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Old 04-10-2011
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I looked at two boats today, and learned a lot. The second was an Albin Vega for sale by a friend's friend. While I was there I helped him talk himself out of selling her (which rather amused me, but he's far too attached to let her go). I decided that the 27' layout in there was pretty tight, although doable. If I end up in something that size I'd do alright, but I'd have to limit the amount of time I spend taking other people out. While my living requirements are sparse enough I'll still have all my textbooks and papers for school taking up space. I like the seaworthy quality of the boat, but I'm not sure that something with that amount of cabin space would be a long-term choice for me (and I can't realistically afford to upgrade for at least 3 years).

The other one I looked at was a 1970s Cal 2-29, which I was very impressed with. The owner is a friend of mine (the mate on a ship I worked on, who is helping me in my search). He's not actually sure if he wants to sell it yet, but because it's still somewhat stripped (it would be put back together if I bought it) I could get a very good look at all the important bits. The wiring and plumbing is all either new or in good shape, and the glass seems to be fine as well. I was amazed at how much interior space the extra 3' adds, especially when the layout seems intelligently done.

A few questions about the Cal 2-29s: Has anyone had problems with the spade rudder? I'm not too familiar with the pros and cons of different rudder designs - is it fair for me to be concerned about having it unprotected like that? Also, access to the v-berth is through the head. It seems to work well enough, but has anyone who owns one found it to be a nuisance, or does it work out just fine?

A few more general questions: The Cal does not have roller furling headsails, although most of the boats on the market these days do. Are they just a convenience, or are they more of a safety concern (bearing in mind I'll spend a lot of time single-handing this boat). Also, the lines currently do not all lead aft. I'm assuming that I'll want/have to change this - how expensive does that get? I can do the installation and planning myself, but I'm assuming that the line organizers and cleats don't come cheap.

I haven't had a chance to get on a Catalina yet to compare, but I'm not a huge fan of their appearance (the extra beam looks a bit bath-tubby to me). I won't let that alone stop me if they turn out to be the best bet, but I've also heard plenty about them seeming a bit less well constructed (feeling like an RV). This is at odds with how freaking many of them are around (I have trouble imagining poor quality boat builders lasting as long as they have). Thoughts?

@mitiempo, I'm hoping to live downtown. I'm on the waitlist for the GVHA docks at Fisherman's Wharf and the Coast Hotel (from your avatar I'm guessing that's where you are?). Of course, the only space around right now seems to be around West Bay area. I fully intend to go and look around the brokers - I'm hoping to hit Sidney sometime this week. If you don't mind I'd love to see what a CS 27 looks like (if you do mind, that's quite alright). PM me if you'd be amenable to showing me your boat, just for reference.
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Old 04-10-2011
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Look for a Catalina 30. You'll appreciate the large fold down table when you crack open your books.
My complete refit is taking completely too long!
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Old 04-11-2011
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Spade rudder should be fine for inshore sailing. All rudders should be inspected, that is why a boat needs to be pulled as part of the pre-purchase inspection. Rudders on boat this age often will leak and decay.

Walking through the head is only an issue with extra people on board overnight, as a single live aboard it should be ok.

Do not be too quick to discount tubby boats. You will be living in it at the dock much more than you will be sailing. The added beam is a big contributer to interior volume, which is important in the PNW as spending time outside 9 months of the year is not a great option.

Furling and leading lines to the cockpit is a personal issue. Some feel it is a safety enhancer, others point out that developing the skills to work forward and avoiding the extra equipment needed is the safer way to go. It does make single handling easyer. If you want these things, think about a boat that has them already installed. The cost of new running rigging, blocks, stoppers, winches and furlers (along with a new or modified head sail) can add up very fast. You could spend 50% of the value of the original boat even if you do the labor yourself, but it will add little to final value when it is time to sell.
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Old 04-11-2011
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I noticed that you are considering a circumnavigation of the Island. You may need a pretty substantial boat to do that. I have been around a dozen times and going around again starting next Sunday. It can get quite nasty; the west side is the open ocean (obviously).

I have done it on a Beneteau 461 (not happy with in mast furling), a Nauticat 37 (somewhat tender), and a Hunter 45CC (don't even ask). Next time is a Saga 409.

Did you get out to the West side on the Pacific Grace?
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