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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Crazy question to some I guess but I have my reasons. I am curios to hear from those who have actually been on both and have a real idea of the actual interior space if they are about the same or very different. I have been on a Catalina 27 but finding an Alberg30 for me to tour and compare will be somewhat harder to come by. Just getting opinions before I commit the time and effort to finding one. I know that the Alberg and the Cat are very close in beam. However the Cat boats have one to two quarter berths depending on layout. Thinking this will make a big difference when it comes to sleeping arrangements or am I wrong? Not sure if the vberth on the Alberg is much larger or about the same as the cat. Are the bathrooms about the same size as well? I have looked at several pictures but its just hard to tell looking at a pic. I know this is an unusual request because they are two very different boats but thinks to anyone who replies with any information on my query.
 

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69' Coronado 25
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Interior space is a big deal but you have to ask yourself "self", what am I going to use this vessel for?
When you move from a 27 to a 30 things get more costly. Catalina's have a great owners group and support not to mention you can still get just about anything you need for it NEW!

The Alberg is a great boat too! Albeg's are built heavier and I would say that they can take just about anything you could sail into. The Cat is a fin keel and is very responsive and the Alberg's have a longer underbody and will not be as responsive but that being the boat will track better when the sails are trimmed proper.
 

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Personally, I've found most of the Alberg designs to be really small inside compared to their length.

We owned a Cape Dory 27 and one of the main reasons we moved to another boat was because the interior space in the Alberg boats was seemingly very small. I like the other traits of the Alberg boats, but the interior layouts are largely the same (with a few exceptions) and, IMO, very poorly laid out for their sizes.

That said, in boat hunting, I've found that you get to pick 2 out of 3:

1. Nice interior
2. Build quality
3. Price

The Catalina 27 will have a nice interior and price, but won't be built as well as a Cape Dory or Alberg 30. OTOH, the Alberg 30 may have a nice price and build quality, but the interior is going to be small. If you look at the Pacific Seacraft boats, they have great interiors and are built well, but they are also very expensive. You need to decide what matters most to you, it's all a compromise.

I know a lot of people that live on their ~30ft Alberg boats, but we just couldn't figure out how to make it work. The lack of storage, lack of a real galley, and general lack of function made it too hard for us to spend any amount of time on the boat.
 

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Interior space is a big deal but you have to ask yourself "self", what am I going to use this vessel for?
When you move from a 27 to a 30 things get more costly. Catalina's have a great owners group and support not to mention you can still get just about anything you need for it NEW!
The Catalina 27 is a "big 27" and the Alberg 30 is a "smaller 30", so the costs will probably be quite similar. The sail area and displacement differ by about 20%, which give you a rough idea of costs.

The Catalina 27 will outperform the Alberg 30, but the Alberg 30 has a lot more style and is almost certainly more robustly built.

You should also consider what sort of interior space you desire. If you want to do weekend trips with a lot of people then you'll want a lot of berths, which Catalina excels at. If you want to do longterm distance cruising with a couple then you only need a couple of berths but will probably favor well thought out storage space, something that smaller Catalinas aren't great at.

There are a lot of boat designs out there, what has you trading off these two? Besides length and popularity they don't have a lot in common.
 

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For example the vee-berths on the J24 and Cal 29 are pretty much the same size with the Cal having the edge due to all the storage shelfs

Both of the boats vee-berths SUCK to get in and out OF as there kind of and awkward bump you head and wake up the other person deal
 

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Shanachie, Bristol 30
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It sounds like you're thinking of buying your first boat. If so, I'm not sure you're making your decision on the correct factors.

Don't fall into the trap of counting berths. Bottom line is that you can daysail with four or overnight with two on either boat. (You can add as many as two small children.) Any more and you're on top of each other.

The heads (not bathrooms) are tiny on both boats, but there is a reason for that, if you've ever been sailing in rough seas. In a large head, you can be hurled against a bulkhead at a very inopportune moment.

If you plan to sail in 10-knot winds, the Catalina is a wonderful choice. Relatively fast, nice looking, affordable, easy to sail. However, it is not strongly built. (See how the shrouds are supported only by the deck on many or all models.)

The Alberg, on the other hand is a sea boat. You can cross oceans in one if it is properly maintained. It has less cabin room because it has a full keel and wine glass-shaped hull, which makes it very seaworthy.

You should pick a boat based on what type of sailing you plan to do, not what the cabin looks like. Most small-boat sailors I know don't spend much time in the cabin anyway. The cockpit gets much more use.
 

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Don't call me a "senior"!
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Just about any 27-foot fin-keel boat (Cal 27/2-27/3-27, C&C27, Ericson 27, Catalina 27, etc.) will have more interior room than an A30. Most will also sail quite a bit better "around the buoys" than an A30. But in an Alberg design will almost always feel safer, and probably perform better overall, in the open ocean. I would also prefer an A30 over a fin-keel boat for most coastal cruising, unless one is very careful about choosing the right weather. For entertaining, day-sailing, and careful (and limited) coastal cruising a fin-keel boat will probably be a better choice.

Putting aside sailing characteristics, all that additional interior space in a fin-keel boat may feel luxurious, but it also means that you'll have a greater distance to build up momentum as you go flying across the cabin in a rough sea. (You would be amazed at how much more it hurts to fall that extra couple of feet.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all the answers. I was hoping the 30 being 3' longer would offset the smaller cabin of the older boats. Does not appear to be the case. Actually I bought a cat22 to learn to ssail on and race at my local marina. Just for back for a week cruise in Pensacola Fl with a group made up mostly of trailer sailers. I am looking for my next boat, it can just play out several different ways for me. This could be my last up grade or could be a stepping stone onto a bigger boat. Wife, kids, work pretty much decide this for me so really hard to say what will happen. If I knew for sure it mostly be only me and my wife sailing I would prob focus on an alberg30 but, always a but, if kids and wife will be going a lot I will need the xtra berths. With both boats pretty much figure to but and start upgrading the boat. And should I decide to sale and move up again most of that investment will be lost. So just trying to make an impossible decision on what to do. Truth is I don't think one can make a decision at this point, just have to roll the dice and see how it comes out.
 

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What is the composition of your family. You don't need to answer that if you don't want. But reading here of other peoples experiences it seems one of the important factors in keeping families sailing together is that their teenagers have a separate and private space. Neither of the boats you mention is going to do that, in fact you are going to have to look at boats starting at about 35 feet to support a family on a vacation cruise in a manner that everyone wants to be there.
Private berths for two teens, a functional galley, head with shower, and enough cold storage to satisfy a teen's appetite and you have a pretty good sized sailboat. You can keep your children sailing with you as long as they have to, but once they start being their own person, they will have to want to go sailing with you, and that doesn't very often happen with a too small sailboat.
Hope this helps,
John
 

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A couple of nitpicks...

You should also consider what sort of interior space you desire. If you want to do weekend trips with a lot of people then you'll want a lot of berths, which Catalina excels at. If you want to do longterm distance cruising with a couple then you only need a couple of berths but will probably favor well thought out storage space, something that smaller Catalinas aren't great at.
As someone else said above, 4 people down below on a C27 is crowded. I assume it's much more so on an Alberg. Yes, you can theoretically sleep 6 with the dinette layout on a C27...but no freakin' way in reality.

If you plan to sail in 10-knot winds, the Catalina is a wonderful choice. Relatively fast, nice looking, affordable, easy to sail. However, it is not strongly built. (See how the shrouds are supported only by the deck on many or all models.)

The Alberg, on the other hand is a sea boat. You can cross oceans in one if it is properly maintained. It has less cabin room because it has a full keel and wine glass-shaped hull, which makes it very seaworthy.
This is basically right. The C27 is a lightly built boat. But 10 knots? C'mon. I sailed mine in 40 knots and she didn't sink. You just have to treat her right. That said, though it's been done, I wouldn't take a C27 across an ocean. They are really day-sailers and weekenders for nearshore stuff.
 

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Shanachie, Bristol 30
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You were carrying sail on a Catalina 27 in 40 knots of wind? Maybe your handkerchief. Even then, the shrouds would start pulling the deck right off the hull.

About 10 years ago, I traded email with Patrick Childress, who circumnavigated on a 27. His opinion: Don't do what I did. It's a fair weather boat. He said that even though he beefed up his boat considerably. His worst weather was 35 knots or so in the Indian Ocean, and it was not pretty.
 

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You were carrying sail on a Catalina 27 in 40 knots of wind? Maybe your handkerchief. Even then, the shrouds would start pulling the deck right off the hull.

About 10 years ago, I traded email with Patrick Childress, who circumnavigated on a 27. His opinion: Don't do what I did. It's a fair weather boat. He said that even though he beefed up his boat considerably. His worst weather was 35 knots or so in the Indian Ocean, and it was not pretty.
Well, I totally agree with Patrick.

We had a double reefed main (all the reefs we had) - and had it opened up as much as possible to spill wind. Even so, the mast was pumping like a mofo. It was scary. But it was worth testing the boat and ourselves. And it was only for about an hour. We lowered the sail and headed in.

Nothing broke.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I have no intention of sailing into the blue however I do plan to sail to the Bahamas. Lots of smaller boats do it. My big concern is that unexpected storm. It's all about risk vs reward. I want to minimize the risk. At least that is part of the reason for asking my question.
 
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