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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I started participating in forums 6 months ago. I bought my C30 a month or 2 after I started. I live in South Texas, I bought the boat to sail to the Bahamas. Not an original idea, I know. I have been working on the boat and reading the forums. It is universally agreed that a C30 is not a heavy weather boat, not an ocean passsage vessel. It's a good coastal cruiser and a great dock queen. WHY?
If one were to beef up the standing rigging, get a solid rudder stock, replace the ports with good off shore ports(or good shutters), make the hatch smaller, install some good cockpit drains, more water tanks, and run all lines to the cockpit. What about the C30 still makes it a poor choice for ocean passage? I would like to sail her across the gulf to Tampa, but if the boat flips over on 3' waves than I will take the ICW. Of course the boat will be outfitted for offshore cruising, ie. EPIRB, GPS, radar, solar, series drouge, all safety equipment, everything anyone else would load up on a passage on a
30' boat.
After my initial research I determined that the displacement of the boat was the key to seaworthiness, but there are plenty of lighter displacement boats on the seaworthy list. There are also fin keel spade rudder boats that circumnavigate(and don't say there are rowboats that circumnavigate, this isn't a row boat). So what is it about the Catalina 30 that makes it a turd in rough weather?
 

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Hey Scott, welcome aboard. I'll take a stab at a couple of possible reasons.

For one; the list of upgrades you suggest is not a small undertaking.

"beef up the standing rigging" Include all of the supporting structures for the rigging, chainplates, bulkheads, backing plates, etc.


"get a solid rudder stock", Likewise, it's not only the rudder and post, it's the underlying structure

"replace the ports with good off shore ports" do-able, but not a small expense

"make the hatch smaller", hmmmmm

"install some good cockpit drains" More structural than you might think, actualy

etc etc.


Of course, this boat could get across oceans if the conditions were right all the way across; but that rarely happens. I think it is the constant stress of being in heavy-ish seas for extended periods that the boat is really not designed for.

I am sure that others will pipe-in with other worthy reasons; but I think that I've covered the basics. It's simply a matter of sturdiness, as well as design.

A 1970's VW Beetle is a great car, as is a Lamborghini; butI would not take either of them in the Cairo to Dakkar rally. One for the quality of construction, one for design reasons.
 

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Well Scott, as a past Catalina 30 owner, vintage 1982, I had it outfitted to take on just about everything. My home port in those days was California's Channel Islands, which as I've found, prepared me for any type of weather and seas, I usually found myself in the thick of it.

Here's a couple observatiions. Early 30's were weak in the chain plates. Look inside and see if there are "knees", basically wood triangles where the chainplates attach to the hull. There was a problem with hull flexing and lifting, the "knees" were the solution. I believe that was pre 77.

Fuel carrying capacity. although we are sailors, the iron genoa is used more often than not on long passages, either for propulsion or to charge the batteries. The basic version only carried about 20 gals. Not much for making long passages. The two cylinder Universal 11 hp diesel is economical, the Atomic gasoline eats it up.

Round bottom. In heavy seas it pounds with teeth jarring force, and becomes a little squirilly in following seas. On the obverse, with weather on the bow, I've gone backwards.

Cargo capacity. For a short crossing, fine, for a month at sea, say mexico to new zealand, you'll end up eating your shoes. Of course dried, vacuum packed survival rations would be part of your on board provisions.

Fin keel, Spade rudder. Fast, manueverable, but those things play against you in heavy seas, and although sailing in heavy weather for a short time can be fun, it takes it's toll on the helmsman over an extended period and requires a lot of practice to master. I know, a lot of boats have this combination, but add in the round bottom and you have a hand full.

Ground tackle. The chain locker is rather small for the amount of rode needed for a lot of places you may want to visit. I had 200 ft of HT chain on a windless of mine along with another 200ft of nylon. I bored a hole in the chain locker and made a hausel pipe into the bilge. The windless was mounted in the chain locker.

On the upside, the standard main reefs well, and with a good roller furling on the jib, the boat can be balanced, and I always thought it sailed better reefed. All control lines were led to the cockpit, even main hoisting and reefing.

There's other considerations, water for example, but those things are common sense. Not to be discouraged, a dock partner bought a 30 outfitted it with minor improvements as mentioned above, and last I heard was in New Zealand.

So, it's not that it can't be done, it's if you really want to do it.
 

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Ianhind has it. It can be done, but so can a trip across North America in an ultralight motorized hang glider. The question is "why?"

For the money you spent making a Catalina 30 "bluewater capable" (and I would first glass in that huge companionway to a little gasketted, lockable hatch), you could buy a Contessa 26 or maybe even a beat-up Westsail 32, both more ready for ocean crossings than the C30 could ever be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you Ian(half naked girl on the bow dude) lol I really like hearing from someone who owned a c30 for a good amount of time. Will you explain what you mean by "hausel pipe into the bilge". Was your anchor rode stored in the bilge under the table in the cabin? Do you have a site where you have public pictures? I would be very interested in seeing all that you did.
xort- I understand that I should buy a passage making boat to make ocean passages, but really I just want to outfit what I have to handle weather incase I get in any thing unexpected in the gulf of mexico. The c30 fits what I am going to use it for better than anything else I know. Except your boat, if you want to trade.
Valiente- I do all the work myself. I have a fabrication shop also. So things don't cost me near as much as others.
I bought this boat very cheap. $3500. After yard fees, rebuilding the Yanmar 12 horse, new prop cutlass and shaft and doing the bottom, I now have $6500 in her. Another boat isn't an option at this point anyway. myspace.com\sailboatspace That shows the pics of my progress and my superhot wife. She's a model, she just isn't striking a pose with a boat oar for nothing. lol
I posted this question in another forum and got a lot of good feedback from them as well. I was studying at a bookstore tonight. And as Ian says it's the constant jaring motion in rough seas that would be the biggest deal if I did upgrade everything mentioned. Other than being turned turtle, which apparently the c30 won't likely right herself because of the wide beam.
 

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A C30 would not be my first choice of 30' boats to travel the oceans.......But I am sure one could get from Texas to Tampa Bay in one, with out flipping. Of course if you see a katrina or equal in the horizon, I am not sure I would want to be on Vals steel hulled boat either!

I would echo the others tho, if you really want to do a circumnavigation, get a different boat. I pretty sure a C30 or two or three have circumnavigated, it is NOT a boats most would think about using tho! Not that I would want to sail my Jeanneau 30 around the world, I would choose it over a C30 for many reasons. But I would choose other 30's before this on too!

marty
 

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I sail a Catalina 27. Another guy I know of has circumnavigated in the boat! But first he did extensive refits. I can't believe that the Catalina line 27 or 30 was ever even considered as a possible world cruiser. The boat is light weight and makes a wonderful coastal cruiser (I sail The Chesapeake Bay). Why not look around and find a boat more suited to world cruising and trade up to that? You will be safer and have a better time.
 

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Scott,
First of all thanks for the link to your myspace page. LOL.
You seem like a very handy person and one that believes that they can take on any challenge and achieve the desired goal. I get this impression simply from reading your above posts and from looking at your myspace page.
This is a good thing, but it can also interfer with your ability to listen to the advise others have given. If you are determined to try, as you seem to be, I don't believe there is anything anybody is going to say or do that will influnce your decision.
If you are going to try and make it work, just becareful, your life lays in the balance, and the lifes of all the crew members you take with you are also in your hands. And don't think for a minute that its not true. There are dozens of recent reports about sailors being rescued at sea. The ones that got rescued are the lucky ones.
I, myself, would not consider it even for a minute. But you are who you are.
Maybe, if I was in your shoes, I would contemplate a trip from Tx using the ICW to get up and around the Florida Panhandle and down to the Keys than over to the Islands. After doing that and enjoying myself for a couple of years, I would reasses my decision in the first place to circumnavigate.
 

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Hermit,
Your C30 will do great along the Texas coast. If you want to do a little off shore work, sail a rhumb line from Destin to Ft. Meyer or Marathon when a suitable weather window opens up. Once you lose sight of land and the sun sets for the first time, you'll be asking yourself questions like, "I wonder what would happen if 50 gallons of seawater came crashing through my giant companionway once every nine seconds?"
 

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A C30 would not be my first choice of 30' boats to travel the oceans.......But I am sure one could get from Texas to Tampa Bay in one, with out flipping. Of course if you see a katrina or equal in the horizon, I am not sure I would want to be on Vals steel hulled boat either!
Hey, I wouldn't want to, either, despite the strong impression that with two watertight bulkheads, ocean-grade hatches and a number of high capacity pumps, I think my chances vastly better than a C30!

I suppose the key to this sort of proposal is to carry a lot of batteries and a wind gen to power SSB, radar and PC so you can download a vast amount of data to tell you where the weather is likely to be...and then avoid it. In order to do this, you might need a radar/solar panel arch over the cockpit. I would also redo the salon furniture to increase the stowage space, because a C30 is going to want batteries and spare diesel tankage low and in the center. Gut the V-berth, because you need stowage for supplies, water tanks and yet more fuel, spare sails, and a life raft. Guests? Forget it...it's drinks in the cockpit and goodnight.

I think, Cohiba, what we are getting at is that a C30 is fine as a fair-weather Caribbean cruiser due to the short passages, if you truly circumnavigate, you regularly face multi-week, 1,000 to even 3,000 NM passages with no "outs". A 30 footer of any kind is very small to carry the fuel, water and food necessary for that sort of passage with any kind of margin of error, never mind an shallow-bilged, '80s coastal cruiser production boat.

Also, I know C30s can get squirrelly downwind after 22 knots due to innate functions of hull form, keel and rudder size...I've seen them broach to in Lake Ontario even with a crew of six working to avoid it. (They can and do surf downwind).

You could have a week of 35 knots...where are you going to put the windvane and the autopilot and the scrap of staysail to keep the C30 going safely down 25 foot wave faces when you two finally have to sleep? If you heave to (which I would wonder if a C30 can do in truly oceanic conditions), where are you going to keep the drogues, sea anchors and warps? When the typhoon brushes the gorgeous tropical lagoon that looks like it was made to show off your wife (who had better have a load of real muscles in that admittedly attractive frame..and so long, French tips!), where are you going to keep the dozen of feet of chain rode and the approximately 200 lbs. of anchors you'll need to stay off the coral heads when it goes 45 knots from North and then 50 knots from South in the same horrible 12 hour stretch?

You probably get my drift. By all means improve your boat. Sail it coastally in terrible conditions until you squeeze out all the instructional time you can out of it. Then find a different boat.
 

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I agree with everyone that a Catalina 30 was never intended, by it's designers, to be a blue water warrior. They are great boats for bay and coastal cruising and great boats for hanging out in the slip. If you are going to circumnavigate, get the right boat.
 

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You can mount 'ocean rated' ports to the hull, but the hull doesn't change.
You can mount a serious rudder to the hull, but the hull doesn't change.

The scantlings of the C30 are what make it a category b, to upgrade it to category a you have to change the scantlings. To do that, you start at the design phase.
 

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Despite the provocative title, is your "real' plan to sail the boat from Texas to the Bahamas? I cannot speak to the conditions in the Gulf, but based on my experience sailing C30's in the Pacific, a properly prepared boat should be up to the job. People on this site love to trash talk Catalina's and IMHO you will be hard pressed to get an unbiased opinion. I, myself have a favorable opinion of the boat and have actually sailed them fairly extensively, including offshore and way out of sight from land. I suggest you go to the C30 Owners website to find practical information on what kind of improvements you may want to make for your intended voyage (http://www.catalina30.com/).

The C30 has enjoyed an extremely long production run (something like over 25 years) and the build quality reflects the standards of the time the boat was built. Frank and Gerry's philosophy has been to evolve their designs based on the inputs from their vast customer base. Therefore, a boat built in 1975 will be much different than one built in 1985 or 95. What year is your boat? Your boat's "vintage" will ultimately determine what improvements may be necessary. What hasn't changed is the basic hull mold and sail plan. This was done to maintain the class's one design status. So (un)fortunately, you are stuck with the IOR influenced hull shape (pinched stern) which lends itself to a little squirrlyness downwind in winds of 25kts+. This was corrected in later boats by an elliptical rudder, a popular owner "upgrade". This boat has a relatively wide beam to length ratio, and many people make the mistake of sailing with a relatively deep heel angle. The boat really likes to stand up on her feet and the long traveler beam allows you to make the necessarily adjustments. Much has been made about the large companionway opening, but if you are familiar with the Cal 30, it has one just as large and the Newport's opening is larger, and it has practically no threshold to keep water out. I probably been "pooped" more times in a Catalina than most on this board, and feel that this "problem' is hyped way out of proportion with reality.

One problem boats with a short LOA all share is a lack of tankage, battery capacity and general storage space. That is something that you are going to have to figure out. I know a couple of guys who raced their Moore 24 to Hawaii last summer with only a pair of group 24 batteries and an outboard motor. So you should be able to work the logistics for a four or five day passage easily.

The Catalina 30 (mkIII) holds a Design Category "A" (Ocean) Certificate from the International Marine Certification Institute. The C28 and 270 hold the "B" certificate and the C250 holds a "C" certificate. I verified this on Catalina Yachts' website.[/font]
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I HAVE NO DESIRE TO CIRCUMNAVIGATE. I apologize for the misleading title. I have been participating in forums for 6 months and one thing I never do is respond to a title; I read the persons post first. I got a feeling if I just put "circumnavigate" as the title but in the post I said I was going to do it in a hobie cat, everyone would be like 'oh awsome you're going to circumnaviagate, good luck' with out ever reading the post.
My biggest ambitions right now are to sail along the coast to Florida but cut the corner and cross a little bit of the gulf, maybe a night or 2 at sea.
What I really wanted to know is what makes the C30 NOT a heavy weather boat. Because you could circumnavigate in a bass tracker if you had calm seas all the way. When I cut that corner of the gulf, I want to make sure that my boat isn't going to kill my wife and me.
 

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Try it out first!!!! Wait until there is some rough weather and then sail out and experience what the boat does. If it is scarey and uncomfortable ask yourself if you would want to be 100 miles from shore. It is better to discover your boat's characteristics close to help than far out at sea.
Go to sailcalculator and compare the numbers of a C30 to some other boats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
George, Is class 'A' an offshore boat? Is that the highest rating of heavy weather capability? Mine is a 1979, so that class may be different for that year.
As a disclaimer I have never sailed any boat in my life. I rebuilt the engine in my boat and motored it 40 miles in the ICW to a boat yard.
The stage I am at is fixin' up the boat. I plan to begin sailing in the spring.
sailortjk1-I am that guy that thinks he can do anything. However now that I am 34 I am not as impulsive as I once was. I try to get all the facts first and then make a decision. I do listen to wisdom.
 

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The Class A rating is from a european spec, meaning it will handle ceratin wave sizes, has a place for a life raft in/on the transom area. Door ways that meet a certain sizing etc for open ocean traveling. Your 79 will probably not have said rating, as I am rrecalling that the current system was done in the last 10-15 yrs or so. My 85 has a rating, while it may be equal to the current one, the letter designation is NOT the same. So I am not really sure how my boat rates. BUT, if I took a review article by Boat US, then I am going to swag I have a class a or equal at the time of manufacture. If not an A, it would be a B, and probably not by much.

For what you want to do, I will reiterate what I said above, going from Texas to Florida, cutting off the corner as you say, not a big deal. But if katrina is in the forcast, stay ashore in a slip! No dish on Vals boat, but I would not want to be on it even. But if I had a choice, Vals hand over fist before a C30. Yes I would own one for the type of stuff I do, but prefer boats with a racier profile, and ment to race then cruise, vs a boat ment to cruise, and gets raced.

marty
 

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Hermit...don't look for or believe in ratings. If a boat is not rated A it is certainly not rated for ocean use. If it is rated A...it MAY mean it is ocean capable...but MANY are not.
As I said...I really like the C30 and think it is one of the great boats of all time for typical sailors. You would be best doing a coastal route through the Gulf to Florida given both the boat and your experience. This means...being within 24 hours of a place to pull in if the weather turns. You can certainly cross over to the Bahamas on the right day. Learning to use all the weather information available and getting new reports constantly will be the most important thing you can do as you prepare yourself for this trip.
 
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