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post #21 of 23 Old 08-09-2019
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Re: beach cat to pocket cruiser

My '74 P30 had the original Atomic 4 engine, Datamarine instruments, the main and genoa were only about 3 years old when I bought her but the spin was about 10 years old with little use. The PO also left everything; anchors, flares, PFD's, boat hook, tools, spares, etc. It was very well appointed. I was the third owner. One of the PO's put the fresh water cooling mod on the engine, a cold plate in the ice box, a Profurl roller furler, two speed self tailing winches, tri-color mast head light and anchor light, and took care of the compression post rot at the base. It was in great sail away condition. No issues.

I chose to add a few things to make my life easier. None of these were required:
- Electronic ignition: < $100 and an hour of work (don't recall the cost exactly)
- Spin pole bracket to keep the pole secure on deck : 1 hr work
- 4 position key switch for the blower, starter, and ignition : 1 hr work
- Added a solar panel
- Changed lights to LED's inside and out
- Updated the VHF
- Updated the battery charger from the original
- Added a galvanic isolator (my marina had significant stray electrical current)
- Rewired the entire boat : My choice since the wires were 40 years old, I was doing other electrical upgrades (above), and I had access to affordable supplies
- Stocked the ice chest with beer

I had to occasionally rebed some hardware and through deck fittings and replace lines, and paint the bottom as you will on all sailboats.The gelcoat was faded but some time with a buffing wheel would have fixed that. I just used NuFinish twice a year for protection and left it alone. The non-skid on the deck had the swirls from a manufactuing issue back in the '70's. I never got around to painting them but the person who bought the boat from me did and it looks great.

Outside of the rewiring everyting I did was pretty simple, did not take much time (I did most of it on days that the wind was light), and was reasonable in cost. I did the projects over two seasons (including the wiring). I sailed at least 3 days per week from mid March through November except for the time I was hauled out to paint the bottom or I was traveling for work.

I have found these boats to be solidly built, easy to work on, and parts are still available with good support networks. If I had $20K to spend at the time I may have bought a newer boat, but I would not discount boats from this era. Especially, if you plan to upgrade in a few years.

These are my opinions and experiences. This worked for me at that point in my life. Your situation may be different. Before you buy anything, get rides in as many different boats as you can.

EDIT: As you can see now, I have a very different kind of boat that fits my current needs.
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Nick

1986 O'Day 222
1974 Pearson 30 (previous)
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post #22 of 23 Old 08-09-2019
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Re: beach cat to pocket cruiser

Our first keelboat was a Catalina 27. At the time I didn't think i was up to handling anything bigger (docking etc.) which turned out not to be really an issue. I sort of wound up wishing we'd bought a Cat30 (not a whole lot longer but WAY more interior room and better for cruising).

Having said that, the 27s are great boats if you find a good one. I'd look for the outboard version as there is not a whole lot of storage space and the spot where the engine would sit under the cockpit is really nice to have open. A 10 horse outboard will drive them just fine unless you are out in really big waves athough you want a long shaft for sure. There are a zillion out there which means that whatever you want to know you can easily find out from the owner's group or Sailnet. I think you are in a light wind area so the tall rig version might be nice to have.

Pay attention to the keel mounting (there is plywood in the stub that the keel mounts to and that can rot, causing the "Catalina Smile") and to the decks. Plywood coring can get wet and rot if past owners didn't keep the hardware sealed. There is also a known issue with the cast aluminum spreader mounts which can apparently fail without warning. It's nice if you can find one where the replacement with stainless has already been done - that will save some time & $$. I'd definitely have a boat that size surveyed before buying. But they are quite simple and there is not a whole lot to go wrong.
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post #23 of 23 Old 08-16-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: beach cat to pocket cruiser

I'm actually looking much more closely at a P31-II, which is newer but still not unreasonably priced. I'm slowly coming around to the view of skipping right up to 30' for reasons of space and comfort, which will be much more important to getting others to join in actual boat time.
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