Best Keel for Coastal and Blue Water Cruising
I strongly suggest taking the equlavent amount of money you would spend on a new Catalina and purchase a higher quality used boat, I''m absolutley sure you''ll be more satisfied. Having sailed on and worked on newer Catalina''s I can tell you that they have poor quality hardware and they cut many, many corners in the manufacturing process. These boats are crude in design and cheaply made. To the novice sailor they appear to have all the most modern features and conveniences however if you look deeper you will see poor access to mechanical systems, rough and unfinished areas all over the boat, cheap hareware everywhere and poor design feaures. The wing keel boats sail poorly in a short chop and are actually harder to unstick when going aground in skinny water. Buyer beware, but don''t take my word for it talk to other experienced sailors.
PS: A friend of mine purchased a new Catalina winged keel boat however he recently found out the hard way that they installed a rudder for a fin keel on his boat, to make a long story (or rudder) short he destroyed the rudder when he went aground in shallow water because the rudder was longer that the depth of the keel, Catalina did not want to hear about assuming responsibility for this mistake! Buyer beware.