Sailboat Candidates

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The Long List

Over the course of several weeks, I collected the listings of sailboats in local advertising magazines. In total, I had listings for 56 boats that were ‘in the ball park’. These boats included various models from Aquarius, Balboa, Bayliner, Bristol (Corintian), Catalina, Chrysler, Clipper Marine, Hunter, Kells, MacGregor (Venture), and O'Day. I used classified listings rather than going to boat brokers since there seemed to be plenty of trailer sailboats on the market at the time.

Narrowing the Field

I applied the requirements to my list, to narrow the field to boats worthy of consideration. This gave me a ‘short list’ of about 20 boats to consider. The average age of the boats under consideration was 18 years (1979 model) and the average asking price was just around $3,500.

Overall, the list narrowed down to 5 brands of boats including Catalina and MacGregor, and Hunter (sailing’s equivalent of the ‘big 3’ auto makers). Also in the mix were Aquarius and O'day, both of which were no longer in business.

The Short List

Boat Len. Year Keel Accessories Motor Trailer
Aquarius 23 1974 . . 15 hp Evinrude ?
Aquarius 23 . Swing Keel VHF 9.9 hp Evinrude Yes
Catalina 22 1983 Swing Keel Radio, Compass 7.5 hp Yes
Catalina 22 1982 Swing Keel VHF, Compass, etc. 8 hp Yamaha No
Catalina 22 1978 . VHF, Dpth Compass 6 hp Johnson Yes
Catalina 22 . Swing Keel VHF 6 hp Evinrude ?
Catalina 22 1975 Swing Keel . 7.5 hp Mercury Yes
Catalina 22 1973 Swing Keel VHF, GPS, Compass 9.9 hp Yes
Catalina 22 1980 Swing Keel . 6 hp Johnson Yes
Catalina 22 . Swing Keel . 5 hp Johnson Yes
Hunter 22 1981 Swing Keel Radio, depth 7.5 Evinrude No
MacGregor 22 1985 . Roller Furling 8 hp Yes
MacGregor 22 1980 Swing Keel . 5.5 hp ?
MacGregor 21 1979 Swing Keel . 9.9 Johnson ?
MacGregor 23 1978 Swing Keel Compass 9.9 hp Johnson Yes
O'Day 23 1980 . Loran Depth VHF 8 hp Evinrude Yes
O'Day 22 1979 Ctr BD Electric Start 9.9 Johnson ?
O'Day 22 1977 . GPS, VHF 6 hp Evinrude Yes
Averages 22 1979 $3,500 . 7.5 hp .

 The Shopping Begins

With this list in hand, I started making phone calls, asking some detailed questions, and arranging to see the boat, if it sounded promising. I figured it would be impractical to see every boat on my list, but I would get the hang of things after having seen a few (after all value is based on comparison). The condition of the boats that I saw ran the gambit between ones that should have been put out of their mystery to some that were pretty nice.

Pearls of Wisdom

After numerous phone calls and six or seven boat-seeing trips, I was sorting things out; and was starting to like the Catalina 22 the best. They say that the right boat will find you, and I was starting to hear the calls.  There were a number of Catalina’s (8 total) on the market at the time I was searching, so it became a matter of picking the one with the best overall value.

  And The Winner is . . .

A 1982 Catalina 22 , sail #10531 (applause). This boat was in the best condition of any boat that I saw, and it was newer than average. The price was also lower than average, but there was one drawback – no trailer. However, I figured in the long run that a better boat is worth having, and I could use the difference in price to buy a used trailer.  

 We agreed on the deal just before Labor Day weekend in 1997.

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