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  #1  
Old 01-11-2009
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Question Looking to Purchas a Catalina 320

My wife and I are looking to purchase a late model Cataline 320. Does anyone have any comments? Any present owners who would like to express their opinions? We have owned another Catalina previously (25) and just loved it. We are now looking to move up to a Catalina 320.

I am anxious to hear any comments that others mya have. We will be living in the North Carolina area. And i fact, if anyonbe knows of a loate model 320 for sale pleae advise.

Glenn Druhot
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Old 01-11-2009
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drummer4813,

I own a 2000 Catalina 320 purchased new in late 1999. It's a great boat. I've been completely satisfied with it and have to date had no maintenance problems whatsoever. I think it's a beautiful boat (the best looking boat in the marina). I highly recommend this boat. It has an excellent layout, dependable engine, good equipment, and is a pleasure to sail, both singlehanded or with crew.

The class organization (www.catalina320.org) is very active and supports the boat well, so if you ever have problems, there's a knowledge base readily available. While they encourge people to join the organization, you can visit the website and participate in their forum list (just sign up for the list on the website) without being member of the organization.

I do not know of any C320's for sale, but suggest you join the forum/list at the Catalina320.org and ask on that website. You may be able to deal with a owner directly.

The Catalina dealer that I bought my boat from is Carolina Wind, Washington, NC. In buying my boat from them, they did everything that was agreed, and since I didn't have any problems, I don't know how that would have gone if there had been any problems. Carolina Wind might have a lead on some resale C320s, or a new one.

In Oriental, NC, there is St. Barts...a Beneteau dealer, but sometimes they have C320's listed.

I keep my boat in Washington, and at the present time, I think there are three on this creek, each at a different marina.

Good luck on your search. I don't think you will be disappointed.
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Old 01-11-2009
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Check out this link to 11 owner reviews. Didn't read them all but it seems they generally like their boat with some minor complaints.

I believe you can also search this link for folks who previously owned one. If you could find info from them, you might get some even (more objective) better info.

CatalinaOwners.com
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Old 01-11-2009
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My wife and I considered a C320 when we were boat shopping last year. For a couple or family with smaller kids I think its a great boat. The layout is really spacious for a 32' footer, but there is not a lot of storage for stuff like clothes and foulies in the cabin. Fortunately, the cockpit storage is huge and you can stash a lot of stuff, that might otherwise be in the cabin, out there. If they would add some more cabinet/drawer type storage the boat would be even more impressive.

We didn't get to sail one but understand they are good performers for a production crusing boat. With the shallow draft, good performance and excellent accomodations for a couple or young family, I'd think it would be a great choice for the NC sounds and coastal crusing.

Since our goal in changing boats was to allow us to bring our friends along, we opted to go a bit older and bigger and went with a C36 Mk1.5, so like you, we are Catalina fans.

When we were looking, there were several nice C320's around the Chesapeake. If that's still the case its pretty easy and not prohibitively expensive to get a delivery captain, if you can't take time to move the boat yourself.
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Old 01-12-2009
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I’ve owned a Catalina 320 for two years and love the boat. It sails well, is easy to handle, and has much more room below than most boats of its size. The class organization is very helpful answering maintenance questions. We sail out of San Diego and have found that the C320 is a great boat for coastal sailing.
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Old 01-12-2009
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The 320 is a nice boat; we looked at one, though we were a bit turned off because it hadn't been well maintained (we ended up getting a 350). If you like the 320, you might also consider a 309. I really like that boat. It seems that took everything that was good about the old 30 and 310 and made it better.
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Old 01-13-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midlifesailor View Post
My wife and I considered a C320 when we were boat shopping last year. For a couple or family with smaller kids I think its a great boat. The layout is really spacious for a 32' footer, but there is not a lot of storage for stuff like clothes and foulies in the cabin. Fortunately, the cockpit storage is huge and you can stash a lot of stuff, that might otherwise be in the cabin, out there. If they would add some more cabinet/drawer type storage the boat would be even more impressive.

We didn't get to sail one but understand they are good performers for a production crusing boat. With the shallow draft, good performance and excellent accomodations for a couple or young family, I'd think it would be a great choice for the NC sounds and coastal crusing.

Since our goal in changing boats was to allow us to bring our friends along, we opted to go a bit older and bigger and went with a C36 Mk1.5, so like you, we are Catalina fans.

When we were looking, there were several nice C320's around the Chesapeake. If that's still the case its pretty easy and not prohibitively expensive to get a delivery captain, if you can't take time to move the boat yourself.
Thank you VERY MUCH for the tips. I will look in the Chesapeake area. Right now has got to be a great time to locate a good deal on a sailboat. Hey, thanks again pal.
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Old 01-13-2009
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Practical Sailor has a review of the Catalina 320 (Catalina 320), which you can order individually or as part of their boat reviews books (Practical Sailor). I have the books because I was looking at several different models, so it was a better deal than individual reviews. I haven't read the C320 review in a while, but I recall it was generally favorable. You might want to check it out. Just FYI (no affiliation, just a consumer myself).
-J
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We purchased our 2001 in February 2007. We originally considered a new hull, but discovered at the January '07 Toronto Boat Show that a cockpit redesign had left the benches so far apart that I could not brace against one while sitting on the other; a crew issue if you race. We thus decided to look for used.

Our first boat was a 1981 Tanzer 8.5 acquired in 2002. With our next boat we were looking for a fully inclosed head, gas stove with oven, walk through transom with swim platform, wheel (in hopes my spouse would begin helming) and wide side decks. You get all of this with a C320. This boat added showers in the head and on the swim platform, refrigeration and hot/cold pressure water.

This particular boat came with extras I found desirable. Canvas package and dodger have proven useful. The main/mast had been modified for Harken external cars and track which have made the deployment of the main easier and the dropping of the sail merely the controling the speed of the fall. The original pin positioned jib cars had been upgraded to infinite line adjustable cars controlled from the cockpit. These are worth their weight in gold when just the two of you are on the boat as it reduces the reasons to go forward; which is a good thing.

We are an older couple sailing without children and the C320 has proved perfect for us. Space everywhere, but not designed for excess gear stowage unless as we have, you utilize the V-berth. She is a stable form and still races well with wind in excess of 25 knots if you furl and reef and keep an eye on the position of the traveler. The cockpit is large enough to comfortably handle skipper and active 4 man crew.

Cruising is a joy. With large everything and a large separate aft cabin there is space for two with different internal clocks. The galley is first rate and time spent on the hook is comfortable as long as you have provided yourself with cockpit shade. Our solution here was a conestoga-style waterproof cover extending to the lifelines and 8' tall at the peak, supported by shock corded fibreglass poles supplying the shade we need and offering an all-weather outdoor room. The easy access to the water via the stern platform is pure gravy.

The spouse is short with little upper body strength, but she has no interest in helming. She found the original 150% jib too much to handle and so we added a 135% which she finds easier to winch in on a tack. We also found it necessary to replace the head and did so with an upgraded Raritan model with a powerful flush action. The batteries also proved past their prime and the replacement was a 12V AGM start battery and a house bank of 4 6V AGMs. This latter, hooked in series/parallel yields 440AH of power, and unlike the 4Ds they replaced I can install and remove without assistance. For the sake of better performance we replaced the original fixed 3-blade prop with a feathering Kiwi model.

There remains for this year the upgrading of the alternator to a Balmar 100 amp model and a combination charger/inverter. This upgrade, with the addition of a modest solar panel to trickle the start battery, should provide all of the power we need for cruising.

Be aware that all vendors advertise their wing keel model as having a draft of 4'4''. This is not always the case. On or about 1998 Catalina deepened the bilge of the hull while continuing to use the same keel; resulting in a draft increase to 4'10''. In 2002 they replaced the original C320 wing with that used by the C310, bringing the draft back up to 4'4''.

Our C320 was in excellent condition, and we bought her in Michigan sight unseen based on a surveyor's report. From this you should glean that a survey is necessary, and that you should not limit yourself to your local area when doing your boat search. Find the perfect boat first then calculate if the additional cost of transportation/taxes still makes it fair value. A survey is critical. A boat in "perfect" condition is only in that condition for its age. Do not expect a 6 year old boat to be in new condition and plan that some things will need replacing/upgrading and set aside dollars for it.

Good luck.

Brian
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Old 01-14-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirault View Post
We purchased our 2001 in February 2007. We originally considered a new hull, but discovered at the January '07 Toronto Boat Show that a cockpit redesign had left the benches so far apart that I could not brace against one while sitting on the other; a crew issue if you race. We thus decided to look for used.

Our first boat was a 1981 Tanzer 8.5 acquired in 2002. With our next boat we were looking for a fully inclosed head, gas stove with oven, walk through transom with swim platform, wheel (in hopes my spouse would begin helming) and wide side decks. You get all of this with a C320. This boat added showers in the head and on the swim platform, refrigeration and hot/cold pressure water.

This particular boat came with extras I found desirable. Canvas package and dodger have proven useful. The main/mast had been modified for Harken external cars and track which have made the deployment of the main easier and the dropping of the sail merely the controling the speed of the fall. The original pin positioned jib cars had been upgraded to infinite line adjustable cars controlled from the cockpit. These are worth their weight in gold when just the two of you are on the boat as it reduces the reasons to go forward; which is a good thing.

We are an older couple sailing without children and the C320 has proved perfect for us. Space everywhere, but not designed for excess gear stowage unless as we have, you utilize the V-berth. She is a stable form and still races well with wind in excess of 25 knots if you furl and reef and keep an eye on the position of the traveler. The cockpit is large enough to comfortably handle skipper and active 4 man crew.

Cruising is a joy. With large everything and a large separate aft cabin there is space for two with different internal clocks. The galley is first rate and time spent on the hook is comfortable as long as you have provided yourself with cockpit shade. Our solution here was a conestoga-style waterproof cover extending to the lifelines and 8' tall at the peak, supported by shock corded fibreglass poles supplying the shade we need and offering an all-weather outdoor room. The easy access to the water via the stern platform is pure gravy.

The spouse is short with little upper body strength, but she has no interest in helming. She found the original 150% jib too much to handle and so we added a 135% which she finds easier to winch in on a tack. We also found it necessary to replace the head and did so with an upgraded Raritan model with a powerful flush action. The batteries also proved past their prime and the replacement was a 12V AGM start battery and a house bank of 4 6V AGMs. This latter, hooked in series/parallel yields 440AH of power, and unlike the 4Ds they replaced I can install and remove without assistance. For the sake of better performance we replaced the original fixed 3-blade prop with a feathering Kiwi model.

There remains for this year the upgrading of the alternator to a Balmar 100 amp model and a combination charger/inverter. This upgrade, with the addition of a modest solar panel to trickle the start battery, should provide all of the power we need for cruising.

Be aware that all vendors advertise their wing keel model as having a draft of 4'4''. This is not always the case. On or about 1998 Catalina deepened the bilge of the hull while continuing to use the same keel; resulting in a draft increase to 4'10''. In 2002 they replaced the original C320 wing with that used by the C310, bringing the draft back up to 4'4''.

Our C320 was in excellent condition, and we bought her in Michigan sight unseen based on a surveyor's report. From this you should glean that a survey is necessary, and that you should not limit yourself to your local area when doing your boat search. Find the perfect boat first then calculate if the additional cost of transportation/taxes still makes it fair value. A survey is critical. A boat in "perfect" condition is only in that condition for its age. Do not expect a 6 year old boat to be in new condition and plan that some things will need replacing/upgrading and set aside dollars for it.

Good luck.

Brian
Thanks Brian for the tips. We are relocating to NC and I am presently looking at boats in TX, IN and on the East Coast. Yes, the idea of hiring a marine surveror is a very smart idea indeed. We have owned several smaller boats uincluding a Catalina 25 and have never needed a surveyor but this time we will.

Thanks again for your comments on the 320,

Glenn Druhot
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