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 Seeking Catalina 25 - first sailboat
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Mohiggy
Deckhand

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USA
20 Posts

Initially Posted - 06/27/2020 :  16:24:08  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Posted this on the Swap meet but reposting here at another member's suggestion....

Cliff Notes: Seeking a Catalina 25 in or near Lake Norman (about 20 miles North of Charlotte NC). Prefer swing keel or shoal draft.

(I'll expand this to suggestions and/or leads on the 250 and Capri 25 models although I've only seen pictures and have not sailed on been on one.)

Expanded version: My wife and I are new to sailing keel boats. We learned on Flying Scott's earlier this year and now sail a Catalina 22 owned by the local sailing club. After much research (we've seen Catalinas, Hunters, O'Days, Pearsons, a Beneteau, a San Juan, and even a friend-of-a-friend's Grampian), but keep coming back to the Catalina 25.
We have a dock available but I'm concerned that when the lake level is at it's lowest, I'd have to move or reposition the boat or risk a fin keel possibly getting stuck. I'm not ruling a fin keel out, but there's that to consider. With a swing or shoal keel and a foot less draft it would never be an issue.
If the boat is not already on Lake Norman, I'll need a trailer unless you have a way to deliver. I've looked into a professional transport company but it seems to cost more than the boat. I have a tow vehicle (suburban) and could pull the boat if I needed to. As I suspect many other's here have too, we've thought how nice it would be to have the option to trailer the boat out to the coast and spend a few days exploring the intracoastal. However, I've spoken with numerous sailors in the area who seem to fall into two camps. Camp A are those who still haven't made the trip a single time. Their boats have stayed in the lake while their trailers have rotted in the yard. Camp B are those who have done it and swear they will never do it again. Is there a Camp C?(Those who did it, loved it, would do, will do, or have done it again.) Any feedback from someone in Camp C would be welcome, and if anyone has a lead on a Catalina 25 on Lake Norman, please let me know. Thanks in advance,
-Rob

Rob Higgins
1986 C25 TR / FK #5164
Cornelius, NC

bigelowp
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
1512 Posts

Response Posted - 06/27/2020 :  16:32:03  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Rob -- Welcome to the community. IMHO you will not find a better boat than Catalina and the 25 is one of their best. As I have a fin keel and am "up north" let me just opine that there are many of our boats available and look on Craigslist, Boats dot com and other sites and spread your search to within 500 miles of Lake Norman. Tailoring a swing keel is very doable, and there are many on this site who do it all the time. Finally, the wing keel version (later years of production) offers most of the advantages of the swing keel without the maintenance issues. It may be the best option for you. Enjoy the search and keep us posted -- and ask questions! We love to assist.

Peter Bigelow
C-25 TR/FK #2092 Limerick
Rowayton, Ct
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Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
8560 Posts

Response Posted - 06/27/2020 :  21:57:26  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm not sure when Catalina first offered the wing keel but I think it was 1987. It draws only a few more inches than the fully raised swinger, and sails well (for non-racers)--I've sailed to windward next to one that didn't seem to give up anything, but we "weren't racing"...

Catalina sold a retrofit wing keel "kit" for swing keel owners that a number installed(at no small cost)--probably a very small fraction of them did. Over half of the 6,000+ C-25s were built with swing keels, and the number of boats built from 1987 on diminished rapidly as the market changed.

1989 was another significant model change--a new deck design and some other features that made the C-25 more attractive to higher-end buyers who it turned out were looking for bigger boats. That ended it for the C-25 (in another year or so). The result, in my opinion, is that the 1989+ C-25 might be the best value in a 25' cruising sailboat ever built by anyone. It's worth considering a trip if one comes up. (I know the C-250 is a creditable successor for the evolving market of the time, but to me it's a different kind of boat.)

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

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

Edited by - Stinkpotter on 06/28/2020 06:55:06
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Mohiggy
Deckhand

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USA
20 Posts

Response Posted - 06/29/2020 :  10:35:08  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I appreciate the feedback. I do like the wing keel but they seem to be scarce. Here's a follow up thought and question. My wife and I are now a few weeks into our search for a boat and finding that there are a lot more Catalina 25's that do not have trailers than ones that do. I've gotten a few quotes from professional transportation companies and found there is a range in cost. Moving from A to B is one part of the cost dependent on mileage (about $3-$4 per mile), and then there is the cost to decommission and prepare for the trip, then recommission once it arrives. Those costs seem to range from a few hundred bucks up to $800 on each end. Even if I de/recommission the boat myself, it's still rather costly - in some cases more than the cost of the boat. I priced a new trailer and depending on options, that's a $4k-$6k investment for something that would have very limited use. A search for used trailers yields few results. SO - my question to those of you that have C25's, but not trailers is: How did you get your boat to where it is now and would you do it the same way again or differently?

Rob Higgins
1986 C25 TR / FK #5164
Cornelius, NC
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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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USA
5467 Posts

Response Posted - 06/29/2020 :  12:09:57  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
People who own boats without trailers generally keep them in a marina on the body of water where they sail it, and, if they must haul the boat out for the winter, they usually have it hauled by the same marina and stored there on the hard. It's uneconomical to have it transported anywhere without a trailer. Decommissioning a boat generally means preparing it for transportation or storage. When most of us need to take the mast down, we do it ourselves. It seems intimidating, but, depending on how you do it, you should be able to do it between 1-3 hours.

If you want to take it from the Philadelphia area, for example, to Norfolk, the best way is to motor/sail it there. Carefully done, a long trip over water is a great adventure. If you don't think you have the skills for the trip, find an experienced volunteer to help you with navigation and boat handling. You can take almost any boat anywhere as long as there's water between your point of departure and destination.

Steve Milby C&C 35 Landfall ("Captiva Wind"); Cal 25 ("Fahrvergnügen")
Past Commodore

Edited by - Steve Milby on 06/29/2020 12:22:16
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Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
8560 Posts

Response Posted - 06/29/2020 :  16:12:53  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I bought, sold, and delivered my boat for both transactions under sail on Long Island Sound. It never had a trailer, and was always stored in a marina. The few times my mast was taken down, the marina did it.

Lake Norman, in the middle of NC, is a long haul from the coast or most other places where C-25s are generally found. The decommissioning expense might be necessary, although some for-sale boats are still in storage--masts might be down and little would be needed. Commissioning on your end (getting the mast back up) could be you with some help from a few sailors to raise the mast--there are lots of discussions you can Search for here on methods with and without systems such as "gin poles" and winches. Outboard servicing is a simple commodity at any marina, most of which many folks do themselves.

If you're really set on a C-25 and find a really nice one (especially an '89-91) the costs could be worth it. But if I were somebody "new to sailing keel boats", I would be leery of sinking those additional costs into something I might decide is not my dream after all. You won't get that part of the "investment" back,a and there are plenty of places to put more money into the boat that will actually improve it. I would widen my search to include things like O'Days, Beneteaus, and Hunters that might come up on L. Norman. I know they're out there, and a nice O'Day could be a better buy than an older, "under-appreciated" Catalina. I recall a participant here buying an '89 C-25 wing on Norman a few years ago, and according to our Boat Search (seaching for C-25s in NC), several live right around the Charlotte area. (Where else would they put a keelboat?)

Good luck in your quest!

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

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

Edited by - Stinkpotter on 06/29/2020 16:15:30
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Voyager
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
4614 Posts

Response Posted - 06/29/2020 :  21:22:44  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Now this might be sacrelig here but C22s are a lot more common than C25s. Their cabins are a little smaller but the cockpit is about the same. They are easier to trailer than a C25. And for lake sailing, a C22 might be just fine.

If the opportunity to purchase a C22 arose, especially one that’s in pretty good shape, I’d go for it.

They are usually priced a few $1000 less than a C25 so you could save cash for inevitable improvements. Worst case? You can always move up in a few years when a better C25 comes along.

Bruce Ross
Passage ~ SR-FK ~ C25 #5032

Port Captain — Milford, CT

Edited by - Voyager on 06/29/2020 21:26:29
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Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
8560 Posts

Response Posted - 06/29/2020 :  21:49:19  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
...and the C-22 would sell more easily if you decided to move on. The C-22 is a legend, with racing fleets all around the country, and is eminently trailerable, while I call the C-25 "transportable" (meaning not to be towed by a household vehicle or sailed for a day from a trailer).

If you're looking to spend weekends on the boat, they're a little small, but if you want to be able to get out and occasionally spend the night at anchor (sorta like in a tent), and come back... they're not bad, and they're perhaps the most successful "starter" keelboat in history. Some seasoned sailors have downsized back to them! A "Mark II" version introduced in the mid '90s offers a wing keel as alternative to the swinger.

I thought about mentioning it... Bruce is right: This could be a nice way to start on Lake Norman with a boat that is perhaps the most popular commodity in its size range in the history of the sport. Many if not most are on trailers, and could much more easily be moved to L. Norman, set up, and going this summer.

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

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

Edited by - Stinkpotter on 06/29/2020 21:53:37
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dalelargent
Navigator

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USA
188 Posts

Response Posted - 06/29/2020 :  22:09:17  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I will also give my support for the C22 idea. I think it makes a lot of sense. Unless, as mentioned, you truly wish to cruise and routinely spend multiple days living aboard.

They are reportedly excellent boats, and the cockpits are, I believe, larger than the C25. The have nice high backs to the cockpit seats so sailors feel pretty safe in them, I understand.

I would seriously consider this option. Cheaper, lighter to tow, easier to rig, thousands produced, Catalina parts available, etc.

I have 2 different friends who own C22's. They like them. One is even going to give a go at the San Juan Islands this summer, launching from Anacortes.

You will love whatever you choose. That's the good news!

1989 c25 WK/TR #5838
1998 Catalina 36 mkii
1983 Vagabond 14
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Mohiggy
Deckhand

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USA
20 Posts

Response Posted - 06/30/2020 :  08:12:35  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We do enjoy sailing the Catalina 22 at our sailing club and we take it out frequently. Actually I had initially thought a C22 would be a great choice for us. If it's just my wife and I, the C22 is perfect. The reason we decided a C25 might be a better fit for our family is because when it's not just my wife and I on the boat, it gets small, really fast. We have 3 teenage daughters but have not had more than two of them on the C22 with us at any time. Also, the C25's somewhat-enclosed head is also more desirable than the C22's open porta-potty in the middle of the v-berth. That said, if a C22 showed up in the driveway, I'd keep it! Meanwhile we'll continue to enjoy sailing our club's C22 until the right boat comes along. As for other brands, I have seen some good deals on some nice boats. For example someone donated a really nice Helms 27 to the sailing club and they are selling it cheap. There's also a really nice Beneteau for sale at the marina. These are great boats, but I just feel like Catalina has such a huge following with a vast knowledge base, parts are easy to get, this association, facebook groups, and so on, make it attractive as a first boat. I don't want to get tunnel vision and think that only a Catalina 25 or 250 will suit us, I just haven't seen anything yet that suits us better. (** full disclosure - my wife and I really liked a Hunter 260 that we looked at but it was more that we wanted to spend on a first boat) I appreciate all the feedback!

Rob Higgins
1986 C25 TR / FK #5164
Cornelius, NC
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Mohiggy
Deckhand

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USA
20 Posts

Response Posted - 06/30/2020 :  08:33:34  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Stinkpotter

... I recall a participant here buying an '89 C-25 wing on Norman a few years ago, and according to our Boat Search (seaching for C-25s in NC), several live right around the Charlotte area. (Where else would they put a keelboat?)



That actually gave me a great idea. I just tried the Boat Search tool and found dozens of 25's & 250's in North and South Carolina. Many of them in are in my area, and several are within a few miles!

Problem is that there's no way (that I can tell) to reach out to those owners to see if they are available for sale. My guess is that at least a handful on that list are one's I've seen around Lake Norman with a ring of algae around the waterline, chalked up gelcoat, sunbaked mainsail cover, a tiller that looks like it's cracked and dried out enough to burst into flames, at least one dockline broken but both ends still tied to the cleats on the boat and the dock with a makeshift rope tied on top of the old broken dockline, water in the cockpit, lonely outboard mount w/no motor, and a nice thick layer of grime built up over several seasons of pollen, rain, and snow. You know the ones! So where are those owners?

Rob Higgins
1986 C25 TR / FK #5164
Cornelius, NC
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dalelargent
Navigator

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USA
188 Posts

Response Posted - 06/30/2020 :  08:55:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It might be possible to contact the state licensing agency for boats and see if they can disclose contact info. I suppose you might need a hull id number, though.

1989 c25 WK/TR #5838
1998 Catalina 36 mkii
1983 Vagabond 14
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Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
8560 Posts

Response Posted - 07/01/2020 :  14:57:35  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
If you see one on a dock or in a boatyard, the marina or club knows who it belongs to. The state might tell you based on the registration number on the hull. Not all names and towns in the Boat Search results are guaranteed to be current owners, but those people might know who is. See if you can post a WTB notice on club bulletin boards--often sailors know of other sailors who are moving on--some might be "thinking" about it but unsure they can sell what they have... (That one you described......... ummm... I'd probably pass.)

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

Passage, Mystic, and Sarge--click to enlarge.
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Caribbean Soul
1st Mate

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USA
25 Posts

Response Posted - 07/02/2020 :  04:37:38  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
As someone who has just restored a Catalina25 alone (and sailed her 4x just this week!), I can offer that the magic is in the community around these boats. From this forum (LIFESAVERS) to the folks at Catalina Direct (for parts ect), there is always someone to help you learn. I didn't do as much research as you, just every day on my walk saw this slowly dying boat 8 feet off the ground in cradle, had never sailed in my life and she made herself mine. It's the people and the parts! Here is a few seconds my husband got of me sailing her for the first time on my own (without a friend who knows stuff), this could be you!!! https://youtu.be/7vhozLJ_IRQ

"Aunt Kay" - Ithaca NY - C25 - 1983 - SR/FK - Traditional layout - #3429 - She's Fixin' a Boat - Help!! :)
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Voyager
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
4614 Posts

Response Posted - 07/02/2020 :  15:57:56  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I realize that it took a great deal of soap and water, and much hard work on your parts, and you mainly had to do things by guesswork and giving it the old college try... but these boats really clean up nice, don’t they?
Your results speak for themselves.

Bruce Ross
Passage ~ SR-FK ~ C25 #5032

Port Captain — Milford, CT

Edited by - Voyager on 07/02/2020 15:59:34
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bigelowp
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
1512 Posts

Response Posted - 07/02/2020 :  17:59:29  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Just remember, nothing good happens fast: enjoy the journey. these are good boats

Peter Bigelow
C-25 TR/FK #2092 Limerick
Rowayton, Ct
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glivs
Admiral

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USA
753 Posts

Response Posted - 07/02/2020 :  18:12:44  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great video...it just screams “we got this!”. ..and it keeps getting better as your experience and confidence grows.

Gerry & Leslie; Malletts Bay, VT
"Great Escape" 1989 C-25 SR/WK #5972
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Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
8560 Posts

Response Posted - 07/02/2020 :  20:48:44  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Caribbean Soul

...Here is a few seconds my husband got of me sailing her for the first time on my own (without a friend who knows stuff), this could be you!!! https://youtu.be/7vhozLJ_IRQ
Hah! Your husband was hiding below in the V-birth as you sailed her for the first time--that's confidence!

But yes, there's a lot that's "just right" about the C-25--seaworthy, forgiving, comfortable size to handle, decent room below (with separate head), simple outboard auxiliary (on most), conservative (almost "classic") lines, unmatched support, camaraderie, and even potential for performance that has humiliated a lot of "faster" boats.

It is worth some searching. Just consider that, in general, the better a "deal" is on a boat, the more you'll probably need to put into it after the purchase.

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

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

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USA
1512 Posts

Response Posted - 07/04/2020 :  10:54:04  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Congratulations on finding your boat -- now go out and have fun! I too have a fin keel and it sails well and is easy to handle -- enjoy!

Peter Bigelow
C-25 TR/FK #2092 Limerick
Rowayton, Ct
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