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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking at buying my first sailboat (that's over 15ft) in the very near future, maybe even by this weekend, survey depending. I've grown up around boats and have spent many weeks out to sea on sailboats in the past, so I'm confident that I am buying the type of boat that is in my budget, and will suit my needs (weekend trips for 2-4 people out in Long Island Sound, and some scuba diving while out). The problem is that I'm having trouble deciding which boat to get.

I've narrowed the field down to two very promising, but opposite boats, a 1977 Catalina 27' (non deck step mast), and a 1990 Hunter 27' (deck step mast) Both I can get for around the same price.

On one hand I've got the older Catalina which has been worked on and retro fitted many times over in it's life with new pieces of gear (little of which was done in the last 5 years, most of which is nearing it's end of usefull life) and shows the evidence of that with many old screw holes filled with silocone both above and below decks. The cabin has little spots of old mold growth that shouldn't be that hard to clean, but I wonder if it's gotten into the wood and will grow back at the first introducion of moisture. The port chainplate has regular steel washers, and they have some significant rust. While the current owner just finished sanding and re-doing all the wood and re-bedding the winches and cleats, the decks show many signs of spidering in the gelcoat around those areas (but does not appear to be recent). Additionally one of the winches looks like the plastic around the top has been broken and epoxied back together. She sleeps 5, the only double berth is the forward V berth. On the plus side the sails are in good condition and it has a pretty new Yamaha 9.9 four stroke to power it and includes an old GPS unit (tested, working). She is in the water now and could be taken out as soon as paperwork is done.

On the hand I've got the newer Hunter that shows very little evidence of having ever being used, aside from a bad paint job on the hull that's peeling in spots, and needs scraped (sanded?) and re-painted. The interior is pristine (she almost still has the "new boat smell" to her), fiberglass still has a good shine to it, and the gelcoat while slightly chalky, should clean up nice with little effort. The teak (what little there is) has been let go to gray, but looks to be in good condition otherwise. She only has a standard jib, no roller furling. Also has a porta-john style head (I would replace with a regular head / holding tank + Y valve). She sleeps 4, in two double berths (forward V and rear under the cockpit) Powerhead is a 8 HP Tohatsu with control box and remote ignition setup in the cockpit. Essentially this boat comes with very little gear and options (doesn't even have a main selector switch for the batteries, they are just wired straight to the panel!). She is currently on the hard and won't be able to get launched for 3-5 weeks by the yard (which would give plenty of time to get the hull done)


My Dilemma is this:

A. Buy an older boat that was someone else's project that they are now done with, and I’ll spend my non-sailing time repairing and replacing worn out gear / patching old screw holes in the deck and cabin, plus the long list of other maintenance issues that will come up from an older boat over the next couple years (things like bilge pumps, old wireing, winches, and lines needing replacing, etc...)

OR

B. Buy a newer boat that is in basically pristine condition that I’ll spend my non-sailing time purchasing and installing in new gear (there’s very little to replace), and end up with a boat that is truly mine.


With A, I end up with the same thing I started with and won’t really be able to sell the boat for anything more then I bought it for.

However with B I end up with a like new boat (and probably 5-10k more money spent when it’s all said and done), and can probably sell it for my original purchase price, plus 40-50% of the out of pocket expenses for the new gear and equipment (not counting any labor)


Any input or advice is greatly apprecieated!!
 

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Irrationally Exuberant
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I can't comment on the specifics of these two boats, but I'm having trouble seeing the dilemma. For basically the same money, the 90 Hunter sounds like the winner given the condition of the 77 Catalina--though I wonder about the paint job on the Hunter. Unless of course you really like the Catalina.

I'd rather have the more or less pristine that I could make my own without starting so far in the hole, patchwise.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'd rather have the more or less pristine that I could make my own without starting so far in the hole, patchwise.
that's what I'm thinking, but with it costing 40-50% more by the time all the gear is purchased, I'm not sure if I shouldn't just go for the Catalina...

can anyone compare experiences with a Hunter 27 vs a Catalina 27? I've never been out on a Hunter before (and I can't get this one in the water before the Catalina gets bought by someone else)
 

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Picnic Sailor
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From your post it sounds like you have almost already decided on the Hunter, and I would tend to agree.

On the balance of it all, it looks to be the better boat and you are saying it also holds opportunity to value add..... Notwithstanding the specifics you went through its also just 13 years younger......
 

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Telstar 28
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Just to play Devil's Advocate... I'd point out that non-use is worse for a boat than constant use with good maintenance. I would be worried about the "pristine" appearance of the Hunter, especially if it is the result of the boat having been cleaned up just for sale. Often, a boat that isn't used will also be neglected and not have the basic maintenance done to it.

I'd also recommend you read the Boat Inspection Trip Tips thread I started, as it will help you determine what shape both boats are really in...

However, it does sound like the Hunter would be the better choice of the two. PO's can do a lot of strange things and fixing what they do can be very frustrating. ;)
 

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Check with your preferred insurer....it's possible you might have difficulty securing insurance for a boat that is older than 20 years, or at least pay a higher premium.

I would also consider storage volume, especially for scuba gear (not sure how many sets you will have on board).

My vote goes to the newer model, although I think Catalina, in general, probably sails a bit better than Hunter. Even more, there are so many hulls available 27-30' range, 10-20 years old....I bet you can find a few other options the exceed both of the options you're considering.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I have read the entire Boat Inspection Trip Tips post (GREAT post!), and while I did a many of those things initially, I will definitly do the rest the next time I visit either of the boats prior to making an offer (they are both 10min or less from my house).

I know that non-use can be worse then use, however the PO has continued to maintain the boat for the last 18 or so months that it's been on the hard, and the yard still winterized her last fall as if she had been in the water.

The Hunter has plenty of dust both inside and out which says that she has definitly NOT just been cleaned up for sale, but your right that is a problem to look ou for, I did run across a few boats that had been surface cleaned to try and get a higher price.

Storage is similar on both boats, Overall the Catalina probably wins by a little, though the Hunter has more on deck (Plus an anchor locker), and a touch less below deck then the Catalina. For my SCUBA gear (rairly more then 2 divers onboard), I plan on building / buying tank racks for topside (reccomendations?), the rest of the gear will sit below decks.

My vote goes to the newer model, although I think Catalina, in general, probably sails a bit better than Hunter.
I'd like to understand what is your reasoning for the Catalina sailling better then the Hunter? I've never been out on a Hunter before (most of my sailing in the last 10 years has been on either little 14' lake boats, sunfish, a starcraft doublehull (NOT catamaran), or a 41' Columbia), and this one won't get splashed until the sea trial.
 

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I'd like to understand what is your reasoning for the Catalina sailling better then the Hunter? I've never been out on a Hunter before (most of my sailing in the last 10 years has been on either little 14' lake boats, sunfish, a starcraft doublehull (NOT catamaran), or a 41' Columbia), and this one won't get splashed until the sea trial.
The C27 rates better on average than the Hunter, 200-215 vs 215-225. This is very much dependant on configuration (Inboard, Outboard, Tall Rig, Shoal Draft, etc).

Catalina built the C27 through the late 80's (1989?), although the original design was done in the 70's. You might find a newer model in better condition.
 

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ASA and PSIA Instructor
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....
On the hand I've got the newer Hunter that shows very little evidence of having ever being used, aside from a bad paint job on the hull that's peeling in spots, and needs scraped (sanded?) and re-painted. ...
In my opinion that these two boats are comparable in price reflects the fact that the Cat 27 is much better built boat than the Hunter, and just well, more desirable, and always will be. You are buying a sailboat to sail, buy the best you can, it ain't an RV.

I can't see how you can so easily discount the crappy paint job, I assume you mean on the topsides, not a bottom job. If it is the topsides, you cannot easilky fix a poor paint job, you need to totally remove it first. To improve the appearance, you would need to take on a very hard and long job to remove all paint to down to bare gelcoat and properly paint it yourself, which at best can promise mixed results. Or pay probably the purchase price all over to have the hull professionally painted, the only way it will ever look good.
 

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I just went through this when buying my boat last year. I looked at Catalina's, Hunters and Beneteaus. It came down to Catalina and Hunter because at the time I wasn't finding a lot of Beneteaus that fit our criteria.

The eye opener for me was going to a dealer that had quite a few of both boats in stock that were a few years old. The Catalina's were aging noticably better than the Hunters. I'm not bashing Hunter, it's just what I observed on those boats.

That said, why not nose around for a newer boat at a better price? There are a LOT of people looking to sell boats right now and some are downright desperate.

If you like Catalina and Hunter try calling around to some of the local dealers. The salesman at my local Catalina dealer keeps in touch with his customers going back years. They may know someone looking to get out of a boat. Ask around the docks. Does anyone know someone looking to sell? Some of the best boat deals went down without there ever being a "for sale" sign on the boat.

Jim
 

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Broad Reachin'
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If your choices are soley between these two, then the Hunter seems like a no-brainer, given the condition and age. The C27 is a venerable boat with a strong following and proven design, but 13 years of age and the issues you mentioned don't seem to make it stack up to the H27.

What exactly do you need to add to the H27 that will cost $5k-$10k that the C27 doesn't need?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I was heavily leaning towards the Hunter before reading everyone's comments, and the overall opinion I received was definitly in favor of the Hunter, so I put in a offer for the H27 well below asking price to account for all of the gear it doesn't have, and I got a verbal acceptance this afternoon (pending survey of course). So I think that pretty much answers the question, I'm going to be rigging and outfitting the newer boat exactly to my specifications now.

To answer the previous questions anyway, The "crappy paint job" on the H27 is the bottom of the hull, Topside is in fantastic condition. She was painted with a think hard paint some time ago that is flaking off in large sections. It's going to be a full weekend project to scrape the big chunks off and sand the rest. Then it'll need re-painted, which I would probably let the yard do to ensure it's done properly and to ensure that any sealer / primer that's required for the freshly sanded bottom is correctly applied.

As for the 5-10k in upgrades;
-Roller furling and new jib (has a traditional jib now, and I don't think that will work with a roller furling
-Install head, holding tank and Y valve (has porta john now, Female passengers do not enjoy using them, and neither do I)
-Install sprayer for rinse shower in bathroom
-Install sprayer for fresh water rinse of Dive gear somewhere in stern section
-Chart GPS with external antenna
-Backup GPS (handheld probably)
-AM/FM Radio + indoor and outdoor speakers
-deck lights on the mast
-dodger and awning
-solar charger for the batteries
-new batteries (I'll test them, but probably shot, want a 3rd just in case anyway)
-main battery selector switch (3 way)
-additinal electricial wireing (see lines above and below this one)
-perminantly installed 110v power inverter for light duty electricial devices
-mounts for 4-6 SCUBA tanks once I determine where they will fit without being too badly in the way.

Possibly also looking for a davit for the dinghy (dinghy is included with the boat, but no davit), depending on how it would fit with the outboard.




I'm going to be back here frequently over the next few weeks/months getting reccomendations for some of the above mentioned gear.
 

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Telstar 28
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Davits are a really bad idea on a boat that small. It adds a lot of weight aft, and the boat's trim will really be messed up IMHO.
 

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Picnic Sailor
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Davits are a really bad idea on a boat that small. It adds a lot of weight aft, and the boat's trim will really be messed up IMHO.
I'm with SD. Davits are no good on a 27 footer....

Welcome to my world.
Inflate-deflate-inflate-deflate-inflate-tow...Inflate-deflate-inflate-deflate-inflate-tow......
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Do you reccomend just towing the Dinghy behind on a long line then?

what about using a davit just for keeping the dinghy secured when the boat is in the slip? I don't have an easy way to transport it with me everytime I'm going to go out, or a place to store it at home when I'm not.
 

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Dirt Free
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Inverter without a battery charger .....bad idea.
 

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It may cost more $$ to buy the newer boat but in the end you will be happier. I bought my 26' boat new and many a time I wished I bought used so that someone else could have absorbed the cost of outfitting it, in fact I still do when I get something expensive. In the end though, I know that everything on it is what I put on and I know how new or old it is and how to fix it if something goes awry. Their is a certain pride that goes with buying and installing everything you can yourself.
As for the headsail and new furler idea, I would recommend holding off on a new furler for the first year or two and just manage the existing hank-on for at least one season while you decide carefully over a year, what kind of furler sytem you want to get. I regretted not getting a furler at the outset then after a couple of seasons discovered it was a blessing in disguise. I managed five seasons with both a jib & genoa hank-on before making a decision to get a roller furler, then spent a year pondering the brand and finally bought a Schaefer Snapfurler. It is a nice furler and a nice to have item but I could easily have continued with hank-ons, they are not that bad and a furler is not really a complete neccessity but moreso a nice-to-have. Yes, I confess I like it, but I did wait a few years for it. Try it as a hank-on for a season then decide if a furler is in your future, you may find that it can be the distant future.
Oh yea, one more thing - Tow the dinghy!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
CaptKermie - I gave it alot of thought on the older / complete vs new(er) / incomplete, and determined I wanted the same thing you found with yours.
Plus I live 10 minutes away from where the boat is going to be docked so I will have plenty of time durring the week to go and work on little projects.

I've actually never spent any real time on a boat with a roller furling before, they have all been traditional jibs, but since it's going to be me at the helm much of the time, and my girlfriend on the sails. I want to make certain it can be put both up, and down by her safely in any conditions we encounter (don't really want to risk a potential MOB situation if I don't need to). I've been in situations where 2 full grown men have trouble pulling down a traditional jib and keeping control of it. If she's on the sails, then her safety could be risked with a traditional jib. Factoring that in, a roller furling is needed not just wanted.
 

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Telstar 28
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A proper downhaul on the jib would get rid of most of the problems with dropping the jib, and could even be rigged to allow you to drop it from the cockpit.

I'm also curious as to why you have your girlfriend doing the harder work of dealing with the sails on the foredeck, while you're steering the boat? Is she not capable of helming the boat???

Finally, I'd point out that if you and your girlfriend are going to sail as a couple—you both need to be able to single hand whatever boat you have, since a cruising couple is often best described as two people singlehanding the same boat at different times. If she isn't capable of doing that, what do think will happen if you get caught by the boom or are incapacitated by the bends, or fall overboard???

CaptKermie - I gave it alot of thought on the older / complete vs new(er) / incomplete, and determined I wanted the same thing you found with yours.
Plus I live 10 minutes away from where the boat is going to be docked so I will have plenty of time durring the week to go and work on little projects.

I've actually never spent any real time on a boat with a roller furling before, they have all been traditional jibs, but since it's going to be me at the helm much of the time, and my girlfriend on the sails. I want to make certain it can be put both up, and down by her safely in any conditions we encounter (don't really want to risk a potential MOB situation if I don't need to). I've been in situations where 2 full grown men have trouble pulling down a traditional jib and keeping control of it. If she's on the sails, then her safety could be risked with a traditional jib. Factoring that in, a roller furling is needed not just wanted.
 
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