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Old 04-16-2009, 04:27 PM   #15
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Up and down the Caribbean for 5 years, Florida, Cuba and onto Grenada. Must have been up and down at least twice a year and you will be surprised to see how many Catalina's are out there. Remember, Morgan's after 1996 are all technically Catalina's. Hell, we saw a guy sail a 35 C&C from Europe. 35 gals of water and 20 of diesel. It's what you make of it. Tell me where the boat will fail. The hull is solid, add ons should be well backed, and the rest is comfort.
The hull is solid? The only failures I know of are on the smaller Catalinas (27's and 30's) and they relate to localized fatigue, e.g. cracking in the fiberglass on deck where things are bedded including travellers. Also, one boat I know of was used a lot for coastal cruising and had fatigue related hull problems with bulkhead and deck; I have no idea if it was tabbing or something else. Finally, there are a variety of keel and rudder configurations offered on the smaller Catalinas--none of them a "traditional" full keel with keel hung rudder that many cruisers perfer. I know of two cases where there was a minor (very minor in both cases) grounding that ended up with serious leaking because the interface between keel and hull was breached. One of those was a boat that the son grounded but didn't tell Dad and Dad discovered the problem a couple days out from So. Cal on his way to HI. Had to turn around and come back to deal with the huge leaking. Later found out it was also a very minor grounding--boat skimmed over a sand bar--and son didn't expect there to have been a problem.

It seems that the systems are fine as in most production boats--though as you note small tankage--but that the hull and deck may be a bit bendy to have such fatigue related problems.
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Old 04-20-2009, 05:16 PM   #16
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I think (and my opinion is obviously slightly biased) that Catalina's make great cruising boats. I have sailed one of our WindPath Catalina 400 MKII's over 3,000 miles offshore, including 3 days in late November in 47 knots in the gulf stream. The boat did great, some of the crew were not so happy… Catalina's are solidly built well designed boats. While they may not come with all the bells and whistles one might want for extended passage making, very few boats do. I would have no problem taking the new Catalina 309 for an extended cruise.

I also suggest taking a look at the "Catalina Offshore Cruisers Hall of Fame" here:

http://catalinayachts.com/hof.cfm

Some Voyages of note:

The circumnavigation of the "Juggernaut"; a solo circumnavigation in a Catalina 27

The voyage of the "Figment II"; 3 years in the stormy north sea on a Catalina 320
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Old 04-21-2009, 01:22 AM   #17
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Thanks for your post WindPath. Its always good to read up on stories of people who have done amazing things in small boats--it lets you know that you don't have to have a huge boat to voyage widely. Annie Hill's book Voyaging on a Small Income really discusses this point.

The Catalina 400 MKII is a good sized boat--40-41 feet or so right? With size a lot of things do improve and I would certainly hope that one could enjoy cruising the boat you reference offshore. The prices on these boats given a quick google search seem to range from $150K US to $240K US at this time, used. That's a lot of money and hopefully alot of boat.

Our cruising boat is 54' and has a traditional planked wooden hull--yet I would not consider cruising on a wooden boat of 30' as it is really difficult to fit everything in as a wooden boat's frames and overall construction generally make it smaller inside than a similarly sized fiberglass hull. It would be like cruising on a 25-26 ft boat in most cases and likely fairly challenging to provision properly and carry adequate safety gear.

The original topic was the question of whether one could do an extended cruise in a 30 ft Catalina Sloop. You reference the 309. A "used" but this year model 2009 Catalina 309 is a $100K boat according to marinesource.com. That's also a pretty hefty price. Now, there are older Catalinas out there in the 30'-33' range with prices from $7K on up to $100K plus--but dollar for dollar on the older used boats, I do believe the small Catalinas don't fare well in condition nor real cruising performance for the price. JMHO. A Catalina does seem to hold its value quite nicely. Thus the performance for price never works out quite as well as some other boats. If you want to have a boat for a year or two and then flip it, a Catalina might be just the boat to suit the purpose.

When we moved out from the east coast to San Diego to work on the major rebuild of our cruising boat, we decided we wouldn't be able to handle not having a boat for a couple years (length of expected rebuild). We (ourselves and through our surveyor and our broker) looked and considered many boats to own for just two years...including a couple Catalinas in the 40-50' range that were priced from $50K-$150K. We were advised by surveyors and brokers that we'd be very likely to sail a Catalina for a couple years and sell it for exactly what we had in it as they hold their value quite nicely in So. Cal.

Ah, but then we saw a great deal on a little Rawson 30--a bit of a quirky little boat designed by Bill Garden specifically for cruising. With only about 260 of them built from the early 60's through around 1980, they're not well known and really don't hold their value--likely due to their obscurity. Ah, but what a "bang for the buck" one gets with something like a Rawson 30 when it comes to a cruising boat. They pop up for prices between 5K and 40K, most at around $15K. And, as far as we can tell from owning one for two years--they're built like a tank for cruising. There are numerous other small boats built for cruising between the mid-60's to early 90's that offer great potential as well.

So, yes, one might happily take a 30' Catalina cruising especially if one already owns one, loves it, knows its good points and bad...but if one is going off to find a small cruising boat to purchase--like the originator of this thread--the Catalina doesn't rank high on the list of most boat for a given dollar to purchase for cruising.
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Old 04-21-2009, 02:31 AM   #18
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As I said before, I'm a little biased, but I will have to respectfully disagree with you.

In a sense you have helped me make my point. You pointed out how well Catalina's retain thier value in the used boat market, in my opinion this is because they are well built, sturdy boats that have stood the test of time. Catalina has built more of the 30 then any other boat in its lineup; the numbers really speak for themselves.

Boats like the Rawson 30 are solid, heavy boats designed and over-built to handle heavy weather and big waves.

As most modern cruisers and books will argue there is a big trade off between speed and seaworthiness in open water and big weather; i.e. moderate vs. heavy displacement. The question for any particular sailor evaluating these two very different types of boats then becomes do you want to try to outrun the weather, or sit through it "comfortably".

I'd prefer to be at the dock with a rum drink, but to each his own...

Just to clarify, Catalina stopped production of the 30 in 2007 and introduced the "309" to replace it. We have 2 in our fractional sailing program and they are great boats that can take the abuse our type of program can dish out in stride. The 309 (redesigned 30) actually won Cruising World’s best overall boat of the year when it was introduced in 2007.

If I were looking for a solid 30 footer to live and cruise on I would not knock the Catalina 30 or 309 off the list until the very end, if at all. For what you get for the money it is an exceptional boat.
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Old 04-21-2009, 03:47 AM   #19
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ummm... we're not disagreeing, its just that cruisers typically have a fixed budget and well, budget is budget and "bang for the buck" is...well...what do you get for that money? The Catalina brand and recognition of that brand has value to folks in the business of selling boats. I agree with you about the value of the name recognition of Catalina. I would certainly use that value if it were to my advantage--e.g. if I were selling yachts or knew I'd be owning a boat for a short time and re-selling it. However, brand value is simply that-- recognition that can equate to resale value but it doesn't necessarily equate to increased performance. That is where the boat buyer really does need to look at the individual boat.

Established brands have a wonderful way of continuing to retain value solely based on name recognition and not on performance. When I was doing an executive MBA about 10 years ago, we had a great example of this in a marketing class--the professor asked the group of 105 students the question: "who owns a Toyota Camry?" and found that one student did. Then he asked how many had owned a Toyota Camry in the past...and discovered that 10 more had owned one in the past. Then he asked the single Camry owner if she would buy one again...she said no, her next car would be something else. And similarly none of the Camry owners would ever purchase a Camry again. Ah, but the Toyota Camry at the time was a very popular car--supposedly with great brand loyalty--but it seems that it's brand recognition was really selling the car AND that the car really only suits a very small percentage of the people who purchase the Camry--thus, a great car, great brand, great price, great everything...but people tended not to buy them again after owning them. In the meanwhile, Toyota sells a lot of Camry cars

Brand isn't everything. Its a great starting point. Cruisers, generally on a budget, have to look at what they're really getting for their money--and if they really look into things they will likely bypass Catalina yachts for another yacht that offers the same or better performance at a better price.

Regarding speed--when you have a 30' boat, you're going nowhere fast unless you're on a lightweight multihull 30' is 30', waterline is waterline...and though a full keel boat will have more wetted surface and it should make a difference, I surprisingly haven't seen a lot of 30' Catalinas (um...outfitted for cruising...not the beer can races) outperform well designed full keel boats intended to carry the load of cruising. A few tenths of a knot isn't going to help you get out of the way of a storm. A knot or two isn't going to help a whole lot either. But, a boat designed for heavy weather will help one survive some awful storms. Further, a boat (with any type of keel) designed for the load it will be expected to carry is likely to be balanced and is likely to be able to point up closer to the wind--even if the overall design can't point as high as compared to a lightly loaded lighter displacement hull. When clawing your way off a lee shore, I'm sure you're likely to be grateful if your boat isn't overloaded and if it working within the expectations of its designers.

I'd think that being in the Catalina Yacht value chain in any way is a rewarding career to have. Congratulations. I do also think they're great boats for a lot of people--and surely we do find folks around the US coastal cruising with their Catalina yachts and crossing oceans as well. I wouldn't...but then again that's because we each have our own vision of what our voyaging life should be--that's what makes living aboard and cruising a rewarding life to have.

Fair winds
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Old 05-01-2009, 10:19 PM   #20
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Looking into it--you're right, technically, the Catalina 30 (MK III and others) were actually built for cruising. ...
If You want to know about sailing a catalina contact capt. woody ( lattitudes and attitudes magazine) I met him in rangaroa when he was on his 27' Tell him Mark from last penny says hi.
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Old 05-02-2009, 07:37 PM   #21
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If You want to know about sailing a catalina contact capt. woody ( lattitudes and attitudes magazine) I met him in rangaroa when he was on his 27' Tell him Mark from last penny says hi.
You know, I thought he'd started out in a Catalina 27 but later when I was looking into that, I thought I came across info about his use of a larger boat that was perhaps a Cal? I didn't bring it up here, because I thought it wasn't a Catalina but rather a different brand that he did his cruising on. He did have the great attitude that you could cruise on just about anything and go with what you have if that's all you can do--just get out there cruising.

His early stories of cruising on that boat of his were some of the stories that I was thinking of as reasons "not" to cruise on a small Catalina as I recall he had many equipment failures and at one point stated he'd rebuilt the entire boat. He wrote one very entertaining story about re-attaching the keel after it broke loose that really was very similar to my dock-mate's experience with his Catalina 27. As I recall, Woodie got the boat dirt cheap and it probably needed much work but he decided to go cruising on it and then later discovered all this work it needed. Entertaining reading in the old Lats & Atts for sure.

Different boat/different folks:

I just met two different couples who live aboard or have lived aboard a Catalina 30 here in San Diego.

The couple who presently have one are also in search of a larger cruising boat and they're miffed because each time they find a boat in the 40' range that they think will work for them, they go look at it and discover it doesn't have the kind of inside room that they really like which their Catalina 30 does have. They're a bit frustrated by this, for sure, but keep looking. The husband says maybe they'll just take the Catalina 30 cruising but that wasn't what they'd originally planned at all.

The other couple have a Hardin ketch that's something like 42' or so. They lived aboard their Catalina 30 for a couple years but wanted something a bit roomier for living aboard and thus bought the Hardin. I think they liked sailing the Catalina more than the Hardin and since they were inexperienced sailors when they bought the Catalina 30, they were happy with it's simpler sail plan for sure.

Fair winds

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Old 05-03-2009, 04:01 PM   #22
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The question for any particular sailor evaluating these two very different types of boats then becomes do you want to try to outrun the weather, or sit through it "comfortably".
I have a difficult time letting such a comment go by, especially with regard to a 30-foot boat.

Weather systems do not behave as predictably as television "weathermen" would have us believe. They speed up, they slow down, they stall. When they are moving, they seem to move at about 10 to 15 knots. I don't know of any sailboat in the 30' range that can sail or motor at 10 knots, let alone 15 knots. For many weather systems, severe weather is often preceded by lack of wind, further frustrating running as a survival strategy. For short passages, a quick boat would enable sailors to take advantage of short weather windows, but for larger systems, it is appropriate to expect getting caught in heavy weather and being prepared to ride it out.

That does not mean that I would seek a heavy cruiser. SV Watermelon was a medium to light displacement "racer-cruiser" which, on long passages, would arrive several days earlier than a heavy cruiser of the same length. Under most circumstances she was an easy boat to sail with just the two of us, and we learned to be conservative in how we trimmed our sails and stowed our gear and provisions to best balance her. But outrun weather systems we didn't, and we didn't expect to.

Our power cat is also light and nimble. It isn't an ocean crossing vessel, but with the ability to zip along at 12 to 16 knots, we can take advantage of short weather windows to keep out of bad weather or to continue our voyage. If that is what you mean by outrunning weather, well, yes, a quicker boat can do so.

I think however that cruisers should be very careful in their decisions to try to outrun a forecasted weather system. To me, cruising is about stopping and smelling the roses along the way, and it is rare that we wouldn't take advantage of any excuse to stay in an anchorage for a bit longer.

Fair winds,

J
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Old 05-05-2009, 05:43 PM   #23
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If you want a wonderful bluewater boat that is small--find a Rawson 30! They're great, solid, and can go anywhere you'd like to take them. We were privileged to own on for two years and can attest to the seaworthiness of the design. Further, they're often inexpensive (may require some "fix up") ranging in price from $5K to $35K depending upon condition, electronics, etc.
What do you think of the Yankee 30. I see bunches of them for sale from the 70's at very competative prices and I have read a couple places where people have rated them in the same class as the Rawson 30 in the same price range. Comments?

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Old 05-06-2009, 01:49 AM   #24
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What do you think of the Yankee 30. I see bunches of them for sale from the 70's at very competative prices and I have read a couple places where people have rated them in the same class as the Rawson 30 in the same price range. Comments?

Kevin
It is likely a very nice boat as it's a Sparkman and Stephens design (don't know the boat but looked online starting here with the owners' group) but there are a couple BIG differences between the two boats:

The Rawson 30 has a full keel, small cutaway at forefoot, and keel hung rudder, whereas

The Yankee 30 has a much more modern keel and a skeg hung rudder.

We chose to look ONLY at boats with keel hung rudders when shopping for a cruising boat. Personal choice regarding structural integrity of the rudder/keel and less likely to foul the prop on something.

The Rawson 30 has a relatively low aspect rig of the type which does well in high winds but doesn't do so well in light winds (you'd need a spinnaker, etc), whereas

The Yankee 30 has a high aspect rig of the type which does very well in light winds but means you'll be carefully reefing more frequently.

Don't have a real personal choice here--"medium" is just right for us

And there are important construction differences--

The Rawson has an old-fashioned solid fiberglass hull (no core) whereas

The Yankee has a balsa-core hull with solid reinforcements around (factory installed) thru hulls.

Preference for us would be the solid fiberglass hull for longevity and long life performance at a cost of having a bit of extra weight (but no mushy balsa after 30-40 years...)

I'm sure there are other differences that you can see from the layouts, etc. But, that's what I saw when I took a quick look.

Fair winds
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Old 05-06-2009, 04:40 AM   #25
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just go, man, go. Don't talk about it till you're gray. Don't wait till you have "enough' MONEY. MAKE TIME AND GO. If you don't you'll wish you had and all you'll have is a regret.

Just don't drive hard and remember to pick your weather windows for passages. Heave to when prudent and take good care of your gear. Make some milk runs and avoid the capes. There are lots of places to see and a limited amount of time-(your lifetime.)

Take Off, EH?

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Old 05-06-2009, 05:20 PM   #26
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just go, man, go. Don't talk about it till you're gray. Don't wait till you have "enough' MONEY. MAKE TIME AND GO. If you don't you'll wish you had and all you'll have is a regret.

Just don't drive hard and remember to pick your weather windows for passages. Heave to when prudent and take good care of your gear. Make some milk runs and avoid the capes. There are lots of places to see and a limited amount of time-(your lifetime.)

Take Off, EH?

bill

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Old 03-24-2011, 07:36 AM   #27
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This classic Catalina 30’ is easy, fun and safe sailing and an excellent live-aboard.
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Old 03-24-2011, 04:49 PM   #28
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I owned a Catalina 30 for years. I never had a problem with her. I raced her when I could and did well. They are not slow boats. I have a wife and two daughters and I found plenty of storage space for weekends and longer . I had her on a lake so I can't say how they would do offshore. I plan to sail around the world some day and thought about taking the Catalina 30 and read everything I could find. In the end I sold her and bought a larger more seaworthy boat that now sits in my yard and I work on every weekend. I still believe I am going at it the right way but for two people going to the Bahamas or the Virgin Islands they are quite capable of it, I would not try an ocean. . You can pick one up cheap if you look around. Watch the weather and try it. It beats working on the boat in the yard!

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