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Old 14-08-2018, 21:09   #1
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Sights setting on a Catalina 36 - Thoughts before I purchase?

Hi all, long time lurker and I'm finally pulling the trigger on a sailboat. I think a Cat 36 MKII might be the ideal boat for my situation, but I'd like to run it by the community here.

I'm going in with another family member on a boat based in San Diego Bay, for bay and costal cruising. Of course there will be a lot of time spent enjoying boat life at the dock as well. Realistically the biggest trips I'd be taking would be up the coast to Oceanside, then over to Catalina.



My experience involves "beer can racing" a friend's Cal 29 many years back, and the occasional 25' Capris harbor rentals. I owned a pilot house fishing boat for a few years. Kept it in a slip and would regularly take it on overnight trips into Mexico about 60 miles out, so I'm comfortable with navigating and considering conditions in that aspect.



I want something big enough to where we're not feeling cramped when we're all there. That would mean 4 adults and 2 young kids.


I think larger than 36 would be ideal however my wife's aesthetic requirements and our budget seem to limit the max length to about 36.



The budget is about $40k.


Catalinas keep making my short list, and mid 90 models are at the top.


I welcome any input on my choice based on my situation, budget, and experience, but here are some questions that linger:


1. Are there any concerns a typical survey wouldn't cover when shopping for a Catalina 36 or the 36 MKII?


2. Hunters keep catching my eye, but I get the impression I should stay away based on searches for 'hunter vs xxx'. Should I really be avoiding Hunters?


3. Any other boats I'm overlooking? I'm open to anything in CA. I'm dreaming of the first adventure, taking a week off to sail it home down the coast after a good shakedown.


4. Should I limit my search to CA? I don't know what's involved in having boats delivered if I expanded my search to the gulf or east coast.


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Old 17-08-2018, 02:00   #2
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Re: Sights setting on a Catalina 36 - Thoughts before I purchase?

Hi

I don't have a C36 but our friends had one for over 14 years and it was a good boat. We bought a C380 and love it.

As an owner with an engineering background I think Catalina as a manufacturer put together a pretty well built production boat. I did my homework and after 6 years we are still very happy.

The C36 is a very popular model and they are a large volume boat that sail well. The cockpit is great for entertaining, the encapsulated lead keel puts it ahead of the Euro boats and they are easily manouvered in and out of a berth.

As a general premis I would buy a fin keel over a wing but they run 50/50 here in Australia.

Everything is easily accessed for maintenance and I have had no issues with chasing support from the factory as required - only twice mind you on an 18yr old vessel.

The only things that I really didn't like on the equivalent Hunters were that they have an upholstered headlining that catches dirt and eventually sags and the swept spreaders combined with no backstay (not that I have heard of one losing the rig because of the design).

The C36 have a good association so perhaps one of their members can give you a more detailed appraisle.

Cheers
Tom
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Old 17-08-2018, 20:37   #3
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Re: Sights setting on a Catalina 36 - Thoughts before I purchase?

I was service manager for a charter fleet that included a good number of Catalina 36's of the sort you are interested in.

Like any boat (any thing!) built to a price point, they have things I didn't like, but over all they were robust simple boats that sailed well. I can think of no strange surprises that a competent surveyor would not find.

Like on any boat, pay attention to the engine/drive train and make sure the rudder shaft is straight. Buy a simple boat without a lot of after market do-dads glued on and you'll be happy with it!
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Old 17-08-2018, 21:56   #4
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Re: Sights setting on a Catalina 36 - Thoughts before I purchase?

Have you found this yet?


www.c36ia.org
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Old 18-08-2018, 01:51   #5
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Re: Sights setting on a Catalina 36 - Thoughts before I purchase?

I appreciate the advice Nineteen, billknny, & Stu! @Nineteen, what are the negatives to a wing keel?


Funny to reflect on how my choice is changing after looking at a couple boats because now a Hunter is at the top of the list. Writing always helps put together my thoughts, so talk through where I'm at here.



The short list boats based on my requirements, budget, and availability, is now C36 and Hunter 35.5. I looked at a '98 C36 and '93 Hunter 35.5 Legend. I'm looking at others of these 2 models tomorrow.

Between these 2 it seems like a compromise between a bigger cockpit of the C36, and a more roomy/plush interior of the Hunter. The Legend also has a nicer walk-through transom.



I may lean towards the Catalina if they were in similar condition and equipped. The Catalina, while newer, was heavily chartered and shows a lot more wear. Also lacks a dodger and autopilot in comparison to the Hunter. I think a Catalina in the same condition and as well equipped would be out of my budget.

The dodger on the Hunter may have made the cockpit feel smaller than it actually was too, which didn't help in comparing it against the room C36 cockpit.



The main thing I've learned so far is what the compromise is going to be between different boats.



Going to look at late 80's Cat 36 and 35.5 tomorrow. I'm not optimistic on the older 35.5 because the transom of the 80's models are not nearly as sexy as the 90's. I have a feeling we'll end up putting an offer on the 93 Legend though.
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Old 18-08-2018, 13:18   #6
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Re: Sights setting on a Catalina 36 - Thoughts before I purchase?

We have been looking at Catalina 36 MKIIs and 380s. One thing I discovered in my research on the 36 is that there have been lots of problems with the transmissions. The Universal engine came with a Hurth transmission and there seem to be issues with unacceptable wear and tear on the transmissions so they don't shift easily. The most common fix seems to be a new transmission rather than a rebuild. The replacement transmission is a ZF and these seems quite good. Cost of the new unit and labour is about $3k. Problems can be avoided if the transmission fluid is changed regularly and/or a transmission fluid cooler is installed. the latter looks like about $200 and is a DIY thing. i am looking at two boats next week and likely making a choice of one or the other.
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Old 18-08-2018, 13:40   #7
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Re: Sights setting on a Catalina 36 - Thoughts before I purchase?

Wing keels tend to "suck" if you ground in mud. They are also great kelp snatchers.

Hunters? Well, we've known only one that was dismasted, and to be honest, I do not remember what the conditions were when it happened, and there are many intact ones.

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Old 18-08-2018, 21:52   #8
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Re: Sights setting on a Catalina 36 - Thoughts before I purchase?

Hi
The fin keels are supposed to point better and as I haven't sailed a wing I have no first hand experience. The one advantage if the wing is the shallower draft. We draw 2.1m for a non racing 38' which is a bit but for California is not going to matter afaik. It certainly doesn't matter around Sydney in AUS.

A dodger is a must have in our opinion and of you plan on going outside you really need the shelter they provide. It is amazing how wet everything gets without one.
Cheers
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Old 18-08-2018, 21:59   #9
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Re: Sights setting on a Catalina 36 - Thoughts before I purchase?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nineteen View Post
Hi
The fin keels are supposed to point better and as I haven't sailed a wing I have no first hand experience. The one advantage if the wing is the shallower draft. We draw 2.1m for a non racing 38' which is a bit but for California is not going to matter afaik. It certainly doesn't matter around Sydney in AUS.

A dodger is a must have in our opinion and of you plan on going outside you really need the shelter they provide. It is amazing how wet everything gets without one.
Cheers
Tom
Sorry but I forgot to say that I am not against Hunters - we just went the Catalina route. Here in Australia the Catalinas seem to be more tightly held and more expensive than the equivalent Hunters.

I hope you can get something you love. I think you have the right boat when you look back as you leave the mooring and she makes you smile

Cheers
Tom
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Old 18-08-2018, 22:11   #10
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Re: Sights setting on a Catalina 36 - Thoughts before I purchase?

We looked at everything you have and settled on a 36MKII. We’ve day, weekend and cruise the keys on it. I couldn’t be happier. The longer trips were four adults for two weeks.

There are a lot of great boats out there. I knew this was it when the whole family was sitting on it with a great big Smile.

The only Boat I’d steer clear of are the Hunters. I really liked some of the Bene’s The girls didn’t like how dark they were below.

I’ve had it out in some nasty weather and it’s a solid boat. I have a wing keel (Florida) and a roller furling main - that’s a must have.
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Old 19-08-2018, 03:08   #11
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Re: Sights setting on a Catalina 36 - Thoughts before I purchase?

Wow, I appreciate the insights. I suppose kelp catching might be the biggest issue that concerns me, which isn't all that bad. We have a lot of it just outside of San Diego Bay, but it can be avoided if you overcome the temptation to short-cut the turn north once outside.



We looked at a couple more late 80s models Catalinas and another 35.5 Legend, but an 88 model. Out of all these in our budget, nothing came close to the condition of the 93 Legend for our budget.


We put a low offer in to lock up the boat, anticipating a counter-offer, but the first offer was accepted!


What seemed like should have been a joyous moment was more like a nervous excitement. There's now a lot of work to be done before we can sail her home from Long Beach to San Diego. Sea trials (100 miles away from home), haul out, survey, finding the perfect marina/slip, learning how to sail her confidently, .... and the most critical issue for anyone's ego, learning how to get her in a slip w/o providing entertainment for the neighbors.



At least there's some budget left for the inevitable unknowns which will accumulate before she's ready to enjoy.
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Old 19-08-2018, 03:27   #12
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Re: Sights setting on a Catalina 36 - Thoughts before I purchase?

Congratulations on your purchase I hope all goes well

Cheers
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Old 19-08-2018, 07:35   #13
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Re: Sights setting on a Catalina 36 - Thoughts before I purchase?

That pic is a C-36?
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Old 19-08-2018, 07:46   #14
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Re: Sights setting on a Catalina 36 - Thoughts before I purchase?

Quote:
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That pic is a C-36?
No, it's a '93 Hunter 35.5 Legend. I wasn't able to find any C-36's in great condition, within our price range.
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Old 19-08-2018, 07:50   #15
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Re: Sights setting on a Catalina 36 - Thoughts before I purchase?

Nevermind.
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