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jwall 04-21-2004 06:49 AM

Advice on a new 30-34ft boat
I have recently moved into the Seattle WA area and am looking for some advice on a Sailboat. I have spent a good portion of my life on boats and sailing, but mostly fresh water sailing on the Great Lakes.

The boat range I am looking at is in the 30-34 foot range, mostly because my wife and I have two small children, and I wanted a boat that is not too difficult to get into a slip and manage the sails solo.

I have been looking at New Cruising boats for about 1 month now, and am at the point where I could really use some advice.

Here is where I am at. I have looked at the Catalina 30mkIII, 310 and 32. I have also looked at the Beneteau 323 and 331. I like the Beneteau, but none can be had prior to September of this year. Although I like the boats, I am not impressed by the Beneteau sales organization in WA. To the point where I am considering another boat.

At this point, I am planning on mostly weekend sailing on the Sound. I am not looking into a project boat (which is why I have been looking at new boats).

I have not really looked at too many options other than the Catalina, and would like some advice on going that path vs. the Beneteau..... or maybe I am going in the wrong direction all together.


SailinJay 04-21-2004 07:45 AM

Advice on a new 30-34ft boat
You''ll find that this board has what I would characterize as an elitist attitude regarding Catalinas, Beneteaus (unless it''s a First), and Hunters (unless they''re more than 20 years old). So be prepared to be steered in other directions.

gforaker 04-21-2004 12:06 PM

Advice on a new 30-34ft boat
If this is your first boat, consider that you might want to consider it a "starter" boat and move up in a few years when you have more experience and know better what you want. Taking a wild guess from what you mentioned, I would reccomend a very good condition used Catalina 30 MkII. You should be able to get a very good one for under $40,000 (Maybe well under) and it is large enough and tough enough to safely care for the family and small enough to learn to handle with out too much stress. There are enough of them out there for you to have a lot of choices and you can sell if for not much of a loss in a few years.

capttb 04-21-2004 03:39 PM

Advice on a new 30-34ft boat
Study owner websites at and manufacturers.
I own a Catalina 270 so I may be prejudiced towards them. The boats I looked at to be online with what you seem to want are the Cats, 30'', 310 ( which started out to be the redisign of the popular 30 using new construction method, turned out so different they introduced as new boat) & 32. The Bene 311 might be something to look at if available, also you could look in Wash., not a bad cruise home. Jeneau (sp?)& Bavaria also, same price range, nicer finish than a Catalina .
I really like layout of Cat 310 (real mattress, in a real stateroom for Mom & Dad, not some cave of an aft compartment) & shower little more separate from head then most designs. Only made since 2001 I believe so the 30 is probably going to be more readily available used at better price. Used 310''s seem to be running $85 to $95,000 you can get a 30 to fit any budget.
There are some knowledgeable posters on these forums for whom the Catalina is not a particular favorite (and it is more popular on west coast I think than east coast, home field advantage). And I will admit that they are a "high value for your dollar" production boat. I feel most of the Bene''s may be built a little stouter and the cherry interior is beautiful, I like the way they handle.
Most Catalina owners love their boats, they handle well generally, most are not real good in light airs but pretty good to windward and track well.
I actually was looking at boats close to $100,000 when in my search I found my Catalina that had all the important features I wanted at 1/3 the price in a smaller boat. I decided that the smaller boat would suit my purposes for a few years and I wouldn''t feel so "tied" to it. I don''t feel guilty if it sits for a week while I go trout fishing, High Sierra season starts next week.
There are a lot of Very well made boats other than these depending on budget, if you can find good used one might be better than some boats new.
Island Packet, Pacific Seacraft, Cabo Rico, also has extensive reviews also I believe, best advice is probably to charter or crew on a bunch of different boats to decide for yourself whats important to you and how the boats sail and live.

jwall 04-21-2004 03:58 PM

Advice on a new 30-34ft boat
Thanks for all the feedback so far. Just to add a bit more data, my initial budget was to have a boat in the water for under $120K.

Other than getting some experience with the Tides in Puget Sound, weather, and comfortable with the geography, I don''t feel too nervous about managing a 30 foot boat (I have spent a lot of time on 40+ foot boats growing up).

Since I am new to this size (and a new/newer) boat, the feedback helps alot.

Silmaril 04-21-2004 04:40 PM

Advice on a new 30-34ft boat
How about a C&C? The C&C 99 is a nicely thought out performance cruiser that is beginning to build a racing following, not that it matters. But it is well built, with modern foils underwater, and a very easy to handle layout.

I have only been out on one once, but was impressed by the fit and finish, and lively handling.

That and they have wone a few awards in the Boat of the Year" catagories.

capttb 04-21-2004 05:13 PM

Advice on a new 30-34ft boat
C&C have good rep & is one of the many I can''t think of now. When you make your purchase there are 101 little to not so little costs go with it, maybe less for new boat but always more than you remember to figure. Don''t forget Documentation ($400 by service, $45 if you can do yourself I think) or state registration, 1 year insurance, marina wants first & last, deposit fo gate cards & dock keys, $40-$50 for bottom clean per month, if new you may need powercords, dock lines, boat hook, locks, covers, dodger, bimini, stuff for in the cabin, charts, radios, brushes, hoses, SPARES of IMPORTANT stuff, good PFD''s for the kids, etc. plus Extras you want on boat from dealer, used is haul-out & survey, probably paint the bottom, zincs, stuffing box, while it''s out and this is mostly just the stuff I can remember. It nice if you can afford to do what you want with the boat after you get it without wondering if maybe the kids really need that college fund. It''s good to have a little boat fund after purchase so you can add the rudder transducer or whatever without breaking a sweat. Speaking of which would be good idea to shop for slips in your area if haven''t already done so, waiting lists are not uncommon.
Tides are a real big factor in your area, good to go with them, sometimes impossible to go against, study tide tables and charts to time days voyages, most I know in that area pretty careful in this regard but not difficult to master with effort

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