Catalina Owner Reviews

Serving sailors online since 1997

Review of the Catalina 350 by Jon Freeman

Year built 2003  
Location of boat Tacoma, WA  
The boat is sailed on Bays, sounds, or protected salt water  
How the boat is used Weekends and longer  
Normal wind strength 10-15 knots  
Average size of crew 2-4  
Liveaboard? No  
Owner bought the boat in 2007  
If the clock could be turned back, would owner buy again? YES! AT first viewing we thought the boat might be more than we could handle, but we just loved the layout and the berths (didn't like the berths in the 34 or 36). The shower was cool, and the number of options already on the boat (at a used price) was hard to ignore. We have owned a number of boats, including a C-22, and this was by far the biggest and nicest. We took three private lessons, and now have NO issues. The high sides, and how to get on while leaving the dock were an issue, but the Doyle Quick Step (West Marine has 'em) has eliminated that. No regrets!  
Gear that's been added Bought a Remote for the ST5000. Absolutely love it. We installed it ourselves - super easy. Also installed Sirius so we can listen to the Jimmy Buffett channel (OK and anything else we want without losing station signals). Added a Magma barbecue and a $100 TV/DVD from Walmart. Also added the filler cushions for the forward cabin - LUXURY sleeping space (for a boat).  
Structural or complex improvements Nope. Boat is very well equipped and configured already, e.g. In-mast and roller furling came with boat, hard dodger as well.  
The boat's best features COMFORT - We spent 11 days in the San Juans, and had no cabin fever or space issues. Plenty of storage space. Already mentioned the berths, but sleeping is a joy. Can't say this for almost all of the boats and RV's we have enjoyed over the years. SAFETY/SAILING - We have been out in 25-30 knot winds more than once, and have come to trust and enjoy the sailing comfort and abilities of this boat. Last weekend we hit 8.4 knots under sail in 20+ knots. It was exciting, and I'm sure a little surfing was going on, but, WOW! FIT/FINISH - Go look at some of the other production boats out there. FOR THE MONEY, you cannot beat the Catalina 350 in this department.  
Problem areas in terms of design, materials, maintenance, etc. Refrigeration could be better. It is marginal in the freezer department. You can turn it up, but the refer then is too cold. NOT a huge issue, but seems like it could be better. RV's are able to do it well and affordably... Sewage holding tank could be larger, but is manageable.  
Sailing characterisitcs Well mannered, and seems pretty fast. We haven't gotten into racing, but have beat a friend's 34 in light winds. In mast furling may reduce ultimate speed, but we don't notice it. Benefits outweigh the supposed issues BY FAR.  
Motoring characterisitcs Replaced the "problem" propeller with the new one during purchase period. Have noticed NO issues. The M35 is a beautiful engine, and purrs like a kitten. Last two fillups have confirmed .75 GPH at cruise! 2500 RPM's and 6-6.7 knots. LOVE the single throttle/shift lever. Maneuverability is EXCELLENT, but could enjoy a bow thruster, for tight fairways under windy conditions. Probably won't, but I do watch the sailboat across the way come in with their bow thruster, and find myself a little envious.  
Liveability Cannot imagine a better situation. Lights, seating, sleeping, head, are all excellent. The electric head is LOUD, but beats pumping all to heck.  
The owner's experience in dealing with Hunter (if any) Catalina has been good to deal with for parts and information.  
The owner's experience with the boat dealer or broker, if any Performance Yachts in Bellingham is THE outfit to deal with in Washington. Geoff and his team are a total pleasure to work with. Geoff also hooked us up with our instructor, Larry Bughi, and that was a tremendously positive experience.  
Other comments Do not let the size of the 350 scare you. It is a GREAT boat, and no harder to sail and maneuver than any other similar size boat. You can do it!  

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