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 Catalina/Capri 25/250 Sailor's Forums
 Catalina 250 Specific Forum
 250 vs 25
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sabbatical surprise
Deckhand

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USA
11 Posts

Initially Posted - 05/06/2019 :  10:37:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I am looking at 25s with fixed keels. I'm interested in what folks think about the 25 vs the 250 in terms of sailing and weekend cruising. I will not be trailering. If there is already a good thread on the subject, please feel free to point me to it.

Thanks from a newbie looking to get started.

Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
8191 Posts

Response Posted - 05/06/2019 :  13:32:50  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
For what body of water? Not that it matters a huge amount, but the fin keel C25 is heavier and more ballasted than the wing keel C-250, and therefore a little more comfortable in big chop and stronger winds. There are many other differences--the one that seems to come up most is the more open interior of the C-250, with (paradoxically) a more enclosed head. The C-25 has three variations of interior layout: a 2-facing-bench dinette, an "L" dinette, and what's referred to as "traditional" (a settee on each side and a table that folds down from the forward bulkhead).

It seems most C-250s were delivered with roller-furling jibs, while most C-25s weren't--although that has been added to many. Hard-core folks like to hank on, change, "hank off", and fold/bag their headsails--a roller furler eliminates all of that.

I didn't see any mention of racing... If that's of interest, the C-25 is better except maybe in light air and smooth water. I'll add that more C-250 people have discussed "round-up" problems (the rudder losing its bite when heeling, allowing the boat to turn into the wind), probably due to its wider beam aft.

Otherwise, I'd call it a matter of taste, and "their's no accounting for taste!" They are both well-designed and well-constructed boats--it could come down to what is the best specimen you come across of either one.

Dave Bristle
Association "Port Captain" for Mystic, CT
PO of 1985 C-25 SR/FK #5032 Passage, ex-OUPV
Now on Eastern 27 Sarge (but still sailing when I can).

Passage, Mystic, and Sarge--click to enlarge.

Edited by - Stinkpotter on 05/06/2019 13:37:46
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Davy J
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
1468 Posts

Response Posted - 05/06/2019 :  14:29:08  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm not sure you will get a lot of responses. Most owners had one or the other and not much experience with both models. I never sailed or spent much time on a C250, but always boarded one when they were displayed at the various boat shows.

In my opinion, the "open layout" of the C250 is a negative to longer term cruising. With my traditional layout C25, we employed a few things that made staying on her for more than a weekend more comfortable. For example, we rigged up a system to use a full size air mattress in the salon:





That, in turn, let us use the v-berth as extra storage:





And then there is the "dumpster" on a C25, that can hold all sorts of stuff you probably won't need.......

Either boat will do what you ask of it, you just have to adapt to make things work like you want.




Davy J


2005 Gemini 105Mc
PO 1987 C25 #5509 SR/SK
Tampa Bay
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islander
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
3543 Posts

Response Posted - 05/07/2019 :  07:00:17  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Since you are considering a 250 you might like the Catalina Capri 26 that to me is a nicer boat that was made around the same time. Harder to find though.

Scott-"IMPULSE"87'C25/SR/WK/Din.#5688
Sailing out of Glen Cove,L.I Sound


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kjk
1st Mate

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USA
78 Posts

Response Posted - 05/07/2019 :  17:16:40  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've had both, and would say that Dave's comments are spot on...it depends on what you are using it for and where you are using it. The 250 is a more "tender" boat, but my wife loves the layout and the light. I guess her opinion counts...where we are, even though its on the North Atlantic, during the summer, the prevailing winds are SE, and,close to shore, lighter than say, Buzzards Bay. For weekend cruising and day sailing the 250 is great. For more ambitious sailing, the 25 is better. How you mod your boat is also important.

Kevin J. Kiely
Rockport, MA
1999WK
Hull # 407
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JohnP
Master Marine Consultant

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1495 Posts

Response Posted - 05/09/2019 :  12:44:56  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Since you live north of DC, I assume you will be sailing, like me, on the upper Chesapeake Bay. I have a C-25 fin keel, standard size mast (not tall rig), and I appreciate the heavier feel of the C-25 compared to the C-250 in this sailing venue. I have sailed with other C-250 owners on Puget Sound, out of Long Beach and out of Newport Beach, CA.

A big advantage, in my mind, of the design of the C-250 is the enclosed head. On my C-25 the head has a folding door on one side, but no divider between the head and the V-berth. This situation is important for privacy and politeness with guests, with women, and when sleeping overnight with guests. Most of my sailing and "gunkholing" (anchoring in creeks and coves) on the Bay is with guys who are ok with a lack of privacy.

My head is a toilet with a holding tank that we flush with fresh water from a jug. The C-250's I've been on have had porta-potties. They are more work to empty but have no plumbing to repair eventually.

I prefer the sleeping arrangements on my C-25:
- V berth for 1 person or a cozy couple, with the door possible.
- Cabin with a queen size air mattress on home-made supports.
- Quarterberth single bed if not used for storage (mine's full)
- Cockpit benches in hot summer weather with no bugs.
- Pop top for 6'6" headroom at anchor in the cabin.

The C-250 has a nice V berth section beyond the pole that is roomy for sleeping. There is also the quarterberth area that is well-designed as a sleeping area if not used for storage.

For sailing I also prefer the winches on the coaming that are easy to reach while single-handing. The C-250 has the winches and rope clutches on the cabin top that require crew to handle the sheets, and that makes single-handing more complicated - like the use of a tiller tamer or an autopilot.

My C-25 is 42 years old and could use several repairs or upgrades. The C-250's I've sailed on are much newer and all 3 of them were essentially pristine.

The Chesapeake Bay has variable winds and wind waves from all directions, and I have been caught in a few thunderstorms, once with 50-75 mph downbursts at the front and the rear of that storm. I was happy to be drifting downwind slowly [edit] under bare poles in a C-25. Right after that I learned to anchor from the experts on the Association Forum, like Viking Sten. You can anchor essentially anywhere close or far from the shore, in an emergency like that, on the Bay except in the main channel.

When sailing with 2 friends a few years ago from the Magothy River north of Annapolis about 40 miles down to St. Michaels for a 3-day weekend, we maintained hull speed (~6 kt) on a beam reach down the Bay with the winds at a steady 25-30 kt. I was confident in the seaworthiness of my C-25 under storm jib and single-reefed main. I think I would have had to put in 2 reefs on the main of a C-250 and roll up the jib furler to a storm jib size under those conditions, and I would not have been happy bouncing more in the chop in the C-250.

Overall, both C-25 and C-250 are very nice small cruising sailboats, and your choice may depend mainly on what deal you can get around the hundreds of marinas along the upper Bay.

My boat was 27 years old and happened to come with a 1 year old Ullman main, and a 1 year old Ullman 110% jib, along with a brand new 60% storm jib, a Sobstad asymmetric spinnaker and sock, and a 2-year old Honda 9.9hp outboard for a price of $4500. I've enjoyed sailing it.

Any boat you think you want to buy should then have a professional inspection before purchase. You may be able to negotiate a lower price due to needed fixes, or otherwise walk away from a boat with real problems.

Do you have any experience sailing so far?

Good luck finding a nice boat!



JohnP
1978 C25 SR/FK "Gypsy"
Mill Creek off the Magothy River, Chesapeake Bay
Port Captain, northern Chesapeake Bay

Edited by - JohnP on 05/09/2019 13:00:49
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CGSC_Gaviota
Deckhand

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USA
3 Posts

Response Posted - 05/14/2019 :  09:50:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hey Everybody!

I just joined this forum, but thought I could throw my $0.02 in on this one, since I have a 250mk2, and have sailed a C25.

The C25 sails like a more traditional sailboat, and will shoulder into higher winds. The C25 also has almost 300 lbs more displacement and almost 900 lbs more ballast (on the fixed keel models, I'm not sure on the wing or swing versions ). The 250 really likes to be sailed on her feet. The weather helm/rounding-up problem is from the main being over powered and the center of effort being moved too far aft, which pushes the stern to leeward. It's a main sail location/size problem, not how wide her stern is. The key to getting the most out of the 250 is to keep her as flat as possible, by reefing the main early. 1st reef at 15, second at 20. A 250 will happily charge along in 4 ft swells in 22 kts with double reef and full 110. I should post a whole article on what I'm planning on doing to improve the main when the time comes to replace it ( which is probably soon ). The wing keel version of the 250 does not go to weather very well, the fin does much better. A 250 is a tough boat to balance, but once you know to start by shortening the main, it gets easier.

OK. Why I like the 250 for cruising. First, the enclosed head. Our boat has a Jabsco with a holding tank filled with seawater from a through hull behind the keel. No paper can go down it, but ladies can close the door, and ladies seem to like that. Second, is "the garage", or aft berth. Look, there's very little ventilation under there, but plenty of room for totes for supplies and gear. We keep a cushion and space clear for a guest in the starboard quarter berth, but I wouldn't wanna try and sleep back there. It's too hot, and too hard to get back there. Third, that open floor plan is great for lounging at anchor. Our big Engel 80 fits under the table, and makes a great 3rd seat. Last, the v-berth is directly under the forward hatch. Combined with a big windscoop, the ventilation is excellent. On a fairly warm night, the breeze through the cabin was so good, I got cold and had to cover up!

Speaking of anchoring, a 22 lb delta fits in the anchor locker with 30 ft. of chain and 150 ft of rode. Might be overkill, but that delta dragged a whole 2 ft before setting in sand off of Elliott Key.

TL;DR:

A C25 sails better and goes around the buoys better. The 250 relaxes at anchor better.

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Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
8191 Posts

Response Posted - 05/14/2019 :  10:45:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by CGSC_Gaviota

...The wing keel version of the 250 does not go to weather very well, the fin does much better.
Are you saying that's what you have? Other than a drawing in a brochure, I've seen or heard of only one C-250 fin--that was on the hard in a boatyard in Norwalk, CT. I think it was also a tall rig, which I believe they stopped offering early on--probably because of the overpowered main, as you mentioned. This was it:


I suspect that boat would have been no-fairsies in a C-250 National Regatta.

Anyway, welcome aboard!

Dave Bristle
Association "Port Captain" for Mystic, CT
PO of 1985 C-25 SR/FK #5032 Passage, ex-OUPV
Now on Eastern 27 Sarge (but still sailing when I can).

Passage, Mystic, and Sarge--click to enlarge.

Edited by - Stinkpotter on 05/14/2019 11:20:31
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CGSC_Gaviota
Deckhand

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USA
3 Posts

Response Posted - 05/14/2019 :  12:00:50  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have the wing keel version. As judging by the current PHRF ratings:

CATALINA 250 CB 225
CATALINA 250 KEEL 216
CATALINA 250 WK 228

The wing keel is the slowest of the litter. Now, I can't get as far into thin water as the centerboard/water ballast version, but that's too close to shore where the bugs are anyway!

But as for speed, the 250 looks competitive with the C25:

CATALINA 25 FK 234
CATALINA 25 IB 240
CATALINA 25 TM 228 ( Tall Mast )
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WK 727
1st Mate

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USA
39 Posts

Response Posted - 05/14/2019 :  21:08:01  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have a 250 wing keel and should start by saying "if I could do it all over, I would buy my boat again". Here are a few things I have observed.

I really wanted an open transom for access/ but we rarely use it
The two catbird seats are used every time we sail/awesome feature
I like the wheel/however,there isn't a quadrant and is limited to 360 range of motion which is annoying
The cockpit feels huge/because it is
The boom is a nice height to duck under/especially when securing the mainsail
The mainsheet it difficult to use by the helmsman/only when single handed
The cockpit winches are perfectly located for guests to be engaged and feel like they are part of the crew when tacking/they don't work well when single handed
The cabin is high causing the lifelines to be high/makes it difficult to have a deck sweeping headsail
The anchor locker is adequately sized and easy to use/actually a real plus
Ventilation is good with the front hatch/my PO installed hatches in the aft, which are awesome

The free board makes it difficult to handle in the marina with a cross breeze/the bow can quickly be forced downwind
The curvature of the aft part of the hull doesn't create enough displacement (my opinion) and it has a tendency to sit deep in the aft and not on its lines/adding ballast will remedy the situation
The lack of ballast amplifies every movement by the crew/similar to a 22' sailboat liveliness
The keel seems inadequate/I don't like it (my opinion)
The rudder can be challenging and needs to be tuned/check out the threads on this site
Additional clutches are needed to move lines to the cockpit/reefing and halyards
Cabin is spacious/wing keel has better headroom than the water ballast
Enclosed head/private and a nice luxury
Great layout and use of space/electrical seems generic requiring upgrades

After modifications for better handling, I am very confident in my 250's capability and enjoy sailing it. My guests are always thrilled. I stepped on many different models and when I boarded the C250, I immediately knew that this is what I wanted.

Best of luck in your decision!

Regards, John
04 Catalina 250 WK
Standard rig w/wheel steering
Yanmar 9hp diesel
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Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
8191 Posts

Response Posted - 05/14/2019 :  21:15:33  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I’ve seen different relative PHRFs over the years... I believe the conditions are critical to their head-to-head comparisons—light air and flat water helps the 250, while about 12+ winds and 2’+ chop is good for the 25, especially going to weather. But in skilled hands, that C-250 tall fin could be a beast around the buoys on a lake. We’ll probably never know—probably only a few were ever built.

Dave Bristle
Association "Port Captain" for Mystic, CT
PO of 1985 C-25 SR/FK #5032 Passage, ex-OUPV
Now on Eastern 27 Sarge (but still sailing when I can).

Passage, Mystic, and Sarge--click to enlarge.
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Derek Crawford
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
3214 Posts

Response Posted - 05/15/2019 :  08:15:53  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've sailed on a WB 250 and raced on a WK250. I would never buy one especially considering the price differential.
IMHO any boat that needs reefing in 10 kts is too damn tender. I once got caught in a 55 mph squall and I was glad to be on TSU and not a 250.

Derek Crawford
Chief Measurer C25-250 2008
Previous owner of "This Side UP"
1981 C-25 TR/FK #2262 Used to have an '89 C22 #9483, "Downsized"
San Antonio, Texas
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CGSC_Gaviota
Deckhand

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USA
3 Posts

Response Posted - 05/22/2019 :  08:33:33  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Derek,

I'm not sure what boat you were sailing on, or maybe the tank wasn't completely full on a water ballasted model, but Gaviota was clipping along at 6+ knots in 16 - 20 knots of air in the bay last Saturday with full main and 110. Sure, we had to slack a little main in the puffs, but what boat doesn't? Of course, the J/70's walked away from us, but I think those are more ski boats than sailboats. Super fun day all around.

The reason I usually reef at 15kts is when I'm short handed or feeling lazy. Which is pretty often.
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TakeFive
Master Marine Consultant

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2213 Posts

Response Posted - 05/22/2019 :  20:44:18  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I don't agree about cost differential between the two boats. I sold my C250 for what I paid for her. Deposit received 2 days after putting her on Craigslist, and new owner sailed her away 3 days later. I had pulled all electronic upgrades off her before I put her up for sale, so the only cost was ongoing maintenance, which is arguably less on a newer boat. It's true that I had a few thousand more dollars tied up for those 6 years, but the difference in total cost of ownership was negligible. It was a great boat for my needs at the time.

I had rented a C25 before, so am familiar with that model also.

I wouldn't cross oceans in either boat. Yes, I did reef in anything over 10 knots, but never had difficulty reaching hull speed when reefed in 10 kts wind.

Rick S., Swarthmore, PA
PO of Take Five, 1998 Catalina 250WK #348 (relocated to Baltimore's Inner Harbor)
New owner of 2001 Catalina 34MkII #1535 Breakin' Away (at Rock Hall Landing Marina)
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