Thanks for sharing all the great information about your new boat. If you don't mind, I'd like to ask a couple of questions. Feel free to answer in the public forum if you want.
My wife and I are getting serious about getting a new boat that we would use for cruising the Great Lakes. Something in the mid-40' range.
What made you decide to go with Catalina?
What other boats did you seriously consider?
We are just beginning our process. Jeanneau, Beneteau, Catalina are on our list (we currently have a 98 Beneteau 36 Center Cockpit). Tartan maybe.
From your postings, you seem to know your stuff so I'm definitely interested in your opinion as I believe it will be an educated one.
I have been asked this a few times from my fellow sailors and I will try to answer this the best way I know how.
Why did I choose a Catalina 445 for my world cruising boat
When I saw this boat at the Annapolis boat when it was introduce in 2009, I like the boat but not loved the boat. There were a lot of short comings in my opinion. One can see my write up here on SN: Miami Boat Show, Catalina,Hunter,Beneteau,Jeanueau
. Over the years my opinion changed as I got deeper into the design and talks with Gerry Douglas I found out he will change most of the short comings that I saw. My change sheet during the build was modest at best.
Having liveaboard my old boat a 2006 Hunter 36 for 5 years I narrowed down my list of, got to have
, in my next boat. The Catalina 445 fit most of that list. Boats are a compromise as in most things in life. This boat was no exception.
What other boats did I concerned.
My list was very short due to my extensive requirements. In short, I wanted a Caliber 40 hull with a Valiant 42 interior. Since they didn't make this boat per se I talked to most brokers up and down the east coast, spent countless hours reading everything under the sun on boat designs for long term cruising, talked with countless sailors, attending most boat shows over the course of 5 years, visited a few factories (Valiant, Catalina, IP, Caliber) and walked on, sail on as many boats as I could. In my head they didn't make a boat that I could afford except Catalina. My list. HR 42, Hylas 44-46, Malo 40, Southerly 42. We came close to getting a Hylas 46 but this is a huge heavy boat and I got scared it would be too much for 2 women to handle. We considered a Catamaran and it was our first choice. But the price for owners version new or not beat up was too much in the end. If we win the lottery we will get an Antares 44I.
Why the Catalina over the other production boat? Simple, Catalina stepped up their game during the recession while the others lowered their quality, made in America product and most important customer service. I have everyone's personnel cell number if I need to talk to anyone at the factory. Gerry Douglas has call me numerous times to talk with me about this build. It is such an honor to talk to the guy the designed and built this boat. He listened to what I had to say, made suggestions where needed, surprised me on a few of my modifications in upgrading even further the equipment I ordered and is a great guy to be around. I don't know of any large boat builder that does this.
Here is the short list: Lead keel, aluminum toe rail, top drawer sailing hardware, teak interior, hull designed ( 5 piece construction grid ( furniture grid is not the main support structure) , fast
hull, real 1/4" and 3/8" backing plates on all hardware including cleats, no chopped glass anywhere, transom design that can withstand a drogue cute, real galley, all tanks easily accessible and maintainable, large water and fuel tanks ( I added an additional 40 gal fuel tank to give me a 500 NM range), 3rd aft cabin as a storage (garage) and work room, walk through transom and she is a good looking boat.
The short comings as I see it on this boat that we didn't/couldn't change; No stay sail standard nor designed into it. I will probably add one later on after we sail this boat for a year or two to see if it really needs one. Still think the lack of a nice headliner takes away from the great interior. The heads are classic plastic, stark and cold. A shower curtain vs door is another lost touch by Catalina. We will dress this up a bit when we get the boat. No hatch boards. While the current companionway swing door is great, I wanted real hatch boards when the weather gets rough. I have a sailing philosophy of one hatch board per reef in the mainsail. Catalina want almost one boat buck for this. I think I can do this for a lot less. We didn't order a generator with the boat. I hate the location of where they put it and it is almost impossible to work on. For now my Honda 2000 generator with have to do. If I do put one in I am thinking of putting it in the 3rd aft cabin. The rudder
. The rudder designed was my biggest compromise, I wanted a skeg hung one. The rudder hangs at the same level as the shoal draft keel (not a problem if you get the deep draft keel). The bottom one foot of the rudder is designed to shear off if one runs real hard aground. When I toured the factory, I saw how it was made (Catalina makes their own rudders. No one else does this). While I did get a few warm fuzz's still not a total happy camper. I do love the maneuvering ability of this rudder though. She steers like a dream and backs up like my Hunter did. Still a compromise.
I don't want to get into the other big 3 boat builders and their short comings. Maybe in another thread we can chat about that. While I love PCP thread on "Interesting sailboats", and all the small European designs, I want to buy USA boat.
Any other questions, please ask and I will try my best to answer.