Just for the record, my opinion is based on comments made by well over a dozen new Catalina owners who have bought Catalina''s in thr last 10 or so years. Some of these owners have been positively despondent about the kinds of quality control problems that they encountered right from the factory and the near total lack of support from the factory.
One of these owners graphically told me that he had sold a comparatively new Catalina and purchased a Beneteau in disgust with Catalina build quality and warranty support. He described the warranty covereage with Beneteau as being amazingly comprehensive and easy. He decribed an absolutely nightmare like warranty process where the dealer would tell that some remedial action was covered under the warranty only to have the factory turn the dealer down on reimbursement and the dealer have to cover the repair
or more often than not insist that the buyer agree to pay for the repair
and then have the buyer try to get reimbursed by Catalina. This owner personally called Frank Butler about the issue and described his conversation with Butler to me in terms that suggest that Mr. Butler was frankly abusive and antagonistic toward him. (I realize I only heard one side of this arguement.) I would dismiss this as a single case if I had not heard almost the same type of story consistently over and over again with other Catalina owners.
When this issue first surfaced I began asking owners of Hunters, Catalinas and Beneteaus about their warrantee experiences. The Catalina people consistently described long and comparatively serious lists of problems and lack of warrantee support especially as compared to the other two companies.
I do have a little direct experience with Beneteau warranty claims in which Beneteau split the cost of replacing a forward hatch
on a boat that was out warranty because they said that they had seen the same problem with that hatch
on other boats. I have also had some direct experience with Hunter and have watched reasonably good support.
I am just not seeing or hearing that kind of support out of Catalina. And when you have someone selling a boat with becasue he cannot overcome a long list of build quality issues, that lemon is out there on the marketplace and it is the next owner that has to deal with the problems.
Several years ago I had a friend who was in the market for a 38 to 40 footer. He and I went through a whole series of 10 year old Beneteaus, Hunters and Catalinas (He ultimately bought a Beneteau First 38s5). After a while it became stunningly obvious that of the three, the Catalinas were just not holding up as well as the other two builders. Perhaps 6 years ago I was a strong supporter of Catalinas. Of the big three they seemed to offer the most boat for the dollar, but as I have spent more time with Catalina owners, and onboard Catalinas, I now see them as the poorest choice of the three. That said there are models of both Hunter and Beneteau that strike me as being not as good as other models withing their respective lines
Look if there are Catalina owners that have better warranty experiences or who have been through the same kind of negative experience, let them post here. I realize that Catalina sells a lot of boats and a dozen or so owners is a very small sampling but the story was so consistent that I have to believe that there is some truth in it.