Cal 31 vs. Bristol 31.1 vs. Catalina 34 - SailNet Community

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Old 03-14-2011
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Cal 31 vs. Bristol 31.1 vs. Catalina 34

I've found these 3 boats in my price range, and planning to check them out this week. How would they compare for cruising SF bay? No plans to go outside the Golden Gate in these boats - bay and delta only.

Cal 31 is a 79, $16K

84 Bristol 31.1 has the tall rig - not a bad thing I suspect, given the displacement. SA/D is still quite low. Interior is gorgeous. Must have taken half a teak forest. Price 40K.

88 Catalina 34 beats the others on hull speed and space in the interior. Price 45K.

To be honest all 3 are big enough for my needs. What I really want is a quality boat that will hold it's value, sleeps 2 comfortably, and is stable, stiff and forgiving. Hence leaning towards the Bristol, whose tank-like qualities are appealing.

Cal 31 is the outlier at half the price of the other two but I could use some of the change for upgrades. It is the lightest by far and has the highest SA/D at nearly 18.

Last edited by MarkSF; 03-14-2011 at 10:58 PM.
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Old 03-20-2011
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If you are only sailing inside SF Bay the Cal 31 would be a fine choice. Just be ready and able to reef early with that high SA/D ratio. The Bristol 31.1 looks like a nice boat for SF Bay also. The Catalina 34 is also nice; but sailing properties might be a little less stable in heavy winds than the Bristol (just looking at hull form). It would be better in heavy chop because it's a bit bigger than the 31.

You might also consider a Newport 30, or a C&C. If you plan on doing any racing you might want to look at an Olson 30, but these boats are primarily designed for racing. Other performance oriented hulls would be a Santa Cruz, or an Express.

I think the prices are a bit high for an 84 or 88 31-34' boat; but I could be wrong. Check the NADA or BUC values before you make an offer.
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Old 03-20-2011
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Of those three I'd be leaning towards the Catalina34. It's a comfortable roomy boat with a great cockpit for daysailing and lounging.

As evidenced by the value there now, it's likely to have the best resale value and the easiest eventual resale, esp in California.

As has been indicated again and again, if you buy the 16K fixer-upper you might end up with just as much money in it by the time you're done, have missed some sailing in the meantime - and still have a boat worth 16K.

I'm sure the Bristol is a fine boat too, esp if it's a good example, but it may be heavier than you'd want or need...

1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"

".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
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Old 03-22-2011
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Mark, The C34 is an extremely popular boat on SF Bay and there even is a large, organized (and aggressive!) fleet that regularly races there. The $45k asking price is still a little on the low side so make sure you get a really good survey and save some budget for repairs/improvements etc. A while back, you were inquiring about a C30? On the message board at the South Beach harbor masterís office there is one for $19.9k that is for sale by owner. The picture and description looked pretty promising.
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