Saturday, March 27, 2010

1980 Catalina 25 - Hull#1698

So today I went and picked up another sailboat.  I drove to Ashville, AL to get it and I have to say it is beautiful over there.  Lot's of hills, rocky by-ways, and lush farms.  Anyhow, I located this Catalina 25 swing keel thanks to my buddies Todd and Spencer over at who happened to spot it on Craigslist.  The boat is a 1980 model with a tandem axle, hydrolic brake, trailer.  The rig was light enough that I was actually able to tow it 100+ miles with my Jeep Grand Cherokee (diesel - I wouldn't attempt it with a small liter gas motor). 

The boat needs work (that's where I come in) and a lot of cosmetic stuff like sanding down the bright work (teak) and refinishing.  The bulkheads also need to be replaced, but that is a job that can be done working steady on a Saturday afternoon.  After close inspection, the boat has a lot of potential.  Whoever sailed the boat before had it well outfitted and rigged with lots of goodies to make it easy for single handed sailing.  After tossing out two bags of trash, I found several stainless snap shackles (about $25 each) and some other valuable goodies, but mostly a bunch of crap that needed to go straight in the trash.  There is also a small refrigerator which is going to be removed as soon as I get up the nerve to wrestle it out.  I found a total of four sails, one of which was stuffed into the ankor locker.  Only two of the four sails are serviceable:  the mainsail and a 110 jib.  There was a 90% jib that was as thin as a sheet and looked like swiss cheese.  The other sail is a second mainsail from some other boat.  I'll probably sell it since it's too small for this boat and is a NorthSail.

I bought the boat with the motivation to clean it up and sell it - that is exactly what I'll do.  Then I'll do it again as I have like half a dozen times now.  Depending on how it goes, I may launch the boat but it won't be compulsory for me.  I would share picks of the interior, but I think it would just scare most of you.  For now, just know it is very roomy with a large V-birth and even larger galley area.  The boat could comfortably sleep four adults.   There is plenty of room under the starboard cockpit to also sleep another person.  It is a pop-top model, which means you can raise the top over the cabin and affix it to the mast, which would allow even a tall person ample head-room to stand below deck.

I'll be posting picks of progress on the restoration, which will not be a complete ground up job this time, so check back often to see how things progress.  You'll be amazed at what she looks like in just a few months.  If anyone is interested in purchasing the finished product, let me know or pass along to someone who wants a great boat.


  1. Man...I have had the sailing bug for a long time but reading this really makes the little gnat buzz!

    I'm still following the blog...not doing a lot on mine...I need to get more disciplined...make the time...I love your writing style but I really admire your discipline to write.

    Back to the sailing! I was in the coast guard for 4 years right out of high school...great time in my life...miss getting underway weekly. I will definitley follow your restore job!

    I found this one fairly close to your neck of the woods...what do ya think?

    Take care bud--Adam

  2. Hey Adam,

    Thanks for your comment, man. Looks like a good boat from the pics. Catalina 25 is great for inshore/ nearshore sailing. They are easy to get parts for too since they were popular and production has been going on since 1977. Swing keel is prefered by many lake sailors, but a shoal keel with a centerboard is almost as convenient to me. Full keel is preferable for serious sailing, but requires more commitment in the way of a trailer and towing.

    If you're thinking about getting into sailing, I would recommend starting with something in the 18-22ft range. These boats will be less difficult to work on, rig, tow, launch, etc. especially for day sailing. These days, if you are handy, a good boat in need of a little TLC is not too hard to find for dirt cheap - just have to be patient for the right opportunity and prepared to jump when you find it.

  3. Thanks for the insight Ben. I am not ready to pull the trigger yet but, it's like you say, if I find the right deal I need to be ready to jump on it.

    I grew up on the water most of my life... worked at a marina in high school...did the coast guard thing...but my only experience on a sail boat was on my dad's 16 foot hobie cat on a damned up section of the Tennessee river. I'll get there though...just want something my wife and I can sail down to Sanibel and Captiva island...made that trip a lot on a trawler when I was growing up.

    Thanks again Ben...keep posting--Adam