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  #1  
Old 12-29-2012
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For a family of 4 - Islander 28 vs Catalina 30

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?
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Last edited by jimgo; 12-30-2012 at 01:07 AM. Reason: Fixing Islander's year of manufacture in last paragraph
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Old 12-30-2012
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Re: For a family of 4 - Islander 28 vs Catalina 30

I haven't been on an Islander 28 either, but I almost bought an Islander 30 and really liked what I saw. My slip neighbor also has an Islander 30 and sails it on 2-3 day trips pretty much every weekend and loves it.

The Islander 28 was designed by one of the great designers (Robert Perry) and is said to be one of his 3 favorite projects. Initial build quality on the Islanders is also a little higher than Catalina. So that's the one that I'd personally start with.
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Old 12-30-2012
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Re: For a family of 4 - Islander 28 vs Catalina 30

I think the Islander is the prettier of the two, but it's hard to beat the C30 for layout. When you check out a C30 be sure to see if the low clearance over part of the aft berth is going to be an issue.

Both with an A4...either of them FWC? That would be a big plus.

The Cher. H33 is probably a very nice boat for what you want. The diesel is a re-sale plus down the road. Even if it "feels too much" to start that will only last awhile. If your family takes to it with heart it may avoid the inevitable "2-footitis" for some time.
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Old 12-30-2012
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Re: For a family of 4 - Islander 28 vs Catalina 30

I owned an Island 28 on Barnegat Bay some 28 years ago. Is this where the boat is located? The 6 years I owned her she was the only I28 on Barnegat Bay. Nice boat...quick... nice cane cabinet fronts. perfect for a small family. I had her name Island Majic, but the people who bought her from me may have changed the name. I believe she was a 1977. She had an Atomic 4if you keeping her on Barnegat Bay sailing this boat is great as the draft kept me from bumping where other boats hit sand. I took her to Block Island a number of times. When I sold her she was kept in Dillons Creek marina

Diesel is safer than gas on the other hand. You may need the room and the extra feet in the Hunter amy be worth it. Go for the best quality boat and the one youd be proud to own. All would fit your needs

Is this the boat your looking at my old one?

Dave
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Old 12-30-2012
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Re: For a family of 4 - Islander 28 vs Catalina 30

Given a choice between a Cat 30 and a Cherubini Hunter 33 , I'd go with the Hunter. All of the reasons why are arguable but i just like the Hunter better as a cruiser and dock-condo
combo. The Catalina has better accomodations, but the Hunert is better equipped and if you're comparing dollar for dollar, the bigger. better boat with more stuff is usually the winner.
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Old 12-30-2012
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Re: For a family of 4 - Islander 28 vs Catalina 30

Dave,
It may well be your boat. I believe the one i'm considering is now called Onyx. She's across the river from Dillons Creek, so it could be the same boat.
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Re: For a family of 4 - Islander 28 vs Catalina 30

Jimgo,

I think this is another one of those "well, it depends" questions. Only you can answer based on personal tastes and your priorities.

I have sailed both the Islander 28 and an '80s Catalina 30, and IMO the Islander is the better behaved sailor, although I don't remember it being particularly fast. I think there's more room and storage in the Catalina, although I could be wrong. I don't remember the I28 having an abundance of storage, but it wasn't something I'd look for on a day sail. And of course, this is anecdotal evidence, not objective and accurate statistics. YMMV.

If you want a somewhat more objective guide to speed, you might be interested in PHRF ratings. The '75 C30 w/o spinnaker (not tall rig) has a PHRF rating of 210, while the I28 w/o spinnaker has a PHRF rating of 224.

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Old 12-30-2012
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Re: For a family of 4 - Islander 28 vs Catalina 30

The C30 IS a bigger boat overall. You would have to look at an I30 to have the same IMHO boat size comparison. The I28 is the same size as my boat, or a Cat 28mkII. There is less room inside.

With that said, I believe an Islander will be a better boat overall than Catalina, we are not talking major amounts mind you. Chevy vs buick difference. From looking at local boat, Islander seem to be better designed on deck etc from a sailing stand point. When racing them, always tough to beat, where as Catalina's are pretty simple.

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Old 12-30-2012
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Re: For a family of 4 - Islander 28 vs Catalina 30

Thanks for the feedback. If I could find an Islander 30 in my price range that was close(ish) to me, I'd be glad to take a look!

The H33 has me a bit concerned because I single-hand a lot. I was out on a C38 in heavy winds about a year ago, and I'm not sure I'd be able to handle her alone. Granted, the H33 is a much smaller boat, but I think I'd rather wait until I'm ready and have more experience than have something that might intimidate me (and thus keep us from using it as much as I'd like). As between the C30 and the I28, it could be an interesting choice.
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Old 12-30-2012
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Re: For a family of 4 - Islander 28 vs Catalina 30

There are a few done here on the Chessie and some on the Lakes, but they were California boats. When we were in San Diego sailing last year and Long Beach we saw a lot of hem. Especially the 36 and the pilot house Bahama.

Dave
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