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  #31  
Old 10-09-2012
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Re: Sailing characteristics ?

I may be the only person on this board who has actually sailed a Catalina 355. While I have never sailed on a Hunter, I have lots of experience sailing, cruising and racing on a wide variety of boats including ones designed by other contributors to this BB.

A couple years ago I had the opportunity to sail hull #1 on San Francisco Bay. The boat was being taken around to the various boat shows and my local Catalina broker wanted to sail it and asked me to come along and offer my opinion. Somewhere buried on this or another BB, I wrote up my impressions so I will try to summarize here. We sailed along the City front, beam reached across the “slot” did several tacks up to Harding Rock then a running reach back behind Treasure Island. The winds were in the mid teens. The vessel was in “boat show” condition, to say, static tuned, no water in the tanks, basic running rigging, 110 jib and a furling main (with vertical battens). It was standard mast and fin keel. It had a bow sprit but no spinnaker. Being a “show boat”, I couldn’t wring her completely out, but I was still able to push her a bit (hey, they wanted my opinion)

Working to windward, the tacking angle was somewhere in the 90 – 100 degree range and boat speeds in the six knot range. When we beam reached, we easily hit hull speed. Downwind, we were doing fours and fives. The boat felt more like a C36 than my C34. It definitely had a “smoother” ride in the Bay chop. I could not bury the lee rail on our reach (I really tried!). I think the higher freeboard inhibits this. I love the cockpit layout in the 355. The primaries are fairly well aft and easily reached from the helm. There isn’t a place for a set of secondary’s, but I think the target buyer is more prone to use an A-kite. The Selden extendable bow sprit is really cool and I will be buying one for my boat. I have had trouble trimming out the leech flutter of roller mains in the past, but the vertical battens seem to provide the right amount of roach. There are nice places to sit on the coamings for those of us who like to sit to the side of the wheel and steer. In sailing the light air behind Treasure Island and the Estuary, I got the impression that it’s performance would be unimpressive in winds under 5 kts (a trait unfortunately, shared with other Catalina’s).

I ran the C355 numbers through my calculator and the boat fits in nicely between the C34 and C36. The standard fin keel draft is 6˝ feet. The ballast to displacement ratio is lighter than my C34 and I suspect that they are using the deeper draft to achieve the same capsize risk numbers. From a performance standpoint, they could go with a taller mast and bigger sail area, improving the SA to Disp and Velocity ratios. That would give better light air performance but I suspect, sacrificing the Catalina “feel” in higher winds. The hardware is mostly Garhauer, winches are now Harkens. The engine was a Yanmar 30, which is probably a better match than the Universal 35 HP they had been installing in the C34 and C36. All in all, a pretty nice boat and a nice return to their more “classic” designs like the C30, 34, 36 and 42.
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Last edited by GeorgeB; 10-10-2012 at 11:42 AM.
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Re: Sailing characteristics ?

Yes, the Hunters I sail also don't do well under 5 kts. 7 or so would give me 3-4kts on the 33, and for whatever reason, 5 on the 36. Under 5kts, I would gaze at the CS's and C&C's passing by. The all had bigger genny's though, and the Hunter's had tiny jibs, so that could be part of it I suppose.

Around here, 8 knts wind is about average in the summer, with lots of days in the 10 - 15 range and maybe 10% in the 20 + range. So, all in all, I seemed to be going just as fast and having just as much fun as everyone else, save for the days of less than 5kts.
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Re: Sailing characteristics ?

Look it is not a fair comparison of Hunters, Catalinas with Sabres, C&Cs Taratans as far as sailing abilities, build quality, equipment, but that is not what the OP has asked here.

There are plentry of sailors who want and like a production boat and all that entales.That doesnt make them less than at all or to be ridiculed for their choices. It also doesnt mean that a production boat is a Sabre.

So lets not discuss the merits or comaprisons of apples and oranges, Ok...lets get back to what the OP asked for comparison between the Hunter and the Catalina. I find them to be the more than the choice between beige and white. I have sailed some on both. I find that the Catalina has on the whole a better sailing profile on all points of sail. They tend to point higher and they tend also to have a better downwind profile probably because of the B&R rig the Hunter carries which does not allow the main sheet to be entended as far as the Catalina before it hits the spreaders. Catalinas have more of a traditional build since the mid 19990s while Hunters have gone to arches with main sail controls. Catalinas gunwhales have more room and to me are therefore safer when traveling forward. Some Catalina models ( sizes) have tall rigs optional for improved sailing speed. The best of the Hunters were the Cherubin models of the 80s.

Accomadations is where the Hunters excell. They have comfortable and spacious designs for the dock or the anchorage. They seem to have more volume available in the salons. Both have large cockpits ( advantage for those who like that...not me personally but many enjoy enteratining in their cockpits.

Build quality is ok for a mass production boat. No sense in comparing to Sabres, Tartans, C&Cs of similar years, because thats not what is being asked and again its apples and oranges. In my personal experience sailing the two brands, the Catalinas are stiffer boats. Hunters I have sailed have had a tendency to oil can and flex when the wind piped up ( Not including the 40+ Hunters in this comment.

Lastly the resale value of Catalina is pretty strong vs the Hunters resale value, and that should tell you something. Catlinas have a good owners following and many trade up for larger models.

This opinions reflect my personal experiences sailing on and with friends who have these boats. I do not get into the bashing of others boats, as everyone who buys a boat has their own reasons for the ones they choose. If I were forced to choose between these two models I would choose the Catalina every time in the 25-40 foot range except when the Cherubinis Hunters were being built.
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Re: Sailing characteristics ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
Look it is not a fair comparison of Hunters, Catalinas with Sabres, C&Cs Taratans as far as sailing abilities, build quality, equipment, but that is not what the OP has asked here.

There are plentry of sailors who want and like a production boat and all that entales.That doesnt make them less than at all or to be ridiculed for their choices. It also doesnt mean that a production boat is a Sabre.

So lets not discuss the merits or comaprisons of apples and oranges, Ok...lets get back to what the OP asked for comparison between the Hunter and the Catalina. I find them to be the more than the choice between beige and white. I have sailed some on both. I find that the Catalina has on the whole a better sailing profile on all points of sail. They tend to point higher and they tend also to have a better downwind profile probably because of the B&R rig the Hunter carries which does not allow the main sheet to be entended as far as the Catalina before it hits the spreaders. Catalinas have more of a traditional build since the mid 19990s while Hunters have gone to arches with main sail controls. Catalinas gunwhales have more room and to me are therefore safer when traveling forward. Some Catalina models ( sizes) have tall rigs optional for improved sailing speed. The best of the Hunters were the Cherubin models of the 80s.

Accomadations is where the Hunters excell. They have comfortable and spacious designs for the dock or the anchorage. They seem to have more volume available in the salons. Both have large cockpits ( advantage for those who like that...not me personally but many enjoy enteratining in their cockpits.

Build quality is ok for a mass production boat. No sense in comparing to Sabres, Tartans, C&Cs of similar years, because thats not what is being asked and again its apples and oranges. In my personal experience sailing the two brands, the Catalinas are stiffer boats. Hunters I have sailed have had a tendency to oil can and flex when the wind piped up ( Not including the 40+ Hunters in this comment.

Lastly the resale value of Catalina is pretty strong vs the Hunters resale value, and that should tell you something. Catlinas have a good owners following and many trade up for larger models.

This opinions reflect my personal experiences sailing on and with friends who have these boats. I do not get into the bashing of others boats, as everyone who buys a boat has their own reasons for the ones they choose. If I were forced to choose between these two models I would choose the Catalina every time in the 25-40 foot range except when the Cherubinis Hunters were being built.
Thank you, this info is very helpful. I did notice the gunwhales made it easier to get forward on the Catalina's while at the show, your descriptions of sailing characteristics have given me food for thought. Others have alluded loosely to what I think you said better, again thank you.
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