Join Date: May 2002
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To sail Biscayne Bay, I would go with the Catalina. You won't have to worry about going aground nearly as much. The Catalina is also a better light air performer. The seabreeze is nice, but my very limited experience on the Bay was that those big buildings on Miami Beach did a pretty good job of blocking the wind at the water level. And the CD certainly has more brightwork to take care of. As I recall, aren't the coamings mahogany on that boat? If so, you can't let that weather like teak; it has to be varnished or otherwise protected, and the Florida sun is hell on that stuff. Take the ongoing maintenance into account when choosing.
That being said, either boat will do you fine at that price. I would buy the one that is in better condition, "better" defined as (in my own order of importance) no blisters or delamination on the hull; no soft spots on the deck; engine condition; sail condition. And the only reason sails are last on my list here is because for boats that size, good used sails will run you less than a new outboard.
As far as support goes, Catalina is still in business and makes a good amount of money and good will supporting its old boats. And although CD is long gone, MarkSF is right, it doesn't make that much difference in finding parts or fixing things.