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  #1  
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Catalina 34

I looked at a 1986 Catalina 34 over the weekend. Went out on a nice test sail too! Oh and the guy bought me a beer at the yacht club! Boat is quite a reasonable price I think, and while I had been avoiding the big three production boats, this one looks to serve my current needs pretty well. I am a bit concerned about the lack of storage, but otherwise should be nice. She is not in great shape and priced accordingly. Rig is solid all redone (lost mast and had Seldon in mast furling installed) in 2006, mainsail in 2006, engine seems good with some reservations, interior needs some sprucing up, ports/hatches don't seem to leak, but will need attention due to hazing, exterior teak has been left gray, not my preference. Boat seemed to have nice enough electronics, certainly more than needed on the Hudson River. Boat seems to have been maintained as far as systems go, but not cosmetics. Couple of questions:

Engine (Universal M25) started nicely, did not smoke, ran fine at idle, full throttle, and at cruising speed. It seemed kind of rough between say 1200 and 1500 RPM. He said it has always done that so he avoids that range. Does that seem normal? Oil was clean as diesel ever is. Engine seemed to be covered in belt dust and oil, but not too bad.

Has original Marlon seacocks. I don't mind the idea of Marlon, but how long do they last? They all opened and closed easily. Some resistance but not a lot. Again they are almost 30 years old but has been mostly fresh water sailed.

Anything else I should be concerned about? The one thing I want to check on is keel bolts, I did not get to look at them. Took my camera but did not take any photos, I was running later than I wanted to, and had to get home. This owner has had it since 1996, he is retired and seems to want something smaller if at all.

My thought is I should not loose too much money (well it is a boat) and might sell quick enough if I want to sell in 4 years and get a more serious cruising boat. The Catalina will do well on the Hudson as we generally have light, fluky winds. I will be staying in New York for the next few years, but want to wander off someplace else after that. I know the Catalina 34 is not something I want to take to Hawaii, but should do nicely here to Block Island, and possibly up to Cape Cod and so forth. It is no Kelly Peterson 44, but she is about a tenth the cost as well.
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Re: Catalina 34

I don't know if the C34 is one, but think Catalina's had plywood in the keel stub inside all that glass and that was the cause of the "smile" as the plywood gives out over time. Not much to not like about any of the 30ft+ Catalina boats Paul! I really like the C36.
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Re: Catalina 34

Quote:
Originally Posted by miatapaul View Post
I looked at a 1986 Catalina 34 over the weekend. Went out on a nice test sail too! Oh and the guy bought me a beer at the yacht club! ...
Drinks and lunch at the yacht club. That's how we were wooed, too.

Lots of boats have the "smile" not just Catalina. We had ours fixed. It wasn't a big deal.

Before we bought our Catalina I spent time on the owners association page as well as joined the Yahoo list. I took notes on known issues so we had our eyes open going in as well as some questions to ask during the boardings.
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Re: Catalina 34

Donna I think Catalina direct sells a kit for the smile don't they?
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Re: Catalina 34

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Originally Posted by deniseO30 View Post
Donna I think Catalina direct sells a kit for the smile don't they?
They might but I don't remember seeing one. We had our marina do it after researching and realizing we had no way of getting the torque required to do it properly. At the time it seemed like one of those things best not left to DIY amateurs.
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Re: Catalina 34

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Originally Posted by deniseO30 View Post
I don't know if the C34 is one, but think Catalina's had plywood in the keel stub inside all that glass and that was the cause of the "smile" as the plywood gives out over time. Not much to not like about any of the 30ft+ Catalina boats Paul! I really like the C36.
Yea the smile issue is on early 80's I think, but will check the bolts as best I can before calling for a survey. The 36/34 are very close. I like the rear head on the 34 a lot.
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Re: Catalina 34

The 36 and34 are very close but IMO the 36 wins the interior battle with its superior galley especially.

The later MK IIs are much prettier boats, but at a premium. Either should fit the bill, esp if a relatively quick resale may be in the cards.
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Re: Catalina 34

I have the Universal 5424 which is a very similar engine. There's a lot of vibration between about 1400 and 1700 rpm on mine. I put this down to the vibration modes of an inline 3 cylinder engine. As long as it smooths out above and below that range, it should be fine. My cruising rpm range is 1800 to 2000.

If what you are hearing is noise, something could be rattling. A banging noise from 1400 to 1700 rpm was driving me nuts, I eventually found that it was the fitting at the top of the vented loop in the raw water circuit banging on the cockpit sole.
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Re: Catalina 34

So far I'm very happy with our MkI C34. Agree that storage can be an issue, though there's plenty if you don't need easy access (under the v-berth, behind the settee backs, etc.). Galley storage is minimal. The port cockpit lazarette is huge and the aft lazarette offers a lot of space too if you can come up with a creative way to keep things from sliding too deep.

Our M25XPB with only ~70 hours is also rough in the ~1500 rpm range, but smooths out nicely enough from 2000 up to the 2400 rpm cruising speed. Check the engine wiring harness and alternator bracket to be sure they've been upgraded (Not an issue on the XPB, but the older M25's need the upgrade).

I haven't had any issues with the Marelon seacocks, but I keep them lubed up with Marelube.

You can find answers and resources for just about every problem, upgrade and issue at the C34 International Association.
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Re: Catalina 34

If you want info on the C34, go here The Catalina 34 International Association
Before buying mine, I spent a lot of time on the C34 owners website and got tons of help and am still getting help four years later. The C34 is a great boat and the owner's website is awesome. Probably one of the best owner's websites on the internet.
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