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Old 07-03-2009, 18:43   #1
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Catalina, Island Packet, Sabre or Ericson ?

Hello everyone,
My husband and I are looking at various coastal cruising sailboats. So far we have found a 1988 Catalina 34, 1988 31 ft. Island Packet Cutter C/B, 1988 30 ft. Sabre Mk II and a 1990 Ericson 32-200. We like all 4 boats and all four are in similar condition but with varying price (within 5-8 grand). The Catalina and Ericson being best equipped with less repair and additions needed to start the season. We intend to day sail Sandy Hook Bay, sleep aboard weekends and do a little coastal cruising as time permits (Block Island, New York City, Newport and Nantucket).

Which of these boats would be most comfortable and reliable for our purpose? Anyone familiar with pros and cons we should be aware of before making a purchase.

Thanks, Patsi

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Old 07-03-2009, 19:54   #2
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Ericson over the Catalina

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Old 07-03-2009, 20:36   #3
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A 1988 Sabre 30 should be a mk III (the last Mk II was hull 136 in 1985).

I owned a Sabre 30 Mk III and loved the boat. I'm biased, but I think the Sabre's of this era had considerably better build quality than the others in your list - Maine craftsmanship and all that. When new, Sabre's sold for substantially more than the others too.

The boat was roomy, comfortable, and a joy to sail. It always seemed bigger than 30ft.

We cruised New England in her - as far as the Canadian border.

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Old 07-03-2009, 20:42   #4
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I have an '88 Catalina 34. This boat sails well. Accommodations are fantastic. You will find unmatched owners support. Check out read the FAQs check out the message board. It's a solid boat and very comfortable. Straightforward. Nice lines. Good manners. You won't be disappointed. We are taking ours on a little coastal cruise from Vancouver to Mexico for a year.
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Old 07-03-2009, 21:04   #5
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stop looking at brands...

...and start looking at boats. If you know what you want in a boat, you'll know when you find it.
cruising is entirely about showing up--in boat shoes.
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Old 08-03-2009, 04:26   #6
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For my money, I would opt for the Catalina. They are still in business; it is longer and therefore sails a little faster; it is a sturdily built boat; it has sufficient beam to provide good accommodations; there are a lot of them out there and support is good through the Catalina 34 organization .

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Old 08-03-2009, 05:26   #7
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I believe that IP's and Sabres are built better. Having said that, for Sandy hook bay and the coastal cruising you indicate, the Catalina would be roomier and do fine.
I agree that you should look at how well each vessel has been maintained. I'm not familiar with the Ericson.
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Old 08-03-2009, 06:39   #8
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I agree with Bash, stop looking at brands and look at the boat. For your purposes any of the boats you mentioned will do you well. That said, I like the Sabre's.
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Old 08-03-2009, 08:27   #9
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I've had the Catalina 34, 1991, for two seasons now and I'm very happy with it. Good boat. Good support. You'll enjoy the extra room vs the others you mentioned. We boat on the weekends with extended coastal (Great Lakes) cruises twice each summer. My 2 cents. (1.3 cents US)
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Old 08-03-2009, 08:37   #10
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Still in business

Originally Posted by Jentine View Post
For my money, I would opt for the Catalina. They are still in business
Sabre and IP are also still in business and doning well. I don't know about Erickson.

I just didn't want to have folks think that Catalina was the only one still in business.
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Old 10-03-2009, 06:44   #11
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Thanks so much to everyone for your valued input! I'll keep ya posted as to what boat we end up buying. looks like the c34 at this time. More boats to see this w/e.
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Old 10-03-2009, 07:55   #12
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Some of the Erickson designs were being made by Pacific Sea-craft. They went into chapter 7 bankruptcy about 2 years ago. Rumor has it that the tooling and equipment where purchased and shipped to the east coast, maybe some of the designs will rise from the ashes.
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Old 10-03-2009, 10:29   #13
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These boats are around 20 years old now. Even if the manufacturer is still around, they might not have replacement parts available, or the molds or templates to make new ones.

I've heard Catalina is very good in that respect.
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Old 25-03-2009, 13:00   #14
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I sail on Sandy Hook Bay. I am also a sailing instructor who instructs on Sandy Hook Bay. All the boats you have mentioned are very good boats for what you want to do--especially on Sandy Hook Bay. In terms of production quality, the Catalina is more of a mid-quality boat versus the IP, Sabre, and Ericson. However, one could reasonably argue that IP, Sabre and Ericsons are overkill for Sandy Hook. On the other hand, the production techniques used to build a 1990s Catalina are very much improved copared to a 1980s Catalina. So..what it comes down to is the condition of the boat and how well it has been maintained as well as the amenities that you desires. I like aft cabins so if I were purchasing a 32-34 foot boat I would want the Ericson 32-200 or Ericson 34-200 or Catalina 34. I like IPs but they are heavy. If you you plan on heading North of New York Harbor and East of Huntington, LI then an IP can be great because it won't heal as much as an Ericson or Catalina. Sabre is always a great boat as long as it has been maintained. The Sabre's build quality is ALWAYS excellent.For the type of sailing you plan on doing, although it is always nice to have a Sabre, it might be overkill in terms of Cost/Benefit. All-in-all go with the boat for which you fall in love.

Sandy Hook is a great place to sail, I sail there often. Good Luck
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Old 25-03-2009, 14:24   #15
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Patsi, any one of those 4 would be fine for your intended purpose. Have fun.

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catalina, ericson, island packet, sabre

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