I had not read the guidelines regarding Special Interests groups. Now that I have reviewed them I can see as a sailboat dealer there is a chance for a conflict of interest in the eyes of some of the readers. Having been in the business for the past 33 years I thought I could potentially add to the quality of some of these discussions. However no matter what I say it could be construed as coming from a boat dealer and not an individual. With that thought in mind it is probably best that I refrain from any further comments. Boat builders, boat dealers and boat purchasers and sellers are part of the lifestyle that we all love so much. But not everyone will see it that way.
I dissagree with that and have invited many designers, including Gerry Douglas and Bob Perry (just to name a few) to this board. You may ask them. We have been in the process of trying to set up a special forum where people could meet the designers of these boats and throw out questions. Unfortunately, my time has been very limited due to our cruising. I hope to change that soon.
I have no problem with you discussing your views on these boats, Ed (btw, we have met too). I am the tech editor for the 400's, and I take the critique in stride. I do not always agree with it, but I can put up a pretty good argument too.
I will tell you that the one thing I dissagree with on your discussion of Melissa is her perception of the boats. Especially in production boats, people buy what they see. They do not buy what the designers tell them. I have always felt this was one of Catalina's greatest attributes - that they are traditional, have a great reputation, and ANYONE can pick up the phone and talk with Gerry. I have been called by Frank myself.
Regarding her comments on the 445, it was built (as you might have alluded to) to be a performance oriented boat. She was meant to be raced coastal (though I believe she could be taken offshore and raced). As such, weight is important and there has to be a compromise between comfort and speed. You cannot compare it to the H49 as that was not its design point. That is my understanding and I welcome any comments to the contrary as I have not spoken directly with Gerry on this.
In summary, Ed, I welcome your thoughts and contributions here. You most certainly are not the only boat broker on this site. All we ask is that you put it in your signature so that others may weigh your comments appropriately, as they weigh mine, and as they would weigh Gerry's or B Perry's, or Melissa's, or the guy that has never even sailed before. There is not a comment here that is not appreciated.
You are welcome to discuss this matter with me directly if you wish. I you would like, drop me a PM and I will shoot you my phone number, or you may get it directly off any Mainsheet under the tech editor section (C400).