Catalina 34MK vs Catalina 36MK - SailNet Community

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Old 02-03-2012
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Catalina 34MK vs Catalina 36MK

Have been looking at Catalina 36 MK's this past year, years 1996-2001. Finally sold current boat and am looking more seriously. Recently looked at the 34's, which seems to be $20,000 plus less than the 36's, same year.
I measured and they both have the exact same size cockpit. Cockpit is important to take family out. Seems small differences elsewhere. Main thing I noticed was the freeboard. The 34 is much lower to the water than the 36. This would be nice as I could step off easier.
Does anyone have experience with these 2 boats that could share other differences? Is the lower freeboard on the 34 a problem? Do they sail similar?
Don't give me the "Bente-Hunter-Lina" talk, already heard it.
I am interested in a weekend sailing/cruising boat with some comfy perks.
Thanks for some serious input.
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Old 02-04-2012
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I've got a older 34 and a good friend has a somewhat newer 36. I'm not that good of a sailor to talk about differences in handling of the 2 boats.
As far as size goes, I see very little difference in cockpit or interior size between the two. Of course, the interior is completely different layout. Some people prefer the head up forward with the 36 and some prefer the head back aft with the 34. Just something to think about.
The only thing I like about his boat that I don't have, his being newer, he has a walk thru transom.
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Old 02-04-2012
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I like both boats, but prefer the MKIIs for the improved cockpits and appearance. Of course that comes at a premium price.

In the older models, the so-called MK 1.5s had a walk through transom, a big plus.

I think that unless you're racing you won't notice the difference in performance or handling of the two. When it comes to interiors it's pretty hard to dismiss the 36's much larger galley, but if daysailing and occasion overnights are on the menu that may not be a big issue.

The older 36's have an open aft berth and a better nav station.. I wouldn't make too much of the 'private' aft cabins... under 50 feet I think privacy is an illusion at best anyway.

Between the two it would come down, to me, whichever was the better package, with a nod to the 36 otherwise.
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Old 02-05-2012
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They both have really active associations as well. C34.org, and C36ia.com. The C34 forum is a little more active than the one for the C36, but given there were a couple thousand hulls of each model made, helpful information is easy to come by for both.

I'm a C36 guy (I like the layout a little better; can't speak to sailing performance), but if you like the layout of the C34, the difference in beam and LOA are negligible. In that specific regard, the C34 has typically been a slightly better value.
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Old 02-05-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creedence623 View Post
They both have really active associations as well. C34.org, and C36ia.com. The C34 forum is a little more active than the one for the C36, but given there were a couple thousand hulls of each model made, helpful information is easy to come by for both.
.
When my wife and I decided that a C-34 would be the best boat to meet our needs, tha C-34 forum was extremely helpful (and still is) in answering our many questions.

I know if I have ANY questions regarding my boat, I can get my answers there.
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Old 02-06-2012
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Thanks to all who have responded; we do love the interior space on the 36, but for the $$ difference have decided maybe all we need is the 34. Also we are located in the SE and it seems most on yachtworld are in the NE. We will still continue to look at both and hopefully make the right decicion. Just did not know if there was a difference in the handling between the 2 or something else we may not be aware of. I assume the V berth is about the same on both. I know there is a difference aft. Only have sailed a 350, but not crazy about the beam on those. Again thanks for your input.
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Old 02-06-2012
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We tried really hard to buy a C34, but the particular boat had a serious blister problem and we couldn't agree on a price adjustment that I would have been satisfied with, so we kept looking and ended up paying a bit more for a C36 and have been very happy with our choice (though I do wish my boat had some of the racy bits the C34 we looked at had been equipped with).

As others have pointed out, the main differences are the galley and saloon being slightly larger on the 36. The storage drawers/locker on the 36 also offers storage area that you don't have on the 34. At least on the MK1.5 boats we were looking at, the aft cabin of the 34 was arguably nicer than the C36, but that's a pretty subjective area. On deck the boats are nearly identical and I believe the cockpits are exactly the same.

Our boat is a late MKI with the walk through transom, but still has the MKI forward facing navstation and "cave-like" aft "Cabin" . I've heard some argue they didn't become MK1.5's until they redesigned the nav station and added the cabin door ala' the MKII (where they kept that configuration and carried the beam aft). I think they also started with the hull portlights on the 1.5's which my boat does not have and is something I prefer not having. Anyway the things I really like about my boat besides the lack of hull portlights to leak, are the nav station, functional galley, the game table and U-shaped dinette. That set up allows a lot of versatility as the dinette can be left set up as a double berth and you still have a place for 2 at a time to sit and eat at the game table, or I if you have a crowd for happy hour or dinner you can have 5 or so around the table and 2 more at the game table. I also like that all the sleeping areas are roomy and comfortable for 2. I have slept in all of them at 6' and 210 (not petite) and they are all pretty comfortable.

Sailing wise, my C36 routinely out paced my 2 friends on their C34's but I did have newer sails and tend to be more attentive to trim. That said I've passed them both in races when I know they were working their hardest to stay ahead of me.

If you plan to mainly sail as a couple, the 34 offers all that's needed for weekends and moderate extended cruises. If you have family or plan to bring guests along often the 36provides a bit more room and storage and sails slightly faster. One final point I'll make is that the systems on either boat have had some thought put into them from the perspective of owner maintenenace any are generally easier to access than what I've seen on some competing boats.

Good Luck with whichever you choose -- I don't think you be disappointed either way.
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Last edited by PalmettoSailor; 02-06-2012 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 02-12-2012
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Neicy, I am a 34 driver, but looked at both also. Catalina boats are known for being forgiving, good handling, and decent performance. There will not be a considerable difference in these two boats on the water. Sails, rig setup and other details would make a bigger difference than the design...which as I said is typical Catalina (a good thing). My point is if these two boats were equipped exactly the same the differences would be negligable at most. Keep an eye for both boats still...good to have more options when shopping. Can't go wrong either way.

Last edited by hump180; 02-12-2012 at 08:51 PM.
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Old 02-13-2012
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Originally Posted by hump180 View Post
Keep an eye for both boats still...good to have more options when shopping. Can't go wrong either way.
I've got a buddy who was looking for a 34 around the same time I was looking. A really good deal on a 36' came along so he jumped on it.
Again, there really isn't that much difference, space wise between the two boats. Different layouts, but both are very comfortable and either will serve you well.
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