Catalina Owner Reviews

Serving sailors online since 1997

Review of the Catalina 250 by Vernon Wright

Year built 1997  
Location of boat East Greenwich, RI  
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 6+  
Liveaboard? No  
Owner bought the boat in 2008  
If the clock could be turned back, would owner buy again? Yes. It is a great boat for your money. Very versatile.  
Gear that's been added Added 200lb ballast in the bow. Stern rail grill. Wheel brake, genoa.  
Structural or complex improvements None.  
The boat's best features All around versatility. It has a larger cockpit than most 30 footers. I can also sit seven comfortably below decks. Five people who know one another well, could sleep below. I have a family of five with children 4,8, and 12 and they have grown to love the vessel even though we were spoiled last summer sailing a brand new Catalina 350 with a fractional sailing program. The 250 is sturdy and well built. Have motored with four foot seas and 30+ knots of wind and she did fine. She can be easily trailered although I keep her moored at a marina on Narraganset bay in RI. While the water ballast model is capable, I personally have a tall rigged boat with the wing keel. Sail ratio to displacement is over 19. There is a very helpful owners association. See for more info.  
Problem areas in terms of design, materials, maintenance, etc. Not much; it's a well planned out vessel. Winches are mounted on the cabin top, which can be difficult to get to if you are behind the wheel. Wheel brake helps. Think crew or auto helm. People with tiller don't seem to have as much problems accessing winches. I would strongly recommend adding more ballast in the bow compartment. This will decrease weather helm. I myself have used just a few bags of rock chips. Adding a bimini or a dodger will take some finessing.  
Sailing characterisitcs The tall rig, wing keel with a 150 genny is very fast in light air. Reef in anything higher than 15 knots, and keep an eye on gusts. Consider motoring at over 30 knots of wind. Points well. Like most 18-27 footers its a boat best suited for active sailors who like to keep a hand on the boom cord. Once you adjust to her manners and limitations, she'll take anything you throw at her. Is capable of coastal cruising as long as you keep an eye on the weather.  
Motoring characterisitcs Motors just fine. I have a 2007 9.5 Nissan long shaft outboard mounted on starboard stern. There seems to be no drifting cavatating or waffling.. Can drive into high winds.  
Liveability Boat is very livable for 25'. There is 5'5" of headroom on the wing keel model which is adequate for my wife and kids. If I need to do any cooking or cleaning, or entertaining on the mooring, I slouch my 6'1" frame or I put on the handy pop top covering and it gives 6'7" of head room in the galley area. When sitting at the table, the Pop top makes the interior seem cavernous. The aft berth is queen sized. Head compartment is enclosed. There is no bulkhead in the bow, but the open layout makes it more versatile. V berth will sleep two and two more can sleep on settee cushions. Single burner on the Princess stove is just fine for tea or ramen noodles underway. Get a stern rail grill for increasing cooking capacity. Has teak trim and teak wall around head. The added teak and holly pattern sole gives it a whiff of the classic look.  
The owner's experience in dealing with Hunter (if any) Catalina is extremely helpful and quick to respond. I have asked them about winches sails and statistics and they have called me right back every time.  
The owner's experience with the boat dealer or broker, if any Financed directly from previous owner.  
Other comments A 25 foot sailboat is in a class of its own. Though all the sailboat magazines might wish it otherwise, sailing does not have to be only for the wealthy. If you are looking for a way of cruising and you are on a tight budget, but still want a newer, yet seaworthy boat, the Catalina 250 is one of the best options out there... period. I spent a few years of research before my purchase. I am a happy and proud owner.  

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