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Discussion Starter #1
I've spent a decade sailing/racing my Catalina 22. It's time to move to something bigger.

I'm looking at the following boats that are in my price range:
1976 Catalina 27
1977 Pearson 28-1
1970 Ericson 32

All three boats have Atomic 4's.

I sail in the Western Basin of Lake Erie where the water can get a little thin at times.

Wife and I will be switching from racing/day sailing to more cruising/racing. I'd still like to compete in several regattas per year. We'll probably take a couple long weekend cruises per year. More after we retire in the next five years.

Would appreciate any insight and advice.
 

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Owned a Pearson 28-1. Great boat, will outsail the Catalina and is roomier. Bottom line with any boat of this vintage - condition is more important than pedigree. Good luck!
 

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Yeah...another great design. I have an original Cal 27 (pop top) here I'm going to get ship shape to sell this winter. We actually have two, I'm taking the good from both to make a good one. Anyone wants this boat let me know....very sound deck, hull is a Cal! (Hand laid up, solid)...
 

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I don't know much about each sailboat's characteristics but I find the Ericson 32 to have nice lines. And they have good reputation in terms of construction too.

Diesel is definitely a piece of mind. When you replace a fuel filter and under-tighten the hoses by mistake and fuel starts leaking into the bilge, you'll feel better knowing it's diesel.
 

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As always, much depends on how well they have been maintained, and how well equipped they are. And only then which one you like the looks of best :). Start off by looking at the boat as a collection of parts - how many sails do they have? Engine hours? Age of rigging? Electronics and electricals (e.g. a friend just bought an Islander 28, and had to rewire it). Check out the bilge and keel bolts - look out for any big-ticket problems. Larger boats like these are a lot more complex, with more parts...how much will each boat part you to replace/upgrade?

It's tough to rank a 28' against a 32'; those few feet make a huge difference in size - and often in slip fees and maintenance costs!

Both Pearson and Ericson are well-made boats, solid. Tough to choose between those two. Although smaller, the Pearson feels surprisingly roomy. Smaller and younger vs. bigger and older....tough. Condition and parts decides that.

Catalina's are still made, so parts are still available; as you know they have a huge following. You get a lot of boat for the money with a Catalina, but they IMHO they tend not to be as strongly built, and so if well maintained, fine; if neglected, may take more effort to "bring back". That, and the fact it is smallest, would put it third for me.
 

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My boat is a tad bigger than a C27, in line with a C28mkII, and probably a pearson 28. If you like tight spaces, great. If not, go with the E32 or equal length boat, assuming reasonably maintained. It will also be the faster and probably better sailing of the three!

Marty
 

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All three are decent boats. Get the boat in the best overall condition for the money.
Don't be afraid of the A-4, it's a great engine if it and the fuel system are well maintained.

If it's a tie, I would choose;
1. Ericson
2. Pearson
3. Catalina

One of the main reasons that the Catalina comes last is that it's the smallest of the three and the newest.... why would I put the newest last... you might ask... because as the years went on the steel mix used to cast the A-4 block and head decreased in quality. That is why you sometimes find engines from the sixties to early seventies still going strong even though they are salt water cooled and engines from the late seventies+ that have issues.

JMHO, whatever that's worth.
 

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Any of those boats will suit your needs. With boats of that age, condition is everything. If all are similar in condition, I would prefer the Pearson and Ericson over the Catalina. Catalinas of that era were not as well built as they are today.
 

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I have sailed a catalina 27 of that vintage and own a 1976 Pearson 28.
The catalina has a 21.75' waterline, the Ericson and Pearson 24', therefore faster.
The Catalina draws 4', the Ericson 5'. About 1977 Pearson reduced the 28's draft from 5' to 4.5', know which you are buying.
The Pearson sails much better than the Catalina in difficult conditions. The Catalina is the lightest displacement of the three and lowest ballast to displacement ratio.

The interior of the Catalina is finished with more wood than the Pearson, but I have found the Pearson to be very easy to clean and control mold and odors. However, the interior of the Ericson is more livable than the Pearson. The galley is far superior and will be appreciated on a week long cruise.

Compare the rigging of the Catalina to the Pearson and you will begin to see what much better build means. One Catalina owner stepped aboard my Pearson and his first comment was; "wow, what a solid boat."

In summary, the Ericson, for the same money is probably a better, more liveable boat, depending on its condition. Both Ericson or the Pearson are well built and have an edge over the Catalina in that regard. Go to "Good Old Boat" and you can find reviews that give more detail on these boats.

Good luck
 
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