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post #1 of 89 Old 01-04-2009 Thread Starter
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Circumnavigate Catalina 30

I started participating in forums 6 months ago. I bought my C30 a month or 2 after I started. I live in South Texas, I bought the boat to sail to the Bahamas. Not an original idea, I know. I have been working on the boat and reading the forums. It is universally agreed that a C30 is not a heavy weather boat, not an ocean passsage vessel. It's a good coastal cruiser and a great dock queen. WHY?
If one were to beef up the standing rigging, get a solid rudder stock, replace the ports with good off shore ports(or good shutters), make the hatch smaller, install some good cockpit drains, more water tanks, and run all lines to the cockpit. What about the C30 still makes it a poor choice for ocean passage? I would like to sail her across the gulf to Tampa, but if the boat flips over on 3' waves than I will take the ICW. Of course the boat will be outfitted for offshore cruising, ie. EPIRB, GPS, radar, solar, series drouge, all safety equipment, everything anyone else would load up on a passage on a
30' boat.
After my initial research I determined that the displacement of the boat was the key to seaworthiness, but there are plenty of lighter displacement boats on the seaworthy list. There are also fin keel spade rudder boats that circumnavigate(and don't say there are rowboats that circumnavigate, this isn't a row boat). So what is it about the Catalina 30 that makes it a turd in rough weather?
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post #2 of 89 Old 01-04-2009
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Hey Scott, welcome aboard. I'll take a stab at a couple of possible reasons.

For one; the list of upgrades you suggest is not a small undertaking.

"beef up the standing rigging" Include all of the supporting structures for the rigging, chainplates, bulkheads, backing plates, etc.

"get a solid rudder stock", Likewise, it's not only the rudder and post, it's the underlying structure

"replace the ports with good off shore ports" do-able, but not a small expense

"make the hatch smaller", hmmmmm

"install some good cockpit drains" More structural than you might think, actualy

etc etc.

Of course, this boat could get across oceans if the conditions were right all the way across; but that rarely happens. I think it is the constant stress of being in heavy-ish seas for extended periods that the boat is really not designed for.

I am sure that others will pipe-in with other worthy reasons; but I think that I've covered the basics. It's simply a matter of sturdiness, as well as design.

A 1970's VW Beetle is a great car, as is a Lamborghini; butI would not take either of them in the Cairo to Dakkar rally. One for the quality of construction, one for design reasons.

I got an Old Fat Boat
She's Slow But Handsome
Hard In The Chine, but Soft In The Transom
I Love Her Well, And She Must Love Me
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..... Gordon Bok
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post #3 of 89 Old 01-04-2009
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...and lets not forget hull flex. One of the great boats of all time...but not for crossing oceans.

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post #4 of 89 Old 01-04-2009
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Well Scott, as a past Catalina 30 owner, vintage 1982, I had it outfitted to take on just about everything. My home port in those days was California's Channel Islands, which as I've found, prepared me for any type of weather and seas, I usually found myself in the thick of it.

Here's a couple observatiions. Early 30's were weak in the chain plates. Look inside and see if there are "knees", basically wood triangles where the chainplates attach to the hull. There was a problem with hull flexing and lifting, the "knees" were the solution. I believe that was pre 77.

Fuel carrying capacity. although we are sailors, the iron genoa is used more often than not on long passages, either for propulsion or to charge the batteries. The basic version only carried about 20 gals. Not much for making long passages. The two cylinder Universal 11 hp diesel is economical, the Atomic gasoline eats it up.

Round bottom. In heavy seas it pounds with teeth jarring force, and becomes a little squirilly in following seas. On the obverse, with weather on the bow, I've gone backwards.

Cargo capacity. For a short crossing, fine, for a month at sea, say mexico to new zealand, you'll end up eating your shoes. Of course dried, vacuum packed survival rations would be part of your on board provisions.

Fin keel, Spade rudder. Fast, manueverable, but those things play against you in heavy seas, and although sailing in heavy weather for a short time can be fun, it takes it's toll on the helmsman over an extended period and requires a lot of practice to master. I know, a lot of boats have this combination, but add in the round bottom and you have a hand full.

Ground tackle. The chain locker is rather small for the amount of rode needed for a lot of places you may want to visit. I had 200 ft of HT chain on a windless of mine along with another 200ft of nylon. I bored a hole in the chain locker and made a hausel pipe into the bilge. The windless was mounted in the chain locker.

On the upside, the standard main reefs well, and with a good roller furling on the jib, the boat can be balanced, and I always thought it sailed better reefed. All control lines were led to the cockpit, even main hoisting and reefing.

There's other considerations, water for example, but those things are common sense. Not to be discouraged, a dock partner bought a 30 outfitted it with minor improvements as mentioned above, and last I heard was in New Zealand.

So, it's not that it can't be done, it's if you really want to do it.

Just checking in.
Where ya'll keep'n the wimmin 'round here?
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post #5 of 89 Old 01-04-2009
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save the time, money & hassle and do it right from the start; buy an appropriate tool for the job.
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post #6 of 89 Old 01-04-2009
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Ianhind has it. It can be done, but so can a trip across North America in an ultralight motorized hang glider. The question is "why?"

For the money you spent making a Catalina 30 "bluewater capable" (and I would first glass in that huge companionway to a little gasketted, lockable hatch), you could buy a Contessa 26 or maybe even a beat-up Westsail 32, both more ready for ocean crossings than the C30 could ever be.
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post #7 of 89 Old 01-05-2009 Thread Starter
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Thank you Ian(half naked girl on the bow dude) lol I really like hearing from someone who owned a c30 for a good amount of time. Will you explain what you mean by "hausel pipe into the bilge". Was your anchor rode stored in the bilge under the table in the cabin? Do you have a site where you have public pictures? I would be very interested in seeing all that you did.
xort- I understand that I should buy a passage making boat to make ocean passages, but really I just want to outfit what I have to handle weather incase I get in any thing unexpected in the gulf of mexico. The c30 fits what I am going to use it for better than anything else I know. Except your boat, if you want to trade.
Valiente- I do all the work myself. I have a fabrication shop also. So things don't cost me near as much as others.
I bought this boat very cheap. $3500. After yard fees, rebuilding the Yanmar 12 horse, new prop cutlass and shaft and doing the bottom, I now have $6500 in her. Another boat isn't an option at this point anyway.\sailboatspace That shows the pics of my progress and my superhot wife. She's a model, she just isn't striking a pose with a boat oar for nothing. lol
I posted this question in another forum and got a lot of good feedback from them as well. I was studying at a bookstore tonight. And as Ian says it's the constant jaring motion in rough seas that would be the biggest deal if I did upgrade everything mentioned. Other than being turned turtle, which apparently the c30 won't likely right herself because of the wide beam.
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post #8 of 89 Old 01-05-2009
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A C30 would not be my first choice of 30' boats to travel the oceans.......But I am sure one could get from Texas to Tampa Bay in one, with out flipping. Of course if you see a katrina or equal in the horizon, I am not sure I would want to be on Vals steel hulled boat either!

I would echo the others tho, if you really want to do a circumnavigation, get a different boat. I pretty sure a C30 or two or three have circumnavigated, it is NOT a boats most would think about using tho! Not that I would want to sail my Jeanneau 30 around the world, I would choose it over a C30 for many reasons. But I would choose other 30's before this on too!


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I drives me dinghy!
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post #9 of 89 Old 01-05-2009
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I sail a Catalina 27. Another guy I know of has circumnavigated in the boat! But first he did extensive refits. I can't believe that the Catalina line 27 or 30 was ever even considered as a possible world cruiser. The boat is light weight and makes a wonderful coastal cruiser (I sail The Chesapeake Bay). Why not look around and find a boat more suited to world cruising and trade up to that? You will be safer and have a better time.

Joe McCary,
Sailing on The Central Chesapeake Bay, West River, MD on my Catalina 27, Aelous II with my wife and friends.
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post #10 of 89 Old 01-05-2009
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First of all thanks for the link to your myspace page. LOL.
You seem like a very handy person and one that believes that they can take on any challenge and achieve the desired goal. I get this impression simply from reading your above posts and from looking at your myspace page.
This is a good thing, but it can also interfer with your ability to listen to the advise others have given. If you are determined to try, as you seem to be, I don't believe there is anything anybody is going to say or do that will influnce your decision.
If you are going to try and make it work, just becareful, your life lays in the balance, and the lifes of all the crew members you take with you are also in your hands. And don't think for a minute that its not true. There are dozens of recent reports about sailors being rescued at sea. The ones that got rescued are the lucky ones.
I, myself, would not consider it even for a minute. But you are who you are.
Maybe, if I was in your shoes, I would contemplate a trip from Tx using the ICW to get up and around the Florida Panhandle and down to the Keys than over to the Islands. After doing that and enjoying myself for a couple of years, I would reasses my decision in the first place to circumnavigate.

Courtney is My Hero

If a man is to be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most - E.B. White
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