Catalina Owner Reviews

Serving sailors online since 1997

Review of the Catalina 30 by Tim Dranttel

Year built 1986  
Location of boat Niceville, FL (near Destin)  
The boat is sailed on Bays, sounds, or protected salt water  
How the boat is used Day sailing  
Normal wind strength 10-15 knots  
Average size of crew solo  
Liveaboard? No  
Owner bought the boat in 2000  
If the clock could be turned back, would owner buy again? Would I buy this boat again? A qualified Yes. It is a pretty decent boat for what I paid. The fact that it is an older boat makes for more maintenance requirements than I have time and this would be true of any boat of this age. With my limited time all I want to do is sail the boat not work on it! I had anticipated doing some coastal cruising with my wife and toddler and that has not materialized as of yet. Had I to do over again I would have given more consideration to a smaller newer boat with less bells and whistles. That being said I may have ended up with the Cat 30 anyway!  
Gear that's been added -Safety Nets -35# CRQ -New larger heat exchanger for the M-25 -All new running rigging -Life Sling  
Structural or complex improvements No major improvements  
The boat's best features Best feature has to be the room. The tall rig with the 5'3" draft is a pretty good sailing boat as long as you reduce sail area to limit heel to 15 degrees.  
Problem areas in terms of design, materials, maintenance, etc. -Access to my Universal 25 desiel is terrible. Especially to the oil filter. -The motor has not stranded me has required alot of attention to keep it running in tip top shape. -The original heat exchanger was too small and caused overheating problems that were eventually solved by replacing with the M25XP exchanger $$$$. -The shallow bilge is another less than ideal design characteristic as you can never get all the water out and the keel bolts sit in salt water their whole life. -The traveler and mainsheet arrangement on the cabin top are not condusive to single-handing during short tacks.  
Sailing characterisitcs -Since I live in the horse latitudes most of the sailing is in 15 knots or less. The Tall Rig is a definite asset and the boat does okay in those conditions. -15-20 knots is the boat's ideal conditions. Good speed, stability, tracking, and the right amount of heel and weather helm. -20-25 first set of reef points and the 120% rolled up a few turns to balance. Traveler down, jib cars can stay. Some water on deck while beating into the 4-6 foot waves. -25-30 Second set of reef points less jib and the cars aft. Lots of water over the bow while on the wind. -39-40 double reefed main only or rolled up jib only depending on the point of sail.  
Motoring characterisitcs Overall, I'd have to say that the 21 hp universal does not have enough reserve power. With my 3 blade prop and a clean bottom I can just make 6 knots in calm conditions. -Speed drops drastically with conditions so that around 20-30 knots and 4-6 foot seas the boat is steerable but dead in the water. -I got caught in a squall with confirmed gusts to 60 knots and under bare poles could not hold the boat into the wind with full gas. 45 degrees off 1 knot and 10 degrees of heel (bare poles) was the best I could do. -backing is fairly manageable in light conditions until the prop and bottom start to get dirty and then nearly impossible. Trying to back against current or wind or even a cross wind is nearly impossible even with a clean boat and prop. I've been driving sailboats for 10 years and have yet to break the code on backing a Cat 30 in a cross wind.  
Liveability -Very livable. -Needs more ventalation than the 4 hatches and 2 opening ports can provide. If I was gonna spend lot of time in the boat I'd put a dorade forward and two in the main cabin. -stock pressure water pump is a bit weak and is noisey  
The owner's experience in dealing with Hunter (if any) Haven't  
The owner's experience with the boat dealer or broker, if any -Watch-out for brokers! They are working for a commission. -Research the surveyors. I'm than impressed with the survey I got. At first blush the volume of the paperwork he gave me made me feel good, but he missed alot of basic stuff.--an unsafe alcohol to propane oven conversion--A motor that was not putting out full revs--and did not inspect the rig at all.  
Other comments Overall a good boat with limitations. It has a fairly narrow comfort zone as-far-as conditions go but overall has good sailing qualities as-long-as you reduce sail to limit the heel to 15 degrees. Overall construction okay but weak bulkhead to hull joints would need beefing up to make me comfortable offshore. All these are just my opinion and as a pilot I tend to be more critical of systems and structures.  

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