Hey Brian, as a new owner of a 2005 Cat 400, what things in the recent boats concern you? In other words, what should I be keeping an eye on?
Nothing on your boat. They have done a good job on it.
Some specific issues to keep a watchful eye on (that I do not believe reflect negatively on catalina) are: THe steering cables need a watchful eye. Also keep an eye on the sheaves above the liner in the master SR. Remember that unless you are after HN#~307, your boat probably draws 5'10, not 5'4. THe shower sump ius a bad design in the master head. THe pumps do n ot do well with foreign objects... especially hair and there are no strainers. We fixed this by putting some screen (window screen... very cheap you can buy at Walmart) over the cover to screen out hair. Keep an eye on the portlights in teh cabin top. You are approaching or at the time of pulling htem and rebedding. I don't know why Catalina doesn't just use mechanical fastners versus the glue... but that is another story. I used Dow Corning 795. It is not a hard job... but takes half a day per. And it takes seven days to cure so no sailing for a while and no moisture for about 24 hours after application. Incidentally, Catalina is not the only builder that uses those types of portlights (glued in only)... I just think they would be better and easier to repair of they were mechanically fastened.
So, on yoru boat, nothing is really wrong. THese are the boat specific issues I can think of. EVERY BOAT HAS THEM... these are just our specific headaches.
My frustration with Catalina is on many of the newer models (and a tad bit of ours, though ours and the 42 still hold to the older method). They simply are not using all of teh available space made to them. Those shelves are about worthless and NONE of them hardly have and fiddle boards. Also, they could have made massive space available under the liner if they only spent a few more bucks and cut it out and finished it (like what we have just port of the galley). As a cruiser and live aboard, we stick a bunch of junk low (read bilge). You should know that your boat, should you pull the floor board, just port of the waterheater, has a nice access under the liner. I actually ended up putting two-4-D batteries there. Also, if you pull the forward mattress, there is a very large area that has been fairly well finished and could easily take something like an extra diesel tank (which our boats really need for any long distance cruising).
Anyways, going back to Catalina, I wish they would just seperate themselves a bit more and put in more cabinetry and access to more available space. Some of the equipment (shower sump runs and wire runs) could be made a bit easier too... but they aer doable, just not pleasant. I think the 400 (and I have nothing to sell) is teh best boat Catalina makes, though I would not mind getting my hands on the 445. But if I was going to drop an easy $350k-$400k in a boat, it would be hard to do it without really looking at other boat manufacturers that really made a top notch product and would be comparably priced, if not less on the used market.
So ther eyou go! You have a great boat! I would buy mine again in that price range. Outside of that price range, I would (and may) buy a Nordhavn... so not even a sailboat at all.
PS Was taht you that called me a while back?
PSS Catalina is not doing anything that Bene and the rest seem to have done... I just wish they would charge another 5% and put it into their boats.