Hi everyone, I'm new here, and apologies if this has been answered before. I'm in the market for a used Catalina -- trying to choose between a 30, 34 and 36 to sail on SF Bay. My last boat was a 2011 MacGregor 26M, which I bought new. I grew up sailing a Cal 39 on Chesapeake Bay. I'd describe myself as a day sailor/crusier who would spend the majority of my time inside the Gate, but might be tempted to trek down to Half Moon Bay, Monterey or up to Drakes on occasion.
I've made 1988 my first cutoff year, since that seems to be when Catalina addressed the smile issue (though I realize many people consider this cosmetic), as well as the block under the compression post on the C-30 failing and causing the cabintop to bow in (a fix I don't want to have to attempt myself).
As I'm trying to avoid deck surgery in the future, as well, I'm also wondering if anyone knows when Catalina started using solid fiberglass (instead of a balsa core) under those areas of the deck where hardware or fittings are attached. I've noticed on newer models, for instance, that shrouds connect to and pass through the deck on a raised molded rectangle in the deck, that presumably holds some kind of plate that's glassed in or embedded underneath it.
I appreciate any insight anyone can provide. I've spent a good bit of time lurking on these boards, and have been duly impressed with the amount of collective knowledge you all have.
Also, of course, I am open to hearing arguments for any of my target sizes, though that may open up a larger discussion, and I know it is a wide range of boats. Thanks, Joe