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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Boat Review and Purchase Forum
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  #1  
Old 08-03-2009
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Decision to go bigger

I don't know whether to be scared or ecsatic
For months I have been researching on the purchase of my next boat after not having any boat for several years. The type of sailing we are looking at doing is 90% coastal cruising out of San Diego and I am currently comfortable sailing Catalina 27's. I have long considered the Catalina 30 to be the best boat for our needs and budget. This weekend while "kicking the hulls" with a local broker, he mentioed we look at a Catalina 34. My wife LOVES the 34.... Period!! Her thought is we do not want to find ourselves shortly after going into the 30 that we should have got a larger boat when we have friends and family over to go for a day of sailing. I love the 34 as well. I realize of course the incremental increase that the additional 4 feet brings in terms of slip fees, cleaning etc. However, the things I am concerned about is the additional 4 feet of handling in tight spaces such as marinas and overall ease of sail handling. And any other insights into going from a 30 to a 34 foot boat.

Addionally, if anyone can give some good insight on the pros and cons of of the Catalina 30's and 34's, I would greatly appreciate it.
Like I said... I think I'm a pretty lucky guy that my wife wants even more boat... but should I be happy or very afraid?
As always, any insight is greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-03-2009
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The Catalina 34 is a good coastal boat and has, in my opinion, the best layout in a boat that size. It's also a good sailing boat -- easily sailed by a couple. There is a strong owner's association over at The Catalina 34 International Association that you should check out if you're interested in the boat. We've had one for three years and are very happy with our choice.
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Old 08-03-2009
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If are going to consider the 34, also consider the 36. I would opt for bigger. You could actually do long term cruising on the 36 (do not know about the 34), but there are many doing it on the 36. It is a great boat and also a good sailing boat.

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Old 08-03-2009
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swim,
If you're going to do a lot of sailing with friends and family, you need to go with the boat that has the biggest cockpit. We moved up to Enchantress from a Tartan 37C. The main problem was that when we had more than four people in the cockpit no one could move.
Also with a bigger boat you get a more open interior and more storage space which can be important even in coastal cruising. All things being equal I think you'd be kicking yourself later if you didn't go with the 34 or even a 36.
Don't know Catalinas but from all reports they are nice to sail but I would think the same things would apply no matter what the boat
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Old 08-03-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swimnfit View Post
I am concerned about is the additional 4 feet of handling in tight spaces such as marinas and overall ease of sail handling.
The extra 4' IS with you forever in slip fees and slip handling although practice will take care of the docking for the most part. Once you get out on the water the 4' will disappear and the extra weight will knock down the bay chop better - go for it
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Old 08-03-2009
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Swimfit,
I have owned my C34 MkII for ten years and have been very happy with it. I traded up from a 28 footer and I got used to the extra length and displacement very quickly. The boat sails extremely well in heavy wind and seas. Because of this reputation, they do not stay on the market very long here on San Francisco Bay (on occasion, I even get unsolicited offers to buy my boat!) It is a large boat for it’s advertised size and rates only 3 seconds/NM slower than the C36 using the standard PHRF regression formula. Both the C34 and 36 share the same shipboard systems so real discriminating factor for the buyer, is the layout and the extra two feet. We like our head location better as you don’t have to walk through the cabin with wet foulies. Our galley layout (IMHO) is better too. Both boats have about the same sized tankage which is designed around one week voyages. We have friends who are cruising their C34s in the San Francisco Sea of Cortez and the Gulf of Alaska right now, so you can set the boat up for extended cruising if you wanted to. A C34 or 36 will be an ideal boat for you to cruise the Channel Islands as well as Mexico.

Last edited by GeorgeB; 08-03-2009 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 08-03-2009
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Thank you everyone. I am pretty set on the 34. I like the the fact that is essentially as large as the 36 and the interior layout is more functional for our purposes.
Another question I have that I learned after looking at this particular boat is that the mast is keel stepped. This was a shock to me to find out when I looked in the bilge and saw a fair amount of water and what looked like some oil.
Any thoughts on keel stepped masts and issues specific to them. Also, should I have seen any oil in the bilge? the engine has only 325 original hours.
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Old 08-03-2009
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Swimfit,
The C34 is a fine boat and you will have many happy times on her. You have neglected to say what year the boat was built. Catalina switched off between keel and deck stepped masts for the 34 in the late 1980’ – early 90s. Both have their pluses and minus’s. You will need to pay attention to the mast boot (seal between mast and deck) to make sure it doesn’t leak into the cabin. You will get a little water in the bilge due to openings in the mast but this will be minimal during the dry California summers. The source of the bilge water is most likely from the packing gland – the seal around the prop shaft. For a completely dry bilge, you will need to be fanatic in keeping it adjusted just so or buy a drip less shaft seal. The oil in the bilge may or may not mean anything. That boat could have had fifty or more oil changes in her time. And if the owner didn’t use a vacuum extractor, it is quite possible that some oil was spilled into the bilge. Keep an oil absorbent quilt or two under the engine and in the bilge and you will be fine. The engine hours seem to be a bit low for your vintage. What is the engine model and year of boat? Catalina went through three or four different engine models during the C34s production life so you might be able to figure out if the engine is original. Also, contact customer service at Catalina. Upon request they can send you copies of all warranty work ever performed on your hull number. The engine could have been replaced/rebuilt or the hour meter broken. In addition to the normal survey, I suggest you have a (good) mechanic look over the engine. And it might be a good idea to have a rigging survey done buy a rigger (most boat surveyors will not climb the mast).
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Old 08-03-2009
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We went from a Catalina 250 to a Catalina 350. It was quite a jump up both in size and price, but still WAY cheaper than doing the the traditional intermediate jump to the Catalina 30 (though not to diminish the reputation of a great boat).

The 350 is certainly more complicated, and it takes a little more knowledge to manuver in tight quarters, but overall it's actually MUCH easier to sail than the 250.
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Old 08-03-2009
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Go for it. I went from a V-21 to a 39' Yawl.
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