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post #11 of 15 Old 07-02-2002
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Catalina 310

Jeff, don''t discourage people from buying new boats. In fact, the more, the merrier.

We''ll just buy their boats a few years from now, greatly discounted. Somebody''s got to buy them so we can keep the inventory of later model used boats well stocked.
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post #12 of 15 Old 04-09-2018
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Re: Catalina 310

My thoughts on this following answer: "My general sense is that Catalinas are no better constructed than the other two large boat builders, Hunter and Beneteau and do not seem as well finished and detailed as these other two. Of the three, I particularly prefer Beneteau which seems to do a slighty better job, especially with their ''First'' series."

HUNTER: After multiple hours researching Hunter ( I love the look and modern design ) and reading several complaints from owners...even the ones in the honeymoon stage expressed concerns and regret with mystery leaks and questionable build and design and that B&G rig. Now, to add to the list of woes for hunter is the composite rudder post that shears off at the hull leaving you rudder-less. This was a rare occurrence in hard conditions but now that these Hunters are getting older (15+ years old) I'm hearing more about it in average sailing conditions....and besides the huge headache, you will need to pay over $10,000 USD to replace/repair. Note: Catalina interiors use solid wood in place of glued vinyl and laminates Hunter depends on for cost control.

Beneteau: Ooohhhh how I wanted this to work out. My experiences here are with the B331 and B321 and a walk on of a few other models... I wanted to see if they were built more robust than the B331 and the B321. I love love love that Beneteau Bulb shoal keel over Catalina's wing keel (I'm looking at shoal draft boats) Also, Beneteau has a very attractive interior and the B321 has an amazing aft cabin which is better than the Catalina 320's and even better than the B331's. My first Beneteau to look over was the B321. Everything about the design and interior was really nice...including the nice 27 hp Yanmar on such a light boat! This was the end of the good. The keel joint was sloppy, the standing rigging is fastened to the boat with highly inferior fasteners...the back stays are fastened with cheap "U"bolts, the upper and lower side stays are sharing one rod fastened to the hull! I thought this was fine if I continue to be a fair weather day sailor. What really turned me off was all deck hardware was inferior. The Stanchions, pulpit and stern rails were extremely weak and could be flexed back and forth pushing on them...Finally, the Gel coat! on both the 321 and the 331, the gel coat on deck and cockpit looks like the boat is 75 years old...I say 75 years old because my O'day 22 and O'day 272 were over 30 years old showed no signs of gel cracks like the B331, B321 and all the other newer Beneteau's I walked on. As for the Beneteau 331, the deck hardware and fasteners were more robust the the 321 but now way in hell should this boat be rated bluewater. What the F' are you thinking France! Again, what's turning me off tho the B331 is the excessive gel cracks and the structural grid pan. The few B331's I looked at showed cracks inside the bilge where the keel attaches to the hull. One Broker confessed that his B331 must of had a hard grounding. The structural grid will cost at least $20,000 USD to repair!

Catalina: I always thought they were over rated. Never liked the look of the older 30+ year old Catalinas. Comparing my O'day272 to the Catalina 27 ...I felt my O'day had a much better interior and the exterior looked to be better designed. I got tired of hearing Catalina this or Catalina that....I thought over rated, over priced and not so great looking...and how the owners considered that catalina smile as no big deal! Anyway, I have come around a bit after comparing the newer Catalina's to newer Beneteau and Hunter. Catalina is far superior....from the Keel to the top of the mast Catalina has them contest. Hardware, robust build and design. So, unfortunately for me I have to shop around for an over priced Catalina. Over priced because the owners rate them very well and it spills over to resale value for the demand. Even NADA rates them very well. Have you seen how NADA rates a used Hunter! most likely $10,000+ less than you paid for it! I looked at a 2004 Catalina 320 that was abused with hull scratches and an overly used interior. I thought maybe I would consider it as a back up plan if I couldn't find another. That thing sold in dead winter with 2 feet of snow on it.
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post #13 of 15 Old 04-09-2018
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Re: Catalina 310

Please take my comments with a grain of salt because I am one of those satisfied-I've-owned-a-lot-of-Catalinas guys.

Used or new? Since I've never had enough money to buy a new boat, I'm not the guy to answer this question. I know that if you are looking after dollars (as I do) with all the used boats available, I can get a lot of boat, and a lot of gear, in the used boat market. In my family we've bought (over the years) Catalina 22, 27s, 30s, 34, 36, 380 and 400. Never a new one. However, sure do like that new boat smell. I've been in a lot of user groups, and heard some bad warrantee stories, but also a lot of good stories. I've talked with people at the Catalina factory a few times for advice or parts, and was always favorably satisfied. Our local Catalina dealership (Farallone Yachts in Alemeda, CA) is excellent.

What sets Catalinas apart from Benes, Hunters, and Jeneau's for me is really the styling of the boat. You will see that the Catalina is really different than the others. I think that the Catalina have more of an old fashioned feel. I love the woodwork inside the boats from a style perspective, but also from a quality point of view. Having been a high school woodshop teacher, I have some experience in that area. The wood is well matched, the joinery is well done, and the mechanical systems are well laid out and perform well. Is the Catalina a Chevy? I don't know. I know that Chevrolet makes a hell of a good car. A lot depends on the model. The same is true of boats in general. Catalina makes a hell of a good boat. Some models are better than others, although I think a more accureate statement is that different models are designed for different purposes.

In structural issues, I think that the gear on the Catalinas are in general robust, while that has not always been the case in some models of the other production boats, particularly in the more recent smaller (< 30') models. I base this on my observations of boat show models, and just hanging around. From going aboard many boats, I have a suspicion that the Catalinas are as strong as, or stronger in some cases, that other production boats of similar sizes.

I think that the entry of the hull shape allow Catalinas, as a generalized statement, to not bash as much when heading into waves. I wonder if others have thought this to be true (or not)? I base this on personal observation, but I don't have enough comparisons to make this a strong statement. Any opinions?

So about the 310, specifically. I have some friends that own 310s. They love the boat. For a weekend or short vacation cruiser they are comfortable, sail well and are safe. That's a good combination. They make a great bay sailor, or short coastal cruiser. For longer passages, they might not be my first pick. I personally look at expected uses when I think about a boat. They don't have a lot of wood on the outside. Some people don't like that. I do. Some people don't like the styling. I can see why, but I like the style, mostly because they are hell-a efficient for a boat that size. For a person, or family, looking for this type of boat, the Catalina 310 is spectacular - If it rings your bell! I am partial to the 320 because I think that you get a bit more for your buck, but that's just me. It's a bit bigger, a bit more robust, and yes, a bit more money. The 310 is still a great boat. When all is said and done, once all the practical boxes have been checked off, it's an emotional decision. The Catalina 310 checks off a lot of important boxes, so the question is ... Do ya feel lucky, Punk? Well, Do ya? (insert, Clint Eastwood emoji.)

Last edited by Scotty C-M; 04-09-2018 at 06:51 PM.
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post #14 of 15 Old 04-09-2018
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Re: Catalina 310

Originally Posted by greatwhiteway View Post
My wife and I have been doing our homework,
and are giving some serious thought to buying a Catalina 310 in Sept. at the Newport boat show. But I''m hearing alot of negative stories about Mr. Frank Butler,and
the Catalina Boat it self. Anything positive
out there about my decision.
This thread began and ended over three days in 2002 (until five hours ago). The original poster has not been active since 2006.
Lots of miles sailed on Catalinas of every stripe in the 16 years since the original question.
Frank Butler and Catalina continue to make boats that plenty of sailors want to buy (new or used) and enjoy.
One positive thing regarding the OPs decision - that 310 thing worked out pretty good, hindsight being 20-20 I'd say go for it...

Last edited by Dfok; 04-09-2018 at 07:14 PM.
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post #15 of 15 Old 04-13-2018
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Re: Catalina 310

Yes, a lot happens in 16 years.
We bought 3 boats after this thread was started.
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