the one that is in the best condition. Inexpensive boats are older boats, and you want to find one that has been well-cared for. While no one wants to have to undertake a major repair, I think it hurts more when you are forced to spend something like half of what you paid for the boat to fix a spongy deck or some other major problem.
Welcome to the wonderful world of sailing.