I'd like to hear from Catalina owners (42mkii esp) - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 03-09-2008
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Smile I'd like to hear from Catalina owners (42mkii esp)

Hello all....I would like your input on a few issues that I have with regard to a possible purchase of this boat.

First of all, we are a family of 6 with kids ranging from 3 -11. We live on the BC coast and want a boat for mostly day cruising in the Strait of Georgia but also for some overnight trips to local anchorages. I'm looking at a 2007 C42 MKii that was a demo boat for $230K US (there are a few extras such as autohelm, spinnaker). This is likely the upper limit of my budget. I know that this is a large boat for somebody who hasn't owned a full sized boat before but I have a friend who is CYA instructor who will spend time giving private lessons until I can handle the boat competently. I would also be choosy about the weather I chose to sail in, erring on the conservative side.

My big concern, which I would like feedback on, is the reputation of the boat. I've been a little scared by what I have read on this forum regarding Catalina's rep as a boat builder. If one were to believe some of the posters that lurk around here, Catalinas are essentially cardboard wrapped in fiberglass held together with bubblegum and baling wire. There are a few that seem to troll threads like this with the personal mission to make sure that nobody ever makes the collossal mistake of buying a Catalina. I have a hard time believing that the C42 with such a long production run is simply a "marina queen" or a lemon.

The purpose of this thread is not to rehash a barrage of trash talk against Catalina owners. Please hold the insulting replies. What I want is the hear from those who own or have owned recently, either a C42 or other comparable Catalina. Do you find that the boats are built cheaply? Are things falling off that shouldn't? Was your money well spent? You get the gist of what I'm getting at. I would appreciate your comments.

Also, with regards to ocean worthiness, what exactly would be the shortcomings of a production boat like the C42? Is the mast not strong enough? Is the hull not rigid enough? Is the keel going to fall off. Is the plug going to come out of the bottom of the boat which will then slowly fill with water (kidding)? What is it? What is going to fail in a boat like that in 45 knots of wind?

One other thing, the boat is a dealer demo since May last year in fresh water. I've been assured that the boat has not touched bottom. How many people would get a survery of a boat like that and how many would think that money is better spent elsewhere. Any thoughts on the price?

Thanks for those who take the time to reply
Randy
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Old 03-09-2008
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Randy...Given your request, I will not comment specifically on a C42 other than to say that I like them and have owned 2 smaller Catalinas in the past and they are both remembered fondly.
I really wanted to comment on your finding lots of "digs" against the Catalina brand here since you are new. One of the other moderators here, Cruisingdad, owns and is the technical editor for the Catlina400. As a result, his choice of boat brand comes in for a good bit of friendly joking and ribbing that is actually without any intent to malign the brand. Our intent is simply to malign the moderator!
The Catalina line is built as moderately priced, coastal cruising quality boats and that is your intended use. They have been successful for decades and also have an excellent reputation for listening to and supporting their owners. Each specific model has its' own plusses and minuses but I will leave that to others.
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Old 03-09-2008
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Camaraderie.....Thanks for the reply...thanks for cluing me in on the dynamics that exist as well. It's good to know that perhaps some of the disparaging comments are meant tounge in cheek. Some postings don't come across that way though. Once again I haven't been here long enough to know who is serious and who isn't. One thing is for sure, nobody likes to hear the quarter million dollar boat is a POS.
I did PM Cruisingdad about the boat and am still waiting for his reply.
Thanks again
Randy
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Old 03-09-2008
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Randy,

I don't have any first hand experience with this model Catalina, but I think the 42 would be almost ideal for the kind of sailing you describe with the size family you have. It's size will be a handful for someone that is inexperienced, but if you truly will have the benefit of an instructor for as long as it takes you to build the necessary experience, then you should be fine (here I am assuming you DO have some sailing experience already and are not a COMPLETE novice).

Truth be told, this is one of the models my wife and I are considering if we move up to a larger boat for our family of 5 (with frequent guests). So I have been studying it a fair bit. I prefer the appearance of the earlier Mark I version, and wish the rig was less dated, but all in all it appears to represent a good value for family coastal sailing. However, I would not choose this boat if I had plans to cross oceans or make extended off-shore passages.

Have you read any of Jack Horner's reviews of the Catalina 42? Horner is a well respected surveyor from the Chesapeake region, and writes used boat reviews for both Boat/US Magazine and Spinsheet magazine (a local Chesapeake sailing rag), based on his experience surveying. He also has a design background, and so I find his reviews to be fairly insightful. Here are a couple of his reviews (and you will learn in the second of these two that Horner chose a C42 for his own boat):

BoatUS.com: Boat Reviews by Jack Hornor, N.A. - Catalina 42 (Edit: I've tried several times to fix this link but it doesn't seem to work. You can google Boat/U.S./Horner/Catalina42 and get the link.)

Used Boat Review

The C42 owner's association is a good resource too, if you haven't visited there:

Catalina 42 International Association

Welcome to SailNet and good luck to you!
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Old 03-09-2008
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Randy, I was not familiar with the Catalina boats until last year. And I admit I like them and find them to be very good boats. I am sure that with a few mods you could actually sail around the World in them...altough their niche seems to be coastal navigation, and coastal, you can almost go around the world too, so that's not a limitation.

I have a friend Tommyt that has one and he was very enlightening in explaining the boat. I was impressed.

Last year, I saw 2 of the models in detail on a trip to Boston, and one 400 like CD's in St. Thomas. The ones I saw in Boston were side by side (I'm sorry I can't rememebr the sizes at this moment), and I saw them inside out.

I like them a lot and think they are pretty good boats, maybe a bit better that Beneteau, with a lot of space and clever solutions.

I believe that in a boat this price, considered relatively cheap for what it is, some corners have to be cut, so the price remains accessible to the customers Catalina is procuring...as a consequence, when corners are cut, things could be improved or better, and that is where the problem is...not in the sailing characteristics and not in the overall construction quality...the major issues I read are about equipment used, either auxiliar or critical, and its quality...and thoise, my friend, you can fix, improve and optimize in your own time, as expereince shown to you and learnt by you so dictates. And to me, its part of the fun to own a sailboat...the stuff you do to improve it...

You like the boat?? BUY IT..it's a good boat...this coming from a person that hates old stuff...

I would rather buy a new (or recent) Catalina now, that a 1865 Valiant or a 1342 Caliber or a 1235 Passport, or some older 34 feet thick hull boat, no matter how good they were, when Elvis was still alive...(I buy a boat to sail around not to smash against Volvos)....a trend I see seems the fashion around here in sailnet....its classy to own old boats....(excluded those that bought for economical reasons or heart reasons)....

You will have a lot of enjoymnt of a brand new catalina, even if you need to improve some things, which is a lot better than being the work slave of an old crappy boat, and having to repair everything every week, just because when Colombo was sailing they were tough boats...

Last edited by Giulietta; 03-09-2008 at 05:45 PM.
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I live in and near the area you want to sail said boat. I would have NO issues sailing said boat around here.

There are some brands that are what they are, ie lower end - not sure if that is the right wording..... but will use it none the less, they are made for coastal cruising, as such, do not need to be as strong as one that will cross oceans and sail thru a hurricane. Hunters, Jeanneaus - which I own, Beneteaus as examples, all have designs to this spec. Nothing wrong with that spec. others, need some kind of tank if you will to sail in our area of the NW US/SW Canada waters of Puget sound, straights of Georgia and the san juans etc.

There are many folks with Catalina's as small as the 22's sailng around here, and luving it!

So disregard the comments re that boat. If you like it, BUT IT! and don't look back!

marty
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Having looked at these boats extensively and talked with owners and dealers, they are the perfect boat for what you want to do. Personally, I prefer the 400, but the 42 is very nice too. Frank Butler has put a lot of time and effort into giving his target clients what they want, and he does a great job at it. Catalinas hold their value very well, and no, things don't just fall off of them. If you haven't already, go look at some that are 5-10 years old, then go look at the competition, namely hunter and beneteau, in the same age range, and compare. As for the Catalina bashing here, it is, as you say, tongue-in-cheek.
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Thanks guys for your very thoughtful replies
John..I have read that review before. I didn't know the author was a boat surveyor. That certainly adds a bit of credibility to the article. Come to think of it I really haven't read any bad reviews other than on forums such as this. Usually however, I take anything a magazine writes with a grain of salt because most of the time they truly cant be completely impartial because of the advertising revenue etc. Also, I'm not a complete novice sailor. I've sailed a Hobie for many years so I understand very well the theory of sailing. I know there is no comparison to the two craft, but nonetheless the general principles remain the same. I took my CYA basic certification on a Cat 36mkii. That boat was easier to sail than my Hobie; I didn't have to worry about it capsizing. The thing that worries me most is docking and anchoring which I think is true for most sailors. There are local day long clinics offered by one of the chartering companies to get skills in these areas that I will definitely be taking. My original sailing instructor has said he would sail with me on the boat until I'm up to speed. I do have a lot of common sense so I think things will end up well.
Giulietta.....greetings all the way to Portugal! Wow it must be nice living around such beautiful water. Thank you for your insight into the Catalina and your thoughts on the matter. I totally agree with you that I would rather have a new(er) boat than something that needs to be slaved on. I want to be sailing, not working (other than keeping the boat in Bristol shape).
Marty....Thanks as well for your thoughts of that boat in the Pacific NW sailing area. It is comforting to know that the boat will stand up well there.
Thanks again for your replies, I would welcome any other insight people may have..
Regards
Randy
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Bestfriend...thanks for your insight. I like the 400 as well. The demo 42 that we are looking at only has two cabins which is a bit of an issue with 4 kids. I'm much more partial to the layout of the 2 cabin model over the 3 cabin however. I like the galley tucked away in the back with a large settee area. In the 3 cabin model the galley is along the side...it seems cramped to me. For us the improved living area for the awake hours offsets the disadvantage of having to make the settee into a bed for 2 kids during the sleeping hours. I like the 3 cabin layout of the 400 better than the 42 in this regard. Unfortunately the same deal doesn't exist on that boat in our area or I would seriously consider it.
I would be interested in what it is about the 400 that you like better.
Randy
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Old 03-09-2008
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Randy,

One of my hesitations about this model is the choice of keels. The standard draft (fin, 6'8") is too deep for my sailing grounds (Chesapeake), yet I view the shoal draft (wing, 4' 10") too shallow for a boat of this size. It also leaves the rudder more exposed to grounding than I care for. Too bad they don't offer a 5'6-8" long fin intermediate draft!

Hopefully the particular boat you are looking at is the standard draft version. You shouldn't need shoal draft for the PacNW, so this concern that I've raised isn't really applicable in your case.

Also, presumably you are looking at a tri-cabin version, which is what you'll want with that many kids aboard. If it is the two-cabin version, I would hold off and wait for a tri-cabin. Trust me on this.
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