Welcome Sean and Lonna,
A Catalina 30
should fill the bill nicely for your intended use/budget. They perform reasonably well, are reasonably well built and have a great deal of interior
accomodation for their size/vintage/price. I would, however, recommend trying to find one with a diesel
instead of the Atomic 4 gasoline engine
that was used in many of the earlier boats. You will have greater safety
(no explosive fumes from gasoline), no ignition system to worry about, get better fuel consumption
, develop some experience with routine diesel maintenance
and get better resale value.
In terms of gear/equipment, I would certainly want furling
for the jib
(it makes sailing so much easier), and a dodger
. Other equipment
beyond the basics (coast guard mandated safety equipment
, speed/log and depth) is nice, but not essential if all else is in good shape.
Finally, I would certainly recommend hiring a qualified independant surveyor
that you are referred to by someone not involved in the transaction. Finally, while the Catalina 30
would be a good choice, don't get married to the idea of one make and model. If you have any other boats you'd like opinions on, this is probably a good place to start.