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Old 08-11-2011, 19:08   #1
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pirate Previously-Enjoyed Catalina 30 as First Boat

Wondering if I could get some feedback from sailors regarding having a Catalina 30 as my first boat, say, from the late-70s to early-80s vintage (to keep the price down).

I know the answer is "it depends", so, here are some parameters. I live in the SF Bay area, looking for something for weekend day outings as well as over-nighters from time to time on the hook or at a marina. Maybe occasional trips to the Farallones or Half Moon Bay when conditions are favorable. No racing planned at the moment but I might change my mind later. Also no plans to do any major long cruising trips, but I guess it depends how addicted I get to having my own boat

Any obvious issues with these boats? The reviews seem generally favorable and my thinking is partly since they are so ubiquitous it should be easy to get parts for it.
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Old 08-11-2011, 19:14   #2
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Re: Previously-Enjoyed Catalina 30 as First Boat

Pretty good all around boat. Pretty well built, pretty good sailing performance, roomy for 30'. For a weekender and bay boat I think it would be a good choice.

Not sure what parts you are referring to but most repair and maintenance items will not be specific to the Catalina but the engine maker, or the refrigerator maker, or the sail makers, or the winch maker etc. I would not base buying a boat on the premise that there are lots more like it for parts.
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Old 08-11-2011, 19:15   #3
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Re: Previously-Enjoyed Catalina 30 as First Boat

Catalina 30 -like the most popular 30' sailboat of all time. Must mean something
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Old 08-11-2011, 19:18   #4
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Re: Previously-Enjoyed Catalina 30 as First Boat

I think your choice is a good one for what your activities will be except possibly the racing part. I don't know what the Catalina 30 fleet is like in the Bay and how many participate in regattas but the boat is not a race boat. Its speed is ok but not super fast.
You should look hard for a well taken care of boat with a diesel engine if possible.
You didn't mention if you already do some sailing or you are just starting out. If you are just starting I suggest you take a sailing class and get involved with a club to really get some experience on different boats.
Good luck in your search.
Kind regards,
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Old 08-11-2011, 19:40   #5
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Re: Previously-Enjoyed Catalina 30 as First Boat

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Not sure what parts you are referring to but most repair and maintenance items will not be specific to the Catalina but the engine maker, or the refrigerator maker, or the sail makers, or the winch maker etc. I would not base buying a boat on the premise that there are lots more like it for parts.
Hmm, yeah makes sense. I've been thinking of it like a used car too much, I suppose. Thanks.
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Old 08-11-2011, 19:44   #6
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Re: Previously-Enjoyed Catalina 30 as First Boat

Hard to argue with the popularity of that boat. The little universal diesel in many of them is a good little engine. I maintained and checked out a few of these in charter use and had few issues. Probably easy resale compared with some boats also.
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Old 08-11-2011, 19:47   #7
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Re: Previously-Enjoyed Catalina 30 as First Boat

Nice boats, take care of it and get her up to snuff and you'll probably at the least sell it for what you paid for it when time comes to upgrade.
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Old 09-11-2011, 04:19   #8
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Re: Previously-Enjoyed Catalina 30 as First Boat

There is a lot of room and light in her which makes her seem even larger than she is. I can see why the model was so successful.

I just bought a 1984 C30 tall rig, fin keel. I have a lot of R&R things I want to do on her while on the hard for the winter. Almost all of it maintenance items that need to be done such as rebedding the chainplates and stanchions. Mine was a Great Lakes boat most of her life so their are no saltwater issues. The wiring is just like it was installed last year, not 27 years ago.

There are many Catalina websites, forums and suppliers. Check those out for a lot of information. Also, the factory website is worth signing on to.
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Old 09-11-2011, 12:01   #9
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Re: Previously-Enjoyed Catalina 30 as First Boat

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
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Old 09-11-2011, 12:49   #10
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Re: Previously-Enjoyed Catalina 30 as First Boat

I have not sailed a C-30. Currently am looking at C-36's. Hopefully looking at my last boat. Have no desire to do Cape Horn, Bering Sea or North Sea. Like to sail in 80-80 land. Wouldn't mind doing the milk run through the Pacific with a couple of surf boards. In my researching the C-36 I have come across alot of info regarding the C-30. IMHO they are well built 30 footers. I think if maintained will and sailed right they would stand up to foul conditions better than the crew. I have seen many C-30s all over the west coast, Channel Islands and Mex. In the latest Baha Ha Ha you will find a C-30 with intended Puddle Jump later. You will also find a C-27 heading for Costa Rica and a couple have been cruising the Sea of Cortez since the previous Ha Ha with no desire to get a bigger boat and suffering no break downs or major issues. Despite the Catalina bashers and nay sayers, they have taken many sailors all over the world safely. They seem to retain their value better than Benes and Hunters. Well maintained, doubt you can go wrong. 30 is a very good and econimical length. Many people including couples seem to have found them comfortable as liveaboards. Good luck, hope to see you on the water soon.
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Old 09-11-2011, 17:46   #11
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Re: Previously-Enjoyed Catalina 30 as First Boat

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
I would not base buying a boat on the premise that there are lots more like it for parts.
True. However, the number of Catalinas made does help to support vendors like Catalina Direct where you can buy EXACT replacement parts for most Catalina boats. I have been able to keep my '91 Cat 36 looking good by replacing things like dorades, rubrail, portlights, etc with new parts. Having the exact same part makes renovation easier.

To the OP - yes, the Cat 30 is a great boat, the roomiest 30 out there and a good sailing boat for the conditions you have planned.

Mike
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Old 09-11-2011, 18:09   #12
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Re: Previously-Enjoyed Catalina 30 as First Boat

Thanks for the replies. Any other suggestions that jump out for my purposes and are in the same price and size class?

I'm interested in the Catalina 30 because I've skippered maybe 15-20 different yachts in my sailing life thus far, of a wide range of sizes and vintage. For something small/simple in this price class, I couldn't think of anything I liked better. Also, since my sailing life so far is all charters and no ownership, I will be a novice boat repairman, so I do like that there is a plethora of documentation out there.
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Old 09-11-2011, 18:41   #13
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Re: Previously-Enjoyed Catalina 30 as First Boat

I previously sailed a C-30 on the Florida West Coast. It was a great boat, I sold it only because I moved inland for several years. I had a tall rig but for island hopping a standard rig is the most desirable.

I recently bought a heavy displacement cruiser and, although I love it for its purpose, I miss the easy of sailing the Catalina. I often sailed alone and it was easy to balance the sails and not touch the wheel for long periods.

Mine had a 16hp Yanmar. It was adequate but I would prefer a larger diesel for coming in a channel against a tide and wind on the nose.

Good luck in your quest
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Old 12-11-2011, 15:10   #14
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Re: Previously-Enjoyed Catalina 30 as First Boat

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Originally Posted by Don Lucas View Post
Catalina 30 -like the most popular 30' sailboat of all time. Must mean something
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.
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Old 12-11-2011, 15:51   #15
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Re: Previously-Enjoyed Catalina 30 as First Boat

I've owned and sailed a 1987 C-30 for 8 years. Great boat for your intended use. Getting parts is not an issue, Catalina Direct provides replacement parts which are virtual duplicates of most of the original parts and the prices aren't too bad. I've also found parts locally in N.C. with no problem. If you get a Universal diesel, again no problem finding parts. I just replaced my shaft, coupling etc. a few months back - all original. The boat is well built; the wiring and plumbing is straight forward. If you get the tall rig, she'll make good speed and do quite well around the marks. Easy to sail and well-balanced, I've gone 45 minutes in a nice steady 17 knot breeze and only touched the wheel because I was getting too close to shore. With a steady breeze above 12 knots she's her own autopilot. I can sail in 20+ knot winds without a reef. The boat is very roomy for a 30 footer, very comfortable at the dock or on the hook.

Good luck!
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