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MarkusM 04-26-2012 02:02 PM

Cal 28 Vs. Catalina 27 livaboard
Hello Everyone,
this is my first post here. I have been dreaming about living aboard a sailboat for many years.

I am looking at 2 boats at the moment. A Cal 28 1966 built in Canada and a Catalina 27 1974 Dinette layout.

The Cal has new standing rigging, a dodger and a full bimini, auto tiller, gps and depth sounder, VHF, 3 jibs, spinnaker and main sail. as well as 2hp kicker and 8hp outboard. but no stove or burner but a bbq.

The Catalina has a 15 hp motor, 2 jib and mainsail but no spinnaker. depth sounder VHF, tiller steering but no auto tiller, it has a propane stove with 2 burners and an one. bottom painted 2010

They are both about the same price.

I am 6'2" so headroom is important. I am also going to live on alone full-time but with my girlfriend on weekends and in the summer.

I have found a lot of information about the catalina but not as much about the older Cal. All the information I found on the cal was mostly for the Cal 28-2.

The boat would be used for cruising on the weekends and in the summer for multiple weeks in the golf islands and desolation sound.

Any advice would be highly appreciated.


MarkusM 04-26-2012 02:03 PM

Re: Cal 28 Vs. Catalina 27 livaboard
One more thing. neither of them have a holding tank so that is something I would have to retrofit.

Faster 04-26-2012 02:19 PM

Re: Cal 28 Vs. Catalina 27 livaboard
First, welcome from another lower-mainlander.

Living aboard in Vancouver is a difficult thing to do.. first, moorage is hard to find, esp legal sanctioned liveaboard, and if you find it it's not inexpensive, plus the city will want their cut.

There are people living 'on the hook', but if you're working and commuting you've got issues with where to keep your vehicle, where to safely stow your dinghy/tender during the day, and the constant exposure to the weather and sea conditions. Anchoring in sheltered water like False Creek is restricted to short term permits.

At 6'2 you're unlikely to have standing headroom in either of these boats. The Cal may feel roomier because of it's flush deck design, and the dodger & bimini, esp if with a full enclosure gives you another 'room'. These are both smallish boats for comfortable full time all season liveaboards.. esp in BC's wet winter climate.

Any boat you choose will need some work... be it a new stove, a holding tank, etc. Both of these items are rather crucial for a liveaboard scenario so you'll simply need to budget in anticipation of that.

But before you buy please look into and/or secure appropriate moorage or you may well be left with a boat and nowhere to put it.

Best of luck.

MarkusM 04-26-2012 02:31 PM

Re: Cal 28 Vs. Catalina 27 livaboard
Thank you for the quick reply. I have heard that mooring is a problem in Vancouver. Thank you for the advice.

I was a bit worried because I could not find good information on the cal 28-1. I have heard that they are tough boats.

Are there any advantages and disadvantages to either of the two boats?

I guess it is easier to get parts for the catalina just because there have been more produced over the years.

SlowButSteady 04-26-2012 02:34 PM

Re: Cal 28 Vs. Catalina 27 livaboard
I think at 6'2" you'll find that neither of these boats truly have standing headroom, but the Catalina probably has a tad more. That said, the flush-deck Cal will probably feel "bigger" than the coach-top Catalina (I think the Cal also has just a little more beam). New standing rigging is worth at least a grand or two, but installing a new stove can be done for as little as three hundred bucks or so (double burner non-pressurized alcohol stove); another point in the Cal's favor. Finally, the Cal is a Lapworth design, so it probably has longer bunks (Bill Lapworth was supposedly a pretty tall guy, so he designed boats with bunks big enough for him). Personally, I would trade a little headroom for a little more bunk space.

OK, I have a Cal 2-27. So take the above with a grain of salt. Best thing is to look carefully at both boats. Walk around below deck, stretch out on the bunks, et cetera. Maybe consider something a bit bigger if headroom is really important (true standing headroom for someone 6'2" is gonna be hard to find in a boat less than 30 feet). Remember, a boat (and life in general) is always a series of compromises.

Edit: D'oh! Faster beat me to it, again.

misfits 04-26-2012 02:48 PM

Re: Cal 28 Vs. Catalina 27 livaboard
Putting the head room issue aside, my money would go on the Cal.
I may be mistaken but I thought Cal's were made in new bedford or fall river ma..

MarkusM 04-26-2012 03:03 PM

Re: Cal 28 Vs. Catalina 27 livaboard
I found in my research that Calgan Marine Ltd. built Cal 20, 25,28,29 in north Vancouver in the 60's and 70's. Does anyone know how these compare to one built in the states?

Faster 04-26-2012 03:06 PM

Re: Cal 28 Vs. Catalina 27 livaboard
The old Cal 28s are tough boats.. and they are pretty roomy considering the flush deck, this gives more 'space' because you get full width for the full height of the interior. Not sure how the headroom would truly compare between the two.

As SBS suggests, compare the two directly and go with what 'feels' right, assuming otherwise similar issues. The Cal could well be in better shape despite the extra 8 years.. that's going to come down to maintenance and upkeep of the various previous owners.

Cals were built in California, Vancouver and quite possibly on the east coast as well.

SlowButSteady 04-26-2012 03:18 PM

Re: Cal 28 Vs. Catalina 27 livaboard
I had thought that the Cals of that era were all built in Costa Mesa, Calif., by Jensen. But, it does look like some early Cals were built by Calgan. Bangor Punta bought Jensen sometime in the 60's, and later (1980?) moved all the manufacturing to Florida. How the Canadian boats compare to the California boats, I have no idea. I imagine that they were built very similarly (same hull laminating schedules, et cetera), but there may be some slight differences, eh? In general, Cals (especially early Cals) are pretty solid boats. As Faster said, the maintenance history is likely to be as important as the original build.

AdamLein 04-26-2012 03:20 PM

Re: Cal 28 Vs. Catalina 27 livaboard
I have a friend who is 6'4" or more and had no trouble sleeping a couple nights in a row in either the vee-berth or the dinette double berth on my C27, in the winter no less with gear strewn about. For standing headroom, he found plenty on deck.

That said, I'm not crazy about the dinette layout C27 (as I have mentioned to others asking about this boat). It's quite cramped with the table up and useless for anything except a berth with the table down. If the Cal 28 has a facing settee layout, I would definitely go for that. On the other hand, there's plenty of space below the forward dinette seating on the C27 for a holding tank.

As Faster mentioned, if you can fully enclose the cockpit with the dodger and bimini on the Cal 28, that is nothing to be scoffed at. Those additions are pretty pricey as well.

The electronics and gadgetry should not enter into the decision. The motor is something to consider; 8 hp is probably the minimum you want for a 28-footer around here, whereas the 15hp on the C27 is more than enough (I am happy with the 9.9 hp on mine).

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