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Old 29-06-2011, 09:00   #1
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Ariel 26 vs Catalina 27

Hi all newbies here, we are looking at boats in the 26-27 range. Will be in Lake Erie for a couple years, while we learn it, and outfit in a way that makes it 'better', with the long term view to move south and see a little coastal blue water and start living aboard.

We are tossing two around right now- a catalina 27 and an ariel 26.

Pros/Cons?

I know a bigger/newer boat might be perferable way to go, but thats not in the cards right now.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
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Old 29-06-2011, 13:22   #2
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Re: Ariel 26 vs Catalina 27

Welcome RicknSue. For Lake Eire daysailing or overnights I think either would do though as per my taste I'd lean towards the full keel cutaway forefoot and heavier displacement Ariel as it might handle the Lake's snotty days a little better. I like the outboard stowage feature on the Ariel and I also believe that the Catalina 27 (one has circumnavigated with the benefit of some reinforcement) has a non-skeged rudder... not a fan of that set up. Good luck to ya with the boat search and happy sailing!
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Old 29-06-2011, 16:28   #3
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Re: Ariel 26 vs Catalina 27

Albin Vega, JJ Taylor Contessa 26, Bristol 27, Cape Dory 26 and 27, Erickson 27...worth checking for a broader perspective
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Old 29-06-2011, 16:39   #4
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Re: Ariel 26 vs Catalina 27

Given that you're not looking to do a circumnavigation in this boat... The Catalina is actually a little over 1000lbs heavier and almost 3 foot more waterline waterline length. Its a MUCH better sailing vessel by all accounts. Not that the Ariel isn't a good sailor, but the C27 is one of the better sailing 27 footers around... It'll handle the snotty days on the lake just fine (I've seen the worst of lake Michigan sailing on a catalina 302, along side a hunter 30, durring a 30+ gale that had been blowing for over 4 days.. the chop was horrendous. Both boats handled it just fine with plenty to spare). And It'll handle the coastal (ICW) cruise south, plus get you around the Bahama's and pretty much anything else you want to do down there....

If you were talking about 30+ footers, or wanting to cross oceans, then I'd go with the traditional design, but you're not... So I'd go with the most comfortable boat, that just so happens to be a better sailor and is more than capable of what you're intending to accomplish.

Of course, that would be if they were both in same condition...
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Old 29-06-2011, 16:53   #5
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Re: Ariel 26 vs Catalina 27

that Catalina will sail circles around the Ariel.

Be aware that some Catalina 27s have inboard engines, and some have outboards. In my opinion, there's a huge difference between the desirability of the two.
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Old 29-06-2011, 17:13   #6
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Re: Ariel 26 vs Catalina 27

Another vote for the Catalina. +1
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Old 29-06-2011, 17:43   #7
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Re: Ariel 26 vs Catalina 27

http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1977.../United-States

...this gets my vote, the new Beta alone is worth 8k...
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Old 29-06-2011, 17:55   #8
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Re: Ariel 26 vs Catalina 27

Right you are callmecrazy... I assumed the Ariel would be heavier w/o checking, I was also surprised to see that the Catalina 27 had slightly better motion comfort so what the heck...

Not surprised about the speed difference nor would I be surprised about a difference in pointing ability favoring the Catalina. Comfort (assumed in this case) and tracking trump speed for many of us and in some bodies of water can make a huge difference in the kind of pleasure to be had.

I would much rather have an outboard to deal with than an inboard any day for a boat this size and for the intended use ,especially in not having to hang the outboard off the transom as one would have to do with the Catalina.

I suppose a great idea for RicknSue would be to check with locals on the lake and get some input on boat choices. Having plenty of experience on Erie I personaly favor something with at least moderatly heavy displacement and good tracking.

It may be the case that The Catalina and maybe better yet the Ericson 27 offer more comfortable living space than the Ariel and all else considered this would be best, after all hopefully those "victory at sea" days will not come along too often.
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Old 29-06-2011, 18:29   #9
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Re: Ariel 26 vs Catalina 27

We sailed a Catalina 27 for a day sail this past Sunday. Winds were very light and variable at the beginning of the day. She had a roller furling jib and inboard diesel. We slowly wandered for the first 2 hours until we found the wind. Once the wind picked up to the 3-5 knot range we were off and reaching. She handled very well. We eventually got her up to approx. 5.5 knots on a close reach.

Our typical experience is sailing on a 28 foot Erickson.

The Catalina was maneuverable, but not as swift as the Erickson (Erickson will turn on a dime). The cockpit in Catalina was a bit larger than the Erickson and we really liked that. The roller furling jib was a plus. Made it very easy to clean her up at the end of the day. The cabin was roomy and not too much different from the Erickson. She handled the swells and wakes comfortably. The Catalina did have a strong weather helm, which required a 3-5 degree offset to maintain heading on a close reach. The only thing we didn't like was that the side stays blocked travel as you maneuvered on deck from the aft to the foredeck and vice versa. The inboard Diesel had plenty of power for the boat.

All in all, we really enjoyed the Catalina.

Best of luck,
DJ
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