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Hello,
We are a family of 4, my husband, two children 4 and 6 and myself looking for a boat to go cruising down in Mexico and possibly Central and South America. We have found 2 boats that meet our budget, the Gulfstar 37 and a Catalina 36. I would like to see a comparison of these two boats, but I couldnt find it. Could anyone give me opinions? Thank you!
 

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Though I'm still a newb to sailing - I've been doing A LOT of research and talking to many sailors about various boats. I own a C27 and I'd choose a Catalina over a Gulfstar in a heart beat - every time. Gulfstars are typically cheaper - but for a reason.

It's hard to go wrong with a Catalina in my opinion.

BTW - Welcome to SN dude!
 

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I think for family cruising it's pretty hard to beat the Cat 36's layout. The extra dinette/settee in the main cabin and the aft berth(s) offer great flexibility.

You'll also have a much larger selection available of Catalinas than the lesser-known Gulfstar. If you can, I'd go for the newer versions with the open transom and enlarged cockpits.
 

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FWIW, I chose a Catalina 34 over a 36 for family cruising due in part to interior layout. Also due to condition, keel stepped mast and D/L ratios, the first two of which vary by boat and model year.

I recommend taking a look at a C34 if there's one for sale nearby.
 

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Theres about a million (exaggerating) Catalian 34/Catalina 36 out there...they share much of the same parts and construction and have an extremely active owners organization. Plus the manufacturer is still in business.

Unless the price differential is extreme, my vote would go to the Catalina, even though I *HATE* their cockpits.
 

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I think you'll find folks are more familiar with Catalina than Gulfstar. I never owned either but am quite familiar with both and find the Gulfstar, albeit an older design, has lots of character lacking in contemporary designs such as wide side decks and excellent lines. Among the differences are high bridge deck, teak toe rails, a huge nav stations, an abundance of storage, keel stepped mast, lots of warm teak interior fittings and a great anchor platform, all of which are lacking in the Cat except perhaps the mast step.
Either would serve your purpose depending on your aesthetic preferences.
 

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I would be looking for a center cockpit for a little more privacy.

Here are a couple of ones in the same price range as the Gulfstar and Catalina.

Westerly Corsair 36
Moody 33
Allied Mistress 39
Whitby 42
 

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Hello,
We are a family of 4, my husband, two children 4 and 6 and myself looking for a boat to go cruising down in Mexico and possibly Central and South America. We have found 2 boats that meet our budget, the Gulfstar 37 and a Catalina 36. I would like to see a comparison of these two boats, but I couldnt find it. Could anyone give me opinions? Thank you!
I am very familiar with the c36, and have been on a gs37 a few times.

What is your budget that you have narrowed it down to these two boats?

- CD
 

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I vote for the C36 between that and the Gulfstar. However, I personally prefer the C34 over the C36. They are very similar except that the C34 has a better layout for a couple with two kids because of the aft cabin having a real door.
 
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