Boat Review

February 2008 Issue

Used Sailboats from the 1970s: Practical Sailor Puts Plastic Classics Under the Microscope

Pearson 30, Tartan 30, and Catalina 30 Stand Out in Colorful Field of Groovy Fiberglass Boats.

Fiberglass boatbuilding really hit its stride in the 1970s, and a lot of big-time boatbuilders were pumping out a lot of good boats. Although boats 30-plus years old are a little long in the tooth, a 1970s fiberglass boat that has been well taken care of is an excellent starting point in a search for an affordable used boat. Those searching for a $10,000 to $20,000 sailboat would do well to search for a fiberglass cruiser from the 1970s. Practical Sailor examines nine models of 30-year-old 30-foot sailboats that are fun to sail, have sufficient accommodations for a family cruiser, and are plentiful on the open market. Among a field including the C&C 30, Cal 2-30, Hunter 30, Irwin Competition 30, Newport 30 PH-II, and the O’Day 30, the Pearson 30, Tartan 30, and Catalina 30 stand above the others. A close look at these three used boats—the Sparkman & Stephens-designed Tartan, the racer/cruiser Pearson, and the well-rounded family boat, the Catalina—offers an idea of what to look for and what to expect when you’re searching those used-boat classifieds.

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