Join Date: May 2002
Thanked 11 Times in 10 Posts
Rep Power: 14
Henry: The big kahunas that you will find in terms of availability are the Catalina 22 and 25. Both fit your criteria, and both can be had in good shape with a trailer for less than 10 grand. The Catalina pop top is a really nice feature. You can find out more about these boats than you will ever want to know on the Catalina owners' website, and you should be able to see many examples at any marina; there are just scores of these boats around. And not without good reason; they are well-designed boats that represent a good value. There are various versions of both. It sounds like you want to concentrate on the swing keel version, with the pop-top (standing headroom that way). Note that the 25 also came in a tall mast version for light air areas or those with a yen to race.
Three other boats for you to consider: the Oday 23 and 25, and the Rhodes 22. The Odays are similar in quality to the Catalinas, but with two important design differences. First, the centerboard set up on the Odays is a stub keel/centerboard. The ballast is encapsulated within the hull in a stubby fixed keel. The centerboard is relatively light and swings down from within the stub. It is controlled via a light line to the cockpit (on older models of the 23, it is controlled via a crank in the cabin; not my favorite). On the Catalinas, the ballast is in the swinging centerboard itself, and it is controlled by a crank. I prefer the Oday set up; less stress on the moving parts, simpler to fix and maintain. The other major difference (besides the fact that the Odays don't have pop top models) is that the head in the Odays is behind a real door. On the Catalinas, the head is in the cabin (22), or behind a somewhat flimsy screen-type fabric "door" (25). This was a big selling point in my house, as after a summer on a 22, the Admiral insisted that the next yacht have a real door. One other point: Catalina is still in business and supports the older boats; Oday is gone, gone, gone. Nevertheless, I am a happy owner of an Oday, and I would make the same choice again.
You should also check out the Rhodes 22. This boat is really the Lexus of mass market compact cruisers. Its fit and finish is nothing like the PSC Dana or Flicka, but General Boats really listens to input from their customers, and these boats are chock full of innovative, cost effective features that make it possible to really cruise on one of these. For example, the head on the boat is enclosed by a rube goldberg kind of door and bulkhead system that actually allows you to expand the size of the head compartment while using it, and then to fold it back up when you are done. The boat is also loaded with safety and convenience features. I don't know if you can find one for less than $10,000, but I think its worth a look. Good luck and let us know what you come up with.
Last edited by mstern; 04-16-2009 at 06:37 PM.