It was asked that I do a post-purchase review in the earlier purchase thread as well as someone was looking for advice on a 34 foot model.
I'll list the quirks and problem areas first:
1. Chainplate leaks. These are hard to track down actually, even though it can be exposed in the cabin by removing a wood cover. So - easy access, but due to the metal framing the boat uses - water if it sips through goes behind. To check for it - remove the settee upper cushions and reach behind and rub your fingers (forward). You will most likely get your fingers wet if there is a leak. It doesn't drain - so usually gets wicked down into the bulkhead / flooring joint at the forward companionway. I rebedded the plates and punched a small hole where the water was forming so it drain down under the settee and down into the bilge. Also, note the condition of the base of the saloon table. Mine was rotted out, and so I pulled it - it has 4 bolts that secure it to the horizontal mast frame support.
2. Bilge. The Keel bilge is an interesting design. There are the metal frames that run every 2 feet as well as fiberglass frames that run adjacent to them. The fiberglass frames which extend to the floor level have holes for distributing the water collected into the other sections. There is only one pump and it is located aft at the galley line. The pump doesn't efficiently remove the water especially if the boat is rocking back and forth. To fully drain the bilge you need to snap on a extender hose by removing the suction plate for the current bilge hose - and manually go to each bilge segment. Or carry a shopvac - which is what I do (faster but more labor intensive).
Another note on the bilge - if you do not keep it dry, when sailing.... if heeled excessively - water will pop up over the floorboards. Not too much a issue if you add it to your pre-sail checklist. I wonder for a fix if there is a way to kind seal it in a bit where one way valves are used that can trap the water to keep it into a "sump area"... but not currently on my short list of McGuyver modifications to try yet...
3. Electrical system. It met the 1983 requirements. But, uses some 50 german style glass fuses.
Note the glass fuses. I yanked this system out. Lotsa corrosion of the terminals and visually - there was NO WAY to look at the fuses and determine they were blown. Good news - the boat came with the electrical blueprints as well as cheat sheet - and everything mostly match the numbers that were labeled on the wires.
This was the old Nav panel that was in the access door to the electrical distribution board. Not a very efficient use of space, and note again - not a single AC meter or circuit breaker. There is actually two of them - they are the white boxes in the right of the picture. More on that later...
Here is a snapshot of the replacement in progress. I went all Blue Sea for circuit breaker panels. They get fed by the one in the door, which has a master breaker to cut all power to the sub panels. Next phase after rigging all the positive leads is extending the negative leads so they go into the panel as well... still work in progress.
Here you can see the new Nav Station setup. It used to be pretty much bare with exception of an old Standard Horizon VHF and Jenson stereo that was mounted to the ceiling. The Nav door contains the custom panels I did. I now have the ability to cut off AC in the cabin as well as to outlets. The DC Panel contains the circuits for battery metering and the navigation lights since they are the most used. Bottom switch of the DC is the cut-off for the subpanels.
Enough about that. The electrical system is fairly easy to access in terms of wiring and the likes. Well documented.
4. Forward Head shower. The sump pump is located under the port settee. Mine is rusted to all get out. I haven't used the shower as of yet, as I either have to get a shower curtain in there or epoxy the area for waterproofing.
5. All hatch covers - crazed. They also are hard to crank down and when washing the boat sometimes water will leak in. Minor issue...very...
6. Check the ceiling. The white inserts that make up the headliner are just Velcro in. Pull them off especially around the windows and the mast. I found mold and evidence of previous leaks here.
7. Ducers are located in two locations. Underneath the floorboard in the v-berth and the floorboard directly aft of the v-berth. Luckily they all have wooden plugs as well as the blanks so they can be pulled and cleaned without going for a haul-out. ...
8. Aft head has no holding tank. all the cut-offs are located under the starboard aft berth. Water heater is also here aft. I found leaks from the hoses ( it will drip on the berth cushion).
9. Heater in cockpit aft port storage area. Kinks in hoses and the exhaust are most common issues. Same goes for most hoses running back here.
10. The entire plumbing system is controlled from under the galley sink. It took me a while to figure out what everything was. The sinks are equipped with overflow outlets. They drain into the bilge. The house battery setup is located here as well (hence why I am not fond of the overflow going here and will be addressed later).
11. Battery charger is located in the cabinet inboard of the galley. Its a large storage space - and its mounted on the wall in the back. I am not fond of this location and nor do I particularly like the Pro series model. I will be replacing it with my Xantrex 40 Amp that has remote LED status indicators.
12. All lights use halogen style bulbs. On almost all of the lights I pulled - the plastic mounting had either melted the canvas behind it or cracked when coming off.
13. Cockpit wise. Mine had a custom dodger installed which put out oc commission 3 winches (you do not need them but I can see where they can be handy.
14. Rigging. All of the Halyards are wire to rope. And the only real issue I have with the rigging set-up is that for some reason there is no method to raise and lower the topping lift properly. Its basically just cleated on the mast with no routing to a winch in the cockpit (this is a must do item). But I like the Dutchman system it is rigged with.
15. Anchor locker. The winch solenoids and electrical connections will most likely be rusted out. Mine are and that will be yet another item on the must fix page.
I really like the fact I have a full galley with stove and two coolers. Plenty of storage space as well. The other really awesome deal with this boat is full engine access from three sides. The whole compartment is soundproofed as well, which makes it very quiet in the cabin and topsides when underway.
Sailingwise - its a dream. Light wind she loves (just the no wind condition - well...drifts on point backwards nicely). The few times I have taken her out now - I have been able to run down other sailboats plugging along and that is a fun feeling knowing one can sail in light winds as with the Catalina, I motored more than anything.
Managing the trim though is the tradeoff. LOTS of lines and controls to bend the mast and create the perfect sail shape. But, the cockpit is large and comfortable enough to handle the mess of lines (although I just bought a ton of Blue Performance items to hopefully clean up the lines laying all around) as well as crew. In fact the cockpit is really nice in that aspect as one can have 6-8 people all hanging out there comfortably.
So, all in all - less some of the quirks (which I more or less pointed out for the person looking to buy the 34 footer version), couldn't be more pleased with "Hello Gorgeous"....
If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask....