I've often heard that Catalinas are too built too light for extended deep water cruising.
We bought our 400 Catalina as I expected it would take us anywhere on this planet. In the past two years, we have put about 5000 miles on this boat in most any weather you might imagine short of hurricane force seas. My wife and I are not strangers to heavy weather.
This past October at the Annapolis boat show, my wife asked Gerry Douglas if our 400 was capable of doing what we expected. Gerry said structurally, the 400 has no issue taking us pretty much anywhere.
Like any boat, Catalina or otherwise, you will have to outfit the boat for a trip.
One aspect I really like about the big Catalinas is the standing rigging. The big Catalinas have 8 shrouds supporting the mast. Four lowers, two mid and two uppers. The 400, 470 and all the 5 series have the same design and have dual back stays. Even the smaller 315 has the same design.
What is really impressive is the attachments of the shrouds extend down through the deck and attach to heavy beams glassed into the hull near the hull grid. This creates an incredibly stiff shroud system that does not depend on the upper hull, deck or inner bulkheads to support the shrouds and mast. Very little reaction forces are applied through those elements of the boat.
There are very few boats with shroud supports that appear to be as robust as this design. Many boats attach the shroud at the outer hull chainplates that transfer the reaction forces through the hull, deck and bulkheads to the keel step (or reaction post).
Inspection of the shroud system including anchor points is significantly easier than inspection of chainplates buried in the side of hulls as in most boats.
In addition, the forstay attchment is a massive stainless steel structure firmly anchored at the bow extending back and around the bow. Dual backstays distribute the load to the outer edge of the stern hull where its greatest stiffness is.
At this past Annapolis boat show we looked at all the boats, my wife came to the conclusion that our 400 is better than most. The only boat she will replace our 400 with is either a 470 Catalina or a 465 Island Packet.
Hey.. she's the boss.. I am not going to argue..