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 05:51 PM.