I would NEVER own one but I have sailed on the boat several times. If you carefully scope out this boat you probably would not buy it either. On a quality scale of 1-10 it is no more than a 6.
What I don''t like about the boat:
Jib sheet track is not long enough to obtain the correct sheeting angle for 100%
Telephone sized spar: what ever you decide, do not let them talk you into a in-mast furling unit. With the in mast unit you cannot have full batons, you will experience a lot of chafe furling and unfurling the sail, the sails actually have a hollow leach, bad for performance and last but not least when you want to reduce sail area you do not want all of that weight aloft.
Solid fiberglass hull not as stiff and light as a cored hull which translates into slow going for a boat of this size.
Turn buckles are cheaply made out of bronze bar stock, not forged as they should be for a boat this size. Also the Catalina''s have the cheesiest turnbuckle boots I''ve ever seen on a new boat. This is a cheap fix.
The stern is designed so wide, you cannot reach the wheel if you want to sit outboard and steer the boat, dumb design. This might be able to be corrected with a larger wheel, I''m not sure.
If one does manage to sit out board on the coaming, any big waves that wash onto the deck drain into your pants, the coaming is poorly designed.
Non-skid: Very poor and very slippery when wet, the non-skid pattern is almost non- existent.
All Catalina''s come with a lot of the cheap Garhauer hardware. This should be replace with better stuff. All of the stuff with the exception of the winches is inferior, from the rope clutches to the cleats.
Engine controls - throttle and gear are easy to mix up, as they look identical. This is a problem on many new boats.
The design and installation of stanchions, pushpit and pullpits are very poor, they begin to leak shortly after the first year.
No grab rails or anything of substance to hang onto in the cabin when in a seaway.
Several voids in the gelcoat, poor job cosmetically.
Catalina is big on mounting everything except the galley sink on the binnacle. Only the helms person can see them if mounted in this location. A better solution would be to mount them over the companion way or on the bulkhead.
In closing, this is a very comfortable boat at the dock to live in but it has way too many quirks for my liking especially if you like to sail more than sit at the dock. Sure these boats are "value priced" for their size but you really do get what you pay for in these boats. Take a look at the number of used late model 38''s on the market, people don''t own these for a very long peroid of time. Take an equivalent amount of money and buy a 5-10 year old pre-sailed high quality boat, you''ll be much happier.
I am not all that familar with the 380 but I lately I have run into a number of individuals who have purchased new Catalinas in recent years. They described a list of manufacturing problems that were far more extensive than I would have found acceptable including one boat that the owner described as having almost every piece of deck hardware installed without caulk. He discribed a nightmare like experience of trying to Catalina to cover anything under warrantee. He personally spoke to Frank Butler, owner of Catalina, who he felt was personally blocking the warrantee approval.
After that conversation I began to talk to other buyers of new Catalinas to see if that was an isolated incident and the owner mentioned above had a more extensive list of warrantee items than the others they all reported the same difficulty with getting warrantee work and having it denied at the factory. In two cases the dealer said that work was under warrantee but after the work started they said that the warrantee claim was denied.
I would love to hear otherwise from people who have purchased but based on what I heard in those three conversations, the warrantee problems alone would be enough to prevent me from buying a new Catalina.
Thought I might find you bashing Catalina''s.
It''s good to know some things never change.
Once again the 38''s in local charter have held up very well. Are there better boats? Of course. Are there better values possibly not. I''m also impressed by their performance,even with "wing dings". It''s nice to be back.
Welcome back Waterguy. I forgot to mention one more thing I didn''t like about the 380, it has a picnic table in the cockpit, this is beyond dumb for a boat that was meant to be sailed, but then again most people that buy these use them at the dock as floating condominiums.
The Bene''s and Hunters have many, if not most of the same short commings that Fatalina''s have. This is easy to understand as they are all after the same uninformed group of buyers looking at price only. Just as you can''t get a BMW for the price of a Lumina, you won''t buy a Tarten, J-Boat, Dehler, Island Packet, Sabre, Alden, Hinckley etc. for the price of a Hunter, Catalina or a Beneteau.
I must agree with Denr and Jeff; you will be much better off with a 10/15/20 year-old quality boat than a brand new Benehuntalina. Don''t be seduced by the superficial: the sparkling gelcoat, fresh cabin upholstry, clean bilges, and dealer croonings are just that - superficial.
On the other hand, if you have the green for a brand new quality boat (Tartan, Cabo Rico, Sabre, Passport, Caliber, etc), go for it! Somebody has to keep supplying the used-boat market with good boats for me to buy in the future!
I really love the word "Benehuntalina". This word really defines the essence of these mediocre boats. You must be a very smart dude/dudette. Would you like to go sailing sometime? I''m in the Chicago area.
Hey Denr, if I''m ever in the Chicago area, I''ll take you up on that! (I sail Long Island Sound). I''m having serious sailing withdrawal right now, with my baby up on the hard (through no fault of hers).
I currently own a 1990 Catalina 22...fairly happy with performance, however, Catalina (the factory in CA.) SUCKS!! I ordered a slide-hatch and it took 2 months to receive it here in Florida after their rep assured me it was in stock and ready to ship via UPS. After the long wait, the thing arrived poorly packaged and poorly finished. The inside finish was actually hand painted with a brush and the laid glass looked like it was done either on a "Friday" or "Monday".