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  #1  
Old 06-29-2002
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greatwhiteway is on a distinguished road
Catalina 310

My wife and I have been doing our homework,
and are giving some serious thought to buying a Catalina 310 in Sept. at the Newport boat show. But I''m hearing alot of negative stories about Mr. Frank Butler,and
the Catalina Boat it self. Anything positive
out there about my decision.
(WHAT DO YOU THING MR. JEFF)
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Old 06-29-2002
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Catalina 310

I guess the first question is why someone would buy a new boat. Boats like the Catalina 310 are constructed in large numbers and are generally available a year or two old for far less than they cost to purchase and equip. (They may not seem that way since you rarely see the cost to equip one.)The nice thing about a couple year old used boat is that it has had sufficient use that any built-in defects should show so that you can know whether or not boat is a lemon before you spend your good hard cash. Also someone else has experienced the pain and expense of outfitting a boat and dealing with a warrantee and then having depreciation on top of that.

I have spent a lot of time on Catalinas in the past couple years. To me Catalina is like a Chevy sedan. A lot are sold and most of the people who buy them are served well for their needs. They offer nothing special but do offer good basic transportation if that is all that one needs. My general sense is that Catalinas are no better constructed than the other two large boat builders, Hunter and Beneteau and do not seem as well finished and detailed as these other two. Of the three, I particularly prefer Beneteau which seems to do a slighty better job, especially with their ''First'' series.

I have spoken to Frank Butler a number of times and he seems to genuinely want to produce a product that offers a good value, meaning a lot of boat for the dollar.

The one real negative that I keep hearing over and over again from people who have purchased Catalinas, deals with warrantee problems. While buyers of new boats from the other two companies have mentioned items covered under warrantee (with Beneteau buyers being especially positive about the warrantee service that Beneteau has supplied), I have have heard near unanimous complaints from Catalina buyers about Catalina not standing behind (sometimes extensive) warrantee claims. Some of these horror stories have left me feeling that even if Catalina''s boats are probably OK, I would be concerned buying even a used Catalina for fear that a dealer in the absense of the kind of factory support that Catalina should be supplying, cobled something together on the cheap in order to serve a customer that Catalina would not service. (Two separate Catalina owners told me of just that happening.)

As I ususaully do when I discuss the issue, I would certainly love to hear that I am wrong on this and so am asking Catalina Buyers with positive Catalina warrantee experiences to talk about their experiences.

Respectfully,

Jeff


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Old 07-01-2002
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Catalina 310

Greatwhiteway,

In general I agree with Jeff on a few points, I think the "Frank Butler" experience can be blown out of proportion, but there is validity to it, but I beleive if you have a good dealer (as is the one I have heard of up in RI, I think they are called Eastern Yachts sales) then they will take care of any issues with the factory for you. I think the real issue is that there is only 1 Frank Butler and all warranty issue must go through him. Well that is ok when its a small boat manufacturer, but when you make as many boats as Catalina does then one person is not going to work and it doesn''t scale as well as it should. I have seen this happen to Business''s and Corporations that went from being Small companies to Large. With that said I think it will be a rarity that you will have a problem with that and I have heard of MANY positive experience. Usually the most vocal ones (maybe like Jeff has heard from) are the ones that are most negative, they make it a point to tell everyone they meet when they are not happy. It is still a very small percentage of the total boat buyers.

As far as the boats go, I think Catalina''s have moved from being Chevy''s to Buicks. I agree with Jeff and think Beneteau''s have very nice workmanship below, but something about their layouts are never quite what I like, its as if something is always missing. If I had to pick another boat I would lean towards one of the bigger Beneteaus...(I think they set them up better than the smaller Beneteaus) and I would want a lead keel. I think the Hunters have set up their boats to be very comodious for the dockside, but I think they do it at the expense of adding alot of freeboard and windage to the boat, which is not the best thing. Plus with all the different shaped windows at all angles on the sides of Hunters, I think they are not good looking (obviously a personal opinion). But I also think Hunter cheaps out on not so obvious but very important things. Take the Bilge pumps for instance. I was on a new Hunter 356 at the boat show and all they have is very tiny undersized bilge pump. Not a big deal, but I think Catalina does a very good job of putting the money into the relatively important parts of the boat and not into the "frills". I do not worry about the important systems on the Catalina boats (Hull, Keel - which was always lead and only now does Hunter and Beneteau as an option, standing rigging, etc, etc). I personally think you get more boat (not just teak woodwork below - but solid - what really matters parts of the boat) for the money than both Hunter and Beneteau....Most things are included on the price of the Catalina''s that are not always included with Hunters or Beneteaus.....Like Windlass, all winches included, even on the coach roof, refrigeration, etc, etc.......

I would join the Catalina email List (right here on Sailnet at http://members.sailnet.com/email_lists/index.cfm ) ask the same questions. They will tell it like it is....pro''s and cons. Also ask a lot of questions about the dealer you would probably buy from (eliminating the "Frank" factor)........Also the Catalina owners groups throughout the country are *very* active, strong and supportive, which is helpful, especially when you have issues with your boat (I have even seen things done by the factory because of these groups). Whether you like Catalina or not, they DO listen to their boat owners and make changes on their input. Another thing to remember, a lot of Catalina''s hold their value much better than other boats. In fact there are some boats that they have made that sell for just about what they sold for new....not the sole reason to buy a boat, but its something to think about, if/when, you think about moving up to a different boat.

All in all I am *sure* you will be happy with the Cat 310 (alot of people/couples like that boat) and just make sure you have a good dealer to work with.

Tom
Good luck
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Old 07-01-2002
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Catalina 310

I have owned two Catalinas. First a c-30 that I bought back in 1980. So it was a Chevy. But I passed many boats. Many with B''s, H''s, T''s and you name it. Costing many thousands more. The C-30 Chevy is and was a classic. Great sailer. And roomy interior. And can be purchased on the market for very reasonable prices.

I got a New C-36 a year couple years ago. Why? There were and are in such demand that the nearest boat on the market was 2000 miles away. The good ones were gone in a couple weeks.

Dealer and warranty service. I purchased the boat at Hellier Yachts and during the warranty period they were just a phone call away. Problems were taken care of within days. After the warranty period expired I discoverd a void in the cockpit. The Reeds a traveling husband wife team in a RV working exclusively for Catalina fixed it and it is undistinguishable where the repair was made. All covered under warranty as Butler gives us a little slack her in the North east because of the short season.

Warranty service has been excellent. And how does she sail? A great cruiser but in my second season I won 4 pieces of silver in Canvass PHRF races. If I can get my two sons together for crew (lately I am crew) we can do some damage. I have the wing keel not supposed to be great for racing. Doesn''t point as high but she likes to do screeming reaches.

New or used? Most of us can now sell our boats for what we paid for her or maybe even a little more. But the previous writer is correct. A recent boat used is a good buy if you can find one.

The C-31? She looks fast and great lines. She looks like a great boat. Great for a young couple or for older empty nesters. And she looks like should could race well.

Bill




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Old 07-01-2002
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Catalina 310

Catalina has designed and built some of the most successful coastal cruisers in history, including the C-22, 25, 27 and 30, and they developed their market without any advertising whatsoever. They trusted that if they offered a product that was a good value, then people would hear about it by word of mouth, from other owners. Using that philosophy, they sold huge numbers of boats. Characteristically, they sail as well as, or better than, similarly sized coastal cruisers. They offer spacious, comfortable interiors, and they represent a good value. If you see a lot of Catalinas on the market, it is because they have built so many boats, and because the boats have performed and held up well.

Catalina has, for many years, enjoyed extraordinary owner loyalty, notwithstanding the anecdotal opinions of a few people on warranty issues.
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Catalina 310

While I somewhat agree with most of what you say, I strongly disagree with "developed their market without any advertising whatsoever". They''ve advertised as hard as the rest for as long as I remember. If you doubt that look inside the cover pages one and two of the current ''Sail'' magazine.

Jeff
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Old 07-01-2002
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Catalina 310

Yeah, I''ve noticed that Catalina has been been advertising alot over the past few years, especially recently. Maybe a while ago, in the first half of their history they didn''t really advertise and for a while they did very little if any advertising....but not now. Personally, I don''t know how anyone can compete without at least some advertising.
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Old 07-02-2002
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Catalina 310

The first advertising I ever saw from Catalina was after they bought out Morgan Yachts. Before that, Catalina never advertised in sailing magazines, even to the extent of not putting a little ad in the classifieds, in the back of the sailing magazines. For that reason, Catalina was totally ignored by the sailing magazines for years. Look in your old magazines, 10-15 years back.
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Old 07-02-2002
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Catalina 310


Jeff, don''t discourage people from buying new boats. In fact, the more, the merrier.

We''ll just buy their boats a few years from now, greatly discounted. Somebody''s got to buy them so we can keep the inventory of later model used boats well stocked.
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Old 07-02-2002
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Catalina 310


Jeff, don''t discourage people from buying new boats. In fact, the more, the merrier.

We''ll just buy their boats a few years from now, greatly discounted. Somebody''s got to buy them so we can keep the inventory of later model used boats well stocked.
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