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-   -   Pros and Cons of Catalina 350?? (http://www.sailnet.com/forums/c350/57649-pros-cons-catalina-350-a.html)

turfguy 09-01-2009 06:53 PM

Pros and Cons of Catalina 350??
 
Have been recently looking at Catalina 350's. They seem to be a well designed boat. I also like the Hunter 36 but am thinking the Cat is better built for offshore cruising.

Any opinions appreciated. Thanks in advance,

turf

PalmettoSailor 09-01-2009 07:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by turfguy (Post 519009)
Have been recently looking at Catalina 350's. They seem to be a well designed boat. I also like the Hunter 36 but am thinking the Cat is better built for offshore cruising.

Any opinions appreciated. Thanks in advance,

turf

I have a 1991 Catalina 36 MKI and my slipmate has a 2007 C350. I've sailed on his boat and it is very nice, but honestly I don't like it (or any of the newer designs) as much as the models it replaced. I'd rather have a C34 or C36 over the C350. The v berth and aft cabin of the 350 are super, but my wife and I didn't like the saloon layout much. The cockpit of the 350 is great. Tradtionally, Catalina has tried to accomodate do it yourselfers and the systems on my C36 are for the most part fairly accessable compared to other boats I've been on. I would expect that to carry through though I haven't WORKED on my neighbors boat.

The new 37X might be an exception but I'd have to see one in the water to know for sure. I know its the pot calling the kettle black but the new designs have even more freeboard than my boat and it of course has more than more tradtional boats. Anyway the new crop of cruising boats look good to me on paper but then when you see them in the water they look like floating Winnebago's they have so much freeboard.

I don't have any experience with Hunters, and don't think they are quite as well built as Catalina's but they are built to a similar price point and each probably has its strong points. A B&R rig with in-mast furling seems like a double bad idea to me.

labatt 09-01-2009 08:11 PM

I don't have one but looked at one years ago to purchase. We walked away due to the fact that their beam, in our opinion, makes them dangerous in seas. There aren't good handholds down below to grab if there's an issue, and the cockpit doesn't have too many places to brace. Other than that, I would always pick a Catalina over a Hunter. They use slightly higher quality equipment. On the other hand, look at boats that you don't recognize the name of - there are many boats of much higher quality that will be similarly priced, but may be a little older.

PalmettoSailor 09-02-2009 09:37 AM

A couple more points for you to ponder since you mentioned "Offshore" crusing. The midsized Catalina's, Hunters and Beneteaus are all built for coastal cruising. Many folks would not even consider taking one of those boats as far as Bermuda, then south, though I'm sure many have done it and a very stock looking C36 was in the Transpac last year. So with careful planning, the boat could certainly do it, if the crew was up to it.

Anyway, you need to consider your defintion of "Offshore". If it means more or parallel to a coast, where running for shelter is an option if the weather doesn't pan out as forecast, then these boats will be fine and perhaps preferable to a boat more suited to an ocean crossing.

Nearly all the things you appreciate in a boat like a C350, big cockpit, open space bleow, atwartship aft bunk, etc are not advantages when you can't stop and anchor at night. Conversely, the cramped quarters in a bluewater boat become reassuring when performing tasks below deck while the boat beats to weather in a blow. The two objectives are pretty much polar opposites and the closer your choice of boat to the kind of sailing you do, the happier you are likely to be.

I assumed that Labatt's statement about finding a higher quality boat in the same price range as a new 350 was accurate but I did a check of YW for the Chesapeake and really didn't turn up as many as I expected. The names that showed up with at least one example newer than 1990 were Island Packet, Caliber, and Tartan. There was also one Cabo Rico and one Pacfic Seacraft Crealock. So unless you want to go older than 1990 the pickings are pretty slim for higher end boats.

turfguy 09-02-2009 03:19 PM

Thanks for the comments. I do appreciate them. I am finding that many boat owners and especially boat brokers don't think we are in tough economic times. Some have the boats priced extremely high still. Of course they dont sell but they are so reluctant to lower the prices. Its nuts but I am just taking my time till the right boat and deal comes along.
Thanks again.

soulfinger 10-14-2009 09:42 PM

I'm a bit late to the party, but I own a 350 and love it. I love looking at boats of all kinds, but when it gets down to it, the 350 is the perfect boat for us right now. It has a bit of a different cabin layout than the conventional wrap-around saloon you see on many boats (like the 34 or 36). For us though, it's perfect--it's much more open down below, because there's less built-in "furniture". I'm surprised to hear someone above decry the handholds below---I think they're excellent; some of the best I've seen. There isn't a place in the cabin where I can't grab onto something solid (mostly overhead handrails).

I believe the 350 is the widest monohull you can buy (in terms of beam/length). Some people see that as a bad thing. I love it! I think it's great "living large". I look at a 380, or a 387, which is longer, but a foot narrower, and it just doesn't seem right to me. Yes, the beam could be a problem in a following sea, but that can be said for virtually any modern cruising hull design. The boat sails quite well (apparently even the folks at Catalina were surprised at this). It doesn't really take much wind to make it go, but I've been out in 25+ kts, and still felt fine. They biggest defect with the 350 is in the refrigeration system---they didn't put enough insulation in it, so it tends to be inefficient. However, this has been rectified in the Mark II model. If an inefficient refrigerator is the biggest shortcoming in a boat, it's a pretty good boat.

The 375 is an interesting boat as well. Actually, the differences between it and the 350 are so subtle that I wonder why they actually make both boats. It has one extra shelf in it, and a slightly better chart table. The main difference is that the extra shelf is a good place to a put a TV. Beyond that, it's tough to tell it's a different boat than the 350.

PalmettoSailor 10-16-2009 05:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by soulfinger (Post 532115)
snip....
They biggest defect with the 350 is in the refrigeration system---they didn't put enough insulation in it, so it tends to be inefficient. However, this has been rectified in the Mark II model. If an inefficient refrigerator is the biggest shortcoming in a boat, it's a pretty good boat.

That is one of the most aggravating things about a lot of production boats. It wouldn't add much at all to the cost to properly insulate the icebox while the boat is being built, but they don't and its nearly impossible to access the areas you need to insulate after the boat is finished so the fridge is a huge battery drain on most production boats.
Quote:

Originally Posted by soulfinger (Post 532115)
The 375 is an interesting boat as well. Actually, the differences between it and the 350 are so subtle that I wonder why they actually make both boats. It has one extra shelf in it, and a slightly better chart table. The main difference is that the extra shelf is a good place to a put a TV. Beyond that, it's tough to tell it's a different boat than the 350.

I went on the 375 at the Annapolis boat show and I thought the differences between it and the 350 were pretty significant and it seemed to me the differences between the 350 and 375 were a lot wider than between the 34 and 36. Different perspectives I guess. The way the boats were crowded in for the show I couldn't get a good look at the lines but I liked what I could see.


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