Catalina Owner Reviews

Serving sailors online since 1997

Review of the Catalina 28 by Denny

Year built 1992  
Location of boat Cincinnati, Ohio  
The boat is sailed on Lakes  
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 1992  
If the clock could be turned back, would owner buy again? Yes, I would buy this boat again - it is a great boat! Our biggest mistake was waiting too long to get a bigger Catalina! We have had lots of fun on the boat for many years - at a very modest cost per year! The Catalina 28 was awarded one of Cruising World's "Boat of the Year Awards" in 1996. That is great recognition of how good a boat this is. I know of no other 28 foot boat awarded this prestigous honor. The C-28 is a great combination of elements to provide big boat feel in a small package. No, it is not a 40 footer's worth of accomadations, but it is a well executed combination of good sailing and reasonable living space - at reasonable cost.  
Gear that's been added The boat comes well equipped from Catalina. We have only added a few bits and pieces. A few lights and locker doors added.  
Structural or complex improvements We've made no complex improvements, but I will take this space to observe something about the cost of boats. I don't think it costs that much to own a nice boat. For the first ten years or so, our boat actually went UP in Value. After 17 years, depreciation cost amounts only to a few hundred bucks a year. We spend more on ice each year than on fuel. The bottom line is that we've had great fun for very low cost per year. But, it turns out, the cost of boating is really not so important. What is important are the friends we've made and the people we've met boating. That is priceless!  
The boat's best features Our Catalina has been a good boat to us for 17 years - it still looks good and performs well. We keep it cleaned and maintained well. Every thing on the boat has just worked the way it is supposed to. We have had no major repairs to the Catalina or the products used in the boat. Having things work correctly is a great contrast to some of the other comparibly priced brands out there. We have friends who have experienced many problems with breakage and failures on other brands of boat. So, for us, the build quality of the Catalina has been terrific.  
Problem areas in terms of design, materials, maintenance, etc. We have had no problems of breakage, and no problem with the original, well-thought out design. It is a good boat to live on for a weekend or a week. Longer stays are possible for a couple.  
Sailing characterisitcs The wonderful sailing character of the C-28 was a surprise. We bought the boat for better interior accomodations, and easy water access of the swim step transom. Our first sail in 15 knot winds was an amazing ride! When the wind gusts up, the C-28 puts her shoulder down and just goes forward! Our wing keel provides good lift, the boat points well, tacks easily, and is very stable. We can easily balance sail trim and helm for no-hands on the wheel sailing. Handling is very progressive and predictable, which makes my wife feel secure (and happy) on the boat. You won't suddenly heel further over or make an unpredictable round-up. We like that we can raise sails, or reef from the cockpit.  
Motoring characterisitcs The boat seems to be a good combination of hull form, rudder and propeller. Steering is typically light, handling is steady and predictable. The boat goes where you point it with no surprises. Backing the boat is easy and well controlled, as well. The C-28 carries 3600 pounds of ballast on the wing keel, so the center of gravity is low, making the boat very stable. It is not a "tippy" boat, which makes the wife very secure. The nice weight of the boat means she carries good momentum and will punch through waves that would stop a lightweight small boat.  
Liveability We enjoy the superior liveability of our C-28. Living and lounging spaces seem well proportioned for imperfect human shapes. Cockpit seats are long enough for a nap. Wide side decks make going forward to the mast, or the anchor locker safe and easy. The head could be a bit bigger - but, we're not sure we would sacrifice the space. The shower on the stern gets regular use for "bathing suit showers." The propane stove works well, icebox seems well insulated.  
The owner's experience in dealing with Hunter (if any) At one point, we had questions about a leak in the water-lift muffler. We sent it to Catalina and they checked it out and returned it with a clean bill of health. I later figured out the leak had been at the hose connection, and solved the problem. Catalina was very professional and supportive to deal with.  
The owner's experience with the boat dealer or broker, if any Our dealer was Strictly Sail in Cincinnati, and we have been well pleased with them over the years. Steve and Bob at Strictly run a good business and are very professional. Unlike some dealers that are not well run, Strictly Sail has been in business for 25 years, or more. The support of an active dealer adds value to our boating experience. Strictly Sail may not be perfect, few dealers are, but they provide good service when you need it, and they keep sailing more visible in Cincinnati.  
Other comments We really enjoy the great sailing performance and liveability of our C-28. Catalina has proven to be a manufacturer of fine sailboats priced reasonably. The factory and dealer provide good support, and we enjoy the Catalina Owner's Association, plus the quarterly magazine, "Mainsheet." Catalina has grown to be the largest sailboat manufacturer in the country by providing excellent boats and superior value. We truly do think that we have gotten everything we paid for - and then some! Buying the Catalina 28 was one of our best decisions ever!  

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