Catalina 42 for Blue Water? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 17 Old 03-19-2003 Thread Starter
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Catalina 42 for Blue Water?

My wife and I are looking at a 1995 Catalina 42'', thinking of buying it, putting it in charter for about 2 years while we finish padding our cruising kitty here in Idaho, and then head out. We look to be the type of cruisers whose schedules are strictly decided by weather, not time. We look to circumnavigate and have been told by some that the Catalina 42 would do just fine, not ideal, but fine. Others have said that the Catalina would not do the job at all. They talk about the boat flexing in heavier weather and not being as stiff as some. We have heard that most cruisers spend about 10% of the time sailing and about 90% of time at anchor or in a slip.

Looking for opinions. We like what the Catalina has to offer for living space, and have been impressed with other Catalinas that we have owned and been on before.

Thanks for any input.

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post #2 of 17 Old 03-19-2003
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Catalina 42 for Blue Water?

Sailing around the world places the kinds of wear and tear on a boat that is the equivilent of decades of normal coastal cruising. The conditions can be very harsh, repair facilities are often widely spaced, and the boats are always heavily loaded placing higher stresses on the boat. A circumnavigation can pretty much wear out a purpose built boat.

Putting a boat into charter can be very tough as well. The boats are used hard by people who are not familiar with that model. Charter boats are out on the water several times the number of hours that a normal cruiser might experience in a year. The Carribean is very hard on a boat and its gear. Charter company maintenance is notoriously underwhelming.Most of the boats that I have been involved with that have been in charter come out really trashed and to one degree or another in need of major restoration.

Of the big three, solely in my opinion, Catalina has generally struck me as the poorest engineered of the three (although Hunter''s current rolled out hull to deck joint does nothing to warm my heart.) One of the big issues with most of the higher production boats is getting access to the hull and underdeck for repairs and to maintain systems. In a boat that you intend to sail around the world, instant access becomes even more critical.

So you are talking about taking an already abused and used hard production cruiser and going around the world. If you were very lucky you might make it but I would never suggest that it is a reasonable way to go. There are a lot of really good distance cruisers out there that are a lot less expensive than the well over $200K that it would take to buy and prepare a Cat 42 for distance voyaging.

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post #3 of 17 Old 03-20-2003
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Catalina 42 for Blue Water?

There was a review of that boat in a recent Practical Sailor. Good boat, but maybe a little light for world cruising.

It''s true that you spend far more time at anchor while cruising, but that dosen''t mean a giant, easy to fill cockpit or a rudder made for speed will make you confident when the going is snotty - and it will occaisonally be snotty.

Think strong and simple.
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post #4 of 17 Old 03-20-2003
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Catalina 42 for Blue Water?

Brad, I''d like to echo Jeff''s observations except that I''m a little (that''s "a little") less worried about the charter side of your plan and a lot more concerned about the blue water/extended offshore sailing side. A circumnavigation puts wear on a boat that isn''t just ''decades of coastal cruising'' but is uniquely and extraordinarily harsh in its own right. As just one example (and there are others), which route are you planning for your circle: Red Sea or Cape of Good Hope? Either choice will present something well beyond coastal cruising, for an extended period, and that''s after a 3,000 mile rumble in tough tho'' fair winds across the Indian Ocean.

OTOH I''ve been especially impressed - perhaps ''amazed'' is a better word - with the Copeland''s experience sailing their (early 90''s, I believe) Beneteau. They''ve circled, done a subsequent circle around N/Central America W to E, and then put the boat thru a real bashing by sailing her too early in the season across the N Atlantic to the Med. Yet the boat has handled all this well, not that Liza nor her sailing/racing husband are slouches at knowing when to push the boat and when to protect her. This doesn''t mean I think buying a Beneteau is a grand idea, but to me this is evidence that shopping by brand name alone can be misleading, whether one is ''pro'' or ''con'' WRT a given brand.

Another wrinkle is the spotty quality of these production boats. I personally know of one Catalina (a 40, as I recall) where the rudder could not be turned under certain points of sail. The cause was that the hull flexed so extremely (we''re talking in Charleston Harbor''s open bay) that it fouled the quadrant. The boat was toast, and was quietly recalled by the factory (to be ''fixed'' and then resold, of course). How you reconcile your desire for long-term structural health with the history of these boats - no survey is perfect, nor does it offer a guarantee - I don''t know. (Just to be fair, I''ll add that a Hinckley 60 we came to be quite familiar with in the Caribbean had a massive hull failure when only a few years old, again due to shoddy build practices on a cored hull).

One suggestion: review the recommended characteristics discussed in John Neal''s website, along with the many boat brands on which he comments. John is about to complete 400,000 ocean sailing miles; his experience is unique and he''s a fair, thoughtful fellow. And then shop by basic build & design characteristics rather than first by brand; this is harder but gets you closer to your goal. You''ll find his site at

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post #5 of 17 Old 04-26-2008
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Benetau is a fine boat with good and bad points as is any other boat. there are many Catalina 42's that have circumnavigated so they would not be the first.
I am a fan of Catalina great boat as is Benetau,Jenau,Morgan and many others I would not say that Hunter is bad just not my cup of tea. having sailed all of these boats I can't say that I fint a problem with the 42 MKII I would take it in blue water with some modifications (more fuel and so on). But if one is serious about blue water you might want to look into something more in the line of Island Packet or pacific seacraft, there are plenty true blue water boats made with this in mind. Choose what works for you and understand that comfort at dock and comfort at sea are two diferent things and saftey comes first. I would look at as many boats as I could learn exactly where I plan to cross what is my experiance and budget are. Don't choose a boat from what anyone says (me included) it is just an opinion see what other people are actualy circumnavigating in knowledge in this case is your best friend!
I have sailed Benetau, Jenau, Hunter, Irwin, Catalina, Santana, Morgan, Cal, Newport, C&C, Tartan just to name a few and all are good for what they were made for some better than other some just ok. I realy like the I.P's and Tartans as well as Dephi these are some good over built boats.
what you realy want to look at is constuction and hull design, Keel type, rigging how much fuel does she carry? this is real important you will need it in bad weather and in duldrums. How much you are willing to spend on setting it up for offshore all this is important for a good safe cruise.
happy hunting and best wishes.
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post #6 of 17 Old 04-26-2008
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In a word, no.

Taking a Catalina 42 on a rtw trip is somewhat akin to plowing for 2000 acres of potatoes (you're from Idaho, right?) with a Cadet Cub tractor. You may be able to get the job done, (others referred to above apparently have) but it will likely kill the tractor and may not be as enjoyable as using a tractor that was better suited to the task (a Massey/Ferguson 7400 comes to mind...) Books could help you learn more about what to expect and what your boat will need to do. Beth Leonard and Steve Dashew each have written books about extensive cruising and preparing for it. They would be worth reading before you make a 42' mistake.
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post #7 of 17 Old 04-26-2008
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IMHO and bluntly, find another boat. My father owed 3 Catalinas in the 70's and I worked for two dealers. I think that they're great coastal boats, but a s friend who is a very experienced boat carpenter, delivery captain, and licensed captain said, "I wouldn't sail around the world in one". Ene though it's true that boats spend most of their time tied to a dock (99%??), it's that last 1% that could get you and your crew killed. I wouldn't climb Mt. everest in WalMart boots, nor would I take my chances at sea with a coastal boat.

I've seen deep water, having about 17000 offshore miles. This is serous business.

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post #8 of 17 Old 04-26-2008
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Brad :

A friend of ours always says, that...

"Taking a boat you love & putting it out for (bareboat) charters, is like taking your daughter & putting her out to be a hooker"

Apparently he thought that the wear & tear was not worth the modest $$ reward.

Which is why his daughter never became a hooker !!


P/S Brad, have a look here...

Not that you'll ever want to circumnavigate (I'd say that the world is just too dangerous these days..) however, some of our boats have done just that.

Are you REALLY sure that the east coast, Bahamas & down the thorny path to the Caribbean wouldn't be enough to keep you busy ??
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Last edited by PaulOWindsor; 04-26-2008 at 08:56 AM.
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post #9 of 17 Old 04-26-2008
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Five year old thread. They probably gave up the dream and bought the Massey Ferguson tractor.
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post #10 of 17 Old 04-26-2008
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Last post by Brad was in feb 07, from some others, it appears like he may have bought a Cal 2-46.

So anyway, off to the boat race!


She drives me boat,
I drives me dinghy!
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