i'm feeling bad for what i just wrote, excuse me if i sounded harsh, i appreciate the exchange but i get upset when i see people with 30 ft boat on chesepeake bay giving me advice about blue water sailing. it seems like people say a lot of things without really having a clue.
If that is directed at me let me give you a clue as to what I am basing my opinion on. I have spent years of my life racing , owning and cruising boats like these on the US Atlantic coast, Chesapeake, and out in the Atlantic. Unlike you I have actually owned a Sparkman and Stephens designed IOR boat of this era and sailed her in the ocean in tough weather. These particular boats were designed and built for inshore racing at a time when both the popular yacht design styles and hardware were not what they are today and not what they were a hundred years ago. These were boats that were designed to be sailed by big skilled crews and designed to be somewhat disposable since the racing rules were changing on an annual basis. They were submarines with a mast that would round up, broach or death roll when pushed hard in a breeze.
In racing form these boats used a large sail inventory (10-12 sails) and counted on huge genoas to go even in moderate winds. But they were so tender and their hullforms so distorted that they would suddenly go from being under-powered to over-powered and require an all-hands-on-deck sail change down to a smaller sail before you broke something
The rig proportion was such that you could not get away with using small headsails when cruising and expect to make decent day's runs even on a "milk run". The standard spinnakers were huge but their size was necessary to make decent time downwind. By the same token, these boats were easy to death roll and broach when pushed.
Regarding your comment apparently about my point in saying this would be a miserable choice for that purpose, especially short-handed. It is not that I am saying that a Catalina 38 can't be distance cruised. In fact ,I know they have been. My point is that with all of the decent cruising boats out there, and even with all of the decent racer-cruisers out there for this purpose, its hard to understand why someone claiming to be knowledgeable would pick one of these.
In my life, I have seen all kinds of strange boats make all kinds of dramatic voyages. When I was restoring my folkboat in the early 1970's, probably back before you were born, a fellow came into the yard with a roughly 25 foot ancient plywood boat with cast concrete ballast that he had sailed more than half way around the world. The boat was essay in what can be done with ingenuity and patches. I understand that in the right hands almost anything can be sailed almost anywhere. But that does not say, that faced with the choice of a picking a cruising boat to buy for distance cruising that it is a good idea for someone to buy something purposely so ill-suited.
Unlike you, I've sailed these old IOR boats in tough going. As a part of a large skilled crew, we could handle them and push them hard in heavy going, but these are brutally tough boats (especially for a 38 footer), for a short-handed crew to handle in a breeze. They were miserable rollers, which would veer hard offcourse with each roll, and had to be fought back to course before the rudder stalled. They keep you on your feet. They wear you down. They are poster children with what went wrong with the racing rules of the 1970's.
I assume that you did not come here to have us kiss your feet and tell you that you are an absolute genius because you were going to buy a Catalina 38 and sail her across the Pacific. I assume that beyond your attempts at panhandling, that you came here to have a meaningful discussion about the merits of what you were proposing, with the context being that you don't own the Catalina 38 yet and you were asking about Catalina 38's as a platform to sail across the Pacific. And in that context, I said and would say that a properly equipped and beefed up Catalina 38 can be sailed across the Pacific by an experienced sailor, but an experienced sailor who actually sailed IOR boats of this era would know better than to pick an old IOR boat out of all of all of the decent choices that are out there for this purpose. The fact that the standard water tank on these boats only held 27 gallons should be a clue that they were not designed to be distance cruisers.
Distance cruising, even on a milk run is hard enough work and risky enough with a decently built, decent handlng boat. It is doubly more difficult on a ill-handling, poorly built, old race boat. So at the heart of it, my point is and was that while you may be able to sail a boat like this across the Pacific, why would you want to when there are far less miserable designs and far more suitable designs out there.
For those who forget what these things looked like here are some picts. Now visualize that thing rolling in a seaway...
And that all is why I say these boats make miserable choices as distance cruisers.