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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been looking at a couple of 27 ft boats, a 1982 Hunter 27 and a 1983 Catalina 27.

The Hunter has seen much better care over the last 15 years (one owner, raised their boys sailing on it) The Catalina is in rough cosmetic shape, but has a fresher engine, transmission, cutlass bearing.

But, a 1982 Newport 27 just came on the market. From the listing, it looks to be in pretty good shape. I know nothing about a Newport.

Any thoughts on these boats for a would-be first time sailboat owner?
 

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Don't call me a "senior"!
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With older boats (1970s/1980s) it's often a matter of how well the boat has been maintained, rather than who the original builder was. That said, some makes tend to hold up much better than others. In fact, older Catalinas, Hunters, and Newports tend to suffer with age much more than most other brands, although newer Catalinas and Hunters seem to be fairly well built (Newport went belly-up years ago). Ericsons tend to be pretty well-built, and their interiors were finished quite a bit better than most of their contemporaries. But they also tend to be a bit slower than many of the "coastal cruiser"/"club racer" sort of boats from that era.

All that said, any boat that has been really well-maintained and has has some upgrades (such as installing proper thru-hulls, replacing dodgy keel bolts, installing backing plates on the deck hardware, maybe even replacing the ancient A4, etc.) would probably be better than a boat that was originally very well-made but subsequently neglected.
 

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That Drunk Guy
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In my experience the older Ericson 27s a much better sailor then the Catalina, or Hunter from the same years. Newports and Ericsons are a step up in quality from the Catalinas or Hunters. I think the Newport 28 is a better boat than the 27.

These are just my opinions....but I'm really smart. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
For sure, with older boats overall condition is probably the major factor. Of the three that are for sale in my area, the Catalina looks the worst, but it might just be looks. A little elbow grease could have it polished and shined up in a few weekends. Mechanically, it might be in the best shape.

This is the link to the Newport that caught my eye:
Bluewater Bay Yachts, Inc. (Niceville, FL)
There's no mention of engine hours or condition, so it could be worn out.

Finally, all good suggestions on boat makes to consider. But, I'm at the mercy of what's for sale within a reasonable distance (Mobile, AL to Niceville, FL, with me in the middle.) Having a 30+ yr-old 27' boat shipped just doesn't make financial sense.
 

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Even though this issue has been pounded to death, I'll say it one more time.

An older Atomic 4 engine should not be a deal breaker in my opinion. The support, availability of parts, and simplicity are all there to make it a dependable auxiliary.

There are even those of us in our alternate universe that prefer to have a gas engine.

Skywalker
Tartan 27
1966 Atomic 4
 

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We have a Catalina 27 (1973) and love it. One very big advantage (in my opinion) is that you can easily get just about ANY part you might need for it. Catalina Direct: has proved to be a GREAT resource (standing rigging, mast head, chain plates, lifeline fittings, etc). Just about ANYTHING that's on that boat is available through them.

Also a TON of Catalina 27s out there, so easy to find one in a bone yard and pick it clean for things you might need.

~markb
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks Mark. Catalina has always been where I tend to look first as far as production boats go.

Looking again at local listings, I see a 1985 S2 8.6 for sale. Looks like a nice boat. Not familiar with S2, though. And, as opposed to Catalina, I'm wondering if parts could be an issue (chainplates, etc)
 

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Broad Reachin'
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All of the boats mentioned would make fine "first" sailboats for learning and enjoying time on the water. Condition trumps all else in this case. Ratty sails and old running rigging can be replaced relatively easily/affordably, but a saturated deck or delaminated rudder not so much.

A few additional thoughts/considerations:

- Are the engines gas or diesel? Personally, I'd prefer a diesel even over the venerable Atomic 4.
- Tiller or wheel?
- Does the Hunter have an iron keel? Some did/do. This isn't necessarily a deal breaker, but I've seen more than a few iron keels in need of attention.
- If you can get the Catalina cleaned up and whipped into shape, it MAY have the best resale value if you decide to ever get your "second" boat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Check out Cal 27 and 2-27 as well. These tend to be very solid boats that sail well. If you like to consider full keel boats, Cape Dory 27 is an excellent choice.
I almost bought a Cape Dory years ago (ok, it was 1983.) But I heard they were slugs, and poor on a tack, so I passed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
All of the boats mentioned would make fine "first" sailboats for learning and enjoying time on the water. Conditions trumps all else in this case. Ratty sails and old running rigging can be replaced relatively easily/affordably, but a saturated deck or delaminated rudder not so much.

A few additional thoughts/considerations:

- Are the engines gas or diesel? Personally, I'd prefer a diesel even over the venerable Atomic 4.
- Tiller or wheel?
- Does the Hunter have an iron keel? Some did/do. This isn't necessarily a deal breaker, but I've seen more than a few iron keels in need of attention.
- If you can get the Catalina cleaned up and whipped into shape, it MAY have the best resale value if you decide to ever get your "second" boat.
Good points.

I've done some digging, the Hunter has a lead keel. Iron would have ruled it out immediately for me.

All the boats I'm looking at are diesel. I've operated Yanmar, like them a lot, don't know about Universal.

It is exactly the delamination I'm concerned about. A survey would be wise, but the total cost would be 10% of what these boats are selling for.

I just wish that Catalina wasn't so ratty looking. Makes me wonder what all has been neglected....leaks around fittings/chainplates, corrosion, etc. The owner dropped BIG bucks in the propulsion system two years ago, but everything else is rough looking.
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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Don't get too hung up on the length of the boat as an indicator of its size. You may find a 26 that is bigger than any of these boats or a 28 (or 29) that is smaller. I would shop on the basis of price, accommodation, and performance. Have a look at PHRF ratings to get a sense of how boats compare for the latter - note that a small difference (less than 10) really does not matter.
 
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I agree with Skywalker, there is nothing inherently wrong with the Atomic engine. It is easier to work on and Moyer Marine has all the parts right up to replacing an entire engine. Just because it is a gas engine, many talk about safety. If you look around any Marina just about any boat under 35 feet uses gas engines.

As to which boat, I believe the other comments have pointed out the pluses and minuses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Don't get too hung up on the length of the boat as an indicator of its size. You may find a 26 that is bigger than any of these boats or a 28 (or 29) that is smaller. I would shop on the basis of price, accommodation, and performance. Have a look at PHRF ratings to get a sense of how boats compare for the latter - note that a small difference (less than 10) really does not matter.
Yes, I've been noticing that. That's what got me looking beyond just Catalina. I got to thinking, maybe a little speed would be nice! :D
 

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It is exactly the delamination I'm concerned about. A survey would be wise, but the total cost would be 10% of what these boats are selling for.
but 10% of the cost of the repair. It's a mean cliche, but it is also true- if you can't afford the survey, you can't afford the boat.
Besides, more and more insurance companies require surveys. so, you're likely going to neeed one anyway. Hypothetically, if you have it surveyed after purchase for the insurance company and a major defect is uncovered it's your problem, at your cost. the same survey done as a condition of purchase makes that defect the seller's problem.
 
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