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Discussion Starter #1
I'm new to sailing. I just took ASA 101. I only know the basics. I'm am looking to purchase, but I'm more anxious about purchasing than I am to actually sailing! I am gravitating towards a 30ft Catalina. We are not rich people , but could afford a used sailboat. My fear is purchasing a lemon! And to add pressure, my husband, while fully supportive of my dream to sail , he isn't into it. He says it is like watching paint dry. Other sailors are discouraging me from purchasing a boat of this size. They are telling me that for every foot increased in size, the cost of maintaining it increases exponentially.? I've been practical all my life, and a bargain shopper too. A friend told me " there is nothing more expensive than a cheap boat ! " I know to get a survey to help eliminate some doubt. I could use some guidance. Thank you in advance. 馃槉 I'd probably be sailing in Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
 

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MAKE SURE you understand what the ongoing costs will be. If you haven't done so, check around for where you would keep a boat, and see what the monthly cost is for a slip. It's probably roughly equivalent to a car payment. Plus maintenance and repairs. So the major expense is not BUYING a boat but KEEPING a boat.

A thirty foot boat is doable, but seems a bit on the big side for a brand new sailor. Something in the 25-27 foot range might make more sense, and would also be less expensive to keep and maintain. If slip fees turn out to be a problem, you could also get a trailer boat, which would usually max out around 25 feet (I think; I have no experience there).

Taking the ASA course is a big step, and a good sign that you will succeed if you decide to. And it shouldn't take more than an outing or two for your husband to see the difference between sailing and watching paint dry.
 

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Much depends on how you want to use your boat. A Catalina 30 might be fine for some purposes, but too much boat or too little boat for others.

Do you plan to sail alone or just with your husband? Or do you want a boat big enough for guests? Do you plan to day-sail only, or are you aiming to cruise overnight, for a weekend, or longer? (I sail Pontchartrain, and there aren't a lot of cruising destinations until you get out of the lake, which would take a while on a 30 footer.) For daysailing as a couple, you could probably use a smaller boat, that would save you money on purchase, upkeep, and storage (in a marina, or possibly on a trailer). And if your husband mainly wants to be a passenger, the smaller boat may be easier to handle when you're essentially sailing solo. But if you want to take longer cruises, or to sail with more friends aboard, the extra size might make sense. A little more information about what you want to do with a boat, would help to give you more practical suggestions.
 

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If I might get serious for a moment which is something I try not to do I could give you a personal example.
When I bought my first sailboat which was a day sailor my wife didn't appreciate the way that I liked to sail which was pretty aggressive. Her first day on the boat with me was not a pleasant experience for her. Way to much heel and too wet. She never did take to that kind of sailing but what she did enjoy was spending time on the boat while at anchor or on pleasant sails when the wind was in the 5-8 mph range. Our little boat ( a 26 footer ) was too small for me to enjoy overnighting on. 5'2"of headroom down below simply didn't cut it for my 6'2" frame. After the kids had moved on and we sold our house to move into our Love Shack I should have bought a cruising boat but I moved on to what I thought were other priorities at the time. By the time I got around to buying a cruising boat my wife's health had deteriorated to the point that she could no longer participate in the aspect of boat life that she enjoyed. Sometimes in life you just have to take a hard look at what your priorities are because you never know what life is going to throw at you. Tell your husband to indulge you. He will never regret it .
 

Aspiring Boat Bum
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First, what are your plans for the boat? Do you just want something that you can take out for the day, enjoy being on the water and sailing the boat OR do you want a boat large enough to go somewhere, spend nights, weekend or more one board. Also where will you be sailing? On a lake, in a protected bay, out in the ocean?

Based on the answers to the above that might help you narrow down what boat you want to start with. One comment, if your husband thinks sailing is boring, toss him over the side and leave him. Only kidding. If something more exciting might help try taking him out on a Hobie Cat for a day. That's enough to excite most anyone.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Much depends on how you want to use your boat. A Catalina 30 might be fine for some purposes, but too much boat or too little boat for others.

Do you plan to sail alone or just with your husband? Or do you want a boat big enough for guests? Do you plan to day-sail only, or are you aiming to cruise overnight, for a weekend, or longer? (I sail Pontchartrain, and there aren't a lot of cruising destinations until you get out of the lake, which would take a while on a 30 footer.) For daysailing as a couple, you could probably use a smaller boat, that would save you money on purchase, upkeep, and storage (in a marina, or possibly on a trailer). And if your husband mainly wants to be a passenger, the smaller boat may be easier to handle when you're essentially sailing solo. But if you want to take longer cruises, or to sail with more friends aboard, the extra size might make sense. A little more information about what you want to do with a boat, would help to give you more practical suggestions.

Thanks for the input! I am really wanting to sail out of Lake Pontchartrain, and into Mississippi-- Cat Island, Ship Island etc. But only after I get some experience and confidence to do so. So, overnighting is my eventual goals. The Hubby is sweet and will go along with it. I have another 2 friends who are really excited that I want to do this, and want to be part of my "crew" (LOL). One of these 2 is a very experienced sailor who does not have a boat at present, and has agreed to be my mentor. I also have 2 adult daughters -- one of which is excited to join me. This explains why I was thinking this size would be great. I was lucky enough to sail a 31 ft catalina and a 40 ft catalina in my ASA class. I hear what you are saying about a smaller boat size being more manageable. The thought of trailering a boat doesn't appeal to me. Even though marina's cost money, it would be worth it to me to be able to visit the boat in the marina and sail off in good weather with a guest or 2.


I guess my other question is -- it is worth it? I have also heard the 2 best days of a boat owner's life-- the day they buy the boat and the day they sell it. Are all sailing quotes so negative?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
First, what are your plans for the boat? Do you just want something that you can take out for the day, enjoy being on the water and sailing the boat OR do you want a boat large enough to go somewhere, spend nights, weekend or more one board. Also where will you be sailing? On a lake, in a protected bay, out in the ocean?

Based on the answers to the above that might help you narrow down what boat you want to start with. One comment, if your husband thinks sailing is boring, toss him over the side and leave him. Only kidding. If something more exciting might help try taking him out on a Hobie Cat for a day. That's enough to excite most anyone.


Thanks for the input! I am really wanting to sail out of Lake Pontchartrain, and into Mississippi-- Cat Island, Ship Island etc. But only after I get some experience and confidence to do so. So, overnighting is my eventual goals. The Hubby is sweet and will go along with it. I have another 2 friends who are really excited that I want to do this, and want to be part of my "crew" (LOL). One of these 2 is a very experienced sailor who does not have a boat at present, and has agreed to be my mentor. I also have 2 adult daughters -- one of which is excited to join me. This explains why I was thinking this size would be great. I was lucky enough to sail a 31 ft catalina and a 40 ft catalina in my ASA class. I hear what you are saying about a smaller boat size being more manageable. The thought of trailering a boat doesn't appeal to me. Even though marina's cost money, it would be worth it to me to be able to visit the boat in the marina and sail off in good weather with a guest or 2.


I guess my other question is -- it is worth it? I have also heard the 2 best days of a boat owner's life-- the day they buy the boat and the day they sell it. Are all sailing quotes so negative?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
If I might get serious for a moment which is something I try not to do I could give you a personal example.
When I bought my first sailboat which was a day sailor my wife didn't appreciate the way that I liked to sail which was pretty aggressive. Her first day on the boat with me was not a pleasant experience for her. Way to much heel and too wet. She never did take to that kind of sailing but what she did enjoy was spending time on the boat while at anchor or on pleasant sails when the wind was in the 5-8 mph range. Our little boat ( a 26 footer ) was too small for me to enjoy overnighting on. 5'2"of headroom down below simply didn't cut it for my 6'2" frame. After the kids had moved on and we sold our house to move into our Love Shack I should have bought a cruising boat but I moved on to what I thought were other priorities at the time. By the time I got around to buying a cruising boat my wife's health had deteriorated to the point that she could no longer participate in the aspect of boat life that she enjoyed. Sometimes in life you just have to take a hard look at what your priorities are because you never know what life is going to throw at you. Tell your husband to indulge you. He will never regret it .

I am sorry to hear of your wife's changing health.

I couldn't agree more with not taking precious time for granted.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Let's pretend that my budget is $20K. I see 30ft catalina boats in this price range. Most of these were made in the 1980's. A boat with the approx age of 35 yrs old-- sounds kind of worrisome to me. But, you experience sailors, tell me what you think?
 

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Let's pretend that my budget is $20K. I see 30ft catalina boats in this price range. Most of these were made in the 1980's. A boat with the approx age of 35 yrs old-- sounds kind of worrisome to me. But, you experience sailors, tell me what you think?
There's a whole magazine devoted to that type of boat: Good Old Boat. Mine was built in 1978. There are risks and issues, but it's a "known science" and thousands of people enjoy sailing on those classic vessels.
 

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Catalina 30's are good for getting the most boat possible for the least cost.They're a well-known quantity, so if you decide to sell later there will be buyers. Based on your goals of weekending with family and friends it looks like a good match, size and capability-wise. Just be sure you are all good friends: there is not a lot of privacy on a boat - even a bigger boat. Boatpoker's advice is excellent. Read up on what to look for in used boats, so you can pick the one that's in the best condition. There are many books like Surveying Small Craft: Nicolson, Ian: 9780924486586: Amazon.com: Books , which would be worth studying. There are a lot of Catalina 30's, and their conditions can vary a lot. Their prices may not correspond to their condition. Someone may HAVE to sell one that's in really good shape because they bought another boat. Someone else may have one that's OK, but not worth what they're asking. After you've found a "good" one, and have had an offer accepted, get a surveyor to inspect it thoroughly. He or she will find things you missed, and will likely be able to tell you what they might cost to fix. If you think it's worth it, you can then go back to the seller and renegotiate. It takes longer than buying a used car because there's a lot more to a boat than there is to a car. It has to float as well as move under sail and power. It is great to have a supportive spouse, even if he's not as crazy about it as you. Have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Catalina 30's are good for getting the most boat possible for the least cost.They're a well-known quantity, so if you decide to sell later there will be buyers. Based on your goals of weekending with family and friends it looks like a good match, size and capability-wise. Just be sure you are all good friends: there is not a lot of privacy on a boat - even a bigger boat. Boatpoker's advice is excellent. Read up on what to look for in used boats, so you can pick the one that's in the best condition. There are many books like Surveying Small Craft: Nicolson, Ian: 9780924486586: Amazon.com: Books , which would be worth studying. There are a lot of Catalina 30's, and their conditions can vary a lot. Their prices may not correspond to their condition. Someone may HAVE to sell one that's in really good shape because they bought another boat. Someone else may have one that's OK, but not worth what they're asking. After you've found a "good" one, and have had an offer accepted, get a surveyor to inspect it thoroughly. He or she will find things you missed, and will likely be able to tell you what they might cost to fix. If you think it's worth it, you can then go back to the seller and renegotiate. It takes longer than buying a used car because there's a lot more to a boat than there is to a car. It has to float as well as move under sail and power. It is great to have a supportive spouse, even if he's not as crazy about it as you. Have fun!

Thank you, I'll do that!
 

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Let's pretend that my budget is $20K. I see 30ft catalina boats in this price range. Most of these were made in the 1980's. A boat with the approx age of 35 yrs old-- sounds kind of worrisome to me. But, you experience sailors, tell me what you think?
If it's been maintained, a 35 year old fiberglass hull is no cause for alarm. I regularly sail on a friend's boat that is 50+ years old. But the hull is the about the only thing on that boat that's original.

It's usually the rig, sails, motor, and any electronics that cause you maintenance issues. A 35 year old motor might still be usable if it's been well maintained. (I have a 25 year old diesel that's still going, but I've spent more on maintenance than I wish.) But it's hard to know the condition of an older motor short of a mechanical survey and an oil analysis. Both of those cost money, but might be well spent. If you go a little smaller and can use an outboard for power, those are a lot easier to update than re-powering a boat with an aging inboard.

A 35 year old boat is unlikely to still have original sails, but if it does you will want to replace them. There are sources of used sails if you want to save, but you need to inspect them carefully. The condition of the rig will depend on where and how it was sailed, but can be determined by inspection on a survey. Aging electronics are OK until they fail, but then won't be worth repairing. However, you probably don't need much in electronics to sail Lake Pontchartrain (there's nothing to hit but the Causeway bridge), and a basic chartplotter will get you to the Gulf Islands. The rest of that stuff is nice to have, but you can live without it if you have too. (I would get at least a good handheld marine radio, to talk to drawbridges and the tugs in the ICW if you get out of the lake.)

So age is not necessarily the biggest issue -- it's how well the boat was maintained, and how much you have left in the budget for updates after you get the boat.

A related thought: There are a lot of Catalina's out there (I have one of over 1,100 Catalina 320s that were sold). Many of them have owners associations that can give you information about issues specific to that model that you might not otherwise know to check. So check out those websites and Facebook groups to get more information about the Catalina 30 or any other model you consider.

As far as whether it's worth it: there is no economic argument for owning a sailboat. But if it literally "floats your boat" then it certainly can be more than worth it.
 

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Thanks for the input! I am really wanting to sail out of Lake Pontchartrain, and into Mississippi-- Cat Island, Ship Island etc. But only after I get some experience and confidence to do so. So, overnighting is my eventual goals. The Hubby is sweet and will go along with it. I have another 2 friends who are really excited that I want to do this, and want to be part of my "crew" (LOL). One of these 2 is a very experienced sailor who does not have a boat at present, and has agreed to be my mentor. I also have 2 adult daughters -- one of which is excited to join me. This explains why I was thinking this size would be great. I was lucky enough to sail a 31 ft catalina and a 40 ft catalina in my ASA class. I hear what you are saying about a smaller boat size being more manageable. The thought of trailering a boat doesn't appeal to me. Even though marina's cost money, it would be worth it to me to be able to visit the boat in the marina and sail off in good weather with a guest or 2.


I guess my other question is -- it is worth it? I have also heard the 2 best days of a boat owner's life-- the day they buy the boat and the day they sell it. Are all sailing quotes so negative?
First, a Catalina 30 would be an excellent boat for your plans. They are very roomy for the size compared to most other 30' boats, they sail well and, in my opinion, is not so large as to be difficult to handle. There are also lots of them on the market and with some careful shopping you should be able to find one for a reasonable price in reasonable condition.

But you should consider the ongoing costs and whether or not it will fit in your budget. First step, check the costs for docks or marinas in LA. Around the lake you might find private docks for rent that are cheaper so don't overlook that option.

Repair and maintenance is a big variable. A lot of people will toss out the rule of thumb of 10% per year of the cost of the boat. My opinion like any general rule of thumb in general it might be generally close to reality. A lot will depend the DIY skills of you and your husband. If you can do basic mechanics, plumbing, electric, etc it will cost you a fraction of what it would cost if you pay for all that.

If you do find a boat of interest this forum and others are GREAT resources to ask for advice and guidance.
 

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The people who are advising you against a Catalina 30, are only doing that because you're a woman. They are implying that it's too big for a woman.The Catalina 30 is a wonderful boat for family cruising, in lake water or the Gulf.

It is true, that everything having to do with a boat is charged based on its size. A 27-foot Catalina will be a little cheaper to operate and maintain than a 30. But the Catalina 30 is an excellent size and a little more comfortable. The big difference would be between a 30 foot and 40 foot boat.

I chartered a Catalina 30 in the Florida Keys once, for a week. It is a nice Sailing Boat, and very comfortable to stay in for a weekend, or a week. There are plenty available for sale. A good survey will prevent you from getting a lemon.

You can get an idea of the costs by calling several marinas in areas where you would keep a boat. Ask them what they charge for hauling out and launching a boat, power washing the hull, repainting the hull, storage in a slip, and storage on the hard (land). They will quote you prices by the foot. Work out some calculations for different sizes of boats and see what would seem reasonable, without causing you too much price shock.
 
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