Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Catalina or Hunter??
In that size range I would also take a look at the Beneteaus. They have three models in that size range that I particularly like. I have spent a lot of time with 38s5''s and I really like the boats. I thought they were reasonably well built on the whole and I ws very impressed with their sailing ability. I also like the slightly larger 41s5. One of my favorite Beneteaus of all time is the 42f7. These are Bruce Farr designed performance cruisers and offer an awful lot of boat for the money as well as a really nice deck layout and sailplan, expecially for short handed sailing.
If you are buying a new boat, I would look at the Beneteau 40.7 which is more on the performance side of the equation or the Dehler 39. The Dehlers strike me as being especially well made (especially compared to the other three companies in question) and quite nicely detailed and quite competatively priced.
The older Catalina 38 was a pretty nice boat but I thought it had a pretty uncomfortable motion in the Ocean. I am not a big fan of the newer 400 or 42. I had helped a friend who was in the market for 5 to 10 couple year old 40 footer. We were on and off a lot of boats and into these boats in a pretty detailed way. I was disappointed in how the Catalinas looked 5 years into their lifespan, especially when compared to the Beneteaus of the same age that we were looking at.
We did not look at Hunters so I am not sure what to report there. My family has actually owned a couple Hunters over the years but these were older models so I don''t think that they had much bearing on your question.
Good luck in ypur search,