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hbgreg 08-10-2010 10:21 AM

Catalina 30 vs. Hunter 30
I'm currently sailing a 1986 MacGregor 25 and am looking to upgrade next spring or summer to something in the 30 to 33 foot range. My intention is to live aboard and to do mostly coastal cruising off Southern California. I'm looking at the $25k to $35k range and have found the early 90s model Catalina 30 and Hunter 30 to be about the most boat I can get for the price. The two boats appear to be almost identical in size, diplacement, ballast, etc. Does anyone have any experience with either or both of these boats? What are the significant differences between them? Anyone have a preference of one over the other? Thanks for the help.

k1vsk 08-10-2010 11:37 AM

They are made to compete for the same market in terms of build quality, hardware, construction practices and cost. Having been to both mfg facilities years ago watching these boat get built, you wouldn't know the difference unless you missed the sign on the door.
I've said this before but it bears repeating - the care and maintenance history of the boat should be your determining factor, not the nameplate.
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jorgenl 08-10-2010 01:42 PM


I've owned a Hunter 30T 1992 and used to race a fair bit on a Catalina 30 (1984?)

If you want interior space and liveability I would go for the Hunter, it is a big 30 footer inside.

If you want the better quality sailboat which is also "stiffer" with less weather helm etc, go for the catalina 30.

An addtional benefit with the Catalina 30 is that there is about 7000 of them out there, hence a lot available boats and good factory / owner group support.


BarryL 08-10-2010 08:53 PM


Do you like Ford or Chevy? Some people have a strong preference for one over the other. Other people can't tell the difference. Same basic thing for mid 90's Catalina and Hunter boats.

Hunter has been more 'innovative' while Catalina has been more 'traditional'


PalmettoSailor 08-13-2010 08:17 AM

See if you can find an O'day 322. They are rare compared to the Hunter and especially the Catalina, but they are equally robust and aurguably "nicer". The better use of space is not arguable. I had folks with some 40'ers comment there was more room in my 322 than their traditional 40' boat.

I think the 322 will outsail the Hunter or the Catalina despite the wing keel.

The styling will probably be love or hate but it's not out or place among todays boats so I guess it must of been ahead of its time somewhat in that department. I never loved the look of the boat but if I had to live on a $25k,30 something foot boat that would likely be my choice. If I could up the budget some I'd look at the Caliber 33. Its another 30 something boat with excellent use of the below decks space and is built to a higher standard (though perhaps not quite "Blue Water") than the Hunter or Catalina.

sailingdog 08-13-2010 10:46 AM

Or even an O'Day 302. Just spent a week on one last boat, fairly fast, but a bit less space than the Hunter or Catalina IIRC. The 322 is probably a very good choice, as it is just a larger version of the 302 IIRC.

sailingnoob 09-11-2010 07:58 PM

IMO, they're both very nice yachts :D . As far as specifics go, I'm not sure. Good luck.

tom3215 12-31-2011 11:30 AM

...I think both boat will serve you well when used within their intended purpose. Having said that I have been happy with my catalina and been very, very, very happy with Catalina customer service, tech talk, misc parts. Im not sure what everyones experience has been but mine has always been excellent.

happy sailing

Xx Darkwing xX 03-09-2012 01:29 AM

Re: Catalina 30 vs. Hunter 30
While I am new here I think I'll put 2 cents in. I had an excellent Catalina 28 that had exceptional room and above all the support was great. Catalina seems to have a great support network and with so many out there you can get advice easily. Good luck.


souljour2000 03-09-2012 01:04 PM

Re: Catalina 30 vs. Hunter 30
Welcome aboard DW!...there's plenty of room aboard the SV Sailnet last time I checked...and nobody's Captain except Owner/moderator...Captain Jeff and he's a tough but fair Cap'n as far as I can tell...which is all a seafarer can ask...Man..I need to get out on the water soon methinks...:)

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