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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I are looking to purchase a late model Cataline 320. Does anyone have any comments? Any present owners who would like to express their opinions? We have owned another Catalina previously (25) and just loved it. We are now looking to move up to a Catalina 320.

I am anxious to hear any comments that others mya have. We will be living in the North Carolina area. And i fact, if anyonbe knows of a loate model 320 for sale pleae advise.

Glenn Druhot
 

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drummer4813,

I own a 2000 Catalina 320 purchased new in late 1999. It's a great boat. I've been completely satisfied with it and have to date had no maintenance problems whatsoever. I think it's a beautiful boat (the best looking boat in the marina). I highly recommend this boat. It has an excellent layout, dependable engine, good equipment, and is a pleasure to sail, both singlehanded or with crew.

The class organization (www.catalina320.org) is very active and supports the boat well, so if you ever have problems, there's a knowledge base readily available. While they encourge people to join the organization, you can visit the website and participate in their forum list (just sign up for the list on the website) without being member of the organization.

I do not know of any C320's for sale, but suggest you join the forum/list at the Catalina320.org and ask on that website. You may be able to deal with a owner directly.

The Catalina dealer that I bought my boat from is Carolina Wind, Washington, NC. In buying my boat from them, they did everything that was agreed, and since I didn't have any problems, I don't know how that would have gone if there had been any problems. Carolina Wind might have a lead on some resale C320s, or a new one.

In Oriental, NC, there is St. Barts...a Beneteau dealer, but sometimes they have C320's listed.

I keep my boat in Washington, and at the present time, I think there are three on this creek, each at a different marina.

Good luck on your search. I don't think you will be disappointed.
 

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Check out this link to 11 owner reviews. Didn't read them all but it seems they generally like their boat with some minor complaints.

I believe you can also search this link for folks who previously owned one. If you could find info from them, you might get some even (more objective) better info.

CatalinaOwners.com
 

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My wife and I considered a C320 when we were boat shopping last year. For a couple or family with smaller kids I think its a great boat. The layout is really spacious for a 32' footer, but there is not a lot of storage for stuff like clothes and foulies in the cabin. Fortunately, the cockpit storage is huge and you can stash a lot of stuff, that might otherwise be in the cabin, out there. If they would add some more cabinet/drawer type storage the boat would be even more impressive.

We didn't get to sail one but understand they are good performers for a production crusing boat. With the shallow draft, good performance and excellent accomodations for a couple or young family, I'd think it would be a great choice for the NC sounds and coastal crusing.

Since our goal in changing boats was to allow us to bring our friends along, we opted to go a bit older and bigger and went with a C36 Mk1.5, so like you, we are Catalina fans.

When we were looking, there were several nice C320's around the Chesapeake. If that's still the case its pretty easy and not prohibitively expensive to get a delivery captain, if you can't take time to move the boat yourself.
 

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I’ve owned a Catalina 320 for two years and love the boat. It sails well, is easy to handle, and has much more room below than most boats of its size. The class organization is very helpful answering maintenance questions. We sail out of San Diego and have found that the C320 is a great boat for coastal sailing.
 

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The 320 is a nice boat; we looked at one, though we were a bit turned off because it hadn't been well maintained (we ended up getting a 350). If you like the 320, you might also consider a 309. I really like that boat. It seems that took everything that was good about the old 30 and 310 and made it better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My wife and I considered a C320 when we were boat shopping last year. For a couple or family with smaller kids I think its a great boat. The layout is really spacious for a 32' footer, but there is not a lot of storage for stuff like clothes and foulies in the cabin. Fortunately, the cockpit storage is huge and you can stash a lot of stuff, that might otherwise be in the cabin, out there. If they would add some more cabinet/drawer type storage the boat would be even more impressive.

We didn't get to sail one but understand they are good performers for a production crusing boat. With the shallow draft, good performance and excellent accomodations for a couple or young family, I'd think it would be a great choice for the NC sounds and coastal crusing.

Since our goal in changing boats was to allow us to bring our friends along, we opted to go a bit older and bigger and went with a C36 Mk1.5, so like you, we are Catalina fans.

When we were looking, there were several nice C320's around the Chesapeake. If that's still the case its pretty easy and not prohibitively expensive to get a delivery captain, if you can't take time to move the boat yourself.
Thank you VERY MUCH for the tips. I will look in the Chesapeake area. Right now has got to be a great time to locate a good deal on a sailboat. Hey, thanks again pal.
 

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Practical Sailor has a review of the Catalina 320 (Catalina 320), which you can order individually or as part of their boat reviews books (Practical Sailor). I have the books because I was looking at several different models, so it was a better deal than individual reviews. I haven't read the C320 review in a while, but I recall it was generally favorable. You might want to check it out. Just FYI (no affiliation, just a consumer myself).
-J
 

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We purchased our 2001 in February 2007. We originally considered a new hull, but discovered at the January '07 Toronto Boat Show that a cockpit redesign had left the benches so far apart that I could not brace against one while sitting on the other; a crew issue if you race. We thus decided to look for used.

Our first boat was a 1981 Tanzer 8.5 acquired in 2002. With our next boat we were looking for a fully inclosed head, gas stove with oven, walk through transom with swim platform, wheel (in hopes my spouse would begin helming) and wide side decks. You get all of this with a C320. This boat added showers in the head and on the swim platform, refrigeration and hot/cold pressure water.

This particular boat came with extras I found desirable. Canvas package and dodger have proven useful. The main/mast had been modified for Harken external cars and track which have made the deployment of the main easier and the dropping of the sail merely the controling the speed of the fall. The original pin positioned jib cars had been upgraded to infinite line adjustable cars controlled from the cockpit. These are worth their weight in gold when just the two of you are on the boat as it reduces the reasons to go forward; which is a good thing.

We are an older couple sailing without children and the C320 has proved perfect for us. Space everywhere, but not designed for excess gear stowage unless as we have, you utilize the V-berth. She is a stable form and still races well with wind in excess of 25 knots if you furl and reef and keep an eye on the position of the traveler. The cockpit is large enough to comfortably handle skipper and active 4 man crew.

Cruising is a joy. With large everything and a large separate aft cabin there is space for two with different internal clocks. The galley is first rate and time spent on the hook is comfortable as long as you have provided yourself with cockpit shade. Our solution here was a conestoga-style waterproof cover extending to the lifelines and 8' tall at the peak, supported by shock corded fibreglass poles supplying the shade we need and offering an all-weather outdoor room. The easy access to the water via the stern platform is pure gravy.

The spouse is short with little upper body strength, but she has no interest in helming. She found the original 150% jib too much to handle and so we added a 135% which she finds easier to winch in on a tack. We also found it necessary to replace the head and did so with an upgraded Raritan model with a powerful flush action. The batteries also proved past their prime and the replacement was a 12V AGM start battery and a house bank of 4 6V AGMs. This latter, hooked in series/parallel yields 440AH of power, and unlike the 4Ds they replaced I can install and remove without assistance. For the sake of better performance we replaced the original fixed 3-blade prop with a feathering Kiwi model.

There remains for this year the upgrading of the alternator to a Balmar 100 amp model and a combination charger/inverter. This upgrade, with the addition of a modest solar panel to trickle the start battery, should provide all of the power we need for cruising.

Be aware that all vendors advertise their wing keel model as having a draft of 4'4''. This is not always the case. On or about 1998 Catalina deepened the bilge of the hull while continuing to use the same keel; resulting in a draft increase to 4'10''. In 2002 they replaced the original C320 wing with that used by the C310, bringing the draft back up to 4'4''.

Our C320 was in excellent condition, and we bought her in Michigan sight unseen based on a surveyor's report. From this you should glean that a survey is necessary, and that you should not limit yourself to your local area when doing your boat search. Find the perfect boat first then calculate if the additional cost of transportation/taxes still makes it fair value. A survey is critical. A boat in "perfect" condition is only in that condition for its age. Do not expect a 6 year old boat to be in new condition and plan that some things will need replacing/upgrading and set aside dollars for it.

Good luck.

Brian
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
We purchased our 2001 in February 2007. We originally considered a new hull, but discovered at the January '07 Toronto Boat Show that a cockpit redesign had left the benches so far apart that I could not brace against one while sitting on the other; a crew issue if you race. We thus decided to look for used.

Our first boat was a 1981 Tanzer 8.5 acquired in 2002. With our next boat we were looking for a fully inclosed head, gas stove with oven, walk through transom with swim platform, wheel (in hopes my spouse would begin helming) and wide side decks. You get all of this with a C320. This boat added showers in the head and on the swim platform, refrigeration and hot/cold pressure water.

This particular boat came with extras I found desirable. Canvas package and dodger have proven useful. The main/mast had been modified for Harken external cars and track which have made the deployment of the main easier and the dropping of the sail merely the controling the speed of the fall. The original pin positioned jib cars had been upgraded to infinite line adjustable cars controlled from the cockpit. These are worth their weight in gold when just the two of you are on the boat as it reduces the reasons to go forward; which is a good thing.

We are an older couple sailing without children and the C320 has proved perfect for us. Space everywhere, but not designed for excess gear stowage unless as we have, you utilize the V-berth. She is a stable form and still races well with wind in excess of 25 knots if you furl and reef and keep an eye on the position of the traveler. The cockpit is large enough to comfortably handle skipper and active 4 man crew.

Cruising is a joy. With large everything and a large separate aft cabin there is space for two with different internal clocks. The galley is first rate and time spent on the hook is comfortable as long as you have provided yourself with cockpit shade. Our solution here was a conestoga-style waterproof cover extending to the lifelines and 8' tall at the peak, supported by shock corded fibreglass poles supplying the shade we need and offering an all-weather outdoor room. The easy access to the water via the stern platform is pure gravy.

The spouse is short with little upper body strength, but she has no interest in helming. She found the original 150% jib too much to handle and so we added a 135% which she finds easier to winch in on a tack. We also found it necessary to replace the head and did so with an upgraded Raritan model with a powerful flush action. The batteries also proved past their prime and the replacement was a 12V AGM start battery and a house bank of 4 6V AGMs. This latter, hooked in series/parallel yields 440AH of power, and unlike the 4Ds they replaced I can install and remove without assistance. For the sake of better performance we replaced the original fixed 3-blade prop with a feathering Kiwi model.

There remains for this year the upgrading of the alternator to a Balmar 100 amp model and a combination charger/inverter. This upgrade, with the addition of a modest solar panel to trickle the start battery, should provide all of the power we need for cruising.

Be aware that all vendors advertise their wing keel model as having a draft of 4'4''. This is not always the case. On or about 1998 Catalina deepened the bilge of the hull while continuing to use the same keel; resulting in a draft increase to 4'10''. In 2002 they replaced the original C320 wing with that used by the C310, bringing the draft back up to 4'4''.

Our C320 was in excellent condition, and we bought her in Michigan sight unseen based on a surveyor's report. From this you should glean that a survey is necessary, and that you should not limit yourself to your local area when doing your boat search. Find the perfect boat first then calculate if the additional cost of transportation/taxes still makes it fair value. A survey is critical. A boat in "perfect" condition is only in that condition for its age. Do not expect a 6 year old boat to be in new condition and plan that some things will need replacing/upgrading and set aside dollars for it.

Good luck.

Brian
Thanks Brian for the tips. We are relocating to NC and I am presently looking at boats in TX, IN and on the East Coast. Yes, the idea of hiring a marine surveror is a very smart idea indeed. We have owned several smaller boats uincluding a Catalina 25 and have never needed a surveyor but this time we will.

Thanks again for your comments on the 320,

Glenn Druhot
 

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The 320 is qa great boat for weekending. We owned one for a couple of years or so. It is not a good boat for limited or f/t cruising. If you can come up with a bit more money, I would suggest the 36 mkii. That is an outstanding boat. I have spent a lot of time on both. I ended up spending a bit more and went with a 380 (at that time, I now own a 400). THe 36 is a much better performer than the 380, but the 380 is a better cruising boat.

All in all, unless this is just a weekender or daysailor, I would push you toward a 36 mkii. If it is a weekender/daysailor, you will love the 320 and how she sails.

Brian
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The 320 is qa great boat for weekending. We owned one for a couple of years or so. It is not a good boat for limited or f/t cruising. If you can come up with a bit more money, I would suggest the 36 mkii. That is an outstanding boat. I have spent a lot of time on both. I ended up spending a bit more and went with a 380 (at that time, I now own a 400). THe 36 is a much better performer than the 380, but the 380 is a better cruising boat.

All in all, unless this is just a weekender or daysailor, I would push you toward a 36 mkii. If it is a weekender/daysailor, you will love the 320 and how she sails.

Brian
Thanks Brian for your comments. I may consider a 43 or 36 but want to stay with catalina. It has been nice over the years to order parts from Woodland Hills, CA.

Glenn
 

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All in all, unless this is just a weekender or daysailor, I would push you toward a 36 mkii. If it is a weekender/daysailor, you will love the 320 and how she sails. Brian
Unless I missed it, you didn't mention mention if any kids were involved. As his username implies the "Dad" may be pushing you towards the 36 for a "Family" cruise :). My wife and I (no kids) had many 1 week cruises (usually 2 a year) and a couple of 2 week cruises in the 6 years we had a '99 C320 and space was never a problem. For us the Forward berth was just for storage and the aft Queen sized berth is larger than the C34's and the same as the C36. The Fridge on the C320 IIRC is also not matched until you go to the C36 or maybe even higher. The one thing they really did scrimp on though was the head. No fattys allowed ...... because you won't even be able to turn around ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Unless I missed it, you didn't mention mention if any kids were involved. As his username implies the "Dad" may be pushing you towards the 36 for a "Family" cruise :). My wife and I (no kids) had many 1 week cruises (usually 2 a year) and a couple of 2 week cruises in the 6 years we had a '99 C320 and space was never a problem. For us the Forward berth was just for storage and the aft Queen sized berth is larger than the C34's and the same as the C36. The Fridge on the C320 IIRC is also not matched until you go to the C36 or maybe even higher. The one thing they really did scrimp on though was the head. No fattys allowed ...... because you won't even be able to turn around ;)
Well, thank God neither my wife or I are "large" people, so the head situation is not a problem. Yes, we have children, both sons are grown and through college and grad school (whew). I am retired from the USAF, a writer and college prof and we will be relocating to NC soon. I still believe that the 320 will be more than adequate. Thank you for your comments.

Glenn Druhot
 

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Unless I missed it, you didn't mention mention if any kids were involved. As his username implies the "Dad" may be pushing you towards the 36 for a "Family" cruise :). My wife and I (no kids) had many 1 week cruises (usually 2 a year) and a couple of 2 week cruises in the 6 years we had a '99 C320 and space was never a problem. For us the Forward berth was just for storage and the aft Queen sized berth is larger than the C34's and the same as the C36. The Fridge on the C320 IIRC is also not matched until you go to the C36 or maybe even higher. The one thing they really did scrimp on though was the head. No fattys allowed ...... because you won't even be able to turn around ;)
Hey Stan,

I still think the 36 is a much better boat for cruising (2 people). It is not great for more than that as the aft berth is very crowded. But the nav station is independent, the head is much better, the fold up table gives a lot more room, and as mentioned before - the storage is much better. I cannot remember the tankage difference, but I think the 36 carries a bit more.

There are many people Living aboard a 36 in the carib. It really is one of my favorite boats. The 320 is great too, but the 36 just feels much bigger down below. I think the 36 servs a different purpose.

Just my opinions, though.

- CD

PS Have Stan show you the woodwork he did on his 320. Beautiful stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hey Stan,

I still think the 36 is a much better boat for cruising (2 people). It is not great for more than that as the aft berth is very crowded. But the nav station is independent, the head is much better, the fold up table gives a lot more room, and as mentioned before - the storage is much better. I cannot remember the tankage difference, but I think the 36 carries a bit more.

There are many people Living aboard a 36 in the carib. It really is one of my favorite boats. The 320 is great too, but the 36 just feels much bigger down below. I think the 36 servs a different purpose.

Just my opinions, though.

- CD

PS Have Stan show you the woodwork he did on his 320. Beautiful stuff.
Stan, let's see your handiwork on the teak below. Thanks.

Glenn
 

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Hey Dad...... although I'm probably old enough to be yours....;) Your retort reminded my that I forgot to add to my post that I always loved the C36 and even when I had my C320 I still lusted for one..... mostly for the reasons you mentioned :rolleyes: . I got so involved with tooting the C320's horn (loved that boat) that I got a bit myopic :eek:.
 

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Glenn,

I don't have the most experience as an owner of a 320 (just purchased my '95 swing keel last September), but as you appearing to be doing, I did extensive research to identify the right boat for me, my budget and sailing area (also the Chesapeake).

I concluded (obviously) that the 320 was the right boat--and the half dozen times I was able to get out on her in the fall has only reinforced that.

I found very positive reviews--lack of storage space a common and accurate complaint. My boat sails beautifully, and while the 320 is clearly built for comfort I've been pleasantly surprised by her performance. She points well and have not yet found much of any weather helm (though I've not yet sailed in 20+ knot winds).

So far, I'm a big fan (and am hoping that will continue as I get to know her better). If you end up with a 320 keep us posted what you think of it.

Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Catalina 320

Thank you Kevin for your comments on owning a 320. I am surprised that they made a 32 foot boat with a swing keel.

Glenn
 
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