The Cat 30…how I decided on a powerboat over a sailboat.

About a month ago I was still set on buying a sailboat as my liveaboard home.  It had been over a month, at least, since I put in an offer on a great boat and then learned the reality of getting a loan.  I was bummed, but had already taken steps to get more money saved.  I sold my Mustang and entered the world of riding a scooter for transportation…which is awesome by the way.  I found an add on craigslist for a 30 foot Catalina.  I forget the year, but it was newer for the budget I’m working with, probably late 1980’s.  I reached out to the owner, she gave me a detailed reply.  I contacted my broker, asking if he could come along.  I was hesitant to ask him because this boat was selling by owner, not through a boat brokerage.  So we worked out a fee for him that I would pay directly if the sale went through.  After a couple more emails to the boat owner, and a few hours spent scanning the posted images imagining this boat as my new home, we set a date to view the boat.

First thing; I had seen one of this boat owners boats before.  The very first sailboat I saw was one of hers.  I remember it being small and having a laundry list of “fixes” she had done.  I don’t know enough about the inner workings of  a boat to say whether they were good or bad ideas, of it that’s just the reality of boats as they age, but it was odd.  Upon realizing I would now see another one of her boats I was already disappointed.  We went down to see anyway.

The boat was what it was.  Small, decent shape and somewhat patched together as far as internal operations.  The v-berth is tiny, so if I sneezed in bed I’d knock myself out.  Limited galley, decent head, small salon.  I couldn’t live in this.  But since my financing was limited, I wondered if this is just what I’ll have to get.  The boat was on a slip at hotel marina, which means I’d get full use of their pools, hot tubs, gym, spa and discounts at their restaurants…kind of cool.

A lot of this process involves compromise and balance, and reality.  What can I afford?  How far is it located from work?  How small is too small?  What do I want out of this?  How often will I take the boat out?  With all of these questions bouncing around, and the ever looming idealistic delusions of grandeur, it’s important to ask questions and take time to analyze.  A lot of decisions I’ve made in life were impulsive or fast, done with little research.  Some were great decisions, some not so much.

Long story short, the boat was too small.  As we left, Brent (boyfriend) and Jason (broker) brought up power boats…for the millionth time.  I’d been dead set on a sailboat…the charm, the skill, the freedom from gas reliance.  But this was the last sailboat I’d see (except for that weird catfisher).  With a power boat I’d have a newer boat, more room and most likely an easier time getting around for my newbie, minimal boating needs.  I’m not traveling the world.  I can still take my sailing classes.  I can buy a sailboat down the road when I have more skill and can take a week or two or more off to travel.

That’s how the decision was made from sail to power.  A little part of me felt down, but I’m about 10 days away from owning my first boat, and the future is wide open(you have a Tom Petty song in your head now don’t you?).  I’ll be in a great marina closer to work, at another hotel (resort actually (; ), the dockmaster is wonderful, I’ll be in the smaller bay which has both my sail class school and Brent’s job…we can dinghy him to work, and maybe a cocktail or two.

That’s my story of sail to power.  Now all I need to do is figure out how to drive the thing ;).

Thanks for stopping by, hope you’re all having a great day!


2 thoughts on “The Cat 30…how I decided on a powerboat over a sailboat.

  1. Does the marina know that your planning on living aboard? As what I’ve seen, there are suppose to be no liveaboards in mission bay from what i understood. If they are allowed, I may look at moving up there once I get my stuff sorted out as that would be alot closer to work for me as well.

    Power boats for the size have considerable more space, a trawler is a good in between, sturdy boats that will not be super speedy but good on the fuel usage. (takes alot of gas to break the plane)

    If you think a Catalina 30 is a small sailboat, you will be well into the realm of 40+ foot boats. A better way to get a feel for boat size, is to check the beam and then the LWL on the boat. The LOD (for boats with boomkins and bow sprites, IE westsail 32 LOA is 40, LOD 32 LWL 27 with a beam of 11) or LOA compared to the LWL is the overhang, and there is not much room in those areas usually.

    So comparing the Catalina 30 to say an Alberg 37 (boat beam of 10.8′ and lwl of 25ft) you will wind up with almost the same amount of usable space, but more storage at the bow and stern, so a bigger anchor locker and aft lazzerate

    So now your paying dock age fees for a 37/40ft boat, but one that is closer in volume to a 30 ft Catalina)

    It is actually quite big for a 30 ft sailboat 🙂


    • Thanks for the helpful info! As far as the slip, I can only be there 3 nights in a row, so I still have my address at my boyfriends house. We’ll spend time back and forth. The boat will be mine, and be where I spend most of my time, especially for crafts and other projects.
      I’m back to searching again. Let’s just say that the “Si Yes Da” should be named “No No No”.


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