Catalina Owner Reviews

Serving sailors online since 1997

Review of the Catalina 30 by Mark Corson

Year built 1987  
Location of boat Cleveland, Ohio  
The boat is sailed on The Great Lakes  
How the boat is used Racing  
Normal wind strength 10-15 knots  
Average size of crew 2-4  
Liveaboard? No  
Owner bought the boat in 2002  
If the clock could be turned back, would owner buy again? Yes. It is a great value. The design gives you a lot for a 30', low cost boat. I looked for about 2 years before I bought mine. I have had multiple friends tell me that they wished they had bought a Catalina 30 rather then what they bought.  
Gear that's been added Added two more rope cluthes for a total of 4. Added a boom vang, backstay adjuster, up-graded stereo system, two moveable midship cleats that sit on the genoa track, inverter, 100% jib, 135% jib, 151% jib, Icom hand-held VHF, 2nd anchor (Fortress) and 200 feet of rode, 2 million candle power hand held spolight, GPS, Orion Offshore signal kit with 25mm parachute flares, jacklines, Wichard tethers, autoinflatable life vests with harnesses, upgraded to newer model Hood headsail furler, and a lot of other gear. Boat came with good electronics (Raymarine autopilot, wind/speed, tri-data), Standard Horizon VHF, whisker pole, and a gennaker.  
Structural or complex improvements Strenthened starboard bulkhead and chainplates. Added backing plates to all four mooring cleats, replaced the stock gate valves with Forespar marlon seacocks, added Perko locking pins to the washboards, increased tabbing around all bulkheads, replaced mast step, replaced rigid cast iron exhaust pipe from engine to muffler with flexible high temperature truck exhaust hose wrapped in stainless steel to eliminate.  
The boat's best features 1. Relatively low price for what you get. 2. 5'3" lead fin keel. Highly recommend the fin over the shoal draft keel for better pointing and slightly lighter weight. Less weight equals more speed. 3. Reliable Universal diesel engine 4. Layout of cabins, I have the L shaped dinette option 5. Good factory support for questions and parts. Parts are available and at relatively low prices! 6. Overall, good value for the money.  
Problem areas in terms of design, materials, maintenance, etc. The overall construction is on the "light" side for my tastes. That is why we upgraded the bulkheads and put backing plates on the cleats. The Catalina and most other high production boats use a liner. That reduces the intial cost but increases the cost of maintenance, repairs, and upgrades. I find the rub-rail on the Catalina and most other high production boats to be less roboust than they should be. Again it reduces the intial cost but increases the cost of maintenance and repairs. A Catlina 30 is a coastal cruiser. It is not designed and built to the standards of a boat able to be a transocean passage maker.  
Sailing characterisitcs My wife and I sail typically from May 1 to October 30 on Lake Erie out of Edgewater Yacht Club. We usually race twice a week. The highest wind speed we have sailed in was in the October 2005, Sea Dog Race sponsored by Edgewater Yacht Club. In that race we had multiple rain squalls, winds in the 20 to 30 knot range with a gust that touched a recorded 48 knots. Waves grew to around 8 feet with the odd 10 footer. Very steep and square waves. We only took one small wave in the cockpit. We came in 2nd out of 13 boats in our "Jib and Main" class. 11 of the other boats in our class dropped out of the race and We have sailed for many hours in winds in the 25 to 30 knot range with steep and square 8 to 10 foot waves. Our boat can take it, even it it is uncomfortable for some people. Sometime I single hand the boat. The cockpit can take up to a maximum of six friendly adults.  
Motoring characterisitcs We have used the engine for about 200 hours in four seasons. Engine has around 800 hours on it. My mechanic says it is just broken in. We have a two bladed, fixed prop. It works fine, but if I had the money I would like to get a folding or feathering prop to get more speed in light air under sail.  
Liveability Good for two people, acceptable for a long weekend with the right second couple. We have never had more than 4 adults on the boat overnight and do not ever plan to. Best berth is in the in the main cabin with the dinnette converted into a double. Settee in main cabin is great for an afternoon snooze or as a sea berth on a night passage. The settee n to beome a proper sea berth, but it is in the right place and is the right size. We sail a lot at night and sometimes race all night. It is a lot of fun. We thought about getting a bimini and a dodger but decided against it. We don't really need it for the type of sailing we do and it blocks visiblity during racing. I am glad we did not buy them.  
The owner's experience in dealing with Hunter (if any) Positive. They answered 90% of my questions. The parts department is excellent, especially when I compare my experience with what I hear from others.  
The owner's experience with the boat dealer or broker, if any We bought the boat used from Freeman-Eckley in Vermillion, Ohio. The experience was satisfactory. We have never taken the boat back to them for any reason. Most of our maintenance and repair work was done by Riverfront Yacht Services close by in Cleveland. Very pleased with the service.  
Other comments This is the first boat that we have owned. It has been the best toy I have ever owned. My wife and I have learned a lot in our four seasons of use. It was a good choice for us. The list of potential "next" boats for my wife and I includes the following. - Catalina 30, Mark III, fin keel, tall rig - Catalina 309, fin keel - Catalina 320, fin keel - Catalina 310, fin keel - C&C 99 - Tartan 3500 - Tartan 3400 - Catalina 34, fin keel - Catalina 350, fin keel  

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