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Old 21-09-2008, 15:39   #1
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Standouts in the 26-30' weekender category?

Iím researching used sailboats, and would appreciate some specific recommendations for boats I should seriously consider buying if I come across one. That is, are there any that truly stand out in this category for some reason? Here are my needs. Thanks for your input:
  • Budget around $10,000-15,000.
  • Weekender, basic accommodations. Two adults, two small children (4 and 6). My friend has a Catalina 22, which seems too small. Iím guessing we want 26 Ė 30 feet? We donít anticipate carrying much cargo, but a place to store a porta potty is required. Donít need a separate head.
  • Sails well in light wind. Iím in Bellingham, Northern Puget Sound. The boat would be permanently moored in Bellingham Bay, and I predict day sailing in the immediate area, with occasional weekend trips toward the San Juan Islands. So, protected waters, but strong currents. The summers here are characterized by light winds.
  • Sails well into the wind and directly away. Lots of narrow channels here, with funneling wind.
  • I understand a good motor is a necessity for sailing in the San Juans. Iím favoring an outboard, primarily to keep things simple and less expensive.
  • Reasonably easy to single hand.
  • Comfortable (spacious) cockpit. Again, two little kids and two adults, spending most of the time in the cockpit. The cockpit of my friendís Catalina 22 was way too small, even with just two adults (tiller bumps knees of passenger). Iím willing to sacrifice a little cabin space for ample cockpit space.
  • Donít need trailerable.
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Old 21-09-2008, 17:29   #2
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That's a very reasonable list of expectations. I did a search in the PNW and it looks like for 22 footers you will be looking at boats thrrough the mid 80's. For most 25-27 footers you will be looking at late 70s boats.

25-27 feet is what I would shoot for. You can outgrow a 22 footer pretty quick.

Nothing wrong with these ages as long as the boats are sound. My advice is to not focus "too" much on the length but make sure she is comfortable and quick to get underway. We were out all 3 days (long weekend here) because our boat gets off the mooring in 5 minutes.

Furling jib, lazy jacks for the main. Outboard power is fine but I would try to get an enclosed head if possible. The admiral will thank you later...
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Old 21-09-2008, 18:55   #3
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Thanks.

Just curious, what source did you use to search in PNW boats? I'd like to add it to my list.

Also, are there any boats in this category that are much more desirable than the rest or are they all pretty much the same and condition is really what sets one boat apart from another?
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Old 21-09-2008, 19:17   #4
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Should be lots of boats in that price and size range.

You do need a separate head -- as Dan said, the Admiral will not be happy for long with a portapotty. It need not be elaborate.

I'm not a fan of outboards, but lots of people have them and seem to make do. But a lot of 26-27 foot boats have quite respectable inboards. The trade-off is you have less storage space. If you're buying used -- I assume that's the case, since otherwise the price numbers would be QUITE different -- the boat you settle on will have what it has. In terms of cost, running an outboard wouldn't be much less than an inboard. In my case, I have an OMC saildrive two-stroke. Since I have to mix gas with oil vefore putting it in the tank, it's actually cheaper than buying marine gas -- I get it at the service station.

As much as possible, you want a boat you can sail from the cockpit. Furling, lazy jacks, reefing lines that come back, etc. One of the changes I'm making this winter is to rebuild the boomvang so it comes back; now I have to go on deck to vang the boom.

Have fun



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Old 21-09-2008, 19:33   #5
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Just to clarify, are you guys saying I should have a closed off space for the porta pottie, or that I should have a proper toilet that flushes into a holding tank? Both? Is that pretty standard on a boat this size?
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Old 21-09-2008, 20:01   #6
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Thumbs up

You have indeed set forth quite a reasonable set of requirements.

On my boat (a 1964 Pearson Ariel) the head is in the middle of the V-berth. It is quite an acceptable set up, probably better then many 'enclosed' heads on boats this size.

I have an installed head with a very small holding tank, many folks who sail boats this size are perfectly happy with porta-potties. As long as it is not in the middle of the cabin with no privacy (I would not like that, little alone my wife).

Good luck to you in your search.
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Old 21-09-2008, 20:57   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colinml View Post
Thanks.

Just curious, what source did you use to search in PNW boats? I'd like to add it to my list.
I set up a quick search at boats.com

I race on a J24 with a porta potty - dragging a can o' poop to the dock at the end of the day is not fun.

I vote for holding tanks etc... Although we are lucky here in that underway we can pump out.

The door is optional - Our head on Relax Lah! is in the middle of the boat in front of the v-berth as well. It works OK but a proper "room" with a door would be nice.

In terms of "What brand" to buy. Unless you are super handy, I advise the first boat to be one with plenty of production behind it. Catalinas, Hunters etc. You are very likely to find people on-line with the same boat so you can ask questions like, "Take a look at this picture. Should my reefing lines be routed through the spinnaker blocks?" and 50 people will have the answer.

An active owners group on the net is another plus.
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Old 22-09-2008, 10:08   #8
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Your description sounds like one of the early Catalina 30's which would serve admirably for your small, young (sounding) family.

FWIW...

s/v HyLyte
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Old 22-09-2008, 10:50   #9
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Thanks for the input everyone. I just did a search on boats.com myself, for 30' sailboats withing 100 miles, and got quite a few in my $ range. From the pictures, it does look like something like a Catalina 30 would be a safe bet. That's good advice to narrow my search to something fairly common. Thanks.

My boats.com search does raise another question though. When buying a used car, I've usually steered away from dealerships because I can usually find a much better deal from private sellers. Is the same generally true with sailboats? Or is there an advantage to going through a dealer/broker for an inexpensive used boat?
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Old 22-09-2008, 12:54   #10
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Aloha Colin,
Well done on the expectations list. Here are some boats I'd look at in the size range you are wanting. Catalina 27 and 30. Pearsons and Tartans. Rawson 30. If you could find a 26ft Folkboat they are great but the cabin might be cramped for you. Cape Dory is another boat I'd look for but they are bit hard to find on the West Coast. Cascade 29 is a great boat if you can find one factory finished or finished by a builder who was meticulous.
There was a Grampian 30 for sale up at La Conner with a little inboard diesel. Really looked clean.
If you have a choice of inboard diesel I'd get it.
Good luck in your search.
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Old 22-09-2008, 13:12   #11
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Thanks for those suggestions, SkiprJohn. I also see Islanders for sale a lot around here. Any opinion?
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Old 22-09-2008, 13:41   #12
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Westerly Centaur (26ft), preferably 1974-80 model, B layout.

Westerly Longbow or Berwick (31ft) similar vintage.

All will give you plenty of room inside, as well as in the cockpit, be stiff, and solid. The drawback willl be that they are a little undercanvassed by US light air standards. But if you get good light air sails, and an Asym, you will be fine. I like a 25hp in the Centaur and at least 35hp in the othe two. That will provide plenty of power for strong maneauvering ability is serious currents/
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Old 22-09-2008, 16:30   #13
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Aloha Colin,
Well, you got me there. I forgot to mention Islanders. I kind of lump them in with Tartans but yes, Islanders are good too. It all depends on how the previous owners have cared for them and what upgrades or gear replacement has been done. My personal opinion is that the older the fiberglass hull is the tougher the boat is except for 74-79.
Good luck.
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Old 22-09-2008, 16:33   #14
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Oops I forgot to mention that although strong, the Rawson is not generally a lightwind perfomer but I would take one to sea anytime.
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Old 22-09-2008, 18:29   #15
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Ericson 32. Excellent little boat; just don't get an atomic 4.
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