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Junior Member
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Discussion Starter #1
HI,
New to Sailnet (and new to sailing as well). My wife and I are getting ready to get our basic keelboat certification on a Catalina 22 in September. We’re very excited about making the transition from about 15 years in various power boats (25-33 size).

One of the things we’d like to get back into is weekend cruising (Southeast Florida local inshore initially), and overnight anchorages (which we used to do a lot of in our old 33 Sea Ray). As familiar with various power cruisers as I am, I’m completely ignorant of similar sizes of sailboats, other than to say that without the need for a large engine room, you get a lot more room down below in a sailboat of the same size.

I know this forum has tons of info to sift through, but I’m hoping someone here can get me started in the right direction with some possible recommendations of smaller cruisers (between say 28-32). I realize that’s a broad request, so I’ll list a few things we’d like to have in such a boat. This will be a family boat (more weekender than live aboard). Not limited to....

Preferably @1990 or newer (but not older than 1980).
Basic berths for family of 4.
“Diesel” (not gas) motor for intracoastal and marina maneuvering.
Enclosed head (flushable w/pump out holding tank), and wash/shower.
Shore power for AC electrical and charging.
Roomy enough cockpit area (relative to boat size) for passenger comfort.
Single handed friendly.
Good balance of performance vs. accommodations (the need for “some” speed and handling without fighting things like weather helm, etc.).

Bonus features:
Small galley
Air conditioning (is there such a thing on boats of this size?).
Swimming accessibility (ease of in/out).
Shroud locations that permit easier moving fwd and aft topside.

Okay, I probably should have just asked for somebody to recommend the “perfect boat” between 28-32 and saved myself the typing! Well like I said, I am starting from scratch on sailboat knowledge, and these are the things we’d eventually like to have. As far as performance, I realize its a tradeoff sometimes between creature comforts and capabilities. I’m certainly not looking for a racer (although local club racing might eventually appeal to us as a fun thing to do), but we do want to “feel” the wind and the boat while getting some headway, not to just let it push us around if that makes any sense.

Thanks in advance for getting me started!
Cheers and happy sailing!
Chris
 

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Frozen Member
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565 Posts
Welcome to Sailnet! Enjoy your classes and have a great time. My wife and I did it 4 years ago and it has been a blast.

As far as the perfect boat and what we want, I am so glad we didn't run out and buy first thing. We are still deciding what is the "perfect" boat for us. We did buy a 25' keel boat for a few thousand just to get out and sail. It helped us decide what we really want in a bigger boat without missing the mark on a much larger purchase.

You will put lots of money in a boat. The first one may not stay in the stable long and you may just be loosing any money you spent on it when you decide to buy what you really wanted. Helps when it is small and just a few K rather than a few 10s of K.

Have fun. There is no such thing as the perfect boat for everyone, only for you. Start reading and browsing yacht world.
 

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islander bahama 24
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Go a little older for first sailboat there are several in the right range of your specs just a lil older for cheap on cl here's an example for you. 31 ft. seawind sailboat
 

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Sabre made some great small boats that may fit your needs. They are of great quality and still supported for the most part by the factory. They have strong groups along the east coast and would be welcome at most club races.

good luck in your search
 

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Shanachie, Bristol 30
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If you have the $$$, a 30- to 34-foot Catalina would fit the bill.

They are coastal cruisers with the potential for the Bahamas, with lots of dockside amenities aboard.

In Southeast Florida, make sure you don't buy a deep-draft boat. You want 5 feet of draft at most, preferably 4.5 or so. The reason is that you can sail on the Gulf side of the Keys with shallow draft, which opens a vista of great places to visit.

Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Boca Chita Key, No Name Harbor, etc., are all great places to stop.
 

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I bought a 1989 Catalina 30 last year for sailing Biscayne Bay. It fits most your needs you listed, except for the A/C (can be added) and the walk-through transom. I believe that starting in 1990, they added the walk-through transom.
 

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I bought a 1989 Catalina 30 last year for sailing Biscayne Bay. It fits most your needs you listed, except for the A/C (can be added) and the walk-through transom. I believe that starting in 1990, they added the walk-through transom.
Agree you need to look at C-30's and yes, you can add AC to just about any boat.
 

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Hey,

What's your budget?

Just about every boat boat built around 32' would meet your requirements. Do you want to spend 20K or 120k?

Barry
 

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Junior Member
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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Thanks for the welcome, the replies and great advice. Let me reply to a couple of questions.

Time frame for a purchase is very flexible. We are in no hurry and want to take the time to enjoy learning to sail first, then work up to ownership. We've owned several power boats and are VERY familiar with costs of ownership and know a few of the pitfalls. That said, I'd like to have an idea of what I'll eventually be looking at and learning as much as I can for now.

Price range? Depends really on whether we just go with a smaller day sailor (logical first step), or go into a larger cruiser. But perhaps anywhere between 20-40K.

Keel draft probably not more than 4'. Yup, very familiar with those waters in the Florida Keys. Shoal keels are very popular there, but I'm not crazy about the whole "water ballast" concept (probably just my ignorance leaking out here). But I've heard mixed things about centerboards and boats with moving parts under water. The sailing club we're going to be learning at is in the Keys and they use 22 Catalinas with various keel arraignments, so I'll get to learn a bit more on keel differences at the time (club owner is a big fan of Catalina).

The Seawind looks nice, but as an older boat, it depends on the quality of the interior and overall soundness. Admittedly, some owners have taken great care of older boats while some newer ones get neglected. Will check out the Sabres and the C-30's.

Thanks!
Chris
 

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With your budget and size range, you are probably looking at boats from the 80s. At the lower end of the size range, you can get a boat from the 90s. Lots of choices that will meet your requirements. Cat 30 is a good choice for maximum space below. Others would be Sabre 30 and 32, Tartan 3000 and 31, ODay 28 and 30, Cal 28, etc. With boats over 20 years old, condition is more important than the particular make and model.
 

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There are numerous boats that would likely serve your purposes, with some previously noted, but I would also suggest looking at a Catalina 28. We have had one for several years and have been very happy with her. You should be able to pick up a 1990's for your price range of 20-40K (I believe they came out in the early 90's...obviously the newer MKIIs would be at the higher end of your range. Draft is under 4'...3' 8" I believe. They have a vberth in the front and decent sized berth in the aft...actually the bigger of the two. Enclosed head, galley w stove and oven, swim platform, 6' headroom, etc. It would be a little cramped for extended cruising, but a great size for long weekends...Also, as I'm sure you're aware...buying a smaller boat generally allows you to purchase a newer model, which has its benefits in terms of required maintenance, etc, and you can't beat Catalina for support...both with the owner's groups and the factory themselves...
 

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Junior Member
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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks, I'll research the various models that have been posted here. Catalina seems to come up quite a bit here locally as well, which says a lot about its popularity. I also like the idea of going smaller initially (closer to 28-30). Going above 32, might be possible down the road if we find ourselves cruising more over the years and as we gain more experience, but probably not initially. I don't want any boat to "own" us, as our last motor cruiser did.

I'm not a lawyer, but the term "due diligence" will be in order regarding any future purchase. I also need to spend time researching the qualities of rigging, sails, winches/drums and various lines. Wouldn't do to buy a boat and have to replace all that stuff right away.

Cheers!
Chris
 

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Junior Member
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Discussion Starter #14
One other newbie and perhaps silly question (possibly for a different thread topc). This is for family comfort, and because we got a bit spoiled in our old cruiser, but most power boats in this size range, have generator sets for AC electrics and air conditioning away from the dock. South Florida nights are pretty hot/humid most of the year, so that was almost standard equipment.

These size sailboats obviously are not equipped with gensets (yet ironically, the same small motors used for maneuvering these sailboats, are just about the same size at the generator motors on power boats). So what if any are the alternatives for overnight anchoring and beating the heat? Large house batteries with inverters (heavy!)?

Thanks!
 

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One other newbie and perhaps silly question (possibly for a different thread topc). This is for family comfort, and because we got a bit spoiled in our old cruiser, but most power boats in this size range, have generator sets for AC electrics and air conditioning away from the dock. South Florida nights are pretty hot/humid most of the year, so that was almost standard equipment.

These size sailboats obviously are not equipped with gensets (yet ironically, the same small motors used for maneuvering these sailboats, are just about the same size at the generator motors on power boats). So what if any are the alternatives for overnight anchoring and beating the heat? Large house batteries with inverters (heavy!)?

Thanks!
Don't even think about the inverter route unless you have a really SMALL AC unit AND plenty of battery power. Anyway, not a good idea.

Two options...an AC unit that can be run on a Honda 2000 generator or get a wind scoop for the forward hatch to keep a good breeze flowing thru the boat.
 

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CWhit,
I don't need to tell you about S. Florida weather, but I have found that we do just fine without A/C when we anchor out most of the year (have not done it in June-August). My family is as demanding as the any other, but never had an issue.
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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There are a huge number of boats. A simple and approximate way to get a sense of performance is by looking at PHRF ratings (do a search for your area). This is a handicap system for predicting performance. It is not perfect but for your purpose it does not need to be perfect. The lower the number the faster the boat a difference of 30 means one boat should be 30 seconds per mile faster.

If you want comfort and a bit of performance a bit of a sleeper is a Niagara 31. It was designed by an excellent designer (Frers) and built by a good builder (Hinterhoeller). A Catalina 30 rates around 192 while a Niagara rates around 162 so there is a considerable difference.
 

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Jeanneau, Hunter, Beneteau in that size make nice boats if you can find them also. I've had an 85 Jeanneau arcadia for 8 yrs or so. You probably want to look a bit newer, as the older versions did not have shower, but a model or two later in the early to mid 90s started to have showers. BUT< that came with a cost, ie a bit slower. I have a base rating of 189 locally, with a 28' on deck length. A Cat 28 mkII by comparison is in the 220 range. Not much faster than a C30.

Quite a few brands frankly to look at.

Marty
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for the air cond advice. I don't mind roughing it a bit, but the wife likes it cool. We'll cross that bridge later!

I've read about PHRF ratings. Interesting, if not a little confusing, but I get that the lower the number for a specific boat, the better the speed/performance. But what is D/L (i.e.: I read a review of a C-28 that said; "Excellent sailing performance even for high D/L ratio")?

I also see some boats listed as "tall rigged", which I'm assuming gives it more sail area? Would that lower the PHRF for the same boat with a standard mast? If so, what would be a disadvantage of a tall rigged boat?

I also see a lot of MKI's and MKII"s, but not sure what differentiates them from one another or one without an MK.

Winged vs Straight keel. Obviously a winged keel facilitates a shallower draft, but it seems to me that the wings might cause more drag and overall less performance? Again, I'm not planning on racing, but wouldn't want to lose performance unless necessary for depth.

I've got a lot to learn!!! Thanks all for fielding my Q's!

Chris
 

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Broad Reachin'
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D\L is displacement to length ratio. Careful with generalizations, but a heavier boat per length of waterline might generally offer less performance. Though that may come with increased sea keeping ability. Don't get too caught up in the numbers and ratios. Focus on condition and your needs!

MkI's are a first generation boat, MkII's a second (and presumably improved) generation, and so on. You'll also hear reference to Mk1.5's and such with several Catalina models in particular. The ".5" just means there were some upgrades, but not enough to call it a next gen boat. On Catalinas, the differences between MkI's and II's often include the addition of a scooped transom, revised deck, beam carried further aft and sometimes portlights in the hull, among other changes. You can sort out the details once you start narrowing your search to a specific model or two.
 
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