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Home » Sailnet Boat Reviews » C - Boats starting with 'C' » Catalina
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Catalina 38
Reviews Views Date of last review
5 7566 Thu October 27, 2011
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Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
100% of reviewers $20.00 9.0












Description: Catalina 38
Keywords: Catalina 38
 


Author
wcking
Junior Member

Registered: September 2000
Posts: 2
Review Date: Tue October 22, 1996 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

Sparkman & Stephens design. Originally was a Yankee 38. Catalina bought the molds and built them for the Congressional Cup races in Long Beach, CA. Fast boat, especially the deep draft model (6'9"). Ours is one of the few shoal draft (4'11") models. PHRF rating is 114 and 123 respectively. We bought ours in Feb. of '96 after selling our '88 Catalina 27. What an icredible difference in sailing!! It seems to move well both on and off the wind and about the only thing that beats us are J Boats or flat-out racers. It's a fast & roomy boat and seems to be priced well below anything comparable in this size. Ours was a "fixer" and we paid $31,700. We have spent an additional $10,000 in repairs and upgrades. Major weakness:
collapsed engine beds. Had to replace shaft log, shaft, motor mounts and rebuild the engine beds ($2600.00).
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Review Date: Fri March 31, 2000 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

I purchased my Sparkman & Stephens designed Catalina 38 (Hull#270)in April of 1999 after owning a Catalina 27. While I'm not a racer, I was drawn to her traditional lines and her tumblehome hull. I live aboard and find her a comfortable home. She is still first and foremost, a sailboat and I actively sail her singlehanded. Anyone who is considering a Catalina 38 would be reassured, she handles as well as she looks. A couple of things to consider when shopping are: engine access is limited and that promotes deferred maintenance. However, the Universal 25hp diesel is as robust as it is simple and most of the problems were minor. Be also aware that alot of Catalinas of that era were prone to osmiotic blistering and mine was no exception. While there were a few, they were only in the gelcoat and had not gotten into the fiberglass. I was able to take a substantial reduction in the asking price on her because of this. Unless you are a hard-core racer, this shouldn't deter you from buying one with a few blisters. I would check for blisters, engine condition, and leaks around the ports. Catalinas in general can develop a stress crack known as the "Catalina smile". This occurs where the leading edge of the keel meets the bottom of the hull. It is mostly cosmetic, and a grinding out and filling with 5200 will fix it. Also be aware that there is no "aft cabin" on the '38 that you might find on strict cruising boats of comparable size because of her racing heritage, just a small "pilot's berth" on the starboard side. I have been very happy with my purchase, and accept most of those as problems that would come with buying a "used" boat. Of course the compliments I recieve about her and the pleasure she provides me make it all worth it. She is "Bristol" in my eyes. Look around, and you will surely find a few Catalina 38's on the market, but they usually don't last long. Good hunting!
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sailnaway
Senior Member

Registered: October 2003
Posts: 399
Review Date: Tue January 17, 2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

This yacht is one of the most overlooked best buys today. Fast and roomy a little spartan inside which means easy to clean and sexy looking you could say she is like an Olympic Swimmer in her Speedo and she has the smooth lines of one. With a few thousand miles under her keel since we bought our yacht blue water is play time. We have been out in some really rough weather and the yacht remains a solid platform. She will porpous some times and you might get wet but then you could buy a dodger. I find flaws all over the boat, most are bad wood work but nothing that cant be fixed and nothing structual except the Catalina smile see www.catalina38.org for repair tips on this. The yacht is built like a rock.The boat is still so competitive yet much heavier than late model boats its great. You never feel like your bouncing your sailing when you on a Catalina 38.
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BRISTOLIANBOATER
Junior Member

Registered: July 2008
Review Date: Wed July 16, 2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros:
Cons:

I have owned hull #169 for the last four years and have totally restored this excellent vessel, plus added some electrical/electronic enhancements. I am now receiving frequent requests for the right of first refusal, should I decide to put her on the market. Of course, I would sell my grandchildren long before I would consider the thought of parting with my baby!!!!
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Momentous

Junior Member

Registered: June 2011
Location: Baltimore
Posts: 4
Review Date: Thu October 27, 2011 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $20.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Fast, Versitle, Sexy
Cons: Tumble home hull, small cockpit

All you would ever want to know about the Catalina 38 is right here:
http://www.catalina38.org/?page_id=75/

Bought mine (Hull #230 1983) in 2011 for super-cheap! Amazing condition, fully loaded w/electronics and sail inventory. Shoal draft (4' 11" for the Chesapeake. Minor keel work, windows, needed a new hydraulic backstay adjuster, and some minor cosmetics.

Sailing: Boat is fast, stable and carries enough sail for light air, and is easily reefed for heavy air. 7.5knts (ther. hull speed. PHRF 114 / IOR 28.8 aprox.)

I have noticed that the boat sails MUCH better when reefed at around 15-20knts. (See here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cvKcGVEQhc It really doesn't like carrying a 150% and a full main at 20knts... weather helm does become an issue at around 20knts. Of course mine might not be tuned the best, but either way there is very little decrease in speed and a HUGE increase in ease-of-handling when reefed in that range. Sheeting in that 150% on the standard Lewmar 48 NON selftailer's is TOUGH and can be a two man job. Upgrade.

Honestly, it's a sailor's boat... you can feel the helm... the boat rolls over to that sweet spot and stops... But the boat does want you to be as hands-on. All controls are adequately sized, accessible and effective. (very wide traveler, multiple genoa tracks / aluminum toe rail, boom vang, down haul, out haul, hydraulic backstay adjuster) Full batten main works great with the wide traveler.

Things to consider for cruising...

Interior: Has tons of storage space. Large double berth in the salon, sizable V-Berth, and a large quarter berth. Plenty of room for 4 adults or family.

Nav table is adequate. Galley is small, but the ice box(s) are big.

Tumble home hull is VERY susceptible to scratches, knocks, scrapes etc. It does bulge quite a bit below the rail and for a decent amount along the length of the boat. Serious bumpers are a MUST and more than a few of them.

The cockpit is a tad cramped. I really don't know why Catalina opted for a few more inches of bench length / lazarette space instead of cutting the corners to allow for easier movement in and out of the helm area. It does require stepping up on the cockpit seat, or squeezing between it and the wheel.

It does not have much open / unobstructed deck area for moving forward from the cockpit or aft from the bow. Genoa tracks, a bunch of shrouds, toe-rail, etc. makes it tough for less-than spry crew.

Engine power / access: A good running engine (Universal 30 Diesel) has plenty of power to push the boat at hull speed, and is relatively smooth. .75 gal /p/hr consumption. 35 gal fuel. Access is a tad restricted but whaty'a gonna do.
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