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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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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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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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
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???
because I have either torn cartalige, or a hairline fracture in my wrist at the moment and it hurts like hell when putting any turning / torquing force on my wrist, like working a winch or pulling lines. I should find out next week exactly what's wrong, either way she's going to have to work most of the lines for the next month or three.
 
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