So, I commited the second worst sin my pocketbook could concieve of. I went to a boat show.
I got a chance to get aboard the catalina 270. I know catalinas sail well enough. It''s got a double spreader rig, fully battened main, roller furling, a swim step with mount points so I can bring my dingy up on it, one of the best below decks layouts I''ve seen ever, my pet weakness, a HOT WATER SHOWER, and I can almost afford one... er... if I finance it (damn it, A boat tied to a bank, I know, but I could probibly pay it off in 5 years or less)
The only things I dont like about it are the limited space for ground tackle, wheel stearing, travler placement and big cocpit. Other than that, it seems perfect.
Right now I am just cruising around the California channel islands, but I do intend to do some real sailing soon. Mexico, Panama, maybe even a transpac.
Does catalina still suffer from their historic woes (the catalina smile, thin glass, etc?) or have they gotten better? Also, I''m not sure if this should factor into it at all, but I live about 20 miles from the Catalina factory, and theoreticly could go there and pound down the doors should anything happen to my baby. I''m supposed to tour the factory next month with some sales guy (who I have to admit, is the most sailboat literate boat broker I''ve ever met)
Someone talk me out of this (and show me something that is similar down below, but a better choice for real sailing)
oh, and on a side note, I also stepped onto a Beneteaux (sp?) and realy liked it, but the smallest one they had at the show was a 361 which is still WAY out of my leauge. Anyone know if they make boats comperable to the Catalina 270? How do they stack up?
You have opened a can of worms haven''t you? Although I will probably get blasted for this, of the big three, Hunter, Beneteau and Catalina, to me, after looking at used boats from the big three, and years of racing on and against Catalinas, Catalinas clearly seem to be the lightest duty of the big three in terms of build quality and the 270 would not be a boat that I would probably ever consider for the kinds of plans that you have outlined for yourself. Of the big three I think that Beneteau seems to do the best job of producing boats that I would consider taking offshore and even then there are things that I would want to do to make sure they were more suitable.
Of the big three, in the general size range that you are considering, one boat that has really impressed me for what you want to do has been the Beneteau 31.7. I had the chance to study these boats while I was Italy and was very impressed with how they stood up to the hard usage of a charter fleet in the sometimes very windy conditions of the Mediterranean. I would think that you should be able to buy one of these used but in good shape for way less than a new 270 and really have something worth while.
I''m also open to boats that arent of the big three, but damn it man, I want to be able to shower below decks. If I''m not in the big 3 variety, that leaves me very little in the way of boats I feel comfortable handling by myself (at or under 30 feet) and can afford, and dont have to spend the next 20 years fixing up instead of sailing.
On my most recient trip out, I broke a spreader, and got to come in in the most windy conditions I''ve ever been in, with a reafed main, in the dark, on a broken boat.
I got in safe, and when I awoke a boat show was going on. It was then that I decided I wanted a NEW boat. Of course, it doesnt have to be new, but "not in constant need of repair of some CRITICAL part" would be realy nice.
The 31.7, and 33.7 are both REALY nice, and much more like exactly what I want. They''re both also at or around 100 large USED. A new 270, fully outfited, with sails, engine, electrics, WARRENTY, and the whole deal would be 56 large out the door for me.
Other suggestions, maybe outside the big 3? Is financing an older boat as easy as financing new? If I''m cashing out, I''m looking at under 10 grand (Triton, etc) If I''m financing, I''d still like to keep it at or under 50k.
I''ve found a few decent Cape Dory 25D''s, which apear to do everything I need, but from the design apear to be dog slow.
Tartan 30''s, which I''ve heard have a shower, but havent seen this, also, with the starboard galley, which I find preferable to the aft gallies on so many older boats, and seem to do everythign I need, even if the asthetics are completley uninspiring.
I''ve not seen either of these boats, so if someone who does know about them would care to correct me, thats fine.
But with both of these boats, I am getting into something at least a few decades old AND financing it. (Ballpark on both seems to be a little over 20k) I absolutley hate having payments on broken things.
You have truely hit upon a problem in the boating industry. The Big 3 have been the innovators when it comes to creature comforts. About 20 years ago they had a truely revolutionary idea. They realized that families actually want convieniences and comforts in their sailboats AND an affordable price. Can you imagine such a thing?? So they began offering the things that you say that you want in your new boat. The problem is in the second half of the equation. "Affordable"
It costs money to produce a true blue-water boat. You will NOT find one at Catalina prices. Don''t get me wrong, Catalina does a great job at producing comfortable, well mannered sailboats, but they are not built on the same level as a Tartan (nor do they cost as much as a Tartan). IMO the manufactures of blue-water boats have been slow to react to the consumers desire for creature comforts.
If you want a true blue-water boat, get your check book ready. As in most things, you get what you pay for!
I''ve purchased two new boats.I''ll never purchase another new one. IMO, the only time it makes sense to purchase a new one is if it''s the boat you plan to keep.If you purchase new, and a few years from now find that your needs have changed and you need to sell/trade the boat, you can count on getting about one third of your money back. If you need a bigger boat...get one. Banks finance used ones too. There are thousands of good used boats out there. Find the one you like and get a good surveyor to look her over. Be the guy purchasing the boat for a third of her value, rather than the guy receiving it.
I neither need, nor want a bigger boat. I would like a more seaworthy boat.
What "good boats" (strong glass, good gear, etc) meet the following criteria?
1. head with shower. (I can handled the hot water part myself)
2. small enough to be easily handled by a 120 lb weakling (including docking etc)
3. not realy reliant on engine, AND good engine access.
4. sails well, even upwind.
5. sensable layout for a single person living aboard (I REALY like the layout of the 270. Gozzard has a similar one, but MAN, what a dog.)
6. Usable sensible galley.
and while I''m at it, I''ll toss in some items the Catalina doesnt have.
6. Traveler aft of the helm.
7. tiller not wheel.
8. small, sensible cocpit.
9. While I''m deaming, one of those galleys that runs the entire side of the boat, with dual basin sink, stove with oven, lots of below counter storage, etc.
10. Oh yhea, and a skeg hung rudder with a nice strong skeg, in case of grounding, or an aft hung rudder for easy maintenance, either of those would be cool. The free hanging rudder on the Catalina doesnt realy set me at ease either.
And that I can aquire, and get up to working specs for a reasonable price.
Toss it at me. I''m not seeing anything out there that is anything like the 270. But I also dont know alot about alot of boats, so if I just missed one, what is it?
I know there are alot of good boats out there that I just dont have the money for. This doesnt change my situation at all. I am looking for a good boat for me, that I can afford.
I dont realy even need an engine.
I dont need a plethora of staterooms, or huge amounts of tankage. I dont need freestanding carbon fiber masts, radar, 105 electrical domabobs, fine mahogany interiors etc.
I need a good, simple boat, with a shower. a shower I work with a foot pump is fine. I dont care. I just need a spot I can stand up, and have water come from above me, belowdecks.
I need it to be around (preferably under) 30 feet.
I need to be able to aford it.
Some years ago, I owned and sailed a Yankee 30 offshore. This is not a particularly well known boat, since most are on the west coast. However, it is 30'' long, 9'' beam, I believe 5'' draft, built in early 70''s, moderately long keel, separated rudder with skeg, tiller. Very strong boat offshore. Sails very very well. Points well, good speed to windward in waves, good stability in waves downwind with the skeg. S&S design. Similar to the Tartan 30, but 1'' narrower in beam. Many of the other characteristics match what your desires are. I took it out in very heavy weather from Annapolis to Bermuda (among other trips) and it was a very capable boat. I had a Navik wind vane and it steered very well with that configuration. The shower is probably a case of putting a curtain around the entire head, but the head was decent size. The galley is more "L" or "U" shaped, but very functional with gimbled stove/oven. Lots of storage. I single handed it often--most control lines on my boat were run to the cockpit, but this was probably not standard on the stock boat.
THere is a web site dedicated to this model, and other older postings on this board on the Yankee 30--check out the history.
If you got one in good shape, that had been taken care of, it would be pretty inexpensive and a decent platform for upgrading.
I know less about the Tartan 30, but would look at that also.
Don''t write the check yet, James.
Having "used" break and discovering "new" right in front of you makes you want the "new". But it will be an emotional decision ("<em>This one</em> won''t break!"). You were indulging in a tangible day-dream at the boat show, but that doesn''t mean you should buy a new boat, no matter how emotionally satisfying it will be in the short term. Once you wake up from that dream you will find yourself with a quickly depreciating boat and a monthly note to pay. Your only consolation will be to say to yourself, "Well, at least it won''t break."
Cool down, take your time, look around, and be honest about what type of sailing you''re likely do here on the west coast. It''s apparent that you have greater ambitions than your 20-footer can manage, but what will the next chapter in your sailing career look like? A lot of coastal cruising and island-hopping. Maybe make it up as far as Canada, or down as far as Mexico. But crossing oceans? Not likely for now.
I''m pretty much in the same spot. Sure, I dream about crossing the Pacific to Hawai''i (and then Tahiti, and then...), but I have to be realistic. My next boat will be a 30-footer (or so), will let me coastal cruise single-handed, and is probably sitting in a marina on the west coast right now. Take a look at the boats slipped in Ventura: not many Tartans or Island Packets, but plenty of boats by the Big Three (and similar makers) that are providing good service to their skippers after years of sailing and which are willing to give you adventures for years to come, at a price that you can live with. One fundamental trait of a good sailor is that he makes sensible decisions.
I still dream of being Joshua Slocum. But then when I wake up, I see there are many places that I haven''t discovered yet, right along this coast. And that''s where my voyage of discovery must start.
Hope this Helps,
P.S.— I still want to hear about your cruise to the Channel Islands: sounds as if you had at least one adventure with your rig...
yhea, I know. Thats why I''m looking at Tartans, which I can get, pretty well equiped for about 20 large. it''s still a boat I''ll have to do work on, and still a boat I''ll have to make payments on, but the payments can be for a year or two, instead of a decade, and after I do the work, I dont think I''ll be left with a boat thats still "not quite what I need" So... do boat financiers generaly allow you to tack on a few grand for repairs/improvements?
If you want a boat that sails well, has circumnavagated several times, is found in ports all over the world, and can be had for a reasonable price look at a Albin Vega 27.
Richard, Vega 1812
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