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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I have been reading these forums off and on for information and decided to join. My fiancé and I are looking at our first sailboat tomorrow and I wanted to know if there are any specific questions I should ask?

We are both very new to sailing. Took the 101 course in June, and then got hooked(She more than I which I am thankful for) We sailed all around the Chester river in a Cal 22. Had an amazing instructor that gave us confidence. So we basically just sailed sailed sailed for three months. We then took the basic cruising course a month ago on a Hunter 28 and got even more hooked. So after that we took the Hunter out a few times, the last time sailed to the Bay Bridge and back which was a big deal for us. We slept on the Hunter many times and loved that as well. Anyway, we have decided to buy, or at least begin looking.

We are looking at a 1985 Catalina 30 tomorrow. I know there are many pros/cons to each vessel. We like the Hunter, but this is the first time looking at a boat we know nothing about. Actually, to be honest, after reading and spending time listening to other sailors, I can say I know absolutely nothing about sailing and have much to learn.

My dad was a Navy diver and his trade was a bottom cleaner on boats. He taught me a little about boat years. "Try and find a boat pre 1973......gelcoat blisters...." Anyway, he's sick now so I cannot really have him come with me tomorrow.

I wanted to know if there were any specific questions I should ask the owner? Besides if the hull had any gelcoat blisters? I do not even know if that's even an appropriate question. I am not going in to buy, rather, just look and get an idea of another boat. Though if the price is right, we have talked about it in a month or so. Anyway, appreciate it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks guys, I was just reading about delamination. I guess since it is the first time looking I will just go for the experience and learn to look sorta thing. I think the hard part is just weeding through all the opinions, and trying to sort out what is fact, and what is opinion. Things like "stay away from atomic 4's" "Stay away from drop down keels, shoal keeps, centerboards." And then hearing the opposite! Anyway i will let you know how it goes tomorrow. Thanks again


Whoa, thanks for the read Scratchee. That is something I will print! Thank you! Good stuff. Also made me realize I now know less than I thought I knew LOL! Damn! Had NO idea surveyors could rip you off. I just figured you hired one and if things checked out, Good to go! Yikes, I am more naive on this than I thought. Anyway thanks again. hopefully it goes well tomorrow. Flashlight I shall bring, again, did not even think of that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well fiancé and I are elementary school teachers, so we do ok between the two of us, but our budget is nothing huge. We put a spread sheet together and discussed what we could afford, and hopefully it works out. Right now our goal is to get a 28-30 footer. Spend the next 5 years sailing the Chesapeake and basically learning how to sail, amongst other things about it. Then maybe upgrading and sailing further. We also really like the sailing community. Anyway, that's the goal. Plans change and so do dreams so we shall see. I am wanting to jump in and get a boat so we can really start learning. She is being much more reserved which is best. I guess if we bought a boat now we would have to start winterizing in a month which again is something I need to learn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yeah Scratch, that's pretty much what we are looking for, great pics, she's beautiful. Anyway fellas, we are going to be heading to Baltimore in an hour or so to get the party started. Great advice from everyone. Hopefully it goes well. One of my biggest fears is falling in love with a boat, and then a week later seeing an 18th century frigate sell for the same price. Or what I mean is, an even better boat in even better condition for less! But that is life, and why I know I need to really take my time on this one. Weather is not as cold and rainy today as predicted so hopefully it will be a good day. Talk to you all soon
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well we are back. This is what I saw or observed:
1. Universal diesel with 650 hours. Has not been winterized in three years.

2. The forward/reverse cable was jammed so the lever would not move.

3. Needs one new battery.

4. Boat had not been winterized in three years.

5. The helm pedestal wiggled maybe back and forth a 1/4 of an inch maybe a little more.

6. Head did not work.

7. Was not on the hard so was not able to see the bottom. It did need a cleaning though from what I could see. Hull was painted three years ago.

8. Spiderweb cracks on the port and starboard lockers. Some chips maybe an inch in diameter.

9. Wheel felt nice and smooth to turn.

10. Rigging looked good except the traveler and the furling sheet.

11. Bilge had some dark brown almost black water but he said the pumps worked.

This was my first time in a Catalina and I really liked the large beam. Very very roomy. Anyway, price is 11k. Was a good experience. Very nice guy. First boat I have ever looked at so it was not stressful. Asked good questions that you guys gave me. Thanks again
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Thanks Caleb. We were really surprised at the roomy inside. I was also surprised at how big she looked from the helm. I have slept and sailed on a Hunter 28 and really enjoyed it. Was just shocked at the difference. Anyway, glad everything I listed does not seem out of the ordinary. I did forget one important thing. The main does not go up all of the way. The halyard stops I would say 4 to 4 and a half feet from where it is supposed to. Was not reefed, made sure. He said it's a recent problem and it first happened the last few times he went out. Inside did not have any musty smell, actually no smell at all. one of the starboard portholes leaks, so when it had rained in the past some water got on the wooden cabinet and is pretty cracked and distorted.
Was a little worried about the head but I was reading up on compost heads and they seem a lot more easier to deal with, though, BIG THOUGH, I could be completely wrong on that.

Again, very nice guy, very genuine, no pressure, he just wants to sell. So I guess I will spend another two or three months doing this and looking at boats and see what happens. Was actually much more fun than I thought it was going to be. Only downside was my gps took me through Baltimore LOL!

Oh yeah, she's a tall rig. not sure about the model number of the Universal. It came with the boat, 1985 year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks Scratch, I did not se that one. I was on craigslist last night sending some emails and not sure how I missed it.

James, the current owner bought it cheap from the original owner that had to move in a hurry. So he has just been sailing it every so often and did not maintain because it is a "pain in the arse" is what he said. Did not want to put anything in it because he knew he was not going to keep it. I am looking in the Maryland Chesapeake area. My intentions are to take what I learned from the summer courses and spend the next few years really learning how to sail.

So it looks like next weekend I will be going to the boat show, but then seeing a used Hunter 31. Then the following weekend a Morgan 34, and an Irwin 32. I will definitely giving you guys the heads up. I am hoping if I look every weekend, eventually I will find someone that will just hand a perfectly clean boat over to me and I will sail off with it as they wave from the dock. Reality check, I am hoping to keep looking and have a boat by spring. That's the plan. I really want to learn not only how to sail, but do what you guys do and become a DIY guy. SO perhaps spend much of the fall and winter reading.
 
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