Catalina Owner Reviews

Serving sailors online since 1997

Review of the Catalina 250 by Richard Souza

Year built 2004  
Location of boat Gloucester, Ma.  
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 2-4  
Liveaboard? No  
Owner bought the boat in 2005  
If the clock could be turned back, would owner buy again? I don't think so. I have had a bad time with the dealer from the beginning. The boat was not set up properly. Toppnig lift was not attached and clevis pins were forgotten or misplaced. When it came time to set up the mast and launch the boat all this and more surfaced. We were up against a tide deadline and if we did not get the boat launched then it would be another 2 weeks before i could get the time again to ste it up and launch. All that said, I don't like the boats sailing characteristics. It's a wing keel model #730 I have the pedastal steering w/Edson controls and I find the bow sits to high. I get alot of weather helm and sloppy steering even when I'm steaming upriver to the Bay. The split backstay, fuel locker, and cockpit seats make it down right hard for the helmsman to get comfortable. Not to mention to move out behind the helm. I put a Honda 9.9 on for power and the motor is whisper quiet. I think the position of the OB off the strbd transom leads to some surprisingly poor handling. Maybe in models to come they would consider an assembly that would link both rudder and OB together and dramatically cure that problem. Forums suggest loading sandbags into the bow for ballast. I am going to try that. I will have to wait for the end of the season to attach the topping lift. In the meantime, it has not been easy hoisting the main with the boom laying in the cockpit ready to wrap someone in the head.  
Gear that's been added If I hang on to this boat I plan to increase the capacity of the porta-potty. Get a bigger one. Put in another battery to increase my house capacity. Need cupholders and a table for the cockpit.  
Structural or complex improvements No.  
The boat's best features I had a Pearson 30 before this. It was a good solid sailing platform. I think the best feature of the Catalina 250 WK is its' portability. At the end of the season I will bring the boat in, put it onto its' trailer and pull it home and put it in my yard. I won't be paying any yard fees or trusting some yard worker to put the stands at the points marked on the boat to place stands. Yard fees after all is said and done can run $1500.00 to $2000.00 for the season. Last but not least I don't have to get an OK or release to have someone other than a their yard worker do work on my boat.  
Problem areas in terms of design, materials, maintenance, etc. As I stated above the bow sits to high. It makes for very sloppy handling. I can't get the ST60 Tri-Data to work with ANY consistantsy. I was in a narry and shallow chanel today and I was counting on that data when it just quit. That happens to much. I'm not thrilled with the concept of tuning the rig every time you lower and raise the mast. Seems there should be a better way. Especially for trailer sailers. There is only one bolt holding the mast. Not only does it become an issue of making sure the mast is plum but that it is not twisted on it axis. You guys have got to work on that backstay set up or do away with the option of wheel steering.  
Sailing characterisitcs So far this season the biggest issue is sloppy handling. I get alot of weatherhelm that I attribute to the way the bow rides out of the water. I don't think the boat is overly tender. The wing keel really adds to the stability. Even when you are fighting the weatherhelm the boats not wild or threatining to get away. I just don't get the feeling you can trim it out and sit back with a light touch on the helm. Here is one other point that I'm noticing. It seems when you have this keel (weight) in the middle of a light displacement hull you get this teeter-toter effect. Your crew sitting in the cockpit accents the already high bow and it really pounds in a seaway.  
Motoring characterisitcs The boat motors fine except that the bow sits to high and the boat will wander a bit. You are always steering it. I'm still shocked at how poor it manuevers. I think if some assembly can be fabricated to connect the rudder and the OB that problem will go away.  
Liveability Too small for me!!  
The owner's experience in dealing with Hunter (if any) I haven't had the privilage yet. I don't say that sarcastically.  
The owner's experience with the boat dealer or broker, if any Yes!! At this point I would'nt buy a canoe from those people. To date, that was the worst experience I have ever had with any dealer of any kind including cars, boats, even motorcycles. I put this on par with having my house built and dealing with my GM contractor. I have seriously considered that the boat is a jinx and I should sell it.  
Other comments I am open to ideas or solutions about the bow. Maybe Catalina can help me with the other issues.  

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