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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking to purchase my first boat, and have it narrowed down to two - a 1983 Cal 9.2 and a 70-something Cal 34. The latter is from an estate sale and the children don't know the exact year.

The 9.2 is for $4500, the 34 for $6000. I'm in southern California. I would love input from the members here about which boat you would choose and why.

Thanks!

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Senior Member
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Two very different boats... even though from the same manufacturer.

As a family cruiser the 34 will be more comfortable and roomy, the 9.2 is a Ron Holland design that was primarily conceived as a racer/cruiser.. it will be more nimble, but probably also more tender a bit more skittish in a breeze.

On the face of it, either would be a fair bit of boat for the price, assuming they are in good and equal condition.
 

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ASA and PSIA Instructor
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The only reason I can see that you would list these two boats as the object of your desire is that they both offer a lot of length for short money. As a first time buyer, you would be well advised to up the budget and reduce the size, I bet you can find a good collection of nice Catalina 30's for $15,000, boats with good sails and engines, recent electronics, pretty ready to go. Do yourself a favor, buy one and go sailing and enjoy it when you want to sell it in a few years, you'll easily get 90% of your money back.

You buy a long boat for short money (ever hear of what-me-worry?) and what you are mostly getting is best thought of as a hole-in-the-water, a hole that you will commence to fill with money. Think of the purchase price as a just a deposit, you actaully pay for the boat in periodic installments, over the next few years. A few $$$ and some $$$$ there, and days and weeks of work, etc.

Assuming that you don't learn fast and bail out early, you'll end up with $15,000 in a boat still not worth much more than what you paid for it, because its still not complete.

Consider this just the voice of experience, I have spent a lot of money in 40 years of boat ownership to be able to offer you this advice. Use this as your wisdom permits.
 

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Owned a Cal 9.2 for 20 years. Cruised, raced and day-sailed it on Long Island Sound. A great sailing boat, especially upwind in light to moderate winds. A bit sparse on cruising amenities - no H&C pressure water, alcohol stove, icebox. Fine for a couple and maybe a small child or two cruising, but that's it. The 5411 diesel is raw water cooled and is probably due for replacement if its original.
 

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I've owned a Cal20 a Cal28 and we just bought a Cal34, a 1967 #71.
I've never sailed a 9.2, but we love our 34. It's built like a tank, and sails very nice especially off the wind.
Data from our last trip we averaged 5.7 knots, with top speed 7.1.
Still learning to get more out of her.
Kevin
 

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For those prices, expect a lot of work.

PHRF's are 174 for the 34 and 168 for the 9.2 so not much difference in overall performance.
 

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The only reason I can see that you would list these two boats as the object of your desire is that they both offer a lot of length for short money. As a first time buyer, you would be well advised to up the budget and reduce the size, I bet you can find a good collection of nice Catalina 30's for $15,000, boats with good sails and engines, recent electronics, pretty ready to go. Do yourself a favor, buy one and go sailing and enjoy it when you want to sell it in a few years, you'll easily get 90% of your money back.

You buy a long boat for short money (ever hear of what-me-worry?) and what you are mostly getting is best thought of as a hole-in-the-water, a hole that you will commence to fill with money. Think of the purchase price as a just a deposit, you actaully pay for the boat in periodic installments, over the next few years. A few $$$ and some $$$$ there, and days and weeks of work, etc.
This piece of advice is about as good as it gets. Read it carefully.

it would be nice to hear back from the OP on this.
 

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I owned and lived aboard a Cal 9.2 for 2 years (moved up to a Tartan 37). As stated above, the 9.2 is sparse in amenities, but that also means less to break. The 9.2 is the only Cal not designed by Lapworth, so it sails different. Very fun, but yes it is touchy, heels easily, good upwind. Very quick boat. I sailed mine as fast as 11+ mph over ground speed. The above advice about putting a great deal of money into the long boat/short money over the long run is true. A simple boat like the 9.2, not so much. And the 5411 is a great engine. Also, as it's a race boat, if raced, the engine could have low hours. My 1981 had under 300 hours on it...actual. A friend owned it from new and only raced. Check the hull, the thru hulls, the deck, the chainplates and rigging, and you pretty much have it covered...On a bigger boat, you have fresh water system. I replaced the water lines and water pump at $335, macerator, rewired...lots of work for lots of systems on an older boat...
 

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Barquito
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I agree with 'fool on this, for most people. However, there may be some who don't mind a bit of work. If you do the work, you will probably end up spending what it would cost to buy the $15k boat, but, you will know her inside-and-out.
 

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And what you spent it on will (mostly) be new, not just "less used", a fact that is usually overlooked by the people advising buying a more expensive used boat.

You DO have to be prepared for the work & downtime though.

And as Barquito noted, there is nothing like knowing your boat inside & out as well as having things done the way you want (usually better).
 
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