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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So first off, i hope this is in the right forum, I looked at a 89 Catalina 25 with a fin keel today, an end of season deal before he puts in away for winter. The price is right, very inexpensive and he is even willing to split winter storage. It has an inboard atomic 4 that starts right up. It does need to have the fuel tank replaced, but he is willing to do that for me if i buy it and winterize the engine to boot. It has sails in great shape, roller furling jib, based on my reading on inspecting boats the rigging, sheets and mast are in great shape for its age. Also, every thing about this guys makes me think i can trust him and i feel like i am a pretty good judge of character. The price is roughly 2k, + a little. I have a few concerns though, 1 there was water in the boat, some in the bilge, but it has sat and he thinks the shaft of the engine needs repacked, also the boat is on the Chesapeake bay and the water didn't taste very salty, we have had really heavy rains recently and i feel like some water is understandable cause something probably leaks. And I can always seal that, but am i being stupid?

second, there is some ugly patching on the deck, I checked it and there are NO soft spots, but he said the previous owner cut into it and replaced the wood core with silicone./ To what i know that makes sense and a little ugly is worth the low cost, but am i being stupid?

Third a small issue, there is a winch, i assume for the main halyard, but it does not turn by hand, I guess it frozen no big deal if it is that seems an easy fix, but I have no idea if there is some weird super torque winches out there.

And finally, and this is the one that weirds me out, there are cracks all along the bottom of the cockpit, where the floor of the cockpit meets the interior walls of the storage and benches, I just find that odd, the cockpit floor doesn't seems soft, but i am scared this is indicative of some crazy issue i never heard of.

So all you guys are always super helpful and super knowledgeable, any thoughts. Am I just gun shy or are these real concerns, again the sails alone are probably worth the price he is asking.
 

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I'm going to take a different tack than some have. At $2K it can be a good learner boat. Don't try to cross an ocean with it. Pick good days, light winds, and stay close to home until you know your skills and, especially, the boat. But it depends on your financial status. Rhetorical question: Is $2K a lot for you or just dinner money? You have to be able to walk away from the sunk cost in the boat and not feel bad about it. And walk away isn't free, you might have to pay to have the boat junked.

".... there are cracks all along the bottom of the cockpit, where the floor of the cockpit meets the interior walls of the storage and benches, .... the cockpit floor doesn't seems soft, ...." Sounds like spider cracks which are expected on a boat of this quality class at this age and probably insignificant. But ask someone with experience to check that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm going to take a different tack than some have. At $2K it can be a good learner boat. Don't try to cross an ocean with it. Pick good days, light winds, and stay close to home until you know your skills and, especially, the boat. But it depends on your financial status. Rhetorical question: Is $2K a lot for you or just dinner money? You have to be able to walk away from the sunk cost in the boat and not feel bad about it. And walk away isn't free, you might have to pay to have the boat junked.

".... there are cracks all along the bottom of the cockpit, where the floor of the cockpit meets the interior walls of the storage and benches, .... the cockpit floor doesn't seems soft, ...." Sounds like spider cracks which are expected on a boat of this quality class at this age and probably insignificant. But ask someone with experience to check that.
Thank you very much for that reply, and maybe for context i should point out , to learn to sail is exactly what i am looking for. I am thinking of it like that car you buy your kid with 150,000 miles on it, and while 2 grand is not gonna break my bank, it is also something i would preferer not to lose, or make an ass of myself buying a **** boat
 

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I get a bad vibe all around. All $2k boats will need more money put into them, just to keep them safe, let alone maintained. You need to be sure it won't require more than the boat is worth, if fully fixed up. I'm curious what makes you confident the sails are in good shape. How old are they?

If you can't make that determination, you have to view the $2k as rent. Can you afford to scrap the boat, after using it a little while and realizing it's not worth fixing up. Then endure the gut punch of another grand to have it cutup and hauled away, which is likely cheaper than the storage cost, while you wait to sell it (if it can be resold).

It's not that you couldn't win this gamble, but it's a gamble. Can you afford to gamble?
 

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Doesn't sound that bad. Not sure I like the patching method, but sounds solid enough. The atomic 4 is a bit of a worry though. Pretty easy to drop some big dollars if it craps out on you down the road. As for the sails, at this stage you probably don't have the skills to know if they are actually in good shape. I have ahd pretty sails that were easy to tear due to uv damage. The mark of a good sail is generally it's 'crispiness'. If they are soft like bedsheets they will still work, but will be harder to handle because they will act more like parachutes.

My first boat was a CS27, which can be had for anywhere bewtween $3000 - $10,000. I chose to find the best one I could, and it was mint, honestly the nicest one in existence, (and still is with the new owner). In five years I had 2 repairs to do, a fuel pump, and a patch on the main sail. Absolutely nothing got in the way of way of me sailing it whenever I wanted. There were no issues that dragged me down. I mention this because there are similar boats at your size that are out there. For example here is Hunter 23 that is for sale - the owner is the person I sold my CS27 to. He said he put about $20,000 into it. Now for sale at about $5000 USD. Hunter sloop 1986 Used Boat for Sale in Windsor, Ontario - BoatDealers.ca He's lowered the price a couple of times because it's hard to find buyers for fully refitted smaller boats. I use it only as example of that market, not as a suggestion for purchase, (although...?).
 

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So first off, i hope this is in the right forum, I looked at a 89 Catalina 25 with a fin keel today, an end of season deal before he puts in away for winter. The price is right, very inexpensive and he is even willing to split winter storage. It has an inboard atomic 4 that starts right up. It does need to have the fuel tank replaced, but he is willing to do that for me if i buy it and winterize the engine to boot. It has sails in great shape, roller furling jib, based on my reading on inspecting boats the rigging, sheets and mast are in great shape for its age. Also, every thing about this guys makes me think i can trust him and i feel like i am a pretty good judge of character. The price is roughly 2k, + a little. I have a few concerns though, 1 there was water in the boat, some in the bilge, but it has sat and he thinks the shaft of the engine needs repacked, also the boat is on the Chesapeake bay and the water didn't taste very salty, we have had really heavy rains recently and i feel like some water is understandable cause something probably leaks. And I can always seal that, but am i being stupid?
I would only suggest that anyone buy a boat with an Atomic 4 if they are a decent mechanic. There is nothing inherently wrong with an Atomic 4 if you are careful in how you use it, and can troubleshoot and do the maintenance yourself. The fuel tank replacement is a mixed bag. It should not need replacement if properly constructed in the first place but its not a big deal if replaced properly. Unfortunately, proper replacement is not all that inexpensive.

second, there is some ugly patching on the deck, I checked it and there are NO soft spots, but he said the previous owner cut into it and replaced the wood core with silicone./ To what i know that makes sense and a little ugly is worth the low cost, but am i being stupid?
Replacing the 'core with silicone' is gibberish. You can caulk a fitting with silicone but even then using silicone to permanently bed a fitting a bad idea. You cannot reasonably replace a core with silicone. If true that alone would have me distrustful of the rest of the boat and walking away. If false, it would have me distrustful of the seller and walking away. On the judge of character thing, my Dad used to say, "Con men's stock and trade is to always seem likeable and honest". The word 'Con' in 'Con man' is short for 'confidence' as in they have a personality makes you confident that they are telling you the truth. In reality, the seller may be an honest guy who did not understand what he was saying, or you simply misunderstood what was said, but you need to get to the bottom of this one.

Third a small issue, there is a winch, i assume for the main halyard, but it does not turn by hand, I guess it frozen no big deal if it is that seems an easy fix, but I have no idea if there is some weird super torque winches out there.
So normally when a which won't turn its either 1) an aluminum drum snubbing winch without roller bearings and its shot, 2) it just needs to be disassembled, greased and reassembled, 3) Has a broke pawl that is keeping it from turning. The only way to know is to try to take it apart. In your shoes I would assume that you need to replace it. If that does not kill the deal, then you are good to go, especially if it only needs maintenance and not replacement.

And finally, and this is the one that weirds me out, there are cracks all along the bottom of the cockpit, where the floor of the cockpit meets the interior walls of the storage and benches, I just find that odd, the cockpit floor doesn't seems soft, but i am scared this is indicative of some crazy issue i never heard of.
That is where cockpits crack. The cockpit sole (deck) and seats are cored. The sides of the cockpit are not. The point of flexure is at the turn of the deck mold between the cockpit sole and cockpit sides and so that is where stress cracking would be expected.

Like others have said, if you are not getting the boat surveyed, then you are rolling the dice with $4,000 on the line. ($2,000 to buy the boat, and $2,000 to chop it up and dispose of it, which is what it costs to dispose of a boat around here)

Jeff
 

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Seems to me the owner is just a bit too accommodating. Why would he offer to pay half the winter storage if the price is so low? There is no "full disclosure" on boats, like houses. I advise caution. It may take a lot more than 2 g's to dispose of the boat if she needs that in the end.
On the other hand, I wholeheartedly agree she might be the perfect learner boat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I get a bad vibe all around. All $2k boats will need more money put into them, just to keep them safe, let alone maintained. You need to be sure it won't require more than the boat is worth, if fully fixed up. I'm curious what makes you confident the sails are in good shape. How old are they?

If you can't make that determination, you have to view the $2k as rent. Can you afford to scrap the boat, after using it a little while and realizing it's not worth fixing up. Then endure the gut punch of another grand to have it cutup and hauled away, which is likely cheaper than the storage cost, while you wait to sell it (if it can be resold).

It's not that you couldn't win this gamble, but it's a gamble. Can you afford to gamble?
In regard to the sails, as others have pointed out, i really don't know anything yet, but i have been reading like a MoFO for the last 6 months and been looking at boats for about 4 months now, So the call on the sails was party because I knew to run my hand over and look for stiffness, i can say that compared to the boats I have rented and learned on the sails are way stiffer.. almost surprisingly, like I was thinking how hard it would be to fold, and also I do actually a bout 6 years experience working in AV and have worked with fast fold screens a lot, they are similar in they are a plastic Woven fabric that has been treated, not a sail but I looked at the threads on the edges and they were fresh, no hairs still stiff, the sails were very clean, and felt smooth, i assume that the coating break down like Fast Folds and I may be wrong but you can feel a fine powdery grit when they are getting old, I might be wrong to think sails do that. Also, they just seemed new to me.
 

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The that someone gives you is the most expensive you will ever own.
"I'll do this and that after you buy it" only count on what you have in your hand when the deal is done, his motivation will go way down after the cash is in his hand. Been there and done that.....twice and it never worked out.
I agree with others on the gelcoat. Atomic 4, be very careful with gas. Not sure if this was ever true but it was taught in the Coast Guard Aux, a teaspoon of gas in a quart of air is equal to one stick of dynamite. You can find used single non self tailing winches fairly cheap. Just pick one that you can still get a rebuild kit for. I have never met your seller and he may be a fine individual, however there are very like-able, honest looking people that buy junk boats and make a buck or two here and there. Be careful. You can usually find boats like you are looking for at local maritime museums. People will donate boats to them for tax right offs, I have found some in very good condition. Me personally, I'd walk away from that deal. AND you tasted bilge water on an unknown boat! You must be a sailor. Dennis
 

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Sail cloth is completely different from screen material, and they don't produce any chalkiness or fine grit when they age. The fact that the sailcloth feels stiff and crinkly as that is a sign that the cloth is still in good condition. Old cloth gets very soft and pliable.

It sounds to me like the sails are the least of your concerns. The seller seems very eager to unload the boat if he is willing to share the cost of storage, and replace the fuel tank.

It does seem strange that such a small boat has an Atomic4 in it, and I wonder why the fuel tank needs to be replaced. Keep in mind that the A4 is a gasoline engine, so great care must be taken that there are no fuel leaks and that the engine compartment is properly vented. Do you trust that the seller has the skills to ensure a leak free, correctly installed fuel tank? Over the years the Atomic 4 earned the nickname Atomic Bomb. Just sayin....

I am skeptical about the sellers response about the source of the water in the boat. He "thinks" it is the propshaft packing? It takes about 30 seconds to verify if that is leaking. I am sure he has no idea where the leaks are.

The seized winch...assume you are going to be replacing it. Not that big a deal, you may be able to find a used replacement, but either way it will cost time and money.

I am VERY concerned about the ugly core repair job you refer to. I would be curious to see pics, but you don't replace core with silicone, so either the seller, or the previous owner have no clue. Core is there for structure, and that structure is likely compromised.

There are a lot of red flags on that boat. There is a saying "there is no more expensive boat than a free boat"!

Sent from my SM-G960W using Tapatalk
 

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Just a quick search, two minutes I found a 34 foot Morgan at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, one owner for 9k asking price. I'm sure you could get it cheaper than that. Maybe more than you want to pay but its a good example. Dennis
 

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Are you sure it's an Atomic 4?. Very unlikely in an 89 Catalina. Note that when Universal switched from the gas A4 they called their marine diesels "Atomic". I believe a few of the later Cat25s had Universal 5411 diesels installed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well, since you asked, on several threads, it sounds like trouble to me. I am curious how an atomic 4 found it's way onto an 89 catalina 25. Sounds unusual? :)
I have NO CLUE... ( some may say obviously )
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So you after all this feedback, I have to agree there are too many question marks here for this to be smart, and I am not rich enough to be stupid (or more importantly my wife thinks I am not ). I am just going to have to assume that I can find something in the 24 to 26 ft range to learn on in the spring, and hopefully i will have saved up a few more pennies to get a survey. However, my desire to be on the bay, learn to work on boats this winter, and understand more about sailing stands, so if any of you guys on the Chessie need help doing work over the winter, hit me up. If you can put up with a lot of stupid question ( and i think you have some idea how stupid ).
 

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I have NO CLUE... ( some may say obviously )
As far as I know Universal stopped manufacturing the Atomic 4 in 84. It's entirely possible catalina had a skid of Atomic 4s sitting around, but by 89 who would have wanted one?

It would kind of make me question the age of the boat. Is it really an 89 boat with an engine that went out of production in 84, or is the boat older? I of course don't know the answer, but they are questions I might ask.
 

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As far as I know Universal stopped manufacturing the Atomic 4 in 84. It's entirely possible catalina had a skid of Atomic 4s sitting around, but by 89 who would have wanted one?
Don't diss the mighty Atomic-4! There is much to say for it. Simple, non-electronic, quiet, economical, no diesel smell, no diesel bugs, ...
Yes, it uses gas which spawned the 'Atomic bomb' myth. I read somewhere that not a single boat ever exploded due to a fault on the motor. Yes, there have been accidents but that was always due to problems with the tank or fuel lines. (source: internet, so it must be true :))

Seriously, I have an Atomic 4 and I have no complaints whatsoever. There is also fantastic support for it, mainly through Moyer Marine and its forums.
 

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Oh, I don't really mind atomic 4's. I had one in my Grampian. It required some tinkering but was pretty reliable. But my Grampian was a 74. I just thought by the late 80s most had switched to either gas outboards or diesel inboards.
 
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