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Cowboy Sailer 13-02-2008 23:26

Newer, Lighter or Older, Heavier
Help all you "Been there-Done that" guys.

Here is my dilemma. We want a sail away retirement cruise/live aboard monohull. Small budget, max $60k boat and $10k outfitting and first year’s repair fund. We have a decent retirement monthly income. I don’t want to eat into our capital reserve for medical or other emergencies and decrease the monthly income. I kind of had my heart set on a Pearson 365 or similar. I took my wife to see a representative example.
Wife said, “Seems old.” We could get a Catalina 34 or 36 that is a lot newer for the same money. Wife would probably like the newer Catalina.
Our use would be what I consider coastal. We would like to cruise the Caribbean and the Texas to Florida ICW, no long passages, no schedule to keep. I told my broker to not let my wife see any Hunters or Catalinas or Beneteaus or any catamarans!
Do I let my wife see only older, heavier blue water cruisers until she likes one or do I open up the choices to include newer but lighter coastal cruisers? I am beginning to lean toward a Catalina 34 or 36.
Help me before it is too late! I want to learn from your mistakes, I have already made enough of my own!

Thanks y'all,

MarkJ 14-02-2008 00:57


Originally Posted by Cowboy Sailer (Post 134255)
I told my broker to not let my wife see any Hunters or Catalinas or Beneteaus...! ,

LOLOLOL You're funny! :)
Whats wrong with modern design and attention to comfort of those on board?

Just because you are nearing retirement do you want a boat thats designer retired 30, 40 or 50 years ago?

I had the oportunity to drive a 1969 Ford Mustand (convertable of course!) for 2 weeks. Naturally I jumped at the chance! But do you know what? Apart from some middle aged guys looking at me at traffic lights the car was a pain in the neck and foot. Any cheap Korean car is better appointed and nicer to drive!
Moral of the story is old ain't always best, and new and cheaper doesnt mean cheaper! Especially if you are costal cruising.

At least be open to everything! :)

All the best.


Boracay 14-02-2008 01:00

Fixing a boat can get really old...
Fixing up a boat that is in poor condition gets old very quickly.

Why not look at some of the newer boats. You are only planning what looks like extended coastal cruising(others would know more than me).

Beneteaus have been round for a long time now and none (that I know of) have sunk because of their light construction.

A quick look at yachtworld found an '87 Beneteau Idyll 11.5 (YW# 1469-1843020) that might suit.

An equivalent Pearson 365 is going to be up to 10 years older. (YW# 39304-1661098)

The newer Beneteaus will be light, airy and in good condition. I believe they are a delight to sail.

I'd look for one with good ground tackle, sun protection and low engine hours.

SkiprJohn 14-02-2008 01:27

I vote for older and heavier and am partial to the Pearson 365. Catalinas are good quality but I think Pearson is just a little bit better. I could be wrong. I wouldn't go Hunter and don't know Beneteaus that well.
Good luck in your search.
Kind Regards, JohnL

dcstrng 14-02-2008 05:39

Frankly, I like the 365 and have for many years – if I’d have had an ounce of fortitude years ago, I’d of been living on something like that instead of the corpulent ketch I actually was on… Having said all that, it doesn’t sound like your family is on all-fours with a vessel that may have “project” aspects to it – and that was a trap I fell into as well…

Nonetheless, it isn’t much fun tweaking even minor things on the “perfect” older boat if all the while one is working on something the admiral is wondering (despite the fact I may find light refurbishing and general maintenance to be part of the fun…) if the fleet is about to be lost… One can get into many happy hours (days) of debate over new v. old; light v. heavy; smaller v. larger; mono v. multi; ketch v. sloop v. double-headsail; etc., etc., etc…; however, at the risk of sounding presumptuous, it sounds like you aren’t really presented with much of a boat question, but a crew question… some crews, and skippers for that matter, are just more content with essentially (what they view as) turn-key affairs -- assuming there is such a thing in boats…

psteele235 14-02-2008 06:01

If you are 30 and want to fix up an older boat, go ahead. If you are 16 months from retirement and want to sail, and not spend the next stage of your life fixing stuff and thinking about sailing, go for a newer vessel. After all she will be the only younger woman your wife will allow you to choose!

Cowboy Sailer 14-02-2008 07:08

Old dogs and old cars, they are the best!
Dear MarkJ,

Listen here you young whippersnapper, I owned two Mustangs, the first one was a fire engine red, ’66 version. The next one was a ’68, blue & white, dual exhaust, glass packs, big whitewall tires and air shocks on the rear so I could raise and lower the rear at will. These were not old cars; they were like two years old. And let me tell you, Sonny Boy, they were fine automobiles. I still remember stopping at a stoplight in a little town in Florida when an almost identical blue and white mustang pulled up beside me. When the light changed we left rubber for a block. I remember two teenage boys at the Post Office jumping up and down and pointing and cheering us on. The other Mustang stayed with me until we passed thru a hundred mph. Can you do that in a cheap Korean car? :devil:
But now I just want to sedately cruise along at 6 knots and light the Barbie, cook a fish and see far away places with strange sounding names. Y’all got any interesting places with strange sounding names?
Bye the way, my generation sent men to the moon and returned them safely to earth. I was part of that. We designed some pretty good stuff.

Cheers Mate, :)

Cowboy Sailer 14-02-2008 08:09

Buy a boat and go places!
I don’t want to “fix” an old boat. I want to sail it just the way the PO did until I get familiar with it. My question is not an old project boat versus a newer sail away. I just know that I can get more room and a newer, brighter with a newer but more lightly built boat. I may even get more useable room in a newer but shorter boat.
With my limited budget any boat that we get will be an “old” boat. The only way I could see how we could afford it would be if we left our house rented out and lived on the boat. That sets a minimum size of boat, I think. I have to realize that we are probably only going to be coastal cruisers. I secretly hope that some grandchildren might want to come serve as crew on a more ambitious voyage so I am holding on to blue water dreams.
Now don’t get the idea that I am helpless when it comes to maintenance. I did most all the work on my automobiles and my airplanes. I replaced the clutch in my Mustang 13 times. (I might have pushed it a little hard!) I changed the engine in my Cessna 150 almost by myself. My helper turned loose to pick up a bolt and left me holding all 278 pounds of it by myself. I wasn’t about to drop that freshly overhauled engine! I built most of the furniture in our house.
I just don’t have that much time left. I need to fulfill this dream real quick. On my 65th birthday I bench pressed 308 pounds. Last week I could only bench press 245 pounds. I am fading fast! We have already downsized. We have moved to three foreign countries with only what we could carry in airline luggage plus two extra bags for each of us. My wife is very supportive of this, my latest wild idea. She has flown with me for thousands of hours. She has sailed with me on board boats in high winds. She has backed packed into the wilderness. She even stayed with me when at 40 years old I left the high tech world and we toured North America for a year living in a tent. We taught our three kids and they have done very well.
Can we do this? I mean buy a boat that we can live on and go places? ;)

Thanks to all of you who have responded,

dcstrng 14-02-2008 08:28

<I mean buy a boat that we can live on and go places?>

Yep – yer CV is impeccable; indeed you may be over-qualified…I think I need to change my vitamins; I haven’t benched over 300# in 25 years and I’m younger than you are by more than a gnats eyelash…;)

GordMay 14-02-2008 08:32

I’ll second Larry’s endorsement - sounds like you can do pretty much anything you to which you choose apply yourself.

Morgan Paul 14-02-2008 08:37


Can we do this? I mean buy a boat that we can live on and go places? ;)
YOU CAN DO IT MAN !! I can not give you advice on what boat to buy, but I will say "don't fart around", it sounds like you have the right mind set, get a boat quick and have fun :) . Everyone here is fading fast :D.

Good luck man

CharlieCobra 14-02-2008 08:56

Nothing wrong with an older boat, mine's older than most and lighter than many newer boats of the same LOA. With some minor restoration, I'd take this boat anywhere in the world and it's now 47 yrs old.

slomotion 14-02-2008 08:57

Well, we used to do a lot of camping. And, a long long time ago when I wrestled at 119, I could curl 125 lbs and benchpress 210. But, people change as they get older. Some of us have done all the camping and bench pressing we care to do.

In my experience, the most common reason that couples abandon extended cruising in the Bahamas/caribbean is that it turns out not to be fun living on the particular boat they chose to do it with. Probably, more cruising dreams have been killed by narrow cockpits, crawl in bunks, and sit down showers than by storms. Unless BOTH of you enjoy living on the boat, no amount of great sailing days will keep you cruising. IMO a Catalina 36 would be an excellent choice for your intended use.

I just sold my 2 x 4 barrel Plymouth Duster 340 hotrod. It was fun and I miss it. But, it got 8 mpg. (12 on the highway), the plugs would foul on anything less than 93 octane, and I don't miss gas station hopping.

GordMay 14-02-2008 09:11


Originally Posted by slomotion (Post 134365)
In my experience, the most common reason that couples abandon extended cruising in the Bahamas/caribbean is that it turns out not to be fun living on the particular boat they chose to do it with. Probably, more cruising dreams have been killed by narrow cockpits, crawl in bunks, and sit down showers than by storms...

Of couples that quit, after cruising, I’ve noticed “old” knees as one of the common denominators. When you can’t handle the up & down implicit in moving about a boat, it’s difficult to enjoy life.

imagine2frolic 14-02-2008 10:17

An older boat doesn't have to be a dog. Look at the Columbia 43, and you might be surprised. In your price range, a ton of room for you, and storage. No matter what you choose you have got the spirit....

A close friend of my helped put the man on the moon. He was an electrical engineer in Cape Canaveral. Where were you?

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