TB, lets be serious, the key word is "perceived value", and Catalina owners mostly do not leave the dock nevermind 'stray too far offshore', lets just call them a grill carrying dock condo with a sailing potential, which very rarely will be used!!!
Now ya have pushed it too far....
Dear Original Poster. This may seem like a tangent from the original question of new boats... but it should help to educate you, other noob's, and what is obviously many older (very, very old actually) salts that have posted on this thread in an effort to pursuade you to the Dark Side of the Boat.
As such, let me say that buying a boat can in some ways be compared to buying any means of transporation. I would tell you to get a comfortable vehicle. A safe and good for the whole family vehicle. If you have kids, get a minivan. You don't get the minivan for the kids... you get it for your sanity. If you can afford a Ford Excursion or a Lexus LX470 (with bigger being better), then that is the way to go. So I want you to think of a Catalina as a Lexus LX470... comfortable, classy, modern, roomy, more expensive than the competition - but its safety and durability make up for that.
Now, there are those who think that you should stick to the old ways... older is better. Save some money. Simple and archaic is durable and dependable. A little rust never hurt anyone. They think sails should be square and hulls made of wood. Here is how you can recognize these people - this is how they get to their boat (assuming it is still floating):
Stick with me now... cause this is important!! Now here is the really scarry bunch. They feel you should always be prepared. What happens if you were out sailing on a Sunday Afternoon and a Cat 5 Hurricane suddenly hit you? Eh? Or you were in the tropics and suddenly struck an ice berg the size of NJ?? Very likely, you know. Or (and my personal favorite which they always bring up) WHAT IF THE EARTH WAS HIT BY A METEOR THE SIZE OF THE MOON AND YOU HAD TO RIDE OUT THAT TIDAL WAVE? True... many Catalinas would never survive a 10,000 foot tall tidal wave. I will not mention names, but they (like TrulyBlue and MaxOff) will try and scare you. They will tell you to get a bullet proof shoe box. How do you recognize these guys?? This is what they drive around... just in case Cuba really does invade us, they will be prepared...
Finally, there are those that feel more is better. They like to be different. They have (gulp) multihulls!! They are a scary crowd and very wierd. They go to family reunions to pick up dates. They come back from the dump with more than they left with. They all sail south during the summer because they cannot go to weather to save their lives and must wait until the winds finally turn back north in winter to come home (oppostie of a duck). SO when you see this, I want you to think of a multihull sailor... a backwards duck out of water:
I hope that clears things up. HEHEHEHHEHEHEH!