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I have a very good friend who is contemplating buying a boat, and has asked me to help him with the process, what to buy, etc. I have a good sense of what I think he should do generally, but it never hurts get varied opinions. So, I'm putting this out there to see what folks think. Here are the parameters:

1. Looking to spend no more than $150,000.

2. Coastal cruising only, and really limited at that. Pretty much daysailing, weekending and a week or two here and there for summer vacations, all in relatively protected water. Essentially Long Island Sound, with some trips out east to Block Island, Martha's Vineyard, Newport, Nantucket, etc.

3. It's a couple in their early 40's, with two children, a boy (9) and girl (7).

4. They do NOT want a fixer-upper. It's important that the boat be low maintenance. He's willing to putter and stuff like that, but he doesn't want to spend his time bringing a boat back to life, or dealing with an old girl who needs lots of attention. He wants to use the boat, not work on the boat.

5. They're looking in the 35' range; could go up or down a few feet. They have some experience. Not tons, but some. They recently came off of a fractional ownership contract where they used a Catalina 350. I think they can handle the boat just fine, but they might be a tad behind the curve in terms of maintaining and managing a cruising boat (which probably puts them in the same category as 90% of all boaters).

6. The wife is willing and a very good sport, but my sense is that if she's not comfortable, she won't be happy, and that a strictly camping type situation will not portend a long life for this venture.

7. They're English, so they talk funny. Not sure what that has to do with the boat they should pick, but thought I'd throw it out there. :)

8. They are open to buying either new or used, but keep in mind number 4 above, so if used, it needs to be a pretty recent vintage, and in good shape.

Thoughts in terms of brand, new/used, size, etc.? I have my own views, but I'll keep my powder dry to see what others think before posting where I'm likely to steer them.
 

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6. The wife is willing and a very good sport...
I'm interested in a trade!!

For that kind of limited cruising, just like here in the Bay, I don't know why anyone would need anything larger than 32'.

I like the Catalina 310/309. well under budget.

Now, cruising to Florida or Bermuda, sure, 40+ feet of limited or off-shore build is a must.

Yeah, I like that 309!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm interested in a trade!!

For that kind of limited cruising, just like here in the Bay, I don'y know why anyone would need anything larger than 32'.

I like the Catalina 310/309. well under budget.

I liked your post better before the edit. It almost made me spit coffee out of my nose when I read it!
 

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Catalina 36. One of the best boats they have made. It is no longer in production, but they can pick up a MKII for less than the numbers they discussed. It is a coastal boat, but many, many people have cruised all over with them. It is an open arrangement (buy this one) where the table folds up against the bulkhead, and gives the feel of more space than what it really is. It has its own nav station, though small. It has a dedicated TV and entertainment cabinet. It has a head accesbile from owners and salon. The V is a bit small, but better than the 350. It has no teak on the outside. It has a nice cockpit for entertaining. It is a very forgiving boat, but still performs very well. It has a great lazarette, given the space below. It has all the amenities of home. They will hav no problem singlehanding this boat and should their aspirations of longer trips ever change, it can take them there. I would take this boat to Bermuda - have you had any race with you?

I feel this boat is heads and tails better than a C350... heads and tails better. I know both quite well. In my opinion, in a production boat, there is not a better made boat under 36 feet. Catalina did away with it (official word) because they wanted to redesign a boat (what would become the 350) to be more accessible for he new systems (generators and ac's are a pain to put on this boat). In my opinion, though, they quit making htis boat AND the 380 (a better cruising boat than the 36) because the profit margin on them was too slim. My opinion... Gerry nor Frank told me that.

The negatives of the boat are:

1) Less storage than the next step up (the 380).
2) Head does not have a seperate shower stall. This requires wiping down the head some after use.
3) Generator is a pain to put in. I can discuss with them/someone if they ever want to know specifics of how and where to do it.
4) Tankage is limited.
5) The aft berth is cramped (for their kids). It requires crawling over each other to get out.

Given their stated plans, I do not think any of the negatives of the boat will be a deterrent. It is a great boat and will be a classic that should hold its value for a long time. They should be able to pick up a late model 36 in the low 100s, giving them a nice $$ left over for any upgrades (electronics or genny, should they wish).

If they want to have more storage, a seperate stall, a generator, and better sleeping quarters (for both), the 380 is my next choice. That is what we cruised/lived on. It is actually the old Morgan 38 hull - and a med disp heavy cruiser. They would be able to pick one up for the numbers discussed. It would be a better cruiing boat and more comfortable boat than the 36. However, if they are fairly sure that they will not cruise in the boat, I would probably stick with the 36 and save some coin.

I can answer any and all questions on the 380 as I know it well. It is not in any way related to the 387. The 380 is also out of production but a late model can be picked up. It too will hold its value well.

Let me know if I can help, Dan.

Brian

Here is a REALLY nice one:

2005 Catalina MK II Sloop Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

another, does not seem quite as nice (but this is just pics)



2004 Catalina MK II Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
 

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I have seen nothing like a REAL SHOWER stall to help with that camping feeling ;)

BUT that seems to mean about 38 Ft
 

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I just added some links on my post above.

On the 36, it certainly does not feel like camping. I find the arrangement a more traditional arrangement. The baot is very comfortable for 4 down below (or for 5 and a child running around on the floor... ask me how I know).

But what is more important is that the boat preforms well. She is sure footed and easy to single hand. She almost turns within her own wake. She is a relatively shallow draft.

I honestly love this boat. i would not be suprised to see these boats appreciate in value over time... or at least hold their own. I will tell you that this was the first boat I took mom and dad to when we were shopping. These prices have stayed the same or apparently increased a bit since then. We were looking at a 04 for around 100k, and a fresh water boat fairly well equipped.

This boat will be fun and keep them safe. She has no real issues I am aware of. It has a very large owners group and they worked out all the bugs long ago. It is the kind of boat you will buy and keep until your destinations become further reaching.

Brian
 

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I've been aboard this one:

2007 Catalina 36 MK II Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

and it is almost brand new. The dealer said that the couple who bought the boat had never sailed before and was afraid of it.

It says "Sale Pending", and is listed a bit more than you were thinking, but it is in great shape.

David
 

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Hate to appear to have a one track mind, but gosh darn it, what they need is a Gemini 105mc. Low maintenance, price is right for one 4-5 years old; certainly hard to 'camp' on a queen sized bed in the master cabine with a full galley, an honest to god bathroom including shower - and separate cabins for each of the kids. Hard not to be comfortable living and sailing flat.

Nothing much to fix, off the shelf the crew of Slapdash (the slapmobile is 2/3 of the way around the world on their 5 year old boat.
 

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I have a Catalina 30 now, and my son is 12 and my daughter 15. We last for a week on the boat before driving each other crazy.

Of course, I am thinking about a new boat, but have looked around quite a bit, and have come to the conclusion, right or wrong, that if we significantly want to increase comfort, we would need a boat with two aft cabins.

As it is now, the kids don't want to share sleeping quarters, so that means that Mark winds up in the quarterberth, and someone sleeps on the folded-down table.

So once people start going to sleep, everything shuts down.

So I've quit looking at boats in the 34-36 foot range, because I don't think the extra comfort justifies the expense.

Still though, I do like the Catalina 36!

David
 

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I've been aboard this one:

2007 Catalina 36 MK II Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

and it is almost brand new. The dealer said that the couple who bought the boat had never sailed before and was afraid of it.

It says "Sale Pending", and is listed a bit more than you were thinking, but it is in great shape.

David
I am assuming these people are on the East COast, so I did not list any west coast boats.

Did you like the boat and layout, David? What were your thoughts of the 36 (not particularly this one) in geneal? Just curious if others share my thoughts of the boat.

Brian
 

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I have a Catalina 30 now, and my son is 12 and my daughter 15. We last for a week on the boat before driving each other crazy.

Of course, I am thinking about a new boat, but have looked around quite a bit, and have come to the conclusion, right or wrong, that if we significantly want to increase comfort, we would need a boat with two aft cabins.

As it is now, the kids don't want to share sleeping quarters, so that means that Mark winds up in the quarterberth, and someone sleeps on the folded-down table.

So once people start going to sleep, everything shuts down.

So I've quit looking at boats in the 34-36 foot range, because I don't think the extra comfort justifies the expense.

Still though, I do like the Catalina 36!

David
I think we posted at the same time.

You will probably want a C42 for that. Maybe a Catalina 40... but I think the 42 may be the better boat for a 3 cabin layout. Many dissagree and like the 40 better. The 40 is the better performer and very sure footed. However, the 3 cabin maximizes the living space and minimizes the cabin space (if that makes sense). Ask Johnrpollard about his thoughts there.

At least on the 36, you could easily fold down the stbd table for a berth every night. Not a perfect arrangement, but you should ask yourself how long your son will be sailing with you and if you are going to be keeping the boat after they leave. It seems that you only have 3 more years to worry about it. I would probably make them tough it out and buy the boat that was good for you and your wife and daughter - as she is more longterm a part of your sailing.

If you really want a great boat, I will say that the 400 is outstanding. It is like a big 380 or really big 36. We found a workaround with our kids for the sleeping arrangements that might work for you and your son/daughter until he goes off to college:



It still manages to give them some privacy. They will also have their own head (or your daughter will have her own head and the rest of you have the master... smile).

We added cabinets going down each side of the V and some bookshelves which has really added to the liveability of the V for the kiddos.

You might also consider getting into a catamaran. It will give you the berths you want. Cost may be a factor, though. I am not very familiar with teh Gemini, but Chuckles really likes it and speaks highly of it.

Take care,

Brian
 

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Brian:

I liked the layout of the boat.. It looked clean and modern down below. The plastic was still on the cushions! It had everything you'd need for PNW cruising.

I like the lack of outside teak. I'm done with teak.

Typical "Catalina Concept" Lots of space above and down below.

I'm on my third Catalina now. It seems like they understand what I'm looking for.

Really a shame about the present owners situation. The dealer seemed sad about it too. He took them out sailing quite a bit, but they just couldn't get comfortable.

I like the lack of outside teak. I'm done with teak.

Personally, that boat is way out of my price range. I'm pretty handy and could work with an older one....

Still though, I wonder if it's big enough to make that much of a difference....

David
 

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Brian:

I liked the layout of the boat.. It looked clean and modern down below. The plastic was still on the cushions! It had everything you'd need for PNW cruising.

I like the lack of outside teak. I'm done with teak.

Typical "Catalina Concept" Lots of space above and down below.

I'm on my third Catalina now. It seems like they understand what I'm looking for.

Really a shame about the present owners situation. The dealer seemed sad about it too. He took them out sailing quite a bit, but they just couldn't get comfortable.

I like the lack of outside teak. I'm done with teak.

Personally, that boat is way out of my price range. I'm pretty handy and could work with an older one....

Still though, I wonder if it's big enough to make that much of a difference....

David
Get an older one, but stay with the MKII. You can join the owners group to work through the mods made on the later models that would help on the early MKII's. I think they swiched to MKII in 98... but I may be thinking of a different model.

You should be able to pick up a 36 for close to 100... even if you have to ship it there. Unfortunately, the 36 will do little to fix your current issues until your son goes to college. The stbd coffeee table and its ease to fold down is the only plus. They certainly will not like crawling over each other in the aft berth.

Brian
 

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I talked my way aboard a chartered Gemini 105MC last summer. Seems like a great layout for us.

Still a cost issue, though.. and a berth that wide is hard to get around here.

You're exactly right.. we're thinking about the situation being short-term. Don't know how long we'll be sailing all together, when Hope heads off to college.

That's another reason I'm thinking about keeping the 30. It's just right for the Admiral and me, and Mark is pretty happy in the quarterberth.

I've looked at the 42, and not a 400... Budget issues again, although the oldest ones are coming down in price. Moorage becomes and even bigger problem. Really don't know if I want a boat that big, frankly.

Still, though.. keeping an eye on the prices and seeing where they are going...

Didn't think about folding down the table for a starboard berth...

David
 

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They are afterall on Long Island Sound where the summers are light air and the spring and fall can really pound you. While Catalinas offer a lot of room for the dollar, they are not exactly great sailing boats across a wide wind range. If they are interested in a boat that has a great interior layout and sails well and that they can hone their skills on and I had to make a couple recommendations I would suggest either a Dehler 36 (excellent build quality and layout) or a Beneteau 36.7.

Jeff
 

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One masted "Freedom" from 90-s. Maintenance free, easy to sail, safe, plush interior.
 

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Jeff:

I looked at a Beneteau 36.7 last summer as well. What attracted me was the three-cabin layout.

Looked fast and fun to sail.

As soon as I went down below, It was all over. The cabin interior seemed cheap and overly spartan. I knew the Admiral would never go for it.

Barely enough storage for fenders, etc in the lockers, as so much space was taken up be the aft cabins.

The aft cabins were plenty big for our kids, though.

David
 

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Gee, within your friends price range is an Able 34 that Morris Yachts is listing in Maine. A lovely Chuck Paine design, handcrafted by a fine boatyard. They also have acouple of small Morris's that could fit the bill.

I like Catalina's, don't get me wrong, but an Able or Morris is special. They should at least look at the website.

They might also consider the CS's, I think Maine Sail has a CS36 that is very nice.
 

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One masted "Freedom" from 90-s. Maintenance free, easy to sail, safe, plush interior.
I just came off a single-masted Freedom, a Freedom 45. I loved that boat. But for these guys, a Freedom probably is too old, and would need more love and care than they would prefer. But that's an interesting thought on which I hadn't really focused.
 

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If they are English, doesn't it have to be a twin keel boat with a kerosene stove onboard? (G)
 
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