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Old 15-04-2019, 06:25   #1
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Sailer / Cruising trainer - S2 Performance Cruiser vs Catalina 25

Hey all ... been looking at / walking through many lower priced, ~27’ boats lately to purchase to learn to sail and cruise (location is the Bay, and the boat won’t be leaving the bay). This is another step for us getting to “the” boat in 6-7 years that we intended to cruise on, which will be our next boat.

We finally found a couple in the ~5k price range that meet our criteria pretty well:

- low cost, yet sailable and comfortable enough for 3-5 nights easy for 4
- has at least one berth that can handle my height (6’4” .. I’ve submitted to living in a world for short people so I’ll be fine on height)
- must be turn key ready; we’ll make sure the weather conditions do not exceed the boats level of preparedness (e.g. ground tackle strength, aux engine performance, etc)

The two boats are:

S2 27 Performance Cruiser (86)
Catalina 25 - fixed 4’ keel (87)


S2 condition is good, dry bilge, keel bolts look new from top, some water stains around chainplates, engine is clean with decent belts, through hulls all work easily with some corrosion, cockpit glass is great with very little crazying in a couple corners where I expect, deck and hull are in great shape with no discernible soft spots.

Has a bimini (not great looking but definitely functional). Smell isn’t of mildew, musty, nor of sewage from holding tank. I was impressed with storage capacity. Galley is in decent condition. Auto-pilot for tiller included. Shore power hookup. Rudder looks good/solid, same as prop and prop shaft, as well as keel. Inboard diesel. Freshly painted bottom

Cons: jib sheet ison furlerwith no uv protection, the traveler that goes across the companionway seems a little suspect with some minor cracking occuring on glass companion hatch cover. Starboard side, aft box the wood that stiffens the hatch is rotted allowing the inside leading edge to crack (will need some glass, which I would intend to domyself as a “learn to glass” project). No v-berth cushions. Cost is approx $3k more than Cat 25



Catalina 25 is in decent shape, decently clean, the pop-top creates great airflow, jib refurbished last year with uv protection (jib furler). Mainsail in decent shape. All running rigging setup for single handing. Has auto-pilot, and good room for sleeping 4. $3k cheaper than S2

Cons: vberth storage area is prett rank, though the holding tank area under is pretty rank and also happens to be the largest storage compartment. Storage is nowhere near capacity of S2. The aux outboard engine propshaft is not the 25” version, so known issue there with prop hopping outof water in chop. It also didnot run well. Small 2.5gal gas portable tank (compartment vented outside). Ground tackle looked very light (small danforth, decent for a lunch hook at best).

No bimini, and a number of soft-ish spots on deck Owner pulled some teak trim a few years ago and left the resulting screw holes unfilled which has me concerned about core saturation from water / elements. Starboard cockpit seat forward area has some crazying and sounds a little hollow compared to port side across. Bilge is not dry due to pump system setup (terminates at hose w/ mesh rubberbanded in place, and hatch is screwed in place making it a pain to manually sponge out). Keel bolts looked ok with some minor rusting on nut / threads. Boat is in water, so I have no idea what the bottom looks like (rudder, hull, keel). Needs hull cleaned / painted

-—————-

As of now we’re beginning pursuit of the S2 but I’d love any feedback / questions the community may have (especially onthe S2 27 performance cruiser). I’ve done a lot of online research on the model, but some forum discussion is conflicting and I didn’t see any deck / hull core issues.

Also, we are likely not going to survey the boatdue to purchase amount (we understand the risk). We’re paying cash for the boat, so thats on us. I may get a compression test for the S2 just to make no surprises on engine performance
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Old 15-04-2019, 06:35   #2
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Re: Sailer / Cruising trainer - S2 Performance Cruiser vs Catalina 25

You should be able to find a Catalina 27 for $5000- $6000 or else one of the boats capable of Offshore Sailing on the Atom Voyages Boat List which is what I did in 2011

I didn't have my boat surveyed but did a pretty thorough tap test on the hull and deck. It was already on the hard.

A friend of mine just sold his Catalina 27 for around $6,000 and it was in excellent condition.

https://atomvoyages.com/planning/goo...oats-list.html
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Old 15-04-2019, 06:48   #3
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Re: Sailer / Cruising trainer - S2 Performance Cruiser vs Catalina 25

There are many, many boats "out there" that will probably meet your criteria just within 100 miles of you. Research the market online as best you can and then narrow it down without concern too much about details or things you can change, repair or upgrade. Focus on overall layout, cleanliness, readiness to sail etc etc. As for a survey and engine check, it may not be necessary for a boat in the price range you are seeking (as you suggest) unless insurance co. insists but don't focus on the engine--the sails and rigging are the bigger concern--they are the engine of a sailboat AND as for your 6'4" height--that may be the single most important factor.....I sent you a PM...thanks
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Old 15-04-2019, 06:51   #4
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Re: Sailer / Cruising trainer - S2 Performance Cruiser vs Catalina 25

Thx for the quick reply Thomm. Will dig around on the 27s in the meantime. I will say one of the appealing aspects of the Catalina line is the community support and parts availability.

On that note, if anyone here knows of a boat in the Annapolis (ish) area that we should explore plz send my way
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Old 15-04-2019, 07:00   #5
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Re: Sailer / Cruising trainer - S2 Performance Cruiser vs Catalina 25

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Annapolis View Post
There are many, many boats "out there" that will probably meet your criteria just within 100 miles of you. Research the market online as best you can and then narrow it down without concern too much about details or things you can change, repair or upgrade. Focus on overall layout, cleanliness, readiness to sail etc etc. As for a survey and engine check, it may not be necessary for a boat in the price range you are seeking (as you suggest) unless insurance co. insists but don't focus on the engine--the sails and rigging are the bigger concern--they are the engine of a sailboat AND as for your 6'4" height--that may be the single most important factor.....I sent you a PM...thanks
I’m there with ya. Will check my PM in a sec.

The good news is that I have been boating all my life, so I understand everything BUT the sail/rigging aspect (albeit thats a very important part of this). My dad used to make me squeeze into some super tight spaces when I was younger to handle hose clamps, electrical connections, bilge cleanup, etc



Point being, I feel very comfortable assessing glass, general electrical system condition, general mechanical engine condition, and the “feel” of the space on the boat. Just so folks understand my background; I’m sailing illiterate but very much vessel experienced if that makes sense

I am truly thankful for the guidance/feedback!!
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Old 15-04-2019, 07:12   #6
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Re: Sailer / Cruising trainer - S2 Performance Cruiser vs Catalina 25

At 6'4" i imagine that most spaces can be tight for you!! I understand your situation..so again...don't get too hung up on any one boat--they are "out there" as in the X files....but if a sailboat's diesel engine starts and runs without too much trouble or smoke or vibration...it's not as much to be concerned about compared to sails and rigging..very different situation on a power boat of course.
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Old 15-04-2019, 10:01   #7
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Re: Sailer / Cruising trainer - S2 Performance Cruiser vs Catalina 25

Thx for your time Paul. Was great catching up by phone
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Old 15-04-2019, 10:29   #8
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Re: Sailer / Cruising trainer - S2 Performance Cruiser vs Catalina 25

Deck core rot is a pretty major repair. I'd steer way clear of any boat with unfilled holes in the deck, like the C25. There is usually enough of a problem with water intrusion, even when an older boat has been maintained. Like has been said, there are many boats out there, and I'd step up to a C27 if you can find one in your range. Good luck-
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Old 15-04-2019, 11:08   #9
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Re: Sailer / Cruising trainer - S2 Performance Cruiser vs Catalina 25

Based on the fundamental parameters the S2 should be a slightly "better" boat, though IMO neither is a cruising boat. Both are really just overgrown dinghies with a deck and although it is two feet longer, the S2 will fell more cramped than the Catalina - and that's cramped enuff ;-)!.

But for what you say you want a boat for, that doesn't really matter. One boat gotten for five grand is functionally as good as any other boat gotten for five grand, and any such boat should be treated as disposable. When you've learned all you can from it, pass it on to someone else that needs to follow in your footsteps even if you have to give it away.

You say you have boating experience, so this sailboat will not be a vehicle for teaching you the fundamentals of seamanship. You should already have that under your belt. The additional bits you need to learn, the ones that differential handling a sailboat from handling a powerboat, you can pick up in a long evening of focused study followed by a long afternoon on the water.

You say you have boat maintenance under your belt. This sailboat, therefore, while it may need this or that, will not be a challenge in that regard, nor will it teach you much.

The thing that you WILL need to learn, if you want to go cruising seriously, neither of these boats can really teach you, because from a serious cruiser's perspective both are trivialities. The thing they cannot teach you is how to be a SKIPPER. But fortunately you don't have to learn that all at once, and most of us reach ripe old age while still engaged in that study :-)

So grab either one of these boats, or some other cheapie, and go sailing. That's how you engage in the study required to become a cruising skipper. It doesn't happen by sitting shoreside worrying about the difference twixt a coupla boats that are as disposable as styrene coffee cups :-)!

Skippering is not really rocket science. It's pretty straight forward. But what it DOES require is a certain mindset. That mindset is independent of the particular vessel you happen to be skippering, and it involves having imagined all the 'orrible things that can happen to you and your ship, and, therethrough, having evolved responses to these 'orrible things.

So grab a boat and go out there and have some progressively 'orrible things happen to you :-)

All the best

TrentePieds
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Old 15-04-2019, 11:56   #10
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Re: Sailer / Cruising trainer - S2 Performance Cruiser vs Catalina 25

Keep looking.


There are LOTS of boats in your area. For cruising, a Catalina 27 or 30 will work better if you can muster a little more money.
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Old 15-04-2019, 12:05   #11
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Re: Sailer / Cruising trainer - S2 Performance Cruiser vs Catalina 25

OK, I will say it. If you want the cruising experience without much cost and they hold their value pretty well, the Catalina 30 will definitely give the bigger boat feel with diesel engine (on most). It will sleep 4 people and will be a boat you can do some intermediate cruising out of the bay. My money will be the 30' and use it for several more years.

I had a 25 catalina and loved the boat but she was in great shape and on a lake. I wouldn't want to be 5 days with 4 people on her though. She was basically my sailing fort for weekend sailing. There was a S2 berthed next to us and it had a higher freeboard. I think.
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Old 15-04-2019, 12:19   #12
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Re: Sailer / Cruising trainer - S2 Performance Cruiser vs Catalina 25

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
Based on the fundamental parameters the S2 should be a slightly "better" boat, though IMO neither is a cruising boat. Both are really just overgrown dinghies with a deck and although it is two feet longer, the S2 will fell more cramped than the Catalina - and that's cramped enuff ;-)!.

But for what you say you want a boat for, that doesn't really matter. One boat gotten for five grand is functionally as good as any other boat gotten for five grand, and any such boat should be treated as disposable. When you've learned all you can from it, pass it on to someone else that needs to follow in your footsteps even if you have to give it away.

You say you have boating experience, so this sailboat will not be a vehicle for teaching you the fundamentals of seamanship. You should already have that under your belt. The additional bits you need to learn, the ones that differential handling a sailboat from handling a powerboat, you can pick up in a long evening of focused study followed by a long afternoon on the water.

You say you have boat maintenance under your belt. This sailboat, therefore, while it may need this or that, will not be a challenge in that regard, nor will it teach you much.

The thing that you WILL need to learn, if you want to go cruising seriously, neither of these boats can really teach you, because from a serious cruiser's perspective both are trivialities. The thing they cannot teach you is how to be a SKIPPER. But fortunately you don't have to learn that all at once, and most of us reach ripe old age while still engaged in that study :-)

So grab either one of these boats, or some other cheapie, and go sailing. That's how you engage in the study required to become a cruising skipper. It doesn't happen by sitting shoreside worrying about the difference twixt a coupla boats that are as disposable as styrene coffee cups :-)!

Skippering is not really rocket science. It's pretty straight forward. But what it DOES require is a certain mindset. That mindset is independent of the particular vessel you happen to be skippering, and it involves having imagined all the 'orrible things that can happen to you and your ship, and, therethrough, having evolved responses to these 'orrible things.

So grab a boat and go out there and have some progressively 'orrible things happen to you :-)

All the best

TrentePieds
Actually you can learn to be the Skipper of a serious cruising boat on either of these .......but even more so on a tougher $5,000 boat. You can even use the tougher one to actually cruise long distance on

There's a guy on CF sailing the world on a $1,000 boat. The boat is a Bristol 27.

Another guy purchased a Bristol 27 for $4,000 and rounded Cape Horn with it, but he was a pretty experienced seaman and did upgrade the boat

Catalina 27's have circumnavigated, but I wouldn't recommend it

There's a young lady cruising the ICW on a boat that was purchased for probably under $5,000. It's an old Ariel 26 (Dinghy Dreams – Road to the Sea) She's sailed from Canada to Southern Florida so far with almost no experience

There are many on CF with $100,000 plus boats doing the same thing and calling it cruising.

I'd say it's all up to the sailor/skipper, his boat, and his background
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Old 15-04-2019, 12:29   #13
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Re: Sailer / Cruising trainer - S2 Performance Cruiser vs Catalina 25

Thx both ... can’t get experience any other way other than doing the job for sure. I’ve started networking to see if the stars will align to crew on a skippered boat to pick up traits by following though. Will see what happens in the months/years to come

Thx for the sanity check re: the holes in the deck on the catalina as well. Holes on deck that go through a winter worry me. I don't honestly understand why folks wouldn’t take a few minutes to fill with epoxy and just redrill/screw when rdy, but w/e.

I will say the S2 feels way more beamy than the C25. There was ample room for 4 to sleep too. My family of 4 stretched out in the S2 and had a conversation about comfort for 10-15m. It didn’t feel cramped at all; tight spaced but not cramped. The S2 27 is a better boat than the pics and data on paper show imo (though that pop-top is soooo nice on the C25)
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Old 15-04-2019, 12:41   #14
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Re: Sailer / Cruising trainer - S2 Performance Cruiser vs Catalina 25

I admit to a prejudice toward the S2. I've sailed an '87 35C for 15 years now and think the build quality and "smarts" in the design make it a good choice. A friend upgraded to a
a mid-80's 30' S2 from a 27' Morgan and is glad she did. I have no real squawks on the Catalina's, just that they weren't put together like an S2. If you want to insure either one you will probably have to have a survey done.
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Old 15-04-2019, 12:43   #15
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Re: Sailer / Cruising trainer - S2 Performance Cruiser vs Catalina 25

First....I'd take the S2-27 over the C25.

And there's nothing wrong with going fast! If you don't need a full keel for blue water passages, then enjoy going fast and the nimble handling of a fin keel.

I read your full text...did you say the C25 had an outboard and the S2 had an inboard?

I agree with the other posts...there are so many good boats out there right now at great prices. Personally, I'm looking at an Alberg 30 (in Rochester NY) for $1,000 (dead man's boat). In my area (Lake Ontario) there are plenty of C&C27 for around $5,000, including one in Hamilton asking only $2,500 (cdn)...all in ready to sail condition.

https://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-details...equestSource=b

My suggestion would be to look for a mid 70's Pearson 30. I recently sold mine. They sell very cheap, but are a good solid boat, fun to sail, lots of room, just really ugly below. They came with the venerable Atomic 4, which is fine for your purposes, but if you can find one that's been repowered with a diesel then thats the one to buy! The P30 usually sells very cheap and meets/exceeds all your criteria.
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