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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

Could use some advice on a purchase I'm looking to make soon that entails a choice between two boats. The first is a 1984 Hunter 34 with the compression post repaired in 2012, the second is a Catalina 30 that is also in decent condition. I'll have survey's done as recommended, but can anyone give a real world comparison of the two and a recommendation?

I do like the room on the Hunter 34 and want it as a place to go to on the weekend as much as something to sail. The Catalina is quite roomy too, but I'm of the impression this boat might be more dependable and less trouble free.

The boat being equal in use, and price be comparable; what would be the recommended choice?

This would be a first boat me, so that may be a factor those who may give a recommendation. If it comes down to "buy what you prefer, they're similar in dependability...", I may go with the Hunter 34.

Thanks in advance.

Ted
 

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The H34 is, of course, a considerably larger boat. More freeboard, maybe less cockpit, probably a better aft berth. I'd also suspect it's a bit more lively than a C30, which is one of the least tender production boats out there.

The one thing I remember from the H34 is the narrow, tight access to the galley past the companionway.. not sure if this is a big issue from day to day but on prints and in person it looks like a 'pinch point'.

Hard to beat Catalina's support network both owners and builder, and the C30 is a comfy boat that will save you money on moorage costs and other consumables because it's smaller than the Hunter.
 
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Both are fine "first" boats with plenty written about each. The Hunter will likely be faster (though a bit more tender) and offer more cabin space and privacy (private aft cabin), as you've noted. However, the H34s had iron keels and I've seen a couple recently from the mid-1980s that looked super rusted and scary. Sounds like the biggest known issue with the H34 (mast base) has already been addressed with the boat you're looking at.

The Catalina 30 is a very popular boat and thus will likely retain value better than the H34 if you maintain it properly. Parts and support are also readily available for the C30, both from Catalina, other private suppliers and the online community.

While the H34 may have a larger cabin than the C30, the C30 has a roomier cockpit. The H34 cockpit is one of the smallest I've seen for coastal cruiser without a canoe stern. If it's just you and one or two other crew this might not matter, but 4 or more is a crowd in the H34 cockpit.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Ron,

Thanks for the feedback. Still seems like a tough choice. The Hunter 34 has a iron keel, should that be a worry down the road? As of now, it looks in good condition. The Hunter as a Yanmar 3GMF 22hp diesel engine, the Cat has the typical Universal.

I'd have to say the Hunter looks in better shape and less dated, but the Cat has had a new 5 coat Interlux coating in the last year and looks good.

There's actually two Cat 30's that are on my short list and it seems there are A LOT of sailboats on the market that have been sitting around for >6months around the Chesapeake.

Thanks

Ted
 

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The iron keel would not be a deal breaker for me, esp if it looks good now. The trick to these is not letting things get away on you rust-wise. Seal them and keep them that way. There's always the issue of lead being more forgiving in a grounding (debated by some) but plan A should be not to hit anything so in some way's it's a moot point.

I think both the Universal/kubota and the Yanmar are reliable engines.. if both are FWC then that's probably another wash. Engine access might be slightly easier on the Hunter.
 
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Those 80's model Hunter 34's were some roomy boats, and not bad performers. But, for a mid size starter boat, either one would be good.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
All Great Advice, Guys! Thx

I may be able to get the H34 at $12k, the 1983 C30 at $10k, the other 1985 C30 maybe at $8k. What's the "Catalina Smile" I hear about and how can I identify it? Also, are compression posts a problem in Cat30's?

Thx
 

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These are both fine boats. Buy the boat that is in better condition, better gear, and most importantly, the one you like the best.

The smile: a crack along the hull to keel joint. Usually not a problem. Ask your surveyor if it is on the particular boat your looking at.

Compression post: Not a problem. As always check for deck deformation or deck spongyness. Deck deformation is seen in cracks, or cabinetry that is out of square; examples: doors that don't open or close properly.
 

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the paint on the cat 30 would tell me that the boat may have needed it to cover bad looking gelcoat or there was a repair that only paint would cover. once a boat is painted it will need to be repainted about every 5 years. hunter has a small cockpit but larger inside, where are you going to spend most of your time when on the boat? check on slip availability in your area. where I sail the cut off on slip size is 33'. a 34' boat would require a 38' slip and the cost goes way up and there is a 5 year wait to get one.
 

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A little bit apples and oranges, comparing a 34 and a 30. I have a preference for one of the brands you mentioned, but that preference is less important to me than my preference for whether I want a 30 or a 34. Looking at the displacement of a 30 vs. a 34 will usually make that difference more apparent.
 

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There is a C&C 34 on craigslist in Annapolis for 14k that will sail circles around both if it is in good condition.
 

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I have to second the suggestion about Denise's boat. She's certainly worth a look, if nothing else.

As between the C30 and the H34, that's a tough call. What will fit your needs better? Is this your first boat? Do you have a family? Will you be overnighting or mostly day sailing? Where will you sail? Have you looked at the difference in price for a slip/mooring between the two boats?
 

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I had owned a 1986 Hunter 28.5 and now a 1988 Catalina 30. IMO the Catalinas of that era were better constructed when it came to gel coat finish and interior woodwork. I also think that Catalina used a lot Garhauer hardware while Hunter used hardware from companies no longer in business or are no longer supporting their products such as Maxwell winches. I also prefer the Catalina 30 because of its' fiberglass liner instead of carpet which tends to absorb odors. Catalina Direct and the Catalina factory are way more supportive when it comes to support while Hunter is of little help, especially since Hunter was taken over by Marlow. I do like the Hunter fiberglass grid system and I think the Hunters' of that era are better sailing boats. A little tender at first but then they hold and take off. They back straighter and are more responsive.

You don't mention which engine the Catalina has. At one point they used a 12hp. diesel which was later switched to a 3 cyclinder model.

It is a tough call between the two but given the vintage of both boats there is no doubt replacement equipment will add dollars to your initial outlay. The larger the boat the larger the hole to pour money into. Other issues have been thoroughly discussed.

I wish you well in making your decision.
 

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Additional questions for evaluation, is the Cat 30 a tall rig? What about electronics etc. I have a H-34, moved up from a Cat 27. The Hunter has fairly good access to all systems. Yes, you can say the boat is tender but you lean to manage that through good sail control and reefing. What is the condition of the sails on the different boats? We frequently sail with 6 and don't find it overly tight. I did add stern "babe" seats which add to the comfort for multiple guests. The other change I made was a switch from the continuous line furler to a single line. The Hood 810 was a PITA, until I found a conversion kit. The Hunter is also definitely faster than the Catalina. It handles the chop of Lake Michigan very well. Cast iron keel as noted above is an annual maintenance issue but not a big issue if done correctly.
 

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Aside from just price is condition of sails, running rigging and standing rigging, upgrading any of those things are serious costs, just price out a new main or headsail. Also, electronics and lastly IMHO well before an inspections is checking to see what lights, switches, etc... work.

In all reality the boat itself is the least expensive part of owning a boat. I bought a C22 for $6,500 that was in exceptional shape and after new sails, bottom paint and tons of little things (mostly because I'm super OCD) I had another $5k in it.
 

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Tedman, Jim, anyone that's in my area. There are a number of boats for sale at my club. There's a Ericsson 32, Endeavor 32, 30 ft German boat, and my boat of course LOL I'm selling the whole package so the price would seem high.

Aside from all the boats for sale. I'd like to invite you to the club and get to see some boats close and personal.

Closing day, Nov 1 st! 2- 6 pm!
Lots of food, barb chicken, pulled pork, burgers, dogs, salads, plus liquids $10!!!
 

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IMHO , I believe that Catalina and many other manufacturers built stronger boats than Hunter. In my opinion, Catalina and other brands will hold their value longer. Hunter has made a great boat for the bay but is not as heavily built and may be less than ideal for those longer offshore passages that most sailors look to in the future. :puke
 

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IMHO , I believe that Catalina and many other manufacturers built stronger boats than Hunter. In my opinion, Catalina and other brands will hold their value longer. Hunter has made a great boat for the bay but is not as heavily built and may be less than ideal for those longer offshore passages that most sailors look to in the future. :puke
Take a Catalina off shore? :eek::eek::eek:

Besides.. the OP is looking for their FIRST BOAT.
 

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I agree that Hunters depreciate faster, but as the buyer of a used Hunter you may have the opportunity to make that depreciation the prior owner's problem.

When I was shopping 5 years ago I personally didn't find a Hunter that I was willing to consider. The ones I saw all seemed moldy and smelly. But I suspect a well cared for Hunter from one of their better production runs could make a good first boat for coastal waters.
 
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