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Old 12-11-2011, 15:01   #16
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Location: Mobile Bay, Alabama
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Re: Previously-Enjoyed Catalina 30 as First Boat

I had an '81 C30 standard rig down in Long Beach for a couple of years. It was my first "big" boat and all around was a terrific boat. I found her easy to handle, even singlehanded - granted our conditions in SoCal were different than what you typcially have in SF Bay. We made the run out to Catalina Island a few times and once or twice up to Marina del Rey, and she handled well in larger winds/swells.

You may want to get some opinions on the suitability of the tall vs. standard rig for your typical conditions in SF Bay.

Two items to watch for in late 70s/early 80s versions of the boat:

* The original chainplate was an "eye" type bolt thru the deck that connected down to internal plywood bulkheads. Known for leaking. The design was ultimately changed to a more durable "U" bolt thru-deck, and many boats were retrofit (my boat was originally a SF Bay boat and it had been retrofit). Check the plywood bulkheads for any signs of delamination and make sure the tabbing to the hull is sound. If the retrofit hasn't been done, use that as a negotiating point and plan on making the change.

* The mast on the C30 is deck stepped, with a wood compression post below deck that rests on a wood block in the bilge. This wood block is well known for having rot issues, primarily becuase the head is just forward of the compression post, and on many boats the shower drain was simply a short run of tube from the head floor pan down into the bilge, terminating right next to the wood block. Fresh water drainage = rot in the block. In some cases there is dishing of the fiberglass under the mast step on deck as the wood block rots and compresses. If rot isn't too bad the fix is to use penetrating epoxy to stabilize the block, followed by paint and extension of the shower drain tube to keep water away from the block (this was the fix that worked for me). In more extreme cases the block must be replaced. Catalina/Catalina Direct have a lot of info on this on their website and sell a kit to replace the block.

Two additional points: if your boat has been repowered, check to make sure the replacement engine is powerful enough and that parts are easy to obtain. A lot of boats in the SF area were repowered in the '90s with BMW Marine engines, usually the D12 (single cylinder 12 horsepower engine). When BMW left the marine market there was a guy in SF who bought a bunch of the engines and a lot of parts (he's since gone out of business). Mine was a good engine, but the main saloon settee had to be raised a few inches to accomodate the engine, and parts were very hard to obtain. And I felt that the boat was a bit underpowered, particularly in a chop.

Second, when we sold our boat the surveyor found that the rudder post had corroded in between the top of the rudder and the hull. I don't know how common this problem is on C30s but we had to replace the rudder post when we sold the boat.

I recommend the boat, tons of internal room (more like a 32-34' boat), solid sailer. Maybe not the fastest for racing, you might look at local fleets to see what PHRF/ Portsmouth numbers are being used and then compare to other boats to get an idea of how she'd preform in series racing there.

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Old 12-11-2011, 20:16   #17
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Re: Previously-Enjoyed Catalina 30 as First Boat

Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
Join the Catalina 30 group on Yahoo - many members and lots of support for issues unique to Catalina 30's.
Catalina30 : Catalina 30 Owners Online List

One of the many reasons we went with the Catalina 30 as a starter boat ourselves was the support from the active users group. The Yahoo! group archives is amazing, and if you can't find it, an answer will be forthcoming shortly. More like seven to ten answers, each with a different angle.

A few things we've found...

While the boats may have all been manufactured somewhat similarly (not counting the three versions and various flavors thereof), over the years the setups have diverged. We looked at several before we bought, and each one was unique.

The V-berth fits us quite well, and the wife and I can just barely sleep on the converted salon table with about an inch of headroom/leg room to spare. I should probably mention we're just about scratching 5'-8" tall. If you're longer of stature, you might have an issue there.

Keel bolts and stub can be an issue. Up until '87? (too lazy to google it), Catalina built the keel stub out of plywood, which rots and crushes, leading to the infamous Catalina smile (you should definitely google that). Not a deal breaker, but something to watch out for. The hull to deck joint needs to be thoroughly checked for leaks (I was advised to do so with a hose from the outside). The portlights *will* always leak, and you can spend a lifetime and a fortune trying to stem it (or just accept that flat glass and curved fiberglass don't mix), so don't wash test them. The rear lazarette rim drain is routed directly to the bilge, so make sure the pumps are on before it rains.

Those are some annoying-isms, but all boats have them. There are "better" 30 footers by many yardsticks, but I don't think there's a better starter boat in the size.

As a side note... I've converted ours to electric propulsion. Best boat project ever, and the Catalina 30 is well adapted to it. There are several electric Catalina 30s up in the bay, many of whom enjoy introducing people to the concept. They have semi-regular gatherings at various places. I believe there's also a charter place with several, but the name escapes me. Shouldn't be that hard to find.


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Old 12-11-2011, 21:22   #18
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Re: Previously-Enjoyed Catalina 30 as First Boat

Originally Posted by discostu View Post
Hmm, yeah makes sense. I've been thinking of it like a used car too much, I suppose. Thanks.
Don't worry about parts, Catalina is still in business, unlike most builders from that era. From what I understand they have made a point of keeping models going for as long as possible by updating decks and accomodations while keeping the hull constant in order to promote long lived class associations. The run of the mill owners prefer this, so it worked well for catalina.

We'll see what happens when Frank Butler dies. I suspect the top management is infused with his ethic in this matter and the policy should survive him by at decade or more.
A house is but a boat so poorly built and so firmly run aground no one would think to try and refloat it.
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Old 12-01-2012, 15:48   #19
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Re: Previously-Enjoyed Catalina 30 as First Boat

i have a 1980 catalina 4th boat...on lake ontario.....a very safe boat with lots of living space......just wish that i had a diesel....but the gas atomic motor still runs great.....
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Old 12-02-2012, 17:45   #20
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Re: Previously-Enjoyed Catalina 30 as First Boat

Originally Posted by Notpopeye View Post
Yeah, it means they made a ton of em. It sure does not mean it is or was the best 30 around cause that would be grossly false.
They made a ton of them because there was significant demand for a long time. The demand was there because it is a boat that meets the needs of many sailors, at an attractive price. In other words, for a lot of people it really was the best 30 footer around.
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Old 14-02-2012, 18:09   #21
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Re: Previously-Enjoyed Catalina 30 as First Boat

My first boat was an '89 Catalina 30. Hull 5476 if I remember correctly. I read and looked at boats for a year. The 87 and laters had a number of improvements if you can spend a little more. Mine was a freshwater boat from Lake Ontario and looked like new, it was 15 years old when I got her. They are the number 1 top selling 30 footer in the world. If you added numbers 2 through 9 together they are still the top seller, over 7000. GREAT support network was a big factor for me. There is no issue that has not already been addressed numerous times, even the flat window fix which did last until I sold it. I loved her and she was a comfortable sailboat. Rounded up nicely when overpowered, besides scaring the pants off me the first time. Good luck in your search, look for the right one and when you see her, you will know this is the one.
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Old 14-02-2012, 18:38   #22
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Re: Previously-Enjoyed Catalina 30 as First Boat

I always tell people who ask, a Cat 27' or a Cat 30'. Is a excellent boat. Because it is. Only stuff I have seen go bad , besides the stuff that goes bad with any boat. Is rigging, especially with the older (70's) ones . You are in Frisco, as I'm sure you know you don't mess around with this !! The other thing I have seen on (older ones) is the bilge pump would start to siphon water in. I'm not really sure of the specifics on that but it would be good to keep it in mind . Here is one thing I have been thinking of for a while... Get a Cat. 30 with a blown motor for low budget. Then make a sliding rail system for a out board, 9.9 is all you need. When it is up it looks like your dink motor mounted on your stern rail. And when you are at play on the hook, it is your dink motor.

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