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I am interested in a few boats and found a very clean 1984 Catalina 30 and also a 1978 Cape Dory. Both are pretty much the same price. I am new to sailing and will be mostly on the ICW and trips to the Bahamas from Florida. The Catalina has a lot of room but may not be as well built, but probably good enough for what i will be using it for. Any suggestions ??
 

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Umm... these are very, very different boats. Either of them is capable of making a trip to the Bahamas, given a properly prepared crew and a good weather window. The Catalina will give you a lot more space, both for stowage and for living. It is also a lot newer. It will also perform better in light air.

I'd highly recommend you read the Boat Inspection Trip Tips thread I started, as it will help you figure out if either of these two boats is really worth going forward on. Many clean looking boats aren't... and have been cleaned up for the purposes of selling them.
 
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