Join Date: Dec 2013
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Re: Questions on the Catalina 445
I don't know what kind of sailing you like to do, how many people you routinely carry, etc., etc., but if you like your 36 and it serves your needs, the 385 will give you the build quality of the 445 in a more manageable & familiar package. That said, I've got a Catalina 50 that's set up very well for shorthanded sailing and think that the 445 would be very similar in feel and performance. My setup includes:
1. all lines led back to the cockpit
2. main on Harken battcars with a stack pack (you can go in-mast, but I don't like it)
3. a good jib furler, properly installed
4. electric halyard winch (helpful in a pinch and great for going up the mast)
5. a good autopilot (don't cheap out on this one)
6. a good windlass
7. a powerful bow thruster with wireless remote if you want to dock singlehanded
If you do go big, it's very important that you go with high-grade running rigging to get as much friction and stretch out of sail handling as possible. Vectran halyards, oversized ball bearing mast base turning blocks, large deck organizers, oversized winches, etc. are all helpful and will allow you to manage larger sails with the same effort. I also find that it's easier to shorthand a boat that's less tender, so I'd go with deep draft over shoal if at all possible.
Mine's a piece of cake to sail with two people and with the exception of docking, I can singlehand it for just about everything else. If/when I get the thruster remote I think I'll be able to manage solo docking as well. Underway, the boat is so big and stable that I find it's much less stressful and risky to go forward on deck in bigger seas than on my old 31'.
A 45 or 50 foot boat can be a handful but having all that waterline length is a lot like having a car with a big V8. You don't always use its full capabilities and it can be demanding but when conditions allow, it gets up and goes like nothing else.