The First Mate and I took a Catalina 28 MkII out for a few days on the Gippsland Lakes for our Anniversary, so I thought I'd post a few "First Impressions" from someone who has never been on one before:
Very first impression: "F*** she's big!"
Cockpit area: Big enough for 4 people comfortably, nice mouldings and folding table. Good stuff. Lewmar winches (16ST and 30ST) - best I've used!
Companionway/Hatch: Clear hatch is a great idea, but the water doesn't run off too easiy when it rains. Still, no too bad. Hand-holds are adequate here and non-existent elsewhere, but engine access is brilliant!
Hatches: Bomar ones - suck; Lewmar ones - great!
Galley/Stove: All good. Hot/cold pressurised water system works well. No hand holds anywhere though and nowhere to lean against.
Saloon: Really spacious for a 28-footer. No handrails is a bit brainless though. You'd be tossed around like a cork down here if it got rough!
Aft cabin: Full length and comfortable for 2 with good ventilation. Lights are in stupid positions, but otherwise it's great.
V-berth: Too small/awkward to sleep in, but good for storage.
WC: Jabsco manual toilet - good stuff. Shower & drains work well, but the shower curtain is a waste of space - water just goes everywhere anyway.
Engine: 3-cyl Universal (more than enough for hull speed) and 50ltr diesel tank - enough for nearly a weeks motoring! Doesn't anyone sail these things!?!
Holding tanks: 160ltrs water and 50ltrs waste lasted us 5 days with some spare.
Batteries: 1 x House, 1 x engine/radio. If I owned one of these boats I'd put in another house battery - there's only just enough juice for a big night on board.
Gear: I'm used to Ronstan/Harken, but the Garhauer ball-race blocks are sturdy enough even if extremely ugly (each to their own)...
Boom Vang: Yes, it's got one.
Dutchman Lines: A neat idea for a newbie, but I don't think I'd fit them myself.
Mid-boom Traveller: Sucks. If you don't ease the mainsheet, the bloody thing gets jammed every time you tack. We were told these boats need the vang on all the time... we won't win any races in this!!
Furler: Didn't have any issues with the twin-foil furler.
Steering: Except when under motor, helm felt good. Amazingly manouverable compared to our little Hartley. Can be reversed into a parking spot like a car!
Overall: A good package obviously not intended for ocean crossings or nasty weather, but with a few after-market mods could be.
I hope someone finds this helpful.