Catalina Owner Reviews

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Review of the Catalina 350 by Richard Davidson

Year built 2006  
Location of boat point pleasant, new jersey  
The boat is sailed on Open ocean  
How the boat is used Weekends and longer  
Normal wind strength 16-22 knots  
Average size of crew 2-4  
Liveaboard? No  
Owner bought the boat in 2006  
If the clock could be turned back, would owner buy again? Absolutely. We came from a Precision 23 and I have been sailing various other boats since I was 11 years old (Sunfish and such). I can't say enough good things about this boat. Everyone who loves blue water sailing should buy one. The boat handles like a dream, both on and off the wind. Stable, safe and seemingly well-consructed. Considering the fact that I went to the dealership with the intention of buying a Benetteau (sp?) 373 and bought this, I think it says quite a bit.  
Gear that's been added I didn't have to. The dealer ordered it with everthing as well as the kitchen sink. Full bimini and dodger, Raymarine 6001 Autohelm, A/C, stereo CD, etc., etc.  
Structural or complex improvements None needed.  
The boat's best features The list is too long to do justice to. She has more room than some apartments I've been in. Has great equipment both below and above decks. Is comfortable, spacious and truly liveable with my wife and two children. I routinely sail on the ocean with 8+ foot seas and 25 knot winds. In fact, the week we took delivery of her, my wife and I sailed her from Riverside, New Jersey to Point Pleasant, NJ through Tropical Storm Ernesto. We never felt overwhelmed or unsure. The boat is solid and safe, and as I sail her more and more in various wind conditions, I continue to feel better and better about my purchase.  
Problem areas in terms of design, materials, maintenance, etc. Having a few problems with the battery charging system. Waiting for the dealer to take care of this.  
Sailing characterisitcs In lighter winds (less than 8 knots) she is a bit slow. But what do you want from a boat weighing in at 14,000 plus pounds (we got the wing keel version) and having a 13 foot beam? However, other boats such as Benetteau, have the beam of a canoe, comparably speaking, and are much faster. But when you are looking for a boat that offers the liveability that a family will need for extended cruising, I will gladly sacrifice the 1 knot of speed for the comfort. But don't misunderstand, she is quick with a very responsive helm (has a light touch with minimal weather helm), and points beatifully beyond the 'red' zone of my wind meter. Off the wind she routinely moves at 6 knots plus with a great feel. In case you haven't figured it out yet, I love the way this boat sails.  
Motoring characterisitcs Motor is quite strong and reliable (this has to be qualified, though, only have 30 hours on it). Starts right up every time, sips fuel and is quite powerful. Also nice and quiet. As a sailor, I don't want to listen to the racket of an engine on the few occasions I actually have to use it.  
Liveability Liveability is tremendous. My wife and my two young daughters (1.5 and 3.5 years old) routinely live on it every weekend in the summer. The girls sleep together in the aft cabin and my wife and I use the v-berth. The head is a bit tight, but the boat is only 35 feet. What can you expect? The cockpit is great, roomy and the integrated seats in the stern pulpit are fantastic. Just set the sails and the autohelm on the open ocean, and you can 'assume the position' in one of these seats and enjoy the wind and water. Have I painted an enticing enough picture?  
The owner's experience in dealing with Hunter (if any) Haven't had to deal with them yet.  
The owner's experience with the boat dealer or broker, if any The dealer has been great so far. Extremely helpful and pleasant. I can't say enough good things about Winter Sailing Center in Riverside, NJ. A top-notch crew of professionals. I haven't directly dealt with a warranty issue yet, but expect continued good service.  
Other comments If you want a great family-cruiser with very solid build and sailing characteristics, this is your boat. I know Sabre and others offer 'better' boats in this size range (but also almost twice the price), but I think that if you want maximum value per dollar spent, this is your boat. Better give the 350 a long, close look.  

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