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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Cruising and Sailing with Children
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Cruising and Sailing with Children All things sailing and kids related, from safety to life aboard.


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  #1  
Old 09-19-2009
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First Family Boat for the Chesapeake?

I just posted on "Introduce Yourself" but am looking for advice on purchasing a boat to sail on the Chesapeake. I have three teenagers and a very wonderful wife. We would like to sail several daysails/overnighters each month and work up to extended jaunts of several days.

We can afford a 20 year old meticulously kept Catalina 30. Are there other options that might be more accomodating? I have seen several Hunter 34s listed in the same price range. I'm enamored with a Beneteau 350 but don't think I can afford it, the Marina dock fees, insurance, etc.

Any and all advice would be much appreciated. If anyone is willing to part with a great Chesapeake sailboat for a reasonable price, please contact me with details. Does anyone know of a trustworthy surveyor in the MD/VA area?
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Old 09-19-2009
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Catalina 30 is an excellent choice as long as the kids dont mind the aft cabin berths under the cockpit. You might find one for 15k ready to go.
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Old 09-19-2009
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dakine,

You can have a lot of fun in a Catalina 30. They are great boats for family coastal sailing -- sort of the Honda Accord/Toyota Camry of sailboats.

The C30 would be fine for day trips and some overnighting. But I wonder if it will be big enough for multi-day overnighting with your family with three teenagers? Our three kids are a bit younger than yours (but not much), and we are beginning to really stretch our 31' boat at the seams.

Initially it might be fine, but the novelty will wear off after a bit and the need to always convert the main salon from sleeping quarters to salon does get a bit wearisome after a while.

You didn't mention what your budget is -- which would help us to offer other suggestions. But the reality is there are not too many options for 3-cabin boats in the low-mid-thirty foot range. The Beneteau 350 would certainly give you a lot more volume, but I'm not sure how it's configured (I've spent time aboard the 351, which is spacious but still has only two sleeping cabins.)
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Old 09-19-2009
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I would like to keep our total cost including 1st year slip rental at <$30,000. The Catalina 30 appears to offer the best bang for the buck. Two of my kids are busy with college and part-time jobs, but may venture forth occasionally. We want to keep our boating expenses low until we get all three of our kids through college. We would like to entertain at least 5-7 folks during day cruises.
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Old 09-19-2009
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Hello,

As mentioned, the C30 is a great boat. However there are many other comparable boats. IMHO, you should look at a number of boats, find a few that meet your needs, and then buy the best example you can find.

Other boats that are similar to the Catalina 30 in price, performance, and size are:
Newport 30
O'day 30 or 31
C&C 30
S2 9.2A
Hunter 30 (although I am not a fan of Hunter)
Islander 30
Beneteau 30
Ericcson 30
Pearson 30
Cal 31

etc.

It would be helpful to you to find and work with a good broker. A good broker will be able to show you good (and bad) features of various boats.

Look at some more boats and ask more questions.

good luck,
Barry
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Old 09-20-2009
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BarryL,

Thank you for your thoughts. So far we have looked at:

1. 1978-J/24 for daysailing. No go with wife.
2. 1989-O'Day 302.
3. 1988-Pearson 31.
4. 1982-Cherubini Raider 33.
5. 1982-Pearson 35.
6. 1984-Hunter 31.
7. 1987-Hunter 28.5.
8. 1981-O'Day 30.
9. 1982-Cal 31.
10. 1989-Catalina 30.
11. 1977-Columbia 29. Very clean boat.

Talked to a dealer in NC on a 1996 Beneteau 281 and viewed a private owner's Aloha 28. Anything under 30' seems cramped for more than three adults to move around on. The Raider was beautiful but could only accomodate 2 adults comfortably in the cockpit.

We finally viewed a Catalina 30 last weekend and were amazed that a 30 foot boat could have so much space above and below deck. I read an article describing the Catalina 30 as a "MiniVan" of sailboats. Put a bit of sting into my practical streak.

As mentioned in my intro, I was a USN sailor for six years. Made it to Machinist Mate Second Class (MM-2). Went on three WestPacs on my 4.5 years of sea duty. 18 months of school. Not afraid to turn a wrench, make fiberglass repairs, re-rig, refit and rebuild. I understand how dangerous the sea can get. What quality gear means. I also have a clear understanding of time management, manhour estimates, labor costs, and return on investment.

We want to find a clean, well maintained boat for a good price that we can sail immediately. Not much fun spending all your time and money working on a boat and not sailing it.
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Old 09-24-2009
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For your purposes, you'll do fine with a well-maintained Catalina 30, all the better if you're not afraid to get your hands dirty. It may get a little tight with all 5 aboard, but it's certainly doable. It's gonna get tight with 5 aboard on just about any size boat that normal people can afford!
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Old 09-28-2009
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A couple more points for the C30. Its among the most popular boats in its size and there is likely always going to be a buyer for a well maintained example. That might be important if you decide to move up later.

Also you mentioned you plan to do your own work. Catalina has a history of building boats with owner maintenance in mind. Things are always cramped on a sailboat but from what I've seen, the systems on Catalina's are generally fairly accessable compared to some others which makes DYI projects less of a headache.

As for Surveyors, search here on Sailnet and you'll find several well regarded surveyors.
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Old 09-28-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soulfinger View Post
... It's gonna get tight with 5 aboard on just about any size boat that normal people can afford!
Ain't that the truth!!!
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Old 09-29-2009
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As a happy Catalina 27 owner who has had passing thoughts of a Cat 30 I might offer some points to consider.

First, don't base your boat size on teenage kids sailing with you; most teenagers have different priorities than adults. Plan on a boat you and the wife can manage yourself and then if the kids choose to join you everyone have 1981 as will be happy.

The Catalina 30s I have looked at fall in to 2 categories; Atomic 4 motors and diesels. My preference would be for the later and that means a later model. For some reason I figure a 1981 or later is best with the Mark III being the best possible (also the more expensive).

My 27 is a perfect boat for the Bay for day sailing and the occasional weekend. But I sail mostly with just my wife. The 27 is too small for more than 2 for a night (sure it has bunks for 5, but not with me on the boat), so don't judge the boat size based on the number of bunks.

What area of the Bay will you be sailing on? I am just south of Naptown on West River.
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