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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys!! I'm excited to join Sailnet.com and to hear all your opinions. I took my first sailing lesson a month ago and fell in love!!! This past month I signed up for an 18 hour sailing course on Lake Norman which is near my home town of Charlotte, NC. Since completing the sailing classes my wife and I have decided to buy a used sail boat. One of the great things we have found is that the instructors from our sailing class will come and give us private lessons on the boat we purchase to learn the ins and outs of it.

Now, all that being said, I have read a lot on here about different boats and what is better or worse than others. I know everyone has their own opinions, but I want to know between a Catalina 22, Mcgregor 25, or a Seafarer Meridian 26 which would you recommend for a first boat?

Here are my thoughts and you correct me if I am wrong or incorrect about any of this. The Catalina 22 has been well maintained and documented buy the previous owners. I lean towards the C22 because I have read that it is easy, fun, there is an abundance of parts available, and resale will be easy. The Mcgregor is below my price range which would be nice to be able to update the interior to our liking, add a roller furling, and clean up with having more money to make repairs or updates as time goes on. My concern with the Mvgregor is the Water-based Keel. Is it good to learn on? Do novice sailors have issues with a water-based keel vs a lead keel? Finally the Seafarer Meridian comes in last, it is a bit larger than I wanted for a first boat. it does not come with a trailer, but it is a beautifully maintained boat and it has the blue hull my wife is dead set on having. My draw back from this boat is no trailer, and I have not done as much research on the Seafarer Meridian as I have the Mcgregor and Catalina. Please give me your opinions and advice!!! I look forward to your responses.
 

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One of None
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Welcome aboard (put your name here)! I would suggest you try to get out on some boats in that size range. You may realize quite early on that you really want a larger boat. That happened to me. "Everyone" told me I needed a smaller boat. I knew I wanted larger but bought a hunter 23, I sold for what I paid for it. (lucky) in less then a year. Now a 30 seems small but I make do :)
 

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Cat 22 for a first boat, unless you need the bigger boat. forget the MAC it wil be a money pit. Keeping it in the water? Trailer? and if your wife wants the blue hull is she going to be the one to polish it every 6 months. blue hulls require a lot more work then white.
 

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Hulls can be painted. I painted the hull of my first boat myself. It didn't look like it was done by a professional but neither did I sail like Dee Ciffari. Welcome to SailNet.
 

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In general it's usually a good practice to get the boat that is in the best condition all else being equal. I'm kinda a fan of Catalina's for many of the reasons you cite, especially easy resale and a fairly stable resale market. Lower costs associated with a trailerable boat etc. I don't remember what a "Seafarer Meridian" was, if I ever knew, got a familiar ring to it, but that could be good or bad.
Since your goal is to sail get a boat ready to sail, when someone says a boat just needs "a little work", they are only alluding to the obvious, not all the work you don't see.
 

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One of None
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Go with the catalina 22. It's a great boat.

MedSailor
The are also much loved and well supported in parts and after market parts and improvements like rudders, sails, rigging etc. If you want smaller it's a great choice.
 

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The question to ask is what do you plan on doing with the boat? If you are planning on sailing different areas and towing the boat around then something with a trailer will be good. If you plan on always sailing in the same place with this boat then why have a trailer? Also you'll quickly come to find there is rarely such a thing as too big of boat in the 20-30ft range. There is never enough room, (for me anyways). I bought our current 29ft boat thinking we'd have it for years and years. 4 years in I've fallen for a 33footer that should fit us just fine, and last us for years and years... (Do you see a pattern here? My wife does!). I''ll say a lot of sailors fall into sailing starting small and small is good to make mistakes on, they cost less to fix. However starting on a 22ft you'll be wanting that 26ft before the year is out if you're anything like a majority of other people, myself included. That being said I don't want something much bigger than a 36ft boat costs for everything go up.

I started with an Oday 22 (nice boats for beginning and another one to consider for your list) it had a trailer and I planned on towing it. However an experienced sailor pointed out the setup time and gas for towing ect all eats into the boating fund. For less than $300 a year I got a mooring and kept it on the water. I drove my car out and rowed out to the boat ready to go. It's nice to keep the boat at a dock or mooring in the water and ready to go sailing when you drive out. You won't have to spend 30-45min setting up and putting the boat in the water to get going.

I would write the Mcgregor out if you think it needs a refit down below and a roller furling. That is money you will never see coming back out of it, especially if you only keep the boat a few years. A furling at $1500-3k is a pricey piece of equipment. If you can buy a boat with a working unit, it won't cost much more than buying a boat without it. Either way you can sail just as much without the furling. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I do want to trailer it. We live in Charlotte and would love to sail regularly on either lake norman or lake wilie. But we vacation in SC and would love to drive it to the ICW and sail to Charleston or further. So everyone says no to the Mcgregor. I will look into the Oday as well I think there are a few around the Charlotte area. I really like the Catalina for the reason the boats have available parts, huge following, and no body really has anything negative to say about them. Is it harder to sail a water-based keel vs. a lead keel?
 

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First welcome to Sailnet!

I'll admit to a bias toward the Catalina 22. That was our first boat and we really enjoyed her. You also said the C22 is in the best condition with good owner records. With any older boat condition is a BIG factor and a well cared for boat means fewer surprises.

Let me respond to a couple of things you said. First you're right, the Catalina 22 will be easy to resell should you decide to go larger - assuming you keep her in good condition. Boats in good shape always sell faster.

More importantly these boats sail well and don't have any bad habits so they make good teachers.

The C22 is the best selling sailboat ever built. That means there are a ton of owners out there and no matter what you run into you can find someone who's already done it and is willing to share advice.

Here are some links you might find helpful:
The Catalina 22 Owners Group - a good group of people, there are local chapters and there is an active group of C22 racers if that's your thing. They also publish a C22 magazine called MainBrace and a Tech Reference for common C22 projects.

Catalina 22 Owners - A web site dedicated to C22 owners on SailboatOwners.com

Catalina Direct - Parts for your C22.

Two good C22 owner sites: The Catalina 22 Experiment and "Chip Ahoy" Homeport

And you can still call/email Catalina with questions and they support owners with hard to find parts -- no matter how old the boat.

Finally if you plan to trailer make sure your tow vehicle is up to the job.

Best of luck with whichever boat you decide on.

Jim
 

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not harder to sail but they do not sail as well as the Cat 22
 

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Join a sailing club or hook up with the sailors who need a person to sail with. Learning to sail other people's boat for a year or two, then define what is your sailing need is for the next 5 to 7 years. Buy a boat accordingly.

Once you have your boat, all your free time is gone, either you sail her or not. But I understand our society has become so impatient just about anything. Buying a boat is like installing an in-ground swimming pool. Using YMCA pool may be more attractive.

Sailing is fun.
 

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I kinda sorta agree with rockD. I'm all for sailing clubs to learn. But in this case, I'd also be for buying the boat first and asking the members of the club to help you learn on her. They get out and sail, you learn. Win win. We've seen this happen a few times in our sail club. In the case of the C22, if you hate it, you probably won't have a problem selling it.
 

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I do want to trailer it. We live in Charlotte and would love to sail regularly on either lake norman or lake wilie. But we vacation in SC and would love to drive it to the ICW and sail to Charleston or further. So everyone says no to the Mcgregor.
There are reasons for this. ;)

The mac seriously compromises any abilities to sail for 2 things. 1: A roomier interior. 2: The ability to plane with a big outboard.

If #2 is really appealing or is a necessity, then the Mac is the only boat on the market for you. If yo're not going to plane at 20knots and waterski behind your sailboat, then you're giving up waaaay to much.

I will look into the Oday as well I think there are a few around the Charlotte area. I really like the Catalina for the reason the boats have available parts, huge following, and no body really has anything negative to say about them. Is it harder to sail a water-based keel vs. a lead keel?
Lets just say that a keel, which is supposed to be submerged in water, should generally be heavier than water in order to provide the needed leverage to keep the boat stable. A water keel weighs..... about as much as..... water! So, the Mac keel isn't even going to start working until it's out of the water.

The Catalina 22 will be a more stable boat, and you're much less likely to spill drinks, or worse, scare new sailors off for life with the heeling.

MedSailor
 

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BTW, there's a term among sailors called "three foot-itis", meaning you're always tempted by something just a little bigger.

But if you're trailering bigger is not better since it means a bigger more expensive tow vehicle.

An awful lot of C22 owners have decided the boats suit them just fine and they're long time owners. The C22 was available with a pop-top option. It's the same idea as a pop-up camper and gives you standing headroom for overnighters.

One of the reasons we went to a bigger boat is we use ours as a weekend shore house for three seasons. But if we were still sailing on the river we'd still be sailing our C22.

It really comes down to how you want to use the boat. The Catalina 22 is a really good choice for what you've described.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thank you all of you for your responses. I think the opportunity to buy this nice of a Catalina 22 will not happen anytime soon. I will let you know what ends up happening when I got see the boat later this week.... If he does not sell it before I can get to Columbia. Until then here is the post of the equipment replaced or upgraded. Look over it and see if there is anything I am missing on an 83 Catalina 22 with a swing Keel:

Equipment that came with the boat when we bought it:
-Arco 6 brass winches (2) & 1 winch handle (never needed the handle)
-Full set of lifelines & stanchions
-Bow & Stern stainless steel pulpits
-Stainless steel swim ladder
-outboard motor mount that raises & lowers
-Evinrude 6hp 2-stroke long-shaft outboard motor & 3-gallon fuel tank & fuel line
-Depth finder (mounted)
-Compass (mounted)
-Anchor
-Anchor mount on bow pulpit
-Updated stereo system installed
-Updated cabin table installed (converts to make a berth for overnighting
-Retractable mast-stepping pole (makes raising the mast much easier!)

Upgrades we have completed since purchasing the boat:
Hull & Standing Rigging upgrades:
-NEW Harken double-spring jib-sheet cleats (new, installed April 2014)
-Rebuilt/lubricated Arco winches (April 2013)
-New bottom paint as of March 2014
-New rudder paint as of March 2013
-Hull was stiffened/reinforced in March 2013
-Bow-eye strengthening plate installed September 2012
-Swing keel mounting pin area was repaired/reinforced March 2013
-Swing keel securing pin area was repaired/reinforced March 2013
-Swing keel winch & cable guide were overhauled September 2012
-New stainless steel mast-stepping plate installed March 2013(I used a longer & larger-diameter bolt to secure mast-stepping plate to mast support post. . .trust me: that sucker isn't going anywhere! Mast-stepping plate is thoroughly caulked & sealed against ANY leaks)
-New windex installed atop mast
-All exterior teak has been sanded & re-oiled as of April 2014
-Every screw, nut, and bolt on the boat has been checked for correct tightness

Other upgrades & additions:
-The boat is in EXCELLENT shape for its age. . .probably the cleanest 80s model Catalina out there!
-New circuit panel for electrics
-Installed cigarette socket so we could charge/power our devices
-New deep-cycle marine battery (September 2012)
-New portable electric bilge-pump with extra-long power-supply cord & drain hose (I customized the pump so it could be used anywhere on the boat -- from bow to stern); we have NEVER needed it!
-Hand bilge pump. . .we have NEVER needed it!
-Life ring (qty 1)
-Adult life jackets (qty 4)
-Fenders (qty 4)
-Full set of interior cushions
-New, never used porta-potty (we only ever daysailed her)
-Cockpit cushions (these are a MUST-HAVE for comfortable seating in the cockpit)
-New Jib sheets
-Repaired/replaced several turnbuckles for standing rigging
-Sunbrella mainsail cover (qty 2)
-Spare mainsheet traveler car (new, never installed)
-Tiller Tamer for tiller

Sail inventory:
-C22 mainsail (qty 1) that we purchased used in 2013
-2nd mainsail (this was what came with the boat when we bought it, but it was for an O'Day 22 & while it worked, it wasn't perfect. . .that's why we bought the correct mainsail)
-3rd mainsail that is in very poor condition (we have never used it)
-Storm Jib (we have never used it)
-Standard jib in very good condition (qty 1)
-155 genoa in very good condition (qty 1)
-135 genoa in very good condition (qty 1)

Trailer:
-Single axle galvanized steel trailer in excellent condition with:
-NEW tires
-NEW wheel bearings
-NEW tongue jack
-NEW lighting
-NEW carpeted bunks (so the hull won't get scratched)
-NEW bow strap
 

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Brass winches?
 

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Sounds like the owner maintained her.

Much of the listed equipment is standard on these boats. But some things that are important:

The mast raising system (especially if it's the Catalina system) makes it much easier to rig and launch the boat.

The repairs to the swing keel pin/bushing. This is a common point of failure on older boats and will save you doing the repair.

A 6hp outboard is plenty for this boat as long as it's in good running condition.

Check the condition of the sails, especially the main and the 135 jib as these will be your "everyday" sails that you'll use the most.

If you do buy the boat I'd have someone knowledgeable take a look at the rest of the standing rigging to check it's condition (the standing rigging holds the mast up).
 

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Good luck with it! I bought a Catalina 22 last fall and can't wait to get it in the water. Just a couple more weeks!
 
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