Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
Thanked 190 Times in 155 Posts
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I guess the first question is why someone would buy a new boat. Boats like the Catalina 310 are constructed in large numbers and are generally available a year or two old for far less than they cost to purchase and equip. (They may not seem that way since you rarely see the cost to equip one.)The nice thing about a couple year old used boat is that it has had sufficient use that any built-in defects should show so that you can know whether or not boat is a lemon before you spend your good hard cash. Also someone else has experienced the pain and expense of outfitting a boat and dealing with a warrantee and then having depreciation on top of that.
I have spent a lot of time on Catalinas in the past couple years. To me Catalina is like a Chevy sedan. A lot are sold and most of the people who buy them are served well for their needs. They offer nothing special but do offer good basic transportation if that is all that one needs. My general sense is that Catalinas are no better constructed than the other two large boat builders, Hunter and Beneteau and do not seem as well finished and detailed as these other two. Of the three, I particularly prefer Beneteau which seems to do a slighty better job, especially with their ''First'' series.
I have spoken to Frank Butler a number of times and he seems to genuinely want to produce a product that offers a good value, meaning a lot of boat for the dollar.
The one real negative that I keep hearing over and over again from people who have purchased Catalinas, deals with warrantee problems. While buyers of new boats from the other two companies have mentioned items covered under warrantee (with Beneteau buyers being especially positive about the warrantee service that Beneteau has supplied), I have have heard near unanimous complaints from Catalina buyers about Catalina not standing behind (sometimes extensive) warrantee claims. Some of these horror stories have left me feeling that even if Catalina''s boats are probably OK, I would be concerned buying even a used Catalina for fear that a dealer in the absense of the kind of factory support that Catalina should be supplying, cobled something together on the cheap in order to serve a customer that Catalina would not service. (Two separate Catalina owners told me of just that happening.)
As I ususaully do when I discuss the issue, I would certainly love to hear that I am wrong on this and so am asking Catalina Buyers with positive Catalina warrantee experiences to talk about their experiences.