I'm back. I've been looking at a lot of boats for my family and me - wife, 2 kids (7 and 4) - which we'll probably be sailing in the Barnegat Bay area of NJ. We really liked a Hunter 28.5 that we saw - the low coach roof meant good visibility for our kids from the cockpit (something our C25 lacked), and we liked the cockpit and cabin of an Allmand 31 that we tried to buy, but couldn't come to price agreement with the owner. When that fell through (we missed out on the Hunter 28.5), I started looking again, and I've found three that look promising. One is a 1982 Hunter 33 (Cherubini-era) that was recently redone inside and out. Another is a 1981 Catalina 30 that has supposedly been redone as well. The third one on my list is a 1977 Islander 28. I haven't been aboard any of them yet - the Hunter and Islander are both about 2 hours from me (in different directions) and the Catalina is almost 5 hours from me. I've found another C30 that is closer, and even less money, but I'm not sure of its over-all condition (e.g., how long ago rigging
and other "stuff" was updated). From the pictures I've seen, the Islander appears to be in the best shape - she's beautiful. She has a self-tending jib
, which is kind of cool, though I'd prefer a furler
since I will do a lot of "effectively" single-handing (2 young kids means my wife is busy most of the time). The cabin and cockpit look to have been very well maintained. She also has a nice draft (4'2"), significantly less than the Catalina 30 (5'3"), and a good bit shallower than the Hunter, too. The H33 looks nice, but the cabin lay-out is the traditional "shotgun" style (as is the Islander's), which really isn't as appealing as the C30's cabin. The C30 looks like it will need the most "TLC", with the H33 falling somewhere in the middle. The H33 has a Yanmar, the Islander and the Catalina both have Atomic 4's.
I'm thinking that the H33 might be a bit "much" for us at this point. Sure, I'd love a bigger boat, but from what I've seen in the pictures, the C30 seems to have a better cockpit and cabin layout - it doesn't seem like I gain much by having the extra 3 feet. So, I'm inclined to rule it out (though I'd appreciate any comments before I make that official), which leaves me with the C30 and the Islander 28. So, what's your take? A 1977 Islander 28 which appears to be in great shape, or a 1981 Catalina 30 that might need a fair bit of "TLC"? It looks like I can get either one for about the same price. Is the 5'3" draft on the C30 too much for Barnegat Bay?