Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Swarthmore, PA
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Older boats will need more work and money to maintain safe operations. So you can find a boat for $5000, put $5000 into her (plus a couple thousand per year ongoing expenses), and end up with a nice, safe boat that will resell for about $5000. If you get lucky and don't have to put much money in, you've saved some money. If you aren't lucky, you may end up with a $5000 boat you cannot use safely unless you put in more money than it's worth. And we all know people that this has happened to!
I opted for a newer used boat, figuring I would pay significantly more money in the initial purchase, but have less expense keeping her in safe condition, less risk of major cost items, and if I decide to sell hopefully get about what I paid. More important to me was the fact that I got a boat that I could sail right away, without having to miss part of the season to complete any projects to make her fit for use.
There is no single right answer to these choices. However, I have observed that most used production boats that have been well maintained sell for about what you paid for them, so when it comes time to sell, your net expense is not the depreciation of the boat, but it is the money you put into her to maintain her condition.
We looked at a lot of C30s when we were shopping and for some reason it was our least favorite Catalina design. Hard to put my finger on the reason.
The wheel vs. tiller arguments have been made ad infinitum, and most people like what they have. My opinion is that a tiller has more cockpit space when you are at the dock (because you can flip it up), but less when you are sailing (because you need to leave the swing space open and - in the case of the C250 - you can't sit on the fuel locker like you do with the wheel). A tiller also gives you a little more "feel" of the rudder and is better for single handing because you can get forward to the winches more easily. Nevertheless, for the way we use the boat, we like the wheel.
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1998 Catalina 250WK Take Five (at Anchorage Marina, Essington, on the Delaware River)
1994 Mason 44 Firefly on loan from my BFF (West River, Galesville, MD)
1991 15' Trophy (Lake Wallenpaupack)
1985 14' Phantom (Lake Wallenpaupack)
Last edited by TakeFive; 10-13-2010 at 01:41 PM.