Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Hunter 3556 vs Catalina 350
I would suggest that you look at the Beneteau 36.7 and the Dehler 36. Both have impressed me as having a better build quality than the Hunter 356 or the Catalina 350 and both should sail better as well. I am not familiar with the new Jenneau 34 or 37. There is another issue with buying a new Catalina.
Apparently the factory at Catalina has not been standing behind their warrantees as well as they should. As a result I have been running into Catalina owners who bought new and serious complaints with the way that their warranttees were ignored. This includes a fellow who was told to have the repairs done and the factory would pick up the bill and then the Factory absolutely refused to reimburse him for the repairs.
In talking to Hunter owners I just have not heard that kind of thing, and I have direct dealing with Beneteau warrantee service on behalf of a friend and I was absolutely impressed with the way that they stood behind their product.
The new Hunter 356 has gotten good reviews in the press. Obviously I have not seen one out sailing. Glenn Henderson apparently was one of the design team and I have been quite impressed with his work over the years. I also think that the Hunter has a more useable interior layout than the Catalina and I especially like the aft location of the head where it convenient to the cockpit and is less like to disturb others aboard.
These kind of discussions can be quite subjective but the above is how I see it. And now for the million dollar question (or should I say, $120,000 question). Why buy new? These are pretty much commodity boats meaning that previous models exist in large numbers and the newer models just have not made such huge advances that they compellingly better. When I look at the Beneteau 36.7 or the Dehler 36 I see quite a departure from the model they replace but not with the Hunter and less so with the Catalina.