Outfitting C36 for passagemaking - SailNet Community

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Old 11-12-2007
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Question Outfitting C36 for passagemaking

I'm shopping for my first 'big boat' and trying to be realistic about how I will use it for the next 10 years until I 'retire'. There's alot I like about an older Catalina 36 (under $60,000) home ported in San Diego. I realize it's designed/built as a light weight coastal cruiser but I also have read where it's logged plenty of miles offshore. I expect to mostly sail the coastal areas from Baja to Catalina to San Fran. However, I would like to have the boat be capable of an extended passage shoud the need arise before I've upgraded to a true 'bluewater yacht'. I like (in theory) taking on the project of beefing up the C36 in a way that I maximize her bluewater capability. Questions - What are her weak points in the bluewater/passagemaking arena? What are the logical upgrades I can have done that will enhance her offshore capability while still retaining the good qualities I'll enjoy in coastal So Cal?
Thanks in advance!
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C36's have done off shore work, and still do in a lot of cases. That said, WHY take a great coastal cruiser and try to convert her for the off chance of going off shore?

Define off shore first, and if you are going to do true passages, get a different boat. The boat will take the beating of a passage if it is in good shape to begin with. However, tankage is not adequate for long passages, and if you add lots of tankage you will lose the little bit of storage you have. Buy a boat that you can invest in for the future. There are bluewater boats available in your price range, that with work can last well into the future. The dollars you invest to make the C36 a passage maker will actually devalue her.
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Old 11-13-2007
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Other than limited tankage, where else is a C36 lacking when it comes to passagemaking?
Could you list a few of the bluewater boats you're thinking of for under $60,000?
Thanks.
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Old 11-13-2007
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My Yacht Broker, Capn Jack at Charlotte Schmidt's transpac'd one to Hawaii in 1996 or 97 i think. he said it was plenty capable but the bulkheads squeaked like hell. said they sprayed WD-40 on them to quiet the noise. he and Nimfy got into a huge debate over the crossing capabilities and seaworthiness of one. he said he would do it again anytime. dont shoot the messenger

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Old 11-13-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeAlyea View Post
Other than limited tankage, where else is a C36 lacking when it comes to passagemaking?
There was a fellow in the last five years that I recall reading about in one of the sailing magazine who had a Catalina 36, I believe, that he spent ages outfitting to do either a race or just a passage from the U.S. West Coast to Hawaii.

The story was instructional.

The parts I recall included equipment failures of various types, crew sickness due to extreme movement, and I believe eventually a rudder post failure, taking on water and an offshore rescue.

Does this mean the Catalina 36 shouldn't be taken to Hawaii? No.

Does this mean there are better boats? Assuredly.

Does this mean better boats for offshore will be regularly passed in light air and coastal waters by tanned, bikini-wearing crew of Catalina 36s, drinking cocktails and barbequing on the rail, while the better boat for offshore helmsman is sitting in his tiny, self-bailing cockpit, sewing chafe gear in his oilskins? Could be. Probably, in fact.

But both boats are sailing, and both crews are enjoying themselves. The difference is that one crew wouldn't enjoy themselves at all in 40 knots and 18 foot seas 600 miles northwest of San Diego, and the other wouldn't give it much thought. It's not a "one's better, the other's worse" situation, merely a different one. Learn why, and your list will write itself.
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Does this mean better boats for offshore will be regularly passed in light air and coastal waters by tanned, bikini-wearing crew of Catalina 36s, drinking cocktails and barbequing on the rail, while the better boat for offshore helmsman is sitting in his tiny, self-bailing cockpit, sewing chafe gear in his oilskins? Could be. Probably, in fact.
CD wears a bikini??
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YES ..CDs my hero.

C36 have been all over the world, that said....

1) The 36 has a shallow bilge which means that when you are beating, and should you take on some water (which any boat will), the water level could be higher than the bilge but the bilge pump will not pull it out. THus the water will raise above the floorboards. THis can be corrected with some mod's to a port/stbd hose to manually pull the water off via a manual switch bilge pump, but it is something you should consider.

2) The 36 has low tankage, espedcially to cross an ocean. You can modify this with diesel and water bladders water is easy fit a water maker.- but you will have to modify for fuel storage.

3) You rudder is not protected, no skeg. You cannot modify this. You can take some other means for sterring the boat in case of a rudder failure... I would.

4) You only have 2-4D's on that boat, each if new AGM's would only give about 200 ah before recharge (using the 50% rule). You need to consider how you will recharge the batts for 2+ weeks at sea. If you are running an autopilot, you will really eat into that 200. think wind vane steering.
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Last edited by SimonV; 11-13-2007 at 02:28 AM.
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CD wears a bikini??
Well, he demonstrates prudent seamanship by putting an apron over it while barbequing. Better safe than swollen.
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Here's the story of someone who attempted to sail to Hawaii in a Catalina 36 http://equipped.com/0698rescue.htm . This thread has been worked over several times on Sailnet before...but just the same...Although the immediate reason for abandoning the attempt was the sickness of a crew, its pretty apparent that two days of moderate offshore use had reduced the boat to a shambles. Assuming the steering had been upgraded and not failed, its apparent that at best the crew might have arrived in Hawaii in a totally misereable state - the issue to me is, while you should live through such a trip in such a boat, you have to be pretty dumb to take such on.
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That's the piece I was thinking of. Very informative. Not a deal breaker for that type of boat, mind you, but a cautionary tale nonetheless.
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