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Dirt Free
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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?
You probably don't know that the actual sales data from all boats listed on Yacht World is listed on soldboats.com when sold.

I have saved a list of all 18 Catalina 30's sold on the gulf coast since January 20th 2020. Shown are the date listed, date sold, asking price, sold price and the name of the brokerage. Most are close to your budget.
I can't attach a pdf here but if you email [email protected] I'll respond with that pdf.
 

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As someone who bought my first sailboat six years ago, I wholeheartedly agree that condition trumps almost all other concerns. That's the best reason to expand your shopping list beyond Catalina 30s to include other boats in the 27-30 ft range. I'm biased, but I agree that late-80s Pearsons (28-2, 31-2) should be on your list. When I was searching I also looked at a few Cape Dory 28s
 

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Yes. The costs CAN increase as those of us who have experienced it know. Whether or not the cost will make or break your bank account depends on your bank account.
yeah, what would I know (roll eyes)

I have a 43 ' boat and cruise full time. I have a friend doing same on a 30' boat. It has cost me 3% more.
 

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Really depend on what you want to do. But for sure bigger the boat more expensive it is...For weekend sailing and daysailing you really don't need a 30 ft. We have been sailing on a 21 with 2 kids :) . A 25 or 27 will cost you less, easier to learn and reduce your financial risk if you don't like it. Also, make sure you do a survey. Even if you don't need it for your insurance you will have a to do list and an expert view on your boat.
 

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Dirt Free
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Don't listen to the naysayers :)
I surveyed a Catalina 47 for a fella in 2004. He had never been on a sailboat before. It took him two weeks to arrange his affairs then he cast off from Pickering in Lake Ontario. 1 1/2yrs later I got an email from him .... I'm in Trinidad having a blast, c'mon down ! John Carnie has been a friend ever since :)

You only get one kick at this cat, go for it !
 

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Regarding boat size for a beginner, sailing a 30-foot boat would not be appreciably more difficult than sailing a 27-foot boat. It's maneuvering in and out of the slip and marina that could present a challenge, especially if sailing alone or with inexperienced crew. Not only do you have less clearance to avoid other boats and obstacles, but you also have more surface area for the wind to act against and push the boat in a direction you don't want to go. These skills can be learned, of course, but for a beginner it's a consideration when selecting a boat.
 

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Develop a realistic OWNERship budget including:
Ehhhh, I don't know if a budget is such a good idea. It would be a good way to talk yourself out of it. A boat is sort of like that late in life, unexpected, menopausal child some people end up with. If you take too much time thinking about how much the kid will cost, you'll be tempted to drop it off at the back door of some fire station somewhere.

It's better off to just have the kid, or buy the boat, and you'll figure out how to pay for it as you go along.
 

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Ehhhh, I don't know if a budget is such a good idea. It would be a good way to talk yourself out of it. A boat is sort of like that late in life, unexpected, menopausal child some people end up with. If you take too much time thinking about how much the kid will cost, you'll be tempted to drop it off at the back door of some fire station somewhere.

It's better off to just have the kid, or by the boat, and you'll figure out how to pay for it as you go along.
Yes and no.... I bought my boat when I was 38... first and only boat... it was new and didn't need repairs... only cleaning and adding gear I wanted like Loran or Sunbrella and stainless dodger. Over the first 5 or 6 years I spent a decent amount on "upgrades" which I thought necessary... like cockpit cushions... and eventually an electric windlass chain, refrigeration, a cabin heater and an SSB radio. All improvements were for living aboard and or going off shore... which I sort of had a goal. Were I not going to live aboard or sail offshore I would have spent less on upgrades.
I did not have a budget or know the cost of these projects but knew they would be costly but less costly if I did the work which had the benefit if making more familiar with the boat.

Most people know boat stuff is spendy.... even if they don't do a formal budget.
 

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@lovebluewater You are definitely taking a solid approach to this and asking all the right questions. Lots of really good feedback here as usual. I'll toss my two cents in, feel free to leave change:
-Willingness and aptitude for DIY are a huge benefit. It will save you a lot of money, but not usually time. YouTube is your friend.
-A boat in truly ready to sail condition costs more up front than its fixer-upper sister. In the long term, it costs less.
-OPBs are the cheapest of all.
-Engines: Yanmar, Universal, Perkins... lots of them out there, parts are easy. Volvo; good engine, expensive parts. Atomic; good engine but they are all antiques, also I'd stick with diesel.
-Get an objective opinion on the boat, either a survey, or other competent inspection. Your experienced sailor friend may be technically competent but his judgement may be clouded by his wanting you to buy a boat.
-Keep up on the ASA progression and do whatever gets you on the water. The Coast Guard's basic skipper's license requires a minimum of 360 sea days. Use that as a fair indication of how much time it takes to build a solid skillset. Start a simple log (I use excel) to keep track of your days and notable conditions and events.
-Yes. It is ABSOLUTELY worth it.
 

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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?
I just bought a 1980 Bristol 35.5 in August and paid for a professional survey. He found that the original welded stainless steel tank was just beginning to rust at the the bottom and leak diesel. The owner replaced it, and the rest of the boat has been judged to be in good shape. There are always some things to fix or update, but I have every confidence in the boat, and hope to prepare it for a coastal passage to the tropics next year.

If you are looking at Catalina 30's (A good boat for your stated plans) search discussions on here, and other discussion boards, like Cruisers Forum, to read the debates about the different models of Catalina 30s. The differences are mostly in the type of keel: (Fin keel 5.25 foot draft and Winged shoal draft keel 3.83 ft draft) In these forums you will read lots of varied opinions of which is best, but it boils down to your style of sailing, where you plan to sail, and personal preference.

There was a Catalina 30 made from 1976 until 1986, A MKII made between 1986-1991 and a MKIII made from 1990 to 2008.The MKII and MKIII were available in a tall rig version, with a slightly taller mast that provides an extra 67 square feet of sail area. That difference provides some different sailing characteristics. The MKIII also came with a redesigned walk through transom, that a lot of people like for easier boarding and unboarding to and from a dingy.

The Catalina 30 that I sailed in the Florida Keys for a week long charter, was a tall rig, and I really liked how she sailed.
A good review is the one linked below.


 

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I just bought a 1980 Bristol 35.5 in August and paid for a professional survey. He found that the original welded stainless steel tank was just beginning to rust at the the bottom and leak diesel. The owner replaced it, and the rest of the boat has been judged to be in good shape. There are always some things to fix or update, but I have every confidence in the boat, and hope to prepare it for a coastal passage to the tropics next year.

If you are looking at Catalina 30's (A good boat for your stated plans) search discussions on here, and other discussion boards, like Cruisers Forum, to read the debates about the different models of Catalina 30s. The differences are mostly in the type of keel: (Fin keel 5.25 foot draft and Winged shoal draft keel 3.83 ft draft) In these forums you will read lots of varied opinions of which is best, but it boils down to your style of sailing, where you plan to sail, and personal preference.

There was a Catalina 30 made from 1976 until 1986, A MKII made between 1986-1991 and a MKIII made from 1990 to 2008.The MKII and MKIII were available in a tall rig version, with a slightly taller mast that provides an extra 67 square feet of sail area. That difference provides some different sailing characteristics. The MKIII also came with a redesigned walk through transom, that a lot of people like for easier boarding and unboarding to and from a dingy.

The Catalina 30 that I sailed in the Florida Keys for a week long charter, was a tall rig, and I really liked how she sailed.
A good review is the one linked below.


The original C30 came in a tall rig too and if you are in a light wind area I'd strongly consider 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?
Answer to your question yes it's worth it. A big plus is that you will be going out with some one who has sailing experience. My first boat was a 1980 Catalina 22 ft. Now I own a 1985 Pearson 34ft that I live on. Best move I ever made . Fogot to mention I sailed the Catalina for 4 years. You don't know tomorrow's fate. So take that leap of faith now .:)
 

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I think your makin
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. 😊 I'd probably be sailing in Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
g the right choice . Go ahead with your dream. :)
 

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Assuming you don't want to trade in for a new husband ;), you might point out to him how deafeningly loud most powerboats are, vs. the ability to have nice conversations and listen to nature on a sailboat. It's definitely not boring because it demands your attention to keep sails trimmed. Maybe you should charter a powerboat once to have a basis of comparison.

How big you should buy depends on what you want to do with it. We started out looking at Catalina 30s, but ultimately decided to drop down to a much newer Catalina 250 for our first boat. Out kids were at an age where they didn't want to sail with us, but we weren't going to leave them for more than a several hours at a time, so we we didn't need the larger size for several years. Smaller size meant simpler systems and less to maintain. Ice box instead of refrigerator, outboard motor instead of inboard diesel, no hot water, single burner stove with no oven. Newer meant less to replace. We still had marine head and electric cold water, but both were upgrades by prior owner. After six years of fun on that boat, we sold it for what we paid for it and went bigger so we could do weekends anchoring out every summer.
 

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Most all wonderful advice. We started with a small boat and only kept it for one season before we wanted to move up. I think a 30 would be fine to start. Draft will be important when you are looking for a place to keep her. For me the larger boat only really gets large, when you dock. My personal opinion is that the 30 will be much more forgiving as you learn than a trailer sailer. As to "we are not wealthy so we want a used boat" I can almost guarantee that the average age of the boats that are sailed on this site are 30 years +. Good luck and have fun, obviously your husband has not sailed if he thinks its like watching paint dry. It's fantastic that you got some more experienced folks to help you along.
 

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Discussion Starter #56
As someone who bought my first sailboat six years ago, I wholeheartedly agree that condition trumps almost all other concerns. That's the best reason to expand your shopping list beyond Catalina 30s to include other boats in the 27-30 ft range. I'm biased, but I agree that late-80s Pearsons (28-2, 31-2) should be on your list. When I was searching I also looked at a few Cape Dory 28s
anyone have opinions about hunter? I see a lot of them posted for sale also. And i do like the roomy cockpits and interior for the size boat. I don't know how to feel for the hunter with no backstay? But i am also not seeing it listed as a problem either?
 

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anyone have opinions about hunter? I see a lot of them posted for sale also. And i do like the roomy cockpits and interior for the size boat. I don't know how to feel for the hunter with no backstay? But i am also not seeing it listed as a problem either?
Many supposed blue water dock talkers ridicule Hunters when in fact in general terms they are a bit better built than the euro production boats.They are not without issues (no boat is) but if it suits your purpose ... go for it.

What specific model and year is catching your eye ?
 

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I'm not a big fan of the late model Marlow Hunters, but the earlier models can be good value. Some Cherubini designed Hunters (70s/80s?) are sought after, for value, somewhat. One issue, which is not specific to Hunter, is there are so many different models and model/years that are all different, you can't paint the entire brand with the same brush.
 

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Discussion Starter #59
Many supposed blue water dock talkers ridicule Hunters when in fact in general terms they are a bit better built than the euro production boats.They are not without issues (no boat is) but if it suits your purpose ... go for it.

What specific model and year is catching your eye ?
Not any particular year or length.. just around 30 ft. I thought I read that some of the 1980's models had some issues? But, I would think that by now, there isn't a whole lot original to an 80's model boat anyway. It would just depend on how well she was cared for.
 

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some of the 1980's models
This is also where things get tricky. Some of the model sold in the 80s, were designed in the 70s. Other models were presumably contemporary. I'm no historian.

I can't recall whether our friends owned a 33 or 36 Cherubini Hunter. Other than an awful non-skid replacement (owners fault), I had no complaints sailing with them on her. I wouldn't cross an ocean on it, but they were fully coastal and enjoyed it. Pretty affordable.

There is a storyline to the Cherubini designs that I couldn't run through. He is credited with several boat designs, while he personally only did a couple of them. Staff or son did the others, presumably under his supervision. Something like that. Not sure it matters. @Jeff_H knows the story better and can give you a better sense of why they are or are not desirable.
 
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