Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: New Westminster, BC
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Re: Getting back to sailing. Stepping up to a keel boat.
If a Catalina 34 is in the budget for you, I wouldn't let the extra size (over the C 30) scare you off. The differences between those two will pale compared to either of them vis-a-vis a J24. The advantage here would be more space right away, and the (perhaps slightly) reduced risk of '2-footitis' within a year or two. Great layout (though IMO the only slightly larger C36 has a much better galley), excellent cockpit. If the moorage and other associated costs with a somewhat bigger boat is manageable, I think you'd be fine with one of these.
The J30 can actually be a decent family cruiser with the added performance 'bonus'.. but in many ways smaller. The attraction for you would probably be 'brand loyalty' and the racier feel.. btw there were two models, one of which has a more comfortable cruising cockpit layout.
ODay, Cal, Ranger, Sabre, C&C, CS, Hunter, and the various Euro brands for the '80s heyday of production sailboats will all fit your bill. The trick is finding one that's been well maintained, with minimal typical issues, in your area and at your price point.
btw.. the majority of former 'major' builders are now 'defunct'. That's part of the appeal of Catalina, although in truth you more often need parts/repairs for the third party items in a boat like engines, winches, fridges, etc.. add-ons like that so in that respect it matters little if the builder is still in business.
1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"
".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
Last edited by Faster; 03-12-2016 at 03:11 PM.