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Old 22-01-2010, 10:22   #31
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I'll tell you, Jim, picture one of your kids in the cockpit sitting close to the tiller. You're about to come about one way or another and because of the waves, the tiller snaps out of your hand and slams into your kid. This is real and can happen, especially if you are new and not accustomed to keeping a hand on the tiller at all times. Both the wife and I experienced sore ribs before we learned.

Although a wheel doesn't provide the level of feedback that a tiller does, you can still learn to watch all the other clues you need to watch to keep your boat on course. If this were not true, then the boats that circumnavigate and race would all have tillers. You really can feel the waves shifting the boat as they go under you, and then you can learn to compensate your course with every wave to keep her steady, so it's not like you can't feel the currents. You develop a rhythm.

We have a marina mate that has made a few trips to Catalina Island with us (22 miles of open ocean). He has a 36 footer with a tiller and has been sailing most of his life. The boat that he currently has is a boat that he has completely rebuilt for a friend, and not necessarily his choice of boat. He has made the comment several times that when the wind and waves pick up (average 6 foot seas) the tiller is a pain.

Your choice. Buy a smaller and cheap boat with a tiller. Learn to sail, and then sell it for your boat of choice. After passing by a few other boats that have a wheel, and seeing their ease at the helm, you might just have your mind made up for you.

Keep up posted! None of us ever stop learning, and your experience can lend a lot to the rest of us, too!
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Old 21-05-2010, 13:28   #32
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Originally Posted by Jim Buffet View Post
That's why my search is including the wheel as well. Great advice from both camps regarding wheel vs. tiller. I am more confused than ever

Not sure I will truly know until I get one or both of them out for a sea trial. I don't know how to sail and wanted to enroll in sailing school before taking these boats out on the water. Unfortunately, classes don't start until April around here..........long time to wait!! Not sure I have much alternative unless I try to learn from each of the boat owners and take it from there until I can start school?
If you are going to be sailing solo a lot, the tiller is much easier to sail with than a wheel. If it were my decision and I sail solo most of the time, I would choose the tiller, not just because it is easier to single hand with but it's simpler and far more foolproof.
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Old 27-10-2012, 02:54   #33
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Re: Hunter vs Catalina - Please Help

The Catalina 25 is just a great handling boat. The 27 is similar but not as fast. All in all I think the Catalina is better than the Hunter. Also, I think a tiller is a better option than the wheel.
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Old 27-10-2012, 04:00   #34
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Re: Hunter vs Catalina - Please Help

I don't know much about Catalinas or Hunters, but I have been sailing for a long time and I am not a fan of tillers. I believethat on small boats, a tiller is preferable as it can be lifted out of the way when at anchor. A pedestal and wheel is a blasted nuisance in a small boat at anchor.

I like wheel steering and don't believe it makes me a poorer sailor. At the end of the day you will assess both boats on your short list and as both interest you foir different reasons, emotion will be the eventual decider.

Loving your boat is very important, despite its faults.
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Old 27-10-2012, 05:01   #35
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Re: Hunter vs Catalina - Please Help

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Originally Posted by tomperanteau View Post
I'll tell you, Jim, picture one of your kids in the cockpit sitting close to the tiller. You're about to come about one way or another and because of the waves, the tiller snaps out of your hand and slams into your kid. This is real and can happen, especially if you are new and not accustomed to keeping a hand on the tiller at all times. Both the wife and I experienced sore ribs before we learned.

Although a wheel doesn't provide the level of feedback that a tiller does, you can still learn to watch all the other clues you need to watch to keep your boat on course. If this were not true, then the boats that circumnavigate and race would all have tillers. You really can feel the waves shifting the boat as they go under you, and then you can learn to compensate your course with every wave to keep her steady, so it's not like you can't feel the currents. You develop a rhythm.

We have a marina mate that has made a few trips to Catalina Island with us (22 miles of open ocean). He has a 36 footer with a tiller and has been sailing most of his life. The boat that he currently has is a boat that he has completely rebuilt for a friend, and not necessarily his choice of boat. He has made the comment several times that when the wind and waves pick up (average 6 foot seas) the tiller is a pain.

Your choice. Buy a smaller and cheap boat with a tiller. Learn to sail, and then sell it for your boat of choice. After passing by a few other boats that have a wheel, and seeing their ease at the helm, you might just have your mind made up for you.

Keep up posted! None of us ever stop learning, and your experience can lend a lot to the rest of us, too!
A tiller can be a bit of a wrestling match in rough seas. In addition, a tiller will take up a lot of space in a 25' boat because it will be most of the length of the cockpit.

I have a Hunter built in 1983 (don't know how old the boats are you're looking at). Mine is 31 and markedly faster than a Catalina of similar size. The toerail is quite stout and doesn't have a single leak in it, nor is there evidence of it ever having leaked. That's pretty remarkable on a boat of that age.

Both companies work to provide plenty of cabin space.

You'll just have to sail them and decide for yourself.
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Old 27-10-2012, 05:13   #36
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Re: Hunter vs Catalina - Please Help

Jim,

I am a partner in a Catalina 42 from the 90s and I would not own a Hunter of the same era simply becuase the Catalina is (much) better built.

Also, go for the tiller. A tiller give you a better feel for the boat, is much less prone to breakage and has more self steering options. You also don't have to stand up all the time. I wish my Catalina had one.

My other boat, a 37 ft heavy custom voyaging cutter has a tiller and I would not want it any other way.

Most importantly- buy less than you think you can afford, because it will cost more than you think later on....

Todd
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Old 27-10-2012, 06:16   #37
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Re: Hunter vs Catalina - Please Help

Two year old post. Op has probably bought a boat.
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Old 27-10-2012, 06:18   #38
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Re: Hunter vs Catalina - Please Help

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I am a partner in a Catalina 42 from the 90s and I would not own a Hunter of the same era simply becuase the Catalina is (much) better built.
Prove it instead of just saying this because you own the other brand!
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Old 27-10-2012, 06:51   #39
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Re: Hunter vs Catalina - Please Help

Everyone thinks they made the best decision and can't accept acknowledgment otherwise. Regardless, this thread is from 2010 which may indicate those who criticize Hunters are not quite aware of where (or when) they are.
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Old 27-10-2012, 07:09   #40
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Re: Hunter vs Catalina - Please Help

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Prove it instead of just saying this because you own the other brand!

Maybe the newer hunters are more poorly made than Catalinas, but they're both production boats and neither are high end.

But I look around, and the design I have -- I *think* it's called a "Legacy," and they were made from 1983 - 1987, not the Cherubini, seem to survive well around here. There are three in my marina and a dozen more in the area that I'm aware of. I've probably talked to half of them, and they all say the same thing -- incredibly strong toerail with no leaks, and a completely solid deck. Not bad for a boat that's 29 years old.

The boat you want (assuming it's in decent shape) is the right one for you.
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Old 27-10-2012, 18:34   #41
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Re: Hunter vs Catalina - Please Help

Given the OP has moved on, I'd just say you've picked the two cheapest boats made. Why not read a bit and buy your next boat, not your next two.

Wheels are in the way at anchor as Aussee noted.
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Old 27-10-2012, 18:47   #42
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Re: Hunter vs Catalina - Please Help

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Given the OP has moved on, I'd just say you've picked the two cheapest boats made. Why not read a bit and buy your next boat, not your next two.

Wheels are in the way at anchor as Aussee noted.

Not everyone can afford a Swan. I know a lot of sailors and none of them can afford a Swan.

I know a bunch of people who own older Catalinas and a bunch of people who own Hunters. They're all very happy with their boats, and having had them for 20 years or more, it doesn't seem that they spent their money foolishly.

If I win the lottery, maybe I'll look for a Swan, but my Hunter is watertight, easy to sail, easy to live on, and fast. That may not be everything, but it's a lot. I personally prefer a Hunter to a Catalina, but I'm not going to put down someone for having a Catalina, just as I wouldn't assume someone was a snob for having, say, a Swan.
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Old 27-10-2012, 18:56   #43
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Re: Hard to Beat the Catalina

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Originally Posted by Starbuck View Post
Jim,


Here's a pic of the Hunter head of that era:

And here's one of the Catalina head:

Sure, you can't see the entire head compartment in the Hunter pic, but from what you can see, you can discern a significant difference in the general fit and finish between the two.

Now, where would your wife prefer to sit?
Jeff
Jeff

I owned a 1977 Catalina 27, Hull #3438, and my head looked more like the one you identify as a Huter... It did have a solid door on the head, but it was a small head.

The one you identify as the Catalina can not be Catalina 27 of the vintage we are talking about... If it is a Catalina head, the photo is probably depicting something newer, 1982 -1986.
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Old 27-10-2012, 19:10   #44
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Re: Hunter vs Catalina - Please Help

Rakuflames well said. But you will never convince some people. Plus I like the ignorance of said people I have bought and sold 5 different Cherubini's over the past 20 years. I keep coming back because I like getting the most for my money and I don't see the need to spend more just to impress.
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Old 27-10-2012, 19:10   #45
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Re: Hunter vs Catalina - Please Help

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Originally Posted by SVTwilight View Post
Jim,

I am a partner in a Catalina 42 from the 90s and I would not own a Hunter of the same era simply becuase the Catalina is (much) better built.

Also, go for the tiller. A tiller give you a better feel for the boat, is much less prone to breakage and has more self steering options. You also don't have to stand up all the time. I wish my Catalina had one.

My other boat, a 37 ft heavy custom voyaging cutter has a tiller and I would not want it any other way.

Most importantly- buy less than you think you can afford, because it will cost more than you think later on....

Todd

The Catalina is "better built?" I don't think you can top the stoutness of the Hunter toerail, at least not the aluminum ones. My Hunter was built in the 80's and Catalinas from that era and even later have exactly the same crappy roller furler the Hunter does (Hood 810, if you see it SCREAM and run away! )

So they both went "cheap" in the same places. I find it hard to believe that the Catalina's construction is superior.
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