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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently looked at a boat for sale 1980 catalina 25. Over all condition looks pretty good for a 30+ year old boat. Some tlc needed woodwork etc.
The price range I'm looking in is circa $5,000. The boat I'm looking at has the Catalina smile would someone just starting out (like myself) be stupid to buy a boat knowing thats there? The keel bolts(screws) whatever you want to call them look like there in pretty good shape and the bilge doesn't have water (Its covered with shrink wrap).

Is a boat with this problem worth around $5,000 (it blue books for around that price)
 

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Freedom isn't free
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I'd check with the folks over at the association... Association Forum - Catalina 25 Specific Forum

My guess is given the current climate on boat prices, that $5000 is a lot for a boat with a known problem. I can tell you that several association members have sold their well maintained boats recently, and they've gone for very good prices.

There have also been discussions in the past about what constitutes a "smile" versus a real problem... Sounds like you've done some of that research...
Association Forum - The Catalina Smile

Also of note, the keel bolts can look fine from above, but until you actually remove 1 of the nuts you can't really be sure.

Regardless, good luck.
 

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With so many good boats on the market I would try to avoid ones with potentially serious problems. It your 'smiling' boat hits some rough weather or makes hard grounding, serious leaks may develop in that hull to keel joint.
 

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Typically, in that vintage of Catalina with a fixed keel, they had used some plywood between the hull and the keel, which acted as a filler or spacer. As water gets in, the plywood rots, and no amount of keel bolt tightening will remedy the problem.

I can't speak with authority as to whether this is the cause of the smile in this particular 25, but if I was considering purchasing it, aside from having it surveyed, I would research the repair methods.

It is a possible repair, even if it's the plywood issue, but bear in mind that removing and replacing the plywood requires removal of the keel. Certainly something to be factored into the price you pay. Or simply walk away.
 

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At 25' that puts you in a ton of boats that you can get for under $3K ready to sail. I would personally move on to the next one
 

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If you really want the boat, it's a quick fix for a boatyard to do. We had ours repaired after buying our Catalina.

The "smile" is not limited to Catalinas, by the way.
 

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Smile--
Not unheard of in a lot of fin keel boats. That said I just sold a Catalina 27 ready to sail for less money - I would keep looking, or at least work on a better price.
 

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So yeah, find out the real cost of the repair, and deduct that from the negotiated price. And the cost of the repair is not negotiable, so you need a seller who actually comprehends that.

And I have a unicorn ranch on the moon you might like to see.

Most likely, the seller will just wait for some dope to come along who thinks the crack just needs a little caulk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank-you to all for your responses and useful tips. For a boat at that price range I really don't think its worth a survey by a professional and I don't know IF I really want to dig into the keel situation. I guess the only REAL way to tell is to drop the fixed keel and inspect and thats not a cheap venture in itself! Thanks again!
 
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