Originally Posted by chef2sail
Look it is not a fair comparison of Hunters, Catalinas with Sabres, C&Cs Taratans as far as sailing abilities, build quality, equipment, but that is not what the OP has asked here.
There are plentry of sailors who want and like a production boat and all that entales.That doesnt make them less than at all or to be ridiculed for their choices. It also doesnt mean that a production boat is a Sabre.
So lets not discuss the merits or comaprisons of apples and oranges, Ok...lets get back to what the OP asked for comparison between the Hunter and the Catalina. I find them to be the more than the choice between beige and white. I have sailed some on both. I find that the Catalina has on the whole a better sailing profile on all points of sail. They tend to point higher and they tend also to have a better downwind profile probably because of the B&R rig the Hunter carries which does not allow the main sheet to be entended as far as the Catalina before it hits the spreaders. Catalinas have more of a traditional build since the mid 19990s while Hunters have gone to arches with main sail controls. Catalinas gunwhales have more room and to me are therefore safer when traveling forward. Some Catalina models ( sizes) have tall rigs optional for improved sailing speed. The best of the Hunters were the Cherubin models of the 80s.
Accomadations is where the Hunters excell. They have comfortable and spacious designs for the dock or the anchorage. They seem to have more volume available in the salons. Both have large cockpits ( advantage for those who like that...not me personally but many enjoy enteratining in their cockpits.
Build quality is ok for a mass production boat. No sense in comparing to Sabres, Tartans, C&Cs of similar years, because thats not what is being asked and again its apples and oranges. In my personal experience sailing the two brands, the Catalinas are stiffer boats. Hunters I have sailed have had a tendency to oil can and flex when the wind piped up ( Not including the 40+ Hunters in this comment.
Lastly the resale value of Catalina is pretty strong vs the Hunters resale value, and that should tell you something. Catlinas have a good owners following and many trade up for larger models.
This opinions reflect my personal experiences sailing on and with friends who have these boats. I do not get into the bashing of others boats, as everyone who buys a boat has their own reasons for the ones they choose. If I were forced to choose between these two models I would choose the Catalina every time in the 25-40 foot range except when the Cherubinis Hunters were being built.
Thank you, this info is very helpful. I did notice the gunwhales made it easier to get forward on the Catalina's while at the show, your descriptions of sailing characteristics have given me food for thought. Others have alluded loosely to what I think you said better, again thank you.